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Waldorf Science Faculty Welcomes a New Physics Professor

Dr. Rasika Mohottige

By Suyaishar Sebastian

The Science Department of Waldorf University welcomed Dr. Rasika Mohottige, a physicist and professor this Fall who hails from Kandy, a city in central Sri Lanka.

Dr. Mohottige currently teaches two Physics and a Mathematics courses at Waldorf University. He began his teaching career in 2003 as a college instructor during his bachelors, teaching physics, metaphysics, mathematics and chemistry. He then started his master’s in physics and condensed metaphysics where he focused on solar cells.

Following his graduation from graduate school, Dr. Mohottige joined as a junior faculty in the Open University of Sri Lanka which followed by a new appointment at Rajarata University of Sri Lanka a few years later.

Dr. Mohottige’s research background is focused on metaphysics related to nanophysics and nanotechnology, where he mainly concentrates on a study of nano structures.

“My masters research mainly focused on dye sensitized solar cells,” Dr. Mohottige said. “Then after I came to the United States, I had to change my major a little bit where I moved from solar cells to nanophysics in nanotechnology.”

He moved to the United States to complete his doctorate at the University of North Dakota. After graduating in 2018, he received a postdoctoral position at Rowan University in New Jersey while also holding another position at Rutgers State University of New Jersey as a visiting scientist. In addition to that, he also taught as a visiting professor in a couple of universities in New Jersey during his postdoctoral before making his way to Forest City.

Since Waldorf University does not have a physics minor at present, Dr. Mohottige plans to start a physics minor here. “I am talking to Professor Michael Farndale since he is the senior professor here, so he is helping me out with how to implement these courses here,” he said. “I also talked to Dr. Beach so I think I will be able to start a physics minor soon.”

He is working on changing the syllabus and plans on introducing interdisciplinary courses like medical physics, biophysics, astronomy, and geology next fall semester.

Besides being an experimental physicist, Dr. Mohottige is also an avid cricketer. He says that the only missing part for him about moving to Forest City is the sport of cricket itself.

“I used to play a lot of cricket when I was in New Jersey, because when I was in Sri Lanka, I used to play a lot of big leagues,” he said. “I was a professional cricketer so whenever I get a chance, like a couple of weeks ago, I flew back to New Jersey to play a big game.”

Dr. Mohottige’s teaching philosophy has evolved since his started his teaching career. He focuses on problem solving sessions than just lecturing now. “I want my students to focus on real world situations, they need to understand what’s happening and how to explain these real-world situations using concepts of physics,” he said.

In the future, Dr. Mohottige plans to use other teaching methods like the flipped classroom method and project-based learning method. He also plans to develop his own research lab which he thinks will benefit all the students in Forest City, especially high schools to attract more students to Waldorf University.