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Dr. George Rutherford

Associate Professor
Ctr for Math Sci & Technology
Moulton Hall - MLT MLT 308-A
  • About
  • Education
  • Research


B.S. in Physics, Mississippi State University, 1986 PhD in Physics, Rice University, 1991 (conferred 1992) Postdoctoral research position, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories, Richland, WA 1991 - 1993 Joined the ISU Physics faculty in 1993.

Current Courses

390.011Computational Research In Physics

375.001Electronics For Scientists

375.002Electronics For Scientists

299.011Independent Honor Study

287.001Independent Study

287.011Independent Study

110.001Physics For Science And Engineering I

110.002Physics For Science And Engineering I

110.003Physics For Science And Engineering I

290.011Research In Physics

Teaching Interests & Areas

I. Advanced laboratory and other applied topics such as statics and electronics II. Project-based learning, especially innovative ideas that support entrepreneurial education

Research Interests & Areas

I. Nonlinear dynamics, especially in mechanical systems (the chaotic waterwheel). II. Mott electron polarimeters and the use of electron spin in atomic, molecular, and optical physics. III. Understanding the way students understand and learn measurement concepts, especially length, area, and volume.

Ph D Physics

Rice University
Houston, TX

MA Physics

Rice University
Houston, TX

BS Physics

Mississippi State University
Starkville, MS

Journal Article

Rupnow, T., O’Dell, J. R., Barrett, J. E., Cullen, C. J., Clements, D. H., Sarama, J., Rutherford, G. (2022). Children’s Construction of a Volume Calculation Algorithm for a Rectangular Prism with a Dynamic Virtual Manipulative, Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 67.

Eames, C., Barrett, J. E., Cullen, C., Ruthersford, G., Klanderman, D., Clements, D. H., Sarama, J., & Van Dine, D. (2020). Examining and Developing Fourth Grade Children’s Area Estimation Performance, School Science and Mathematics, 120 (2), 67-78.

Rutherford, G., Mobille, Z., Brandt-Trainer, J., Follmann, R., & Rosa, E. Analog implementation of a Hodgkin-Huxley model neuron. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICS 88.11 (2020): 918-923.
Follmann , R., Shaffer, A., Mobille, Z., Rutherford, G., & Rosa, E. Synchronous tonic-to-bursting transitions in a neuronal hub motif. CHAOS 28.10 (2018)
Byrns, G., Barham, B., Yang, L., Webster, K., Rutherford, G., Steiner, G., Petras, D., & Scannell, M. The uses and limitations of a hand-held germicidal ultraviolet wand for surface disinfection. JOURNAL OF OCCUPATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL HYGIENE 14.10 (2017): 749-757.


A two-axis Hall sensor for acquiring rotational data. ISU Undergraduate Research Symposium. (2012)
Applying a numerical test for chaos to experimental data. ISU Undergraduate Research Symposium. (2012)
Experimental deviations from the Strogatz-Lorenz model for the Malkus waterwheel. 12th Experimental Chaos and Complexity Conference. (2012)
How fast does water drain through a thin tube?. ISU Undergraduate Research Symposium. (2012)
Richard Martin and George Rutherford, Experimental study of the Malkus-Lorenz chaotic water wheel, Vietnam National University - Ho Chi Minh City, University of Science, Department of Physics, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, July 22, 2010 (Invited).

Grants & Contracts

Introducing Students to Research and Development for the High School Classroom. Illinois State Board of Education. Illinois State University. (2013)