John Howell, Ph.D.

Research professor emeritus of physics

Email:[email protected]

Department: Physics and Astronomy

Location: 801 National Road
Richmond, Indiana 47374

About me

My non-academic interests include singing, birding, travel and learning languages. While at Earlham I’ve studied both Spanish and Swahili and am now taking Chinese; both the characters and the tones are proving a fun challenge.

I was attracted to Earlham by the high caliber of its students and its emphasis on teaching over research. Since coming here, I’ve learned to value it for its principles and its sense of community.


  • Ph.D., Harvard University
  • M.A., Harvard University
  • B.A., Harvard University

Professional memberships

Scholarly interest

Particular interests include Einstein’s theories of Relativity (both special and general), the physics of music and Science Fiction

Research projects

Off-campus study experiences

Along with Chris Swafford, I helped lead several May term courses to Menorca, a beautiful Spanish island in the Mediterranean, northwest of its larger and more libertine sibling, Majorca. The program was ecological in nature, studying various aspects of Menorca’s efforts to be sustainable at the same time it’s developing its tourist industry — water and beach conservation, recycling, wind power, etc. This May Term was both beautiful and life-changing.