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College of Arts and Sciences Assistant Dean James Rabchuk has been chosen to deliver the John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture on Sept. 10-11.
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Rabchuk Named WIU's Hallwas Lecturer

August 27, 2014

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MACOMB, IL - Western Illinois University College of Arts and Sciences Assistant Dean James Rabchuk will deliver the 12th annual John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 10-11.

The lecture, titled, "Seeing Things Invisible: How We Gain Reliable Knowledge About Things We Can't See," will be presented at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10 on the WIU-Quad Cities Riverfront Campus, 3300 River Drive in Moline. He will then deliver the lecture on the Macomb campus at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11 in the University Union Grand Ballroom.

"I am very grateful for my department chair, Dr. Mark Boley, and several colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences, who urged me to submit a proposal for the Hallwas Lecture," Rabchuk said. "I am also thankful for the Hallwas Lecture committee's decision to select me as the speaker this year. I am excited for the chance to share with the public my vision of the value of a Liberal Arts education. I see that value as helping people participate in knowledge creation (as opposed to knowledge consumption), a process I have called "seeing the invisible."

Rabchuk is also a professor of physics at Western. He received his bachelor's degree in physics and Russian from Grinnell College in 1984; received his high school teaching certificate in Russian and physics in 1986 and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1995.

He started in the WIU Department of Physics in 1996 and has since been researching fluid mechanics and electromagnetism. He has also served as a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan.

Through his research, Rabchuk developed an experimental protocol that allowed his laboratory to be the first to successfully manipulate trapped atomic ions in a two-dimensional trap structure for use in quantum information applications.

While at Western, Rabchuk has helped coordinate workshops for west central Illinois high school physics teachers. He also coordinated a program of traveling demonstration shows and science labs.

He later became the assistant coordinator for WIU's secondary science education program, helping develop courses for the University's program.

Rabchuk credits his father as being the greatest influence on his intellectual development.

"He encouraged me to observe closely and think carefully about the world around me," he said. "Although he was a chemist, he loved to talk about physics and the explanations physics offered for the underlying nature of things."

The annual liberal arts lecture at Western is named for English professor and historian John Hallwas, who delivered the inaugural address in 2003. The lecture is managed by the WIU College of Arts and Sciences and serves to promote education in the liberal arts at Western.

For more information about the lecture series, visit

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