Frank Benko
B.Sc. (Honours) 1978

Upon graduation from high school with a strong interest in both physics and chemistry, I had narrowed my university choices to Brock, McMaster and York Universities. Sensing my uneasiness with large groups and environments my high school Physics teacher highly recommended Brock. After meeting some of the Brock faculty at an open house, I was so impressed with the enthusiasm Dr.F.P.Koffyberg displayed for experimental research and physics in general, I enrolled as a Physics major at Brock in 1974.

Initially, I found the change to university studies difficult and my marks suffered accordingly. Fortunately, some of the faculty took the time to encourage me to continue and by 1978 I graduated with a 1st class Honours B.Sc. degree. Under the supervision of Dr.Koffyberg my undergraduate research project involved the study of the conductivity and optical absorption properties of semiconducting tungsten trioxide glasses. An accidental result of the optical absorption studies showed that the amorphous tungsten trioxide glasses could possibly be used as a display device, and at least one Japanese firm met with Dr. Koffyberg and followed up on the research.

Upon graduation in 1978 I started work as research assistant to Dr. Koffyberg conducting research on a wide range of semiconductors, mainly those with a delafossite structure.

In 1980 I left Brock University and accepted a job as a research scientist with Gould Manufacturing of Canada. My research was sponsored by the Canadian Armed Forces and involved improvement of the charge acceptance of lead acid batteries under low temperature conditions. This was necessitated by the fact that under sub zero temperatures the chemical reaction involved in lead acid batteries becomes somewhat irreversible, hence making charging of batteries very difficult.

In 1981, as my contract with Gould Manufacturing was just about done, Dr. Koffyberg offered me a chance to come back to Brock as his full time research assistant. Our association was very productive, producing 18 publications from 1978 to 1988. All having to do with the electrical and optical properties of various semiconductors in both polycrystalline and amorphous form. My work with Dr. Koffyberg and especially my participation in experimental research taught me a lot about patience and persistence, both of which have served me well in my current position as Senior Laboratory demonstrator.

In 1988 I gave up research to accept a full time position as Senior Laboratory Demonstrator with the Physics Department of Brock University, a position I currently still hold. While different, working with students has turned out to be equally as rewarding, and it is interesting to watch them progress through their brief years at Brock.

As well as my duties as Senior Demonstrator, I currently serve on the University Science Safety and the Radiation Safety committees. In recent years I have also participated in the summer programs "Scientifically Yours" and "Science Camp" which are week-long camps to encourage grade 11 girls and grade 6-8 students respectively, to consider science as their field of study and/or vocation.

I have been enjoying thoroughly my stay here at Brock University. As a student Brock supplied me with a close and friendly house of learning, and as an employee - with a rewarding job, both as a research assistant and in my current capacity as Senior Lab Demonstrator.

Frank Benko, March 20, 1995