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PGSS Director

Barry Luokkala is Teaching Professor and Director of Undergraduate Laboratories in the Department of Physics at Carnegie Mellon University, and Program Director of the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences. He also serves as editor of the physics alumni newsletter, INTER*ACTIONS, and as curator of the Victor Bearg Physics Museum.

As a member of the faculty at Carnegie Mellon, Luokkala has done much to shape the introductory experimental physics course into its present form, and has created a new laboratory course for students in the pre-health professions. He also created a seminar course for first-year students in the Mellon College of Science, on the subject of science and science fiction, and has been invited to speak on several occasions on various aspects of science fiction. He has been instrumental in the design of new undergraduate science laboratories, which were completed at Carnegie Mellon in 2002. In response to popular demand, he created a full-semester version of his course on science and science fiction, which attracts students from the fine arts and humanities, as well as from the sciences and engineering. He recently published a textbook for the course, Exploring Science Through Science Fiction (Springer 2014).

Luokkala has been involved in numerous outreach activities to promote science education, several of which are aimed at women and under-represented minorities. In addition, he has done consulting work for such diverse institutions as the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham College, Carnegie Mellon's School of Art and School of Drama, McGraw Hill, Academic Press, Oxford University Press, and the BBC.