The Fellows Committee announced last week that this spring term, physicist Joan Marler will join the Viking Room staff as part of the postdoctoral fellowship program as the program’s first-ever beer studies fellow. Though many faculty members were perplexed – some even outraged – by the prospect of having a beer studies fellow, Marler is confident that her addition to the Viking Room will benefit the entire Lawrence community. “Physics is physics,” Marler pointed out, “but beer is lifeblood. There are exciting things happening in the field of beer studies and I’m pleased to have the honor of exploring this new academic frontier with the of-age students of Lawrence.” Having received her doctorate in physics from the UC San Diego, Marler has spent the past year researching the criteria for generating a stable equilibrium for a pure electron plasma in a toroidal magnetic field. “It’s all just hot air really,” Marler relayed. “When it’s all said and done physics is really the study of beer.” Marler sees her work as a postdoctoral fellow in physics as “pretty much done” and recognized a real need for more academic opportunities for students in the field of beer studies. Physics professor Matt Stoneking has also put his physics expertise to work at the VR. Having introduced Marler to the beer facilities at Lawrence, the two physicists have been seen with an assortment of Lawrence faculty and students conducting “experiments” in their time off. “We’ve been working hard down here [in the bar],” Stoneking said. “It’s nice that the university finally sees the value in the work we’re doing.” VR student manager Kenneth Alvord III voiced his confidence in the new beer studies fellow. “I don’t know much about Dr. Marler’s work with toroidal magnets or whatever,” Alvord said, “but I can say one thing with full confidence: That woman knows her beer.” Marler hopes to work closely with the student managers in conducting experiments and research projects. “While my fieldwork has since been recently limited to San Diego, I’m looking forward to seeing the way beer functions in the greater Appleton area.” Courses offered spring term are BRST 101: Stouts and Lagers, BRST 202: Topics: Schlitz in the Modern World, and a tutorial exploring the development of those things in the bottom of Guinness bottles. Courses are offered on a first-come first-served basis and are restricted to Lawrence students who are 21 and older.