Roberta Bigelow

Emeritus, Associate Professor of Physics


  • B.A., Macalester College (1978)
  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin (1986)

Professional Interests

Dr. Bigelow's research interests include Materials Science and Nuclear Physics. In recent work, she has characterized metallic and ceramic thin film crystal alignment to determine the success of film fabrication and the effects of crystal alignment on film properties. Two materials studied were a metallic multilayer of low-temperature superconducting thin films, Nb/Ti, and a ceramic high-temperature superconducting thin film, YBCO.

Dr. Bigelow is now looking at materials in the area of Responsive Materials. Some examples of these materials are piezoelectric, shape-memory alloys, and magnetostrictive materials. The same material can be used as an actuator and as a sensor. Changing a material property through some stimulus causes the material to act as an actuator and producing a signal by changing the material property the material acts as a sensor. A piezoelectric material for example, will change its size when a voltage is applied and it will produce an electrical signal when compressed or stretched.