Dr. Shadow JQ Robinson, an associate professor of physics, considers this a powerful question: How does everything work, and why does it work that way?
Q: Does your name have any special meaning?
A: I legally changed my first name to Shadow when I was 20. I kept my original birth names, but added Shadow in front of them. In writing my name formally, I take my original birth name and middle name as a double middle initial, Shadow JQ Robinson. This proved useful in that most research papers in my field are by initials and last name. The Q distinguishes my name from another scientist with a similar one in a closely related area of physics.
Q: How important is the study of physics?
A: The quest in studying physics, to understand the universe, is the most noble, important thing a human life can aspire to in our limited days. The quote by H.G. Wells - "Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe" - summarizes how important I believe my job in the classroom is.
Q: What kind of research interests you?
A: My published research work has been in theoretical nuclear physics, in particular low-energy nuclear structure. I perform calculations that examine the roles protons and neutrons play in determining properties of atomic nuclei. This has implications for understanding how the universe came to be in its present state.
Q: What interests you besides physics?
A: Running, riding my road bike, and writing. I have for the last six or seven years written a 50,000-plus word novel during National Novel Writing Month in November. In 1997, I began an epic poem in memory of my best friend in high school who died in an accident in 1994. The poem is about 200 pages in length now, and maybe a quarter complete. It, as well as all the National Novel Writing Month novels, is set in the fantasy world he helped me create while we were undergrad roommates. My number one pastime, however, is my 3-year-old son, Elijah. Watching him grow and learn leads to the most touching and treasured moments in my life.