Stuart M Anderson

Associate Professor, Department Chair

Hagfors CSBR 135
CB 46

Stu is a recent convert to the saxophone both as an amateur musician and a professional scientist, but he has broad interests that extend from acoustics to ozone photochemistry to brain science to the impact of vision, planning, and leadership style on the efficacy of college administration.

He graduated from Augsburg with double majors in Math and Physics and earned his Ph.D in physics from the University of Minnesota. He has taught in the physics departments of Carleton College and the University of Minnesota, and done research on the spectroscopy and kinetics of atmospheric trace gases and stratospheric ozone at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, Aerodyne Research, Inc. near Boston, the University of Minnesota / Twin Cities, and the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg, Germany as well as right here at Augsburg. With crucial financial support from Johann Sverdrup he directed the creation of a physics faculty experimental research laboratory and used it from 1996-9 to study the reaction dynamics of vibrationally excited oxygen. This laboratory currently houses Ben Stottrup’s biophysics research facilities.

Always ready to try something completely different, Stu served as Augsburg’s first and only Associate Dean for Library and Information Technology from 1998-2002. During this period his focus on fundamentals led to an examination of the philosophy, purpose, and structure of the IT group. The result was a re-organization and substantial growth of the group and significant functional change college-wide. Examples include Ethernet wiring of all student dormitories, creation of the college’s AugNet systems, creation of the Liaison for Computing support structure for faculty and staff, establishing full and stable funding for student, faculty, and staff computing resources, rethinking the college’s web presence, and the creation of a Chief Information Officer position.

In 1999 Stu took up the saxophone, an apparently innocent choice which has had dramatic and unexpected consequences. He became so interested in the acoustics of the instrument and the physical neurology of learning that he resigned the Deanship to simultaneously fund the CIO position and allow him to devote full attention to teaching physics, studying saxophone performance, and searching for ways to enhance saxophone pedagogy and performance through applications of physics to musical challenges. These efforts have produced fruitful research collaborations such as those with the Bethel College’s physics department (the first holographic imaging of vibrating saxophone reeds) and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY (timbre-mapping via spectral analysis of the entire saxophone studio). Related research is underway with the saxophone studio at the University of Minnesota and several other institutions.


  • B.A. Augsburg University
  • Ph.D. University of Minnesota