Dr. Phil's Home · Last update: 18 July 2007 Wednesday
Recently it has come to Dr. Phil's attention that there is another guy calling himself Dr. Phil. (Actually, I'd bet there are lots of medical doctors and Ph.D.'s named Dr. Phil, but I've never met one.)
This would not bother me, except that this Other Dr. Phil is about to go national with a new TV talk show, pushed with his sponsor Oprah.
So this Other Dr. Phil cannot be ignorred.
To those of you looking for Dr. Phil, aka Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon, who teaches Physics courses at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan -- you're at the right place. If you are looking for the Other Dr. Phil, you'll have to go somewhere else. Sorry. Try here. NOTE: Link updated 7-18-2007.
I have been Dr. Phil since June 1989 by virtue of being annoited "Dr. Phil" by Dr. Bob -- a legendary professor of physics at Michigan Technology University, where I received both a Master's in Physics and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics. For several summers while in graduate school I was involved in teaching special summer programs in MTU's Summer Youth Program (open to junior high and high school students from anywhere) and Summer Institute (part of a statewide two-week program for Michigan gifted & talented high school students). Dr. Bob, who had taught the graduate quantum mechanics courses and served on my Ph.D. committee, and I worked together on the Summer Institutes. In June 1989, while I was introducing Dr. Bob to the students, he decided then and there that since I had just received my Ph.D., that if he was going to be "Dr. Bob", then I had to be "Dr. Phil".
The name has stuck.
Not that I am particularly paranoid or overly sensitive about this, but just in case there's someone who thinks that I am trying to capitalize on this "Other" Dr. Phil, believe me -- I'm not. But it did get me thinking about whether or not I could "prove" my claim on "the title" (grin).
I am currently teaching my 42nd semester of Physics in West Michigan, have served as the President of the Michigan Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers -- and I've been Dr. Phil for all that time. During this time we've gone through several generations of PC's, Operating Systems, and Word Processors. I don't have all the computer files handy from the Summer Institute of 1989 or the first full year I taught, but I did find a FORTRAN computer programming course I taught to some junior high students in July 1989, and in a series of outline. lecture and handout files, I found a clear mention of "Dr. Phil's FORTRAN", which I would have written on the blackboard. And "Dr. Phil" appears as a character in Physics exam questions from September 1992 (PHY-100 at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, GSCI-131 at Western Michigan University).
So, this other guy looks pleasant enough, and I don't wish him ill -- but I bet I run rings around him with Physics problems and Computational Physics! I guess my students won't confuse us, and that's all that matters. For anyone who found this web page in error, hope you were entertained. Oh, and if you're a lawyer who wants to try to take "Dr. Phil" away from me, I'll bring up my two little nephews-in-law, who have been calling me "Unker Dunker Phil" since they were tiny (grin).