Todd Pedlar grew up in the Pacific Northwest as the older of two sons born to educators – his father a teacher of physics, mathematics and chemistry at the high school and junior high levels, and his mother a librarian in the elementary schools of his school district. His early passion for model rockets and airplanes led to a desire to study to become an aeronautical engineer, but after his first year as a student at Whitman College, a private liberal arts college in southeastern Washington state, he was hooked on physics, never to return to the realm of engineering, either in theory or in practice. While at Whitman, Todd met his future wife Heather, and they now have been married for 22 years, and have four girls, aged seven to fourteen.
Graduate studies at Northwestern University, and postdoctoral work as an associate of The Ohio State University and Cornell University, confirmed him as an experimental particle physicist, and he continues today to be active as a particle physics researcher with the Belle Collaboration, which runs an experiment at KEK, the national high energy physics laboratory of Japan, an hour north of Tokyo. His particular expertise is in the study of heavy quarkonia – systems of quarks bound together by means of the strong nuclear force, one of four fundamental forces of nature.
His undergraduate preparation led Todd to seek to teach in the liberal arts college environment, and he is currently an Associate Professor of Physics at Luther College, in Decorah, IA, a college associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. At Luther, he teaches physics courses throughout the physics curriculum, and also in the Luther College common first-year course, Paideia, which is a course focused on the humanities and building student capabilities as thinkers and writers.
As a husband and father in a house of six (plus a dog and a cat) his home life is nearly as active as his research and teaching. He is blessed with a wife who loves learning and applies her intellectual acumen to taking on the majority of the burden of home schooling the four girls, and once in a while Todd has the chance to sit in and learn together with the rest.