David Van Baak

David Van Baak


  • BS, Calvin College (1973)
  • MA, Harvard University (1975)
  • PhD, Harvard University (1979)

APS Fellow

Professor Van Baak has been named a Fellow in the American Physical Society.

Professional experience

  • Department of Physics, Calvin College (Professor of Physics 1987-present, Associate Professor 1982-86, Assistant Professor 1980-81)
  • Collaborating Physicist, TeachSpin, Inc. (2004-present)
  • Visiting Professor of Physics (via Fulbright fellowship), University College Cork, National University of Ireland (1998-99)
  • Visiting researcher, National Institute for Standards and Technology (1993-1994)
  • Visiting Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame (1986-87)
  • National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (1979-80)

Academic interests

experimental atomic physics, optics (instrumentation development)

Additional information

D. Van Baak is also a Collaborating Physicist with TeachSpin, Inc., a premier developer of instrumentation for advanced-level undergraduate physics instructional laboratory equipment.

Learn more »


David Van Baak, edited by George Herold and Jonathan Reichert, Noise Fundamentals NF1-A Instructor's Manual, A Product of TeachSpin, Inc., 2010.

David Van Baak, "Can Scientific Laws Teach Us About the Nature of the World?" in Faithful Imagination in the Academy: Explorations in Religious Belief and Scholarship, ed. Janel Curry and Ronald Wells. (Lexington Books) 2008.

David Van Baak, Torsional Oscillator TO1-A Instructor's Manual, Vol. I & II, A Product of TeachSpin, Inc., 2008.

David Van Baak, "Modern Interferometry Manual", A Product of TeachSpin, Inc., 2006

David Van Baak, "Earth's-Field NMR, Gradient/Fields Coils Manual", A Product of TeachSpin, Inc., 2005

David Van Baak, "Two-Slit Interference, One Photon at a Time Manual", A Product of TeachSpin, Inc., 2004

K. Razdan and D. A. Van Baak, "Demonstrating optical beat notes through heterodyne experiments," American Journal of Physics, v.70, p.1061 (2002).

D.A. Van Baak, "The Light Switch, the Heavy Responsibility," editorial published in Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought, 14, 23 (December, 1999).

K. Razdan and D.A. Van Baak, "Demonstrating optical saturation and velocity selection in rubidium vapor," American Journal of Physics 67, 832 (September 1999).

M. Dekker*, A.J. Kromminga, D.A. Van Baak, O.J. Pilskalns, and J.P. Jacobs, "Quantitative investigation of Fresnel reflection in the electromagnetism laboratory," American Journal of Physics 67, 606 (July 1999).

D. A. Van Baak, "Variational alternatives to Kirchhoff's loop theorem in dc circuits," American Journal of Physics 67, 36-44 (1999.)

O. Pfister, J.S. Wells, L. Hollberg, L. Zink, D.A. Van Baak, M.D. Levenson, and W.R. Bosenberg, "Continuous-wave frequency tripling and quadrupling by simultaneous three-wave mixings in periodically poled crystals: application to a two-step 1.19 - 10.71 micrometer frequency bridge," Optics Lett. 22, 1211 (1997).

D. A. Van Baak, "Resonant Faraday rotation as a probe of atomic dispersion," Am. J. Phys. 64, 724 (1996).

D. A. Van Baak, "Just how bright is a laser?" The Physics Teacher 33, 497-499 (1995).

D. A. Van Baak and L. Hollberg, "A proposed sum-and-difference method for optical frequency measurement in the near infrared," Optics Letters 19, 1586-8 (1994).

D. A. Van Baak, "An improved way to use thermistors in temperature servomechanisms," Meas. Sci. Technol. 5, 864-5 (1994).

D. A. Van Baak, "Temperature servomechanisms using thermoelectric modules," Am.J. Phys. 60, 803-815 (1992).


  • Course code:
  • Credits:
  • Semester:
  • Department: