Curriculum Vitae

Randall Douglas Peters 


2012-Present:  Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics, Mercer University, Macon, Georgia.

1998-2012: Professor of Physics, Mercer University (Chairman, 1998-2009)

1986 - 1998: Texas Tech University, Associate Professor of Physics

(including 1995-1997, via IPA as TTU employee: United States Military Academy, Visiting Professor of Physics)

1987: USAF-UES Summer Faculty Research Fellow, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico

1985-1986 Vought Missiles & Adv. Proj. Div of LTV, Dallas, Texas:  Mgr., Antisatellite Independent Research and Development

1979-1985  LTV, Dallas: Tech Proj. Mgr., System Engr.

1977-1979: Bell Helicopter Textron, Ft. Worth, Texas: Senior Engineer, Subsystems Integr.

1976-1977: Univ. of Mississippi; Assoc. Prof. of Physics

1968-1976: Univ. of Mississippi, Ass't Prof. of Physics

1973: Marshall Space Flight Center; NASA-ASEE Summer Faculty Fellow

1967-1968: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Solid State Div., Oak Ridge Assoc. Univ. Fellow


1964-1968: University of Tennessee, Knoxville, PhD in Physics--"Ultrasonic Measurement of the Temperature Dependence of Copper Nonlinearity Parameters".

1960-1964: Univ. of Tenn., Knoxville, BS, Engineering Physics 

 Student Awards

Outstanding freshman engineer, Class of 1960-61, Tennessee Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Pi; Roseberry (Outstanding Undergraduate Student) Award, Physics Department 1964.

ORAU Fellowship (1967)

NASA Traineeship (1965)

Graduated with Highest Honors, B.S., Engr. Phys, Univ. of Tenn., Knoxville (1964)


Phi Eta Sigma, Sigma Pi Sigma, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi, Omicron Delta Kappa.


Extensive experience in the computer simulation of physical systems. Developed theoretical models concerned with properties both mechanical and electronic. Additionally, taught the experimental segment of a computational physics course (data acquisition and processing) at both the undergraduate and graduate level.


Extensive experimental physics experience associated with both pure and applied physics. Doctoral and early postdoctoral work was involved with nonlinear acoustics via cryogenic measurements of ultrasound. Later work also has involved nonlinear phenomena, to include chaos and complexity. Developed a variety of novel instruments with which to do these studies, and patented capacitive sensors have been incorporated into commercial products, some of which have received widespread acclaim. 


Civilian Service Medal, US Army (1997)

Visiting Professor, United States Military Academy (1995)

Mortar Board Award & Omicron Delta Kappa Faculty Award, Texas Tech Univ., one of five (1994)

Elected to the Teaching Academy of Texas Tech University, 1998.

USAF-UES Summer Faculty Fellow (1987)

Letter of Commendation, Air Force Deputy for Space Defense Systems (1983)

Amer. Men & Women of Science, Cattell Press (1976)

NASA-ASEE Certificate of Recognition (1973)


"Capacitive Sensors for Nano-Positioning and Methods of using the same",  (with Scheng-Chang Lee), U.S. patent pending.

"Linear rotary differential capacitance transducer"--U.S. Patent No. 5,038,875.

"Symmetric Differential Capacitance (SDC) Transducer employing cross coupled conductive plates to form equipotential pairs"--U.S. Patent No. 5,461,319.

Concerning the SDC patent:

(1) A variety of instruments have been developed around this sensor. These include the "Computerized Cavendish Gravitation Balance" which is sold by Tel-Atomic Inc. and also Central Scientific Company.  This state-of-the-art instrument is the heart of one of the first six NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics grants.

(2) A miniaturized accelerometer based on the SDC technology (mesoscale using PC boards) was developed and tested by Auburn University's 'Leap' (Laboratory for Electronics Assembly and Packaging).

(3) An array of SDC type was used in the 'Electric Power Assisted Steering' prototype built as a senior design project by Mercer Mechanical Engineering students. (2001).

(4) SDC sensors employing LABVIEW algorithms in place of traditional Phase Sensitive Detector electronics are being used to measure strain in pig tissue samples as a function of temperature.  The project is of importance to heart valve replacement in humans and is the senior project work of three Mercer Biomechanical Engineering students. (2002)

(5) SDC pressure sensor used in a "Respiration monitoring device to aid in the trreatment of obstructive sleep apnea", for Dr. Larry Tilley, Dentist, Calhoun, GA--by Mercer Engineering students Reuben Bailey, Ben Johnson & Stephen Spalding. (2006).


ARXIV PAPERS  (Cornell University hosted, recognized by the Amer. Phy. Soc.):

(2009) A" New Look at an Old Tool-the Cumulative Spectral Power of Fast-Fourier Transform Analysis" (with Sheng-Chiang (John) Lee,

(2007) "A New Tool for Seismology--the Cumulative Spectral Power,"

(2006) "Compound Pendulum to Monitor Hurricanes and Tropical Storms",

(2006) Compton-Energy Scale of Friction Quantization

(2006) Measurement of Earth's Free-Oscillations using a Pendulum

(2006) Earth oscillations induced by Hurricane Katrina

(2005) Hurricanes and Earth Hum

(2005) Creep-Enhanced Low-Frequency Sensitivity of Seismometers

(2005) Modernized conventional Pendulum Seismometer

(2005) Correlation measurements of Atmospheric Pressure variations and Seismicity during Hurricane Dennis

(2005) Hurricane Excitation of Earth Eigenmodes

(2005) Mesoscale Quantization and Self-Organized Stability

(2005) Spice Modeling of the Vilnius Chaotic Oscillator

(2005) The Yo-yo Oscillator (Analysis of a Nonlinear System using Spice)

(2004) "Beyond the linear damping model for mechanical harmonic oscillators".

(2004) "Spreadsheet Filtering by FFT Gaussian-based Convolution",

(2004) "Postulated Mesoscale Quantum of Internal Friction Hysteresis",

(2004) "Folded Pendulum Measurements of Earth's Free Oscillations",

(2003): "Study of Friction at the Mesoscale using Nitinol Shape Memory Alloy"

(2003): "Friction as Basis for a Phonon Maser "

(2003): "Harmonic Oscillator Potential to describe Internal Dissipation"

(2003): "Intuitive Derivation of Reynolds Number"

(2003): "Ruchhardt Oscillator Decay-Thermodynamic basis for Hysteretic Damping"

(2003) "The Flex-pendulum--basis for an improved timepiece",

(2003) Nonlinear damping of the 'linear' pendulum",

(2003) "Constant-force-magnitude chaotic oscillator",

(2003) "Graphical explanation for the speed of the Fast Fourier Transform",

(2003) "Anisotropic internal friction damping",

(2003) "Oscillator damping with more than one mechanism of internal friction dissipation",

(2002) "Model of internal friction damping in solids",

(2002) "Toward a universal damping model--modified Coulomb friction",

(2002) "A Novel Magnetometer",

(2002) "Bistability of a Torsion Magnetometer",

(2002) "The Pendulum in the 21st Century--relic or trendsetter?",

(2002) "The Study of Complex Mechanical Oscillators Using an Inexpensive Computer Acquisition and Processing System",

(2001) "The Stirling Engine-Refrigerator: Rich Pedagogy from Applied Physics",

(2001) "Creep and Mechanical Oscillator Damping",


(2006) "Seismometer design based on a simple theory of instrument-generated noise equivalent power", online at

(2005) "Improving seismometer performance at low frequencies using newly-discovered physics", online at

(2005) "Mechanical cardiography", online at

This paper is basis for the clinical study with Dr. Mike Russell of the Mercer Medical School as Principal Investigator, relying on the heartbeat's acceleration of the human body. This novel, non-invasive procedure involves simultaneous collection of output from a geophone, an ECG and a triaxial accelerometer.

(2005) "Study of simple harmonic oscillator resonance using a compact Kater pendulum", online at

(2005) "Powerful software for FFT Pedagogy", online at

(2005) "Computerized Cavendish Balance Experiment", online at

`Period of the pendulum using elementary mathematics '(2002)

 'Archer's compound bow--smart use of nonlinearity'. (2000)

'Whirling catheter method to calibrate low pressure sensors'. (2000)

 'Soup-can Pendulum. (2000)

'Tiltmeter'. (2000)

'Precision Kater pendulum.' (1999)

`Thermal Expansion' (1999).

'Magnetic Force, the Lorentz Force Law' (1999)

'Driven Simple Harmonic Oscillator with Damping' (1998)

'Electric Fields and Equipotentials' (1998).

'Resistivity and Resistance' (1998).

BOOK CHAPTERS (invited publications):

"Building on Old Foundations with New Technologies", in Science Education in the 21st Century, Ed. Ingrid V. Eriksson, Nova Science Publishers ISBN-13: 9781600219511  (2008).

"Damping Theory" (Ch. 2) & "Experimental Techniques in Damping" (Ch. 3), Vibration damping, control, and design, ed. C.. de Silva ISBN 9781420053210, Taylor and Francis (2007).

"Damping Theory"  (Ch. 20) & "Experimental Techniques in Damping" (Ch. 21), Vibration and Shock Handbook, ed. C. deSilva ISBN 0-8493-1580-8 (2005).

"The Pendulum in the 21st Century--Relic or Trendsetter", p 19 and "Soup-can Pendulum", p 77,  The Pendulum:  Scientific, Historical, Philosophical and Educational Perspectives, ed. M. Matthews, C. Gauld, & A. Stinner, Springer ISBN-13 978-1-4020-3525-8

                                                                                                                                ENCYCLOPEDIA ARTICLES

( McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 10th edition )

Mathematical methods of physics used in  the study of  "Chaos"--article ID 124550

"Anharmonic Oscillator" -- article ID 034900


R. Peters, "Mechanical System Dynamics with an Introduction to Chaos and Complexity", TEL-Atomic Inc., Jackson, MI (1995). [140 page document including 53 software programs for (i) hardware interface for a multi-purpose chaotic pendulum, and (ii) simulations related to chaos and complexity.]

R. Peters, "Experimental Evidence for a new Frontier--Mesoanelastic Complexity", Proc. Nonlinear Phenomena in Complex Systems Seminar, Belarus (1994).

       Published in Advances in Synergetics, Vol. 2, pp. 42-61, IOP Minsk, Belarus (1995).

R. Peters, "Cooperative Phenomena of Mesodynamics", Proc. Conf. on Synergetics, Minsk, Belarus (1994).

R. Peters, "Philosophical Implications of Chaos and Complexity", Proc. Nonlinear Phenomena in Complex Systems Seminar, Belarus (1994) 


R.. Peters, M. Le Berre, and Y. Pomeau, "Prediction of catastrophes". to be published in Physical Review E.  Preliminary version of article

online at

R. Peters and Scheng-Chiang Lee, "Nano-Position Sensors with Superior Linear Response to Position and Un-limited Travel Ranges", to be pubished in Review of Scientific Instruments.

R. Peters, "Tutorial on gravitational pendulum theory applied to seismic sensing of translation and rotation" (Invited) ,  Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol. 99, No. 2B, May (2009).

R. Peters, "Friction at the mesoscale", (Invited) Contemporary Physics, Vol. 45, No. 6, 475-490 (2004).

R. Peters, "Soup-can Pendulum", Science & Education (Eds. Mathews, Gauld & Stinner, The Pendulum, Scientific, Historical & Educational Perspectives, Part I, Kluwer) Vol. 13, Nos.. 7-8 (2004).

R. Peters, "The pendulum in the 21st century--relic or trendsetter?", Science & Education Vol. 13, Nos. 4-5 (2004).

R. Peters, "Student-Friendly Precision Pendulum", The Physics Teacher, Vol 37, no. 7, 390-393 (1999).

Fac. sponsor--D. Coy & M. Molnar, "Optically Driven Pendulum", Proc. 11th Nat'l Conf. Undergrad. Res, 1621 (1997).

R. Peters & T. Pritchett, "The Not-so-simple harmonic oscillator", Amer. J. Phys. , Vol 65, no. 11, 1067-1073 (1997).

R. Peters, "A Soldier's Microphone/Hydrophone", Proc. ARL/USMA Technical Symposium, 01 Nov. 1996, West Point, NY.

R. Peters, "Automated Kater pendulum", Eur. J. Phys., vol. 18, no. 3, 217 (1997).

R. Peters, "Resonance response of a moderately driven rigid planar pendulum", Amer. J. Phys., Vol. 64, no. 2, 170 (1996).

M. H. Kwon & R. Peters, "The study of eigenmode types and source nonlinearity in the free earth oscillations" Saemulli Vol. 35 no. 4, 569 (1995).

NOTE:  Peters and Kwon were the first to see free earth oscillations that occur on a regular basis, and which are thought to be excited by relaxations of the anelastic earth under the influence of tidal strain.

R. Peters, "Chaotic pendulum based on torsion and gravity in opposition", Amer. J. Phys. Vol. 63, no. 12, 1128 (1995).

R. Peters, "Remote respiratory monitor", 8th IEEE Symp. Comp. based Med. Sys., 204 (1995).

R. W. Mires & R. Peters, "Motion of a leaky pendulum", Amer. J. Phys. Vol. 62, no. 2, 137 (1994).

R. Peters, "Full-bridge capacitive extensometer", Rev. Sci. Instrum. 64, 2250 (1993).

R. Peters, "Symmetric differential capacitive pressure sensor", Vol 64, no. 8, 2256 (1993).

R. Peters, "Capacitive angle sensor with infinite range", Rev. Sci. Instrum. 64, 810 (1993).

R. Peters, "Fluctuations in the length of wires", Phys. Lett. A Vol. 174, no. 3, 216 (1993).

R. Peters and Peter J. Seibt, "An inexpensive synchronous detector and its application to differential capacitance sensors, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 63, 3989 (1992).

R. Peters, "Fourier transform construction by vector graphics", Am. J. Phys. 60, 439 (1992).

R. Peters, J. Cardenas-Garcia & M. Parten, "Capacitive servo-device for microrobotic applications", J. Micromech. Microeng. Vol. 1, 103 (1991).

R. Peters, "True anomaly approximation for elliptical orbits", J. Guidance, Control & Dynamics Vol. 14, no. 5, 1069 (1991).

J. Cardenas-Garcia, S. Mateos, R. Rodriguez, R. Peters & J. Moulder, "Finite element modeling of 3D capacitive array sensors for NDE applications", Rev. Progr. in Quan. NDE Vol. 10A, 927 (1991).

R. Peters, "Metastable states of a low-frequency mesodynamic pendulum", Appl. Phys. Lett. 57, 1825 (1990).

R. Peters, "Mechanically adjustable balance and sensitive tilt meter", Meas. Sci. & Tech., Vol. 1, 1131 (1990).

R. Peters and M. H. Kwon, "Desorption studies using Langmuir recoil force measurements", J. Appl. Phys. 68, 1616 (1990).

R. Peters, "Traveling wave pedagogy using an oscilloscope", Phys. Teach. 28, 337(1990).

R. Peters, "Linear rotary differential capacitance transducer", Rev. Sci. Instrum. 60, 2789 (1989).

R. Peters & J. A. Shepherd, "A pendulum with adjustable trends in the period", Amer. J. Phys. Vol 57, 535 (1989).

R. Peters, "Period estimate for the simple pendulum using optimization theory", Appl. Math. & Comp. 28, 179-190 (1988).

R. Peters, "Chaotic motion from support constraints of a nondriven rigid spherical pendulum", Phys. Rev. A 38, 5352 (1988).

R. Peters, "Experimental computational physics using an inexpensive microcomputer", Comp. Phys. Vol 2, no. 4, 68 (1988).


About a dozen significant Design Information Releases, while working in the Aerospace Industry--classified by the Department of Defense & unavailable in open literature (constitutes bulk of documented research in the period from 1977 to 1986).

Earlier refereed journal papers (work while at the University of Mississippi):

R. Peters, "Ultrasonic Particle Counter", Univ. of Alabama BER Report NASA-ASEE), No 165-94 (1973)

R. Peters, "Resonance generation of ultrasonic second harmonic in elastic solids", J. Acoust. Soc. of Amer. 53, no. 6, 1673 (1973).

E. Meeks, R. Peters, & R. Arnold, "Capacitance microphones for measurement of ultrasonic properties of solids", Rev. Sci. Instr. 42, no. 10, 1446 (1971).

R. Peters & R. Arnold, "Ultrasonic third harmonic generation in Strontium Titanate single crystals", J. Appl. Phys. 42, no. 3, 980 (1971).

R. Peters, M. Breazeale & V. Pare, "Temperature dependence of the nonlinearity parameters of Copper", Phys. Rev. B1, 3245 (1970).

R. Peters & M Breazeale, "Variable gap capacitive detector for the measurement of ultrasonic displacement amplitudes in solids", Rev. Sci. Instr. 39, no. 10, 1505 (1968).

R. Peters & M. Breazeale, "Third harmonic of an initially sinusoidal ultrasonic wave in Copper", Appl. Phys. Lett 12, no. 3, 106 (1968).


2008: "A Variant of the First Fully-Differential Capacitive Sensor for use in Scanning Probe Microscopy Applications to Nano-Fabrication", Randall Peters, Sheng-Chiang (John) Lee, 4th International Conference and Exhibition on Device Packaging, Scottsdale/Fountain Hills, AZ.

2004:  December American Geophysical Union Conference in San Francisco: "Study of Low-Frequency Earth motions from Earthquakes and a Hurricane using a Modified Standard Seismometer",

2004: IRIS Seismometer Workshop.

2003: "Internal Friction", lecture to Institute for Gravitational Research, University of Glasgow, Scotland.

2002:  International Pendulum Project, Sydney, Australia, 16-19 October 2002, on (i) "The Pendulum in the 21st Century--relic or trendsetter? , and (ii)  'Soup-can Pendulum..

2001:  "Damping Model Based on Secondary Creep", Georgia Tech's School of Aerospace Engineering, Atlanta.

2000:  'Autocorrelation analysis of data from a novel tiltmeter', Fall American Geophysical Union, San Francisco.

1998: 'Chemical Gettering at High Pressures', IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science, Raleigh, NC.

1996:  "A Soldier's Microphone/Hydrophone", ARL/USMA Technical Symposium, West Point.

1995: "Applications of a new type of capacitive sensor:  New physics from old concepts", Trinity University, Austin, Texas.

1994: "The peculiar collective world of mesoanelastic complexity", Center for Nonlinear Dynamics", University of Texas, austin.

1994:  "Experimental evidence for a new frontier--mesoanelastic complexity", Polatsk, Belarus.

1993:  "Experimental studies of mesoscopic complexity", Center for Nonlinear Studies, Los Alamos National Laboratory.

1993:  "Interface between classical and quantum dynamics", Novosibirsk Russian Academy of Science, Siberia.

1992:  "Rotary capacitive sensor", Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Michigan.

1991:  "Mesodynamic fluctuations and interface between classical and quantum dynamics", Vilnius University, Lithuania.

1991:  "Was Schroedinger wrong about center of mass quantization?", Lockheed Space and Missiles Co., Palo Alto, California.

1991: "Interface between quantum and classical dynamics", 21st winter coloquium on Quantum Electronics, Snowbird, Utah.

1989:  "Classroom and Laboratory Projects in Computational Physics", 2nd Conf. & Worshop, Computational physics in the undergraduate curriculum, UNC, Asheville.

1989:  "Use of an LRDC based balance for studying atomic oxygen", Los Alamos National Lab.

1989  "Experimental studies of chaotic pendula", Univ. of N. Texas, Denton.

1989:  "Langmuir recoil force measurements", Univ. of Texas at El Paso.

1984:  "Satellite infrared signature models", IRIS specialty Conf. on Targets, Backgrounds & Discrimination, Camp Pendleton, California.


As part of the Computational Physics course, Peters developed algorithms for computer acquisition and processing of data from experiments. These were "exhibited" by invitation at the 1989 conference in North Carolina (Computational physics in the undergraduate curriculum). 


Characterized engineering (missile) systems, particularly those that use electro-optical sensors via dynamic simulation. Effectiveness vs system variables quantified statistically, often by monte carlo technique.


Modelled the infrared signatures of satellites, including dynamic thermal solutions for components as influenced by environment. Personally developed an imaging technique which was responsible for over a million dollars in contract awards after industrial competition.

The algorithms which followed were used in the only U.S. satellite intercept of 13 Sep. 1985, and also to assess the danger of COSMOS 1402 in 1983; for which a rare commendation from the Air Force Deputy for Space Defense Systems was received.


Developed optical systems, including a high power carbon dioxide laser. Fabricated vacuum systems for use in evaporation and sputtering. Built thin film dielectric mirrors for interferometric studies of acoustical phenomena. Engaged in cryogenic studies concerned with nonlinear acoustics. As noted in some of the communictions listed earlier: worked with a shock tube in a study of a capillary medium's capability to attenuate shocks generated by a pulsed laser (sponsored by the dept of mech. engr.). Developed a method of measuring number density of particles suspended in a fluid by the scattering of ultrasonic radiation. Engaged in physiology research aimed at a better understanding of cardiac output dynamics. Used instrumented subjects to measure arterial pulse velocities as a function of oxygen uptake.


The total of grants and contracts awarded as the result of Peters' work is approximately $1,800,000. An unsolicited grant from Ford Motor Company was accompanied by a letter to the President of TTU from the Manager of Electronic Materials and Devices which included the statement: "We find the work of Dr. Peters most interesting...."


"Artwork from a pendulum" was one of the features at the TTU College of Arts and Sciences homecoming, 1988. The support constrained pendulum used to produce this artwork also was used to produce the departmental undergraduate poster and a student teeshirt.

The symmetric differential capacitive (SDC) transducers invented by Peters have been and continue to be incorporated into physics demonstration and laboratory equipment sold by TEL-Atomic Inc., Jackson, Michigan and Central Scientific Company, Chicago.