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Faculty, Emeritus: Steve Steenwyk

Steve Steenwyk, Professor

Steve Steenwyk616-526-8542
Fax: 616-526-6501
Office: North Hall 267

1734 Knollcrest Circle SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546-4403

Areas of research

experimental condensed matter

Educational background

  • BS Calvin College, 1974
  • MS in Physics, Michigan State University, 1978
  • PhD in Physics, Michigan State University, 1980

Professional history

  • Calvin College, Professor of Physics, 1988-2014; Department Chair 2003-2009
  • Michigan State University, Visiting Professor, 1995/6, Academic Affiliate at the Center for Fundamental Materials Research, summers of 1989, 1990, 1994-1999
  • AT&T Bell Laboratories, Member of Technical Staff, 1980-1988


I switched from interests in layered magnetic materials to astronomy, variable stars in particular. After teaching introductory astronomy for many years, using the Calvin Observatory to do research seemed a natural outgrowth of my growing curiosity that was stimulated by teaching activities whereby my students searched for variable stars and found a number that were hitherto unknown. My initial focus was on close-contact eclipsing binary stars, looking for changes in orbital period and changes in magnitude of their cyclical maximum and minimum brightnesses. This work was done in collaboration with my colleague, and Calvin College Observatory Director, Larry Molnar, who acted as my mentor in this new endeavor.


A. E. Sikkema, S. D. Steenwyk and J. W. Zwart, "Spinning tubes: An authentic research experience in a three-hour laboratory," American Journal of Physics, 78, 467, 2010.

W. Park, D. Baxter, S. Steenwyk, I. Moraru, W.P. Pratt Jr., and J. Bass, Measurement of Resistance and Spin-memory Loss (Spin Relaxation) at Interfaces using Sputtered Current Perpendicular-to-plane Exchange-biased Spin Valves, Phys. Rev. B62, 1178 (2000).

J. Y. Gu, W Park, R. Loloee, J. Bass, W. P. Pratt, Jr. and S. D. Steenwyk, Enhancing Magnetoresistance by Increasing Spin-memory Loss, Journal of Applied Physics, 87, 4831 (2000).

David V. Baxter, S. D. Steenwyk, J. Bass, and W. P. Pratt, Jr., Resistance and Spin-Direction Memory Loss at Nb/Cu Interfaces, Journal of Applied Physics, 85, 4545 (1999).

IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, 33, 3505 (1997), Perpendicular Transport in Exchange-Biased Spin-Valves, W.P. Pratt Jr., S. Steenwyk, S.Y. Hsu, W.-C. Chiang, A.C. Schaefer, R. Loloee, and J. Bass.

S.D. Steenwyk, S. Y. Hsu, R. Loloee, J. Bass, and W. P. Pratt, Jr., A Comparison of Hysteresis Loops from CPP Giant Magnetoresistance and Magnetometry of Exchange Biased Spin Valves, Journal of Applied Physics, 81 (8), 15 April 1997.

S.D. Steenwyk, S.Y. Hsu, R. Loloee, J. Bass, W.P. Pratt, Jr, Perpendicular-current exchange-biased spin-valve evidence for a short spin diffusion length in permalloy, J. Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, 170, L1, (1997).

K. H. Lee, John C. Desko, Ross A. Kolher, Cris W. Lawrence, Willian J. Nagy, Julie, A. Shimer and Steven D. Steenwyk, Radiation hard 1.0 CMOS technology,  IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci. NS-34, 1460-3, 1987.