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UIUC HEP group

UIUC Physics Dept.

University of Illinois

My curriculum vitae

Contact information

George Gollin
Dept. of Physics
University of Illinois
1110 West Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801-3080

+1 (217) 333-4451


UT - 05:00

Welcome to George Gollin's home page.

Wherever Did I Put That File? GoatBags And Other Stuff
George Gollin I am a professor of physics at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign, with a background in experimental particle physics and higher education policy. This year I will continue teaching "Design Like a Physicist" (Physics 398DLP), in which students choose semester-long projects that push data up against matters of public safety, health, and policy. Working in small groups, students collaboratively design, build, and program devices larded with sensors, GPS modules, SD memories, and microcontrollers. The course is part of the department's nascent "applied physics" curriculum. You will find, to your amazement, that Physics 398DLP works smashingly well in these times of Zooming and remoting.

In recent semesters I've also taught FAA 110, FAA 199, Physics 211, 212, 225, 298owl, 325, and 326. I had the pleasure of introducing substantial units on fluid dynamics and general relativity into p325 and p326, then continuing this in my versions of p225 and p298owl. I believe UIUC is one of only a small number of schools that teach GR to undergraduates. It is a great, mind-bending subject and as remarkable as quantum mechanics. With the recent detections of gravitational wave signals from merging black holes and neutron stars, it is important for our physics majors to know the subject before moving on to graduate school.

Some new things: Most recently my physics research had concerned technical issues relating to the design and execution of the Mu2e experiment at Fermilab. The experiment will search for neutrinoless transitions of muons into electrons in the field of Aluminum nuclei, forbidden in the Standard Model. I left the collaboration a few years ago.

Before Mu2e my research had concentrated on matters relating to the International Linear Collider. The work lent itself well to undergraduate participation, and my students worked as scientists, not technicians. But federal funding for the ILC was cut severely in December 2007 and nearly all support for university-based accelerator work towards the ILC was eliminated.

I've also worked on the CLEO III experiment at Cornell's CESR electron-positron collider, and a variety of K meson experiments at Fermilab. I was the spokesman for E773, a search for CPT violating effects in the neutral kaon system. Our sensitivity got us to within two orders of magnitude of the Planck scale.

There are organizational issues that were important for the ILC: the complexities of such a large project include matters of international cooperation as well as smooth collaboration between national laboratories and universities. I had been serving as a coordinator for the U.S. university-based ILC accelerator R&D program. See, for example, "Encouraging Greater Engagement by U.S. University Groups With International Linear Collider Accelerator R&D Projects" (114 kB pdf).

As a faculty public service activity I pay attention to problems in higher education oversight and accreditation, in particular as they relate to regulation of unaccredited degree-granting entities, and suppression of degree mills and accreditation mills. I was elected to the board of directors of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation in 2006, and reelected to a second term in 2009.

In 2009 I was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship to support research for Burning St. Regis: Corruption and Criminality on the Fringes of Higher Education, a book about "Operation Gold Seal" and United States of America vs. Dixie Ellen Randock, et al. This investigation and subsequent prosecution yielded eight felony convictions, obliterating the St. Regis University diploma mill and sending its owners to prison. It also gave rise to new legislation at both the state and federal levels. I was on sabbatical leave, then held a Center for Advanced Study Associate position during the 2009-2010 school year to work on the book. I finished the first draft in June 2011, and have been doing what my writer friends refer to as "killing my darlings," cutting and cutting again. The original manuscript was 356,000 words long (990 pages!!) with over 2,500 endnotes. The current version is 86,000 words and 251 pages.

Like to see how a particle physicist got interested in the arcana of higher education policy? Take a look at David Wolman's article "Fraud U: Toppling a Bogus-Diploma Empire" in the January 2010 issue of Wired magazine. One sign of how effective I have been is the large amount of crazy stuff you'll find about me that has been posted to the web by people who run diploma mills, or have purchased their worthless products.

The apparent corruption behind the gutting of diploma mill language from the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 led me to run for the Democratic Party's nomination as its candidate for election to the United States House of Representatives in 2014. I was endorsed by the three newspapers that expressed candidate preferences-- the Chicago Tribune, the Springfield State Journal-Register, and Champaign News Gazette-- but lost in the March 2014 primary. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee withdrew its funding for my opponent's advertising about a month before the general election and she lost by nearly 18 points.

See the links in the navigation panel to the left for more information.
Wikipedia Wikipedia


On the possible construction of a Mu2e calibration linac built around a spare Project-X or ILC cryomodule, July 25, 2008.

Thoughts concerning on-orbit injection of calibration electrons through thin-target elastic scattering inside the Mu2e solenoid, January 12, 2009.

Higher education:

Sometimes, danger lurks in the diploma on the wall, an Op Ed piece that I co-authored with U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN04). It appeared in the November 26, 2007 Minneapolis - St. Paul Star Tribune.

"When Criminals Control the Ministry of Education," International Higher Education, 53, pp. 5-6 (Fall 2008).

"Verification of the integrity and legitimacy of academic credential documents in an international setting," College & University, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers educational policy and research journal Vol. 84 number 4 (Spring 2009).

"The Real and the Fake: Degree and Diploma Mills," co-authored with Alan Contreras, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning (March-April 2009).

"Wolves in Chancellors' Clothing," International Higher Education, 55, pp. 7-9 (Spring 2009).

"Complexities in Legislative Suppression of Diploma Mills," co-authored with Emily Lawrence and Alan Contreras, Stanford Law and Policy Review, 21 (May 2010).

"Slaying the Dragons of Opportunity," in 15 Ways to Take Your Furlough/Voluntary Pay Cut (May 1, 2010).

"Lurking in the Shadows: Deceptive Foreign Credential Evaluators," International Higher Education, to be published in the Summer 2013 issue.

George on TV! I participated in an August 20, 2008 segment on diploma mills on The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet.
(Click here for the second half of the segment.)

Just for fun:

Here's something very cool: computer-generated animations of a cell's interior machinery, at various (microscopic) distance scales.