John David Gavenda
Edward and his wife, Rose, were married in 1922 in Milam, Texas. In 1937, Edward and Rose moved their family to a small farm near Rio Hondo, Texas, where David and his younger brother, Steven Edward, attended public school along with the girl who later become his wife, Janie Louise Yeoman. During the war Edward worked for the Harlingen Gunnery School in Harlingen, Texas.
In high school, David demonstrated his aptitude for science and mathematics. During his senior year, he was employed by the Brownsville radio station (KBRO) as their control room engineer. He excelled in the University Interscholastic League competitions, Laboratory.
Following graduation from high school in 1950, David entered the University of Chicago. Liberal Arts Program. In 1951, he continued his education at the Universtiy of Texas at Austin. There, he was selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa and earned a BS in physics in 1954. He was employed during his sophomore year at Texas as a radiotelegraph operator at the Texas Department of Public Safety. From his junior year until the completion of his masters, he was employed as a Technical Staff Assistant at the University of Texas Defense Research Laboratory. His 1956 master's thesis was entitled, An Experimental Study of Acoustic Lenses and Prisms Using Cylindrical Rods. The work was supervised by Professor Robert Bardeen Watson.
Following completion of his master's, David entered the PhD program at Brown University in Providence, RI. At Brown, he was an Edgar Lewis Marston Fellow.
David was awarded his PhD in 1959. His dissertation, supervised by, (maybe) R. Bruce Lindsay, was entitled, Temperature by the Ultrasonic Technique.
David and Janie Yeoman were married in 1952. She was the daughter of Joseph and Hallie Yeoman of Rio Hondo, Texas. David and Janie have two sons, Victor and Philip.
In 1959, David joined the University Texas physics faculty as an assistant professsor. In 1963, he took leave and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Metals, University of Chicago.
Because of his interest in physics education, David was appointed Professor of Physics and Education. In 1969, he was a NATO Senior Fellow at the University of Oslo in Norway.
David was active in a number of professional organizations. Among them were American Physical Society (Fellow) where he helped organize the Texas Section and served as Vice-Chair, Chair, and Secretary-Treasurer:; American Association of Physics Teachers (Fellow) where he chaired several national committees; Texas Academy of Science (Fellow); Sigma Xi and the Texas Association of College Teachers (TACT). As president of TACT, David spearheaded an effort to permit a larger role for faculty in the governance of Texas universities. The UT administration objected to these efforts and reduced the salary recommendation for the seven UT faculty that participated in these efforts.
David and Janie are active in the University Baptist Church, an open and affirming church, known and respected in the university community for its progressive social programs and action.
David and Janie were avid tennis players, continuing to play long after retiring.
His honors and awards include the 1988 Robert N. Little Award for "Outstanding Contributions to Physics Higher Education in Texas" from the Texas Section of AAPT; and the 1994 UT Natural Sciences Advisory Council Award for Teaching Excellence.
In 1996, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), the preeminent society for the support and development of physics education, initiated a special program to identify and recognize people who have contributed significantly to physics education. The first cohort of AAPT fellows included John David Gavenda.
In 1997, David received a Distinguished Service Citation from the AAPT 1996 [Citation published in Am. J. Phys. 65, 596–597 (1997)].
In 2009, David received the Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Section of the American Physical Society. At right, we see David receiving the award from Suresh Sharma at the Austin meeting, 19 March 2010.
David’s research has concentrated on the study of the interaction of conduction electrons with lattice vibrations in metals. These investigations have used the magnetic field dependence of the attenuation and velocity of high-frequency sound waves at liquid helium temperatures as a means of measuring the interaction. Recent work has been directed toward the use of surface acoustic waves to study the properties of electrons near the surfaces of metals. Also engaged in projects related to the measurement and suppression of electromagnetic emissions from computers. This includes the development of models for the propagation of electromagnetic waves inside semi-anechoic chambers and in other real-world environments of interest to test engineers. He published more than 50 papers on these topics, plus numerous reports and oral presentations.
He has been a leader in course and curriculum development in physics at the local, state, and national levels. He developed an experimental course in physical science for liberal arts students; developed one of the early computer-based introductory physics courses for science majors; and has directed academic-year institutes for high school science and mathematics teachers. He was among the founding members of the graduate program in science education.
Consultant to the Electromagnetic Compatibility department of IBM/Austin on problems related to the measurement and reduction of electromagnetic noise emitted by computing devices (1983–92).
Consultant to Ray Proof Shielding Corporation on improved methods for measuring the properties of electromagnetic absorbing materials (1992–1995).
Consulted on various science curriculum projects for elementary and junior high students, including the 1967 summer writing conference for the Intermediate Science Curriculum Study project.
Formulated the content and methodology related to physical science for a series of elementary and junior high science textbooks published by Ginn and Company in the 1970s.
Chaired the National Steering Committee of the American Institute of Physics Tech Physics Project, which developed a new physics course for technology students.
Developed one of the first computer-based introductory physics courses for science majors.
Served on the National Advisory Board for the NSF-sponsored Solar Tech Project which developed a curriculum for solar energy technicians.
Served as a member of the Review Board and the Advisory Board for the National Science Teachers Association project to develop a new public school curriculum in the sciences: Scope, Sequence and Coordination of Secondary School Science.
Developed a computer-based system for introductory physics laboratories.
Directed the UT Academic Year Institute for high school science and mathematics teachers, 1960-62.
Consultant to several major publishers of physics textbooks.
Chair or member of a number of standing ommittees of the general faculty.
Vice-Chair of the Faculty Senate of U. T. (1987–1988, 1989–1990).
Served as External Reviewer for the evaluation of the UT Arlington Physics Department 2007.
John David and Janie Gavenda Photo Album