Paul V. Pancella

Photo of Paul V. Pancella
Paul V. Pancella
Professor of Physics and Undergraduate Advisor
(269) 387-4962
2219 Everett Tower, Mail Stop 5252
Mailing address: 
Department of Physics
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5252 USA
  • Ph.D., Nuclear Physics, Rice University, 1987
  • M.A., Nuclear Physics, Rice University, 1984
  • B.A. with honors, Physics, St. Louis University, 1981
Teaching interests: 
  • Nuclear and particle physics
  • Analytical mechanics
  • Electronics
  • General physics
Research interests: 
  • Experimental nuclear physics
  • Efficient transportation

Dr. Paul Pancella is a professor of nuclear physics in the Department of Physics at Western Michigan University and serves as the department's undergraduate advisor. He received his B.A. (summa cum laude) from St. Louis University in his home town. After graduate work at the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility, he worked as a postdoc at the Indiana University Cyclotron Facility from 1987-90, helping to commission a new synchrotron/storage ring with electron cooling.

Pancella continued to perform scattering experiments at IUCF after joining the faculty of WMU in 1990. In collaboration with scientists from many different universities he was a frequent contributor to the Physical Review and other journals. He served as chair of the WMU Department of Physics for a nine-year period beginning in 2003, and he has been active in the Faculty Senate, serving on its executive board and as president.

One of the founding members of Western’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter, he has also served as a chapter officer and as president. Pancella is active in the University’s efforts toward sustainable operations and played a key role in crafting WMU’s Climate Action Plan—a blueprint for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. He has served as interim director of the Office for Sustainability, as well as interim chair of the Department of Chemistry.

Outside of his faculty job, Pancella’s interests include choral singing, astronomy, science fiction, numismatics, and human-powered vehicles. His interest in efficient transportation recently led him to convert an ordinary compact car to full battery electric power. He is the author of books on physics and quantum physics in the popular Idiot’s Guides series.