Raised just outside of Cedar City in the small town of New Harmony, Brandon Wiggins graduated from Southern Utah University in 2012 with a degree in pure mathematics and received his Ph.D. in physics and astronomy from Brigham Young University. Wiggins knew he wanted to come back to SUU after completing his advanced degree and is now an assistant professor of physics in SUU's College of Science and Engineering.
“Since I was a kindergartener, I have known that I wanted to be a college professor,” said Wiggins. “I have always been in love with SUU’s commitment to education, commitment to teaching and commitment to students. This is something you don’t find at these really big research institutions.”
With a 4.9 rating on RateMyProfessor.com and having received SUU’s Outstanding Educator Award after his first year of teaching, Wiggins is one of SUU’s most popular professors.
“We try to press the boundaries quite a bit as far as what the conventional physics education looks like,” said Wiggins. “We will show you things in physics that you have never seen before. I get audible gasps at some of the things we are able to show people that are borderline magical.”
Brandon Wiggins has been teaching at SUU since 2016 and teaches the following classes:
PHYS 2010 College Physics I
PHYS 2015 College Physics I Lab
PHYS 2020 College Physics II
PHYS 2025 College Physics II Lab
PHYS 2210 Physics for Scientists and Engineers I
PHYS 2220 Physics for Scientists and Engineers II
“No matter what physics background you have, you will be able to understand the way he teaches,” said Nate Griffiths a junior studying biology from Beaver, Utah. “He brings an experiment or a demonstration every day to do in front of the class and it makes the class so entertaining and fun.”
When Wiggins isn’t in the classroom, he spends his time conducting research and serving as an active affiliate for Los Alamos National Laboratory.
“Right now I am studying astrochemistry in the universe using supercomputers which simulate the formation of galaxies,” said Wiggins. “I also study supernovas. So we simulate stars blowing themselves up and these supernova explosions.”
Despite his many great achievements both in and out of the classroom, Wiggins says watching his students succeed is perhaps the most rewarding part of his job.
“Seeing individual students progress and jump over benchmarks has yielded more satisfaction to me than all the awards or honors or whatever,” said Wiggins. “And that is because there is a human element that I value more.”