Melissa Vigil

Office Location & Contact

WW 204
(414) 288-4546

Melissa Vigil

Laboratory Supervisor

I graduated from Washington University in 1989 with bachelor's degrees in both Physics and English Literature. While there, I worked with Mark Conradi to study solid hydrogen-deuteride using NMR techniques. I then went to DePaul University where I studied both physics and science education. My masters thesis work under Richard DeCoster looked for connections between the particle behavior in the plasma-sheet boundary layer of the earth's magnetotail and the magnetic storm activity measured at circum-polar monitoring stations. The data was taken from Van Allen's group at the University of Iowa. After receiving my MS in 1991, I taught at Lincoln Land Community College and Elmhurst College.

I have been a member of the Marquette University Physics Faculty for over 20 years, joining the Department in June of 1992. During that time, I have worked to update both the equipment and the pedagogy of the introductory physics laboratories - a never ending process! In addition to my primary focus on the introductory physics sequences (1001-1002, 1003-1004, and 1013-1014), I have also worked with pre-service and in-service science teachers. I have also worked with junior high and high school students through the Upward Bound program here at Marquette and through the College for Kids program at UWM. I also coordinate the Traveling Trebuchet Road Show, a physics and history outreach program using model siege weapons.

The small trebuchet (counter-weight driven catapult) has a 1.0 m throwing arm and launches bean bags 20 m and base balls 40 m. The larger treb has a 10.0 ft throwing arm and launches bags of birdseed 50 m and 2L bottles of soda ~200m! The trebuchets were a joint project between the Society of Physics Students and the Marquette Medieval Society, for which I am the faculty advisor. Students from both groups travel with the trebuchet to area schools to give presentations on the history and physics associated with the machine. In January, 2004, two members of the trebuchet team traveled to the National Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers to present a poster on the project.

Teaching Fields

Teaching Schedule

ARSC 1020 MWF 11:00-11:50

PHYS 1001 MWF 3:00-3:50

Office Hours

M 8:30-10:00

T 8:30-10:00

W 4:00-5:30

TH 2:30-4:00


Physics Department Mission Statement

The Physics Department is committed to excellence in undergraduate physics education and embraces the Ignation ideal of cura personalis, or "care for the whole person." The Department is a community of faculty, staff and students: Faculty advance the frontiers of physics in both research and education, staff contribute their expertise in facilitating all endeavors of the department, and students participate in learning and scholarship with the guidance of the faculty.