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SVCC Faculty Member Published in Physics Essays

August 2009

Robert Duncan, assistant professor of chemistry at Sauk Valley Community College, has had an article published in Bob Duncan Website Photothe academic journal Physics Essays.

Duncan’s article, titled Modeling Hydrogen’s Spectral Lines, is a new quantum theory and may replace the current quantum theories of physicists Niels Bohr and Erwin Schrödinger. Duncan said his theory and article have been in the works for several years.

“Publication of this article shows that Bob, as well as many other community college faculty members, go above and beyond to engage in productive and rewarding academic work,” said Dr. Donald Pearl, academic vice president at Sauk.

Duncan explained that his theory suggests that the hydride ion is the entity responsible for the spectral lines emitted by the hydrogen atom, the simplest atom with one proton and electron. Currently, the accepted view by chemists and physicists is the premise that the single excited electron of the hydrogen atom results in hydrogen spectral lines, a type of finger print of the atom. Duncan challenges this accepted view by showing the negative hydrogen ion will explain fully the cause of the spectral lines. The negative hydrogen ion contains two electrons and evidence is presented in the paper to attribute this phenomenon to the secondary electron of the negative hydrogen atom.

According to, Physics Essays is an international journal dedicated to theoretical and experimental aspects of fundamental problems in physics and to the advancement of basic knowledge of physics. Published through the American Institute of Physics, the journal publishes examinations of past, current, and advanced concepts, methods and results in physics research. Physics Essays publishes exploratory and original papers in a variety of physics disciplines. The journal is supported and advised by a renowned editorial board and was established as the sole journal to be the voice of the international physics community in an interdisciplinary fashion.

Duncan has been assistant professor of mathematics at Sauk since 2004. He holds a Master of Science in Chemistry (1973) and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (1971) from Western Illinois University, and an Associate in Science from Sauk (1968). Prior to becoming full-time, Duncan taught part-time at Sauk for 12 years, and was a tutor in the College’s learning Assistance Center. He has also had two articles published in the Journal of Chemical Education.