Dr. David Fisher
Physics: Department Chair and Professor
Astronomy: Department Chair and Professor
Scholar Program: Chair and Professor of Astronomy/Physics
Pre-Engineering: Chair and Professor of Astronomy/Physics
Dr. Fisher joined the
Lycoming College Astronomy and Physics Department in 1984, just one year after
earning his Ph.D. at the University of Delaware and immediately following
completion of a year as a post-graduate fellow for the Bartol Research
Foundation of the Franklin Institute. Dr. Fisher’s research areas include
condensed matter physics, radiation damage in crystalline and amorphous materials
at low temperature, and space flight history.
He has authored over 75 articles that have appeared in peer-reviewed
research articles, technical journals, popular media, reference works; and has
even published a few poems.
Two of his largest works were
for Salem Press:
A. During a sabbatical in Fall 2005 Dr. Fisher
completed a project as co-editor for the Third Edition of USA in Space, working
with noted space flight historian Russell R. Tobia; Dr. Fisher was also a major
contributor on all three editions of this referenced work which covers the full
spectrum of American space flight history, both robotic spacecraft and crewed
missions through space shuttle flight STS-114.
Dr. Fisher focused on editing the articles that dealt with unpiloted spacecraft,
whereas Tobias edited the manned space flight articles.
B. Between 2008 and 2009 Dr. Fisher collaborated
with fellow department member Dr. Richard R. Erickson to co-edit the Second
Edition of Solar System. Dr. Fisher and
Dr. Erickson both had to compose a set of new articles to update the work in
the second edition as well as perform extensive editorial changes; Dr. Fisher
concentrated on articles concerning non-terrestrial subjects, while Dr.
Erickson co-edited and composed new articles on Earthly subjects.
In addition, Dr. Fisher as
participated in several projects coordinated out of the Johnson Space Center
History Office. He was part of a team of
space flight historians who set up a CD database on the Mercury, Gemini, and
Apollo manned missions, joined an international team selected by NASA to
correct the air-to-ground transcript of the Apollo 11 first lunar landing
mission, and helped assemble some CD collections of transcripts from the first
few shuttle missions.
Dr. Fisher has developed a
new course that in time became part of the department’s relatively new
astrophysics program. In connection with
students enrolled in the Invisible Universe course, a set of three microwave
background radiometers were constructed, and work is in progress to build a
portable radio telescope designed to study decametric radiations from Jupiter.
During his most recent
sabbatical Dr. Fisher was able to take a short course on atomic bomb
development provided in conjunction with the Chautauqua program and the
Smithsonian Institution’s National Atomic Museum located in Albuquerque; this
experience brought him in contact with a number of surviving members of the
Manhattan Project and included visits to Los Alamos and the Trinity Bomb site
where the first atomic device was detonated.
Dr. Fisher is currently
working on extensive histories of Gemini program flight operations, the Russian
Mir space station, and space shuttle program flight operations as well as is in
the midst of instituting, along with his fellow colleagues, major changes in
departmental infrastructure to best integrate a suite of new laboratory
instrumentation made possible by a grant from the Alden Foundation.