After nearly 50 years of service, Physics Professor Gene Dunnam has retired.

After nearly 50 years of service, Physics Professor Gene Dunnam (center) has retired.

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Gene Dunnam

Head of the CLAS

As the University of Florida kicks of its spring semester, there is one professor who won’t be returning from winter break this year. After nearly 50 years of service, Physics Professor Gene Dunnam has retired.

Dunnam came to UF in 1958, when the Department of Physics had just moved into a new unnamed building later to be called Williamson Hall in honor of the physics chairperson who hired him, Bob Williamson. He watched the student body triple during his time at the university, while serving in many key roles including chair of physics and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Former CLAS dean Will Harrison noted Dunnam’s administrative talents.  “Gene has this wonderful folksy demeanor of a Louisiana good-old-boy, coupled with a physicist’s clear-eyed view of human nature, that made him a superb associate dean,” he said. “His other strengths include a strong personal loyalty, a disarming sense of humor, and unusual skills as a raconteur. Gene is a very special person.”

Dunnam’s research interests have included nuclear spectroscopy, particularly nuclear reactions of astrophysical interest. Recently this led to investigations of improved detectors/spectrographs for energetic charged particles in the energy range 1-15 MeV and atomic mass 4 and higher. He is also passionate about physics pedagogy, particularly the need for improved training of public school science teachers.

Now that he has retired, Dunnam plans to concentrate on his musical interests—including completing the construction of a pipe organ in his home and continuing his participation in the Gainesville Civic Chorus.

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Buffy Lockette

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