Science Alumnus of the Year: Kenneth Krane

Oct. 31, 2014

Leading up to the UA's 100th Homecoming, we are highlighting UA alumni who are being honored by their colleges with alumni of the year awards.

Kenneth Krane, a Professor Emeritus of Physics at Oregon State University, is a prominent experimentalist in nuclear physics, and he is the Alumnus of the Year for the College of Science.

Krane's fascination with the role of laboratories in teaching physics began during his UA undergraduate years. While working in the physics department setting up weekly labs and repairing equipment, a seed was planted that led to a career-long interest in how students learn physics.

But it was the personal attention of UA faculty members such as Leon Blizer and Carl Tomizuka that influenced his life's direction – first to Purdue University to earn a master's and doctorate in nuclear physics, then to Oregon State, where he launched his long and distinguished career.

Krane's list of publications, conferences, grants, honors and awards is impressive. For his contributions, he was elected to Fellowship in the American Physical Society — an honor bestowed on less than 2 percent of APS members each year.

His lifelong commitment to science education extends far beyond the classrooms where he taught. Krane researched students' understanding of critical topics in physics, developed enhancement programs for K-12 science and math teachers, established a national workshop for new physics and astronomy faculty, and participated in numerous national efforts dedicated to improving STEM education. Also, he authored three widely used college physics textbooks, which have been translated into five languages.

It has been nearly 50 years since Krane left Tucson, but like any true Wildcat, he has never forgotten the UA. It was here that he formed enduring friendships at Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, where he served as president and spent hours playing cards in what was then Louie's Lower Level.

He also met his future wife, Paula, with whom he has established scholarship endowments for physics students at the UA, Purdue and OSU. They contribute annually to UA's Kenneth S. Krane Physics Scholarship endowment and established a planned gift to build the endowment.

Other UA alumni being honored are: