Getting to know Dr. Thompson

Kyndra Sanden, Staff Writer

Grant Thompson

“I was lying on my back, looking up into the clear sky decomposing lights into one star. That’s when I knew what I wanted to be.”

Dr. Grant Thompson, a physics and astronomy professor at Wingate University, grew up in rural northern Missouri. He saw the sky at a whole different perspective than someone who lived in the city. Dr. Thompson was able to see all the stars that light up our night sky. He was able to hear the wind sing within the trees, and watch nature thrive all around him.

As he grew up, his love for stars and physics became more obvious. He attended the University of Missouri and studied astronomy and physics. He went on to further his education at the University of Kentucky where he received his Masters and Ph.D. in physics and astronomy.

While studying at the University of Kentucky, he met his future wife, Kristen Thompson. She also shares a love for the sky and stars. Kristen has her Ph.D. in physics and astronomy and teaches at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. How could two people be so perfect for each other?

I spoke with Dr. Thompson on what a typical conversation is like between a married couple who both have their Ph.Ds. in physics and astronomy. It is not common that you come across a couple who have such a prestigious background.

“We talk formulas, and we solve equations out loud. Sometimes we will even create a situation or problem and try to figure it out together.” said Dr. Thompson. He admitted that some days he thinks his wife is definitely smarter than him, but others he feels like it his day to shine. Most importantly, they love being outdoors and enjoying the fresh air.

As a college professor, Dr. Thompson said his favorite part of the job was seeing the pure awe and shock of students and the community. “I love the ‘Really? No way, shut up?’ reactions and seeing the look on students faces when the wonder of the universe sinks in for the first time.” said Dr. Thompson.

His goal as a professor is not only to educate students, but he wants all of his students to appreciate nature. He wants them to be aware of the universe and how really small we actually are.

“I want my students to stop looking down, and to look up instead. Space, physics, and knowledge are all around us. I want people to understand how the universe works. They will remember it for the rest of their lives.” said Dr. Thompson.

Dr. Thompson advice to any student is, “Don’t be scared of math. You deal with it every single day. It is always around you. Don’t turn yourself off of it.”

Edited by Dannie Stueber & Brooke Griffin 

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