Nov. 30, 2006 • Volume 15 Number 7

Baldassare Di Bartolo (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

BC Physicist Wins Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award

In the preface to the first edition of his book Classical Theory of Electromagnetism, Prof. Baldassare Di Bartolo (Physics) cites the Latin phrase Nemo perfectus est, qui perfectior esse non appetit: "No one is perfect who does not desire to be more perfect."

Di Bartolo took a big step toward perfection this year as his text was selected as a winner in the 2006 Alpha Sigma Nu National Book Awards, administered by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU).

This category for this year's awards was "The Sciences," and Di Bartolo's book won first prize in the discipline of "The Natural Sciences."

In honoring Di Bartolo, Alpha Sigma Nu noted that he had assumed the "formidable task" of writing a book on electricity and magnetism for graduate students in physics and engineering.

"This book is concise and yet very detailed in mathematical calculations, which allows students to concentrate more on the physics concepts, rather than spending too much time on mathematical derivations," Alpha Sigma Nu said.

Di Bartolo called the award a "nice surprise" and credited fellow Physics Prof. Michael Graf for encouraging him more than a year ago to submit the book for the Alpha Sigma Nu awards.

"I had forgotten about it and then one day I received a fax telling me I had won," he said.

The book, published by World Scientific, grew out of Di Bartolo's teaching notes over nearly 40 years. He joined BC's faculty in 1968.

"Writing a book is a tremendous opportunity that faculty members have: Teaching a course and developing material for a book using the course they are teaching," Di Bartolo said. "The best way to learn is to teach."

Di Bartolo said the book has had some success, having sold thousands of copies since its initial publication in 2002. A second edition appeared in 2004.

Di Bartolo said that while the text is generally meant for graduate students, he plans to use it next semester in an advanced physics course for BC undergraduates.

-Greg Frost

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