December 6, 2022


Dr Rob Self-IntroductionWelcome.  I’m Robert Szalapski, a PhD physicist.  Call me Dr Rob.

Let me explain the name of my web site.  First, I have always loved the opening line to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, “Call me Ishmael”.  That line is a brilliant way to begin a book, and so I adopt it for my introduction on the web.   Furthermore, somebody once stated that physics is what I do, not who I am.  I disagree.  I didn’t choose physics; I was born to do science and mathematics.

When I was young I was always obsessed with science, and I studied the most challenging subjects I could manage for my age.  It began with dinosaurs and moved to the physical and biological sciences.  My extraordinary high-school teacher, Brother Martin Sellner, gave me such a wonderful introduction to chemistry that I joined the Chemistry Department at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities as a chemistry major.  Despite great experiences in chemistry including published research as an undergraduate in the laboratory of Kent Mann I became hooked on physics, and there was no turning back.  I moved to the Department of Physics and Astronomy and obtained a B.S. in physics with a minor in chemistry.

I attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  While it was originally my intention to be strictly theoretical and working on String Theory, I was fortunate enough to join the Phenomenology Institute.  Phenomenologists are theorists, but the emphasis is less on the construction of new theories and more on the challenging computational problems connecting theory to experiment.

After graduate school I spent four years in the Theory Group at the National Laboratory for High-Energy Physics (KEK) in Tsukuba, Japan.  That was an incredible opportunity and an invaluable experience.  That was followed by a time that was all too short with the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Rochester.  I am also privileged to serve as adjunct faculty for the Department of Physics at the SUNY College at Brockport and for the Department of Physics & Astronomy at SUNY Geneseo; I also taught physics for one year at Nazareth College. I have a dozen years of commercial experience as a software engineer, and I worked in aerospace & defense overlapping with dynamics & controls, mechanical, optical, systems and electrical engineering. I decided to go back and get my NYS teacher certifications while teaching as an adjunct, and I taught high-school for four years in both public and private schools.

Currently I am a visiting lecturer in the School or Physics and Astronomy at The Rochester Institute of Technology.

More details can be found on my LinkedIn Profile.  Additionally you may view

For an explanation of my logo created by Sharon Neveu please see Why is my logo an apple with a funny diagram on it?

Call Me Dr Rob logo