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Christopher Sorensen

Cortelyou-Rust university distinguished professor
University distinguished teaching scholar

Christopher Sorensen

Chris Sorensen is the Cortelyou-Rust university distinguished professor and a university distinguished teaching scholar in the department of physics — and adjunct professor in the department of chemistry — at Kansas State University.

Sorensen divides his professional time between teaching and scholarly research. His research work concerns particulate systems, soft matter physics and light scattering. He is the author of more than 280 papers, holds six patents and has three patents pending. He has given more than 100 invited lectures in the U.S. and abroad.

In 2003 he won the David Sinclair Award from the American Association for Aerosol Research for his work on aerosol fractal aggregates and light scattering. Sorensen is a Fellow and past president of that association. He is also a fellow of the American Physical Society. He received the 2008 Olin Petefish Award in Basic Science from the Higuchi-KU Endowment Fund and is a Norlin Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Colorado.

Sorensen conceived, developed and taught the New Studio method for instruction in the large sophomore-level engineering physics course taught at K-State. He has also integrated studios into upper-level optics courses and descriptive astronomy. He integrated reading of the great scientists into the lowest-level nonmajor physics course. In 2013, he was one of five scientists invited to be a guest lecturer on the Bright Horizons 16 cruise sponsored by Scientific American magazine. Sorensen presents lectures popularizing science at high schools throughout Kansas, and works with underrepresented youths through the American Chemistry Society project SEED.

For his teaching efforts Sorensen has won numerous awards at all levels, including the Carnegie/CASE U.S. Professor of the Year for doctoral and research universities in 2007.

He is a native of Omaha, Nebraska, and received a bachelor's degree in physics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1969 where he was Phi Beta Kappa and named a Woodrow Wilson fellow. Sorensen was drafted and served two years in the U.S. Army, including in Vietnam. He returned to school to receive his master's and doctorate degrees in physics from the University of Colorado. 

Sorensen can be reached at 785-532-1626 or sor@phys.ksu.edu.