Profile for Shelly Lesher

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Specialty area(s)

Experimental Nuclear Physics
Interface of Physics and Society

Current courses at UWL

Fall 2020 

PHY 142 - Navigating Global Nuclear Issues  (general education category GE04) - Asynchronous online with weekly synchronous online components
PHY 376 - Intro to Nuclear Science - synchronous online
PHY 386 - Radiation Physics - synchronous online


Ph.D. Nuclear Physics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Physics, Indiana University South Bend, South Bend, IN

Teaching history

PHY 103 / PHY 103L - Fundamental Physics (general education category GE05)
PHY 125 / PHY 125L - Physics for the Life Sciences (general education category GE05)
PHY 142 - Navigating Global Nuclear Issues  (general education category GE04)
PHY 311L - Experimental Physics
PHY 343 - Thermodynamics
PHY 376 / PHY 376L - Intro to Nuclear Science
PHY 386 - Radiation Physics
PHY 497 - Physics & Astronomy Seminar
PHY 498 - Nuclear Physics Research

PHYS 296 - Impact of the Atom (Seminar)

@University of Richmond
PHYS 127 - Algebra-Based General Physics 1 (Workshop format)

Professional history

Prior to joining the Physics Department at UWL I held Postdoctoral Fellowship positions at the Instituut voor Kern- en Stralingsfysica, University of Leuven, Belgium, the University of Richmond, and N-Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. Since 2010 I have been a Visiting Professor in the Physics Department at the University of Notre Dame. For the Academic Year 2019/2020 I was on sabbatical at Yale University as a Presidential Visiting Fellow and Visiting Associate Professor in Physics.

I serve as the Director of the Conference Experience for Undergraduate (CEU) program for the Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP) and the past chair of the Committee on International Freedom of Scientists (CIFS). Both are positions in the American Physical Society (APS).

Research and publishing

Google Scholar link

Research Gate Link

(selected publications) UWL undergraduate students underlined

Lifetime measurements in 156Gd
A. Aprahamian, R.C. de Haan, S.R. Lesher, C. Casarella, A. Stratman, H.G. Börner, H. Lehmann, M. Jentschel, and A.M. Bruce, Phys. Rev. C 98, 034303 (2018).

Lifetime measurements of low-spin negative parity levels in 160Gd
S. R. Lesher, C. Casarella, A. Aprahamian, L.M. Robledo, B. P. Crider, R. Ikeyama, I. R. Marsh, M. T. McEllistrem, E. E. Peters, F. M. Prados-Estevez, M. K. Smith, Z. R. Tully, J. R. Vanhoy, S. W. Yates, Phys. Rev. Rev. C 95, 064309 (2017).

Lifetime measurements in 162Dy
A. Aprahamian, S.R. Lesher, C. Casarella, H.G. Borner, M. Jentschel, Phys. Rev. C 95, 024329 (2017).

Collectivity of 0+ states in 160Gd
S. R. Lesher, C. Casarella, A. Aprahamian, B. P. Crider, R. Ikeyama, I. Marsh, M. T. McEllistrem, E. E. Peters, F. M. Prados-Estevez, M. K. Smith, Z. R. Tully, J. R. Vanhoy, S. W. Yates, Phys. Rev. Rev. C 91, 054317 (2015).

Signatures of the Z = 84 Shell Closure in α-Decay Process
A. N. Andreyev, M. Huyse, P. Van Duppen, C. Qi, R. J. Liotta, S. Antalic, D. Ackermann, S. Franchoo, F. P. Hessberger, S. Hofmann, I. Kojouharov, B. Kindler, P. Kuusiniemi, S. R. Lesher, B. Lommel, R. Mann, K. Nishio, R. D. Page, B. Streicher, S. Saro, B. Suligano, D. Wiseman, R. A. Wyss, Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 242502 (2013).

Collective and two-quasiparticle excitations in 128Te
S. F. Hicks, J. C. Boehringer, N. Boukharouba, C. Fransen, S. R. Lesher, J. M. Mueller, J. R. Vanhoy, S. W. Yates, Phys. Rev. C. 86, 054308 (2012).

STARS/LiBerACE: Segmented silicon and high-purity germanium detector arrays for low-energy nuclear reaction and structure studies
S.R. Lesher, L. Phair, L.A. Bernstein, D.L. Bleuel, J.T. Burke, J.A. Church, P. Fallon, J. Gibelin, N.D. Scielzo, and M. Wiedeking, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A, 621, 286 (2010).



Shelly Lesher, Physics, presented "What health professionals need to know: Teaching nuclear physics without calculus" at American Physical Society Virtual April Meeting on Tuesday, April 21 in Washington, D.C. The invited talk was part of the Increasing Nuclear Literacy for the Public and for Professionals session sponsored by the Forum on Education and the Division of Nuclear Physics.

Submitted on: April 21


Shelly Lesher, Physics was interviewed by APS News on Dec. 15, 2019.

Submitted on: Dec. 19, 2019


Shelly Lesher, Physics, presented "Current Events in Nuclear Physics" at Exotic Beam Summer School on July 8, 2019 in Oak Ridge, Tn. This Department of Energy (DOE) summer school's goal is to provide a week long boot-camp in nuclear physics to graduate students and post-docs. Lesher's presentation discussed the impact current events have on scientific fields.

Submitted on: July 8, 2019


Shelly Lesher, Physics, presented "The humanity of physics" at Physics of the Atomic Nuclei (PAN) summer school sponsored by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics - Center for the Evolution of the Elements (JINA-CEE) on June 27, 2019 in Notre Dame, Indiana. During this talk Lesher spoke to a group of high school students, dispelling myths about being physicists and answered questions about life in the field.

Submitted on: June 27, 2019


Shelly Lesher, Physics served as organizer and convener of the "GRC Power Hour" during the Nuclear Chemistry Gordon Conference at Colby-Sawyer College 16 - 21, 2019. This event was designed to start a conversation around diversity and inclusion in the nuclear physics community, support professional growth, and provide a forum for mentoring.

Submitted on: June 27, 2019


Shelly Lesher, Physics, presented "Physics Education for Radiation Therapy Students" at North Central Chapter of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine on May 6, 2019 in La Crosse, WI. This invited talk was designed to educate practicing Medical Physicists on the background of the students they instruct during their internship year. Also included were tips on how to explain difficult concepts to students without a calculus background.

Submitted on: May 6, 2019


Shelly Lesher, Physics served as an outside expert to the University of Notre Dame’s experiential learning program to Las Vegas 3/10 – 3/13. Approximately 20 students and eight outside experts from STEM and political science visited the Nellis AFT, the Smithsonian’s National Atomic Testing Museum and the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). The NNSS was the location of the majority of the US’s nuclear weapons tests both above and underground. As a nuclear physicist, Lesher, in concert with other experts, worked with students to understand and connect nuclear weapons and policy bringing classroom learning into the field.

Submitted on: Mar. 22, 2019


Shelly Lesher, Physics served as the Director of the Conference Experience for Undergraduates program at the American Physical Society Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP) conference. This successful program supports undergraduate students who have conducted research in nuclear science by bringing them to a professional conference to present their research in a poster session. In addition, activities such as undergraduate accessible talks, a graduate school information session, and social activities are scheduled. Lesher arranged for 123 students to attend the DNP conference on the Big Island, HI from Oct 23 - 27, 2018 with the generous support from the DNP, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy. More information can be found at

Submitted on: Nov. 1, 2018