Kenneth L. Ratzlaff, PH.D.
Alumni Merit Award Winner
Ken Ratzlaff joined The University of Kansas in 1981 as Associate Scientist and Director of the Instrumentation Design Laboratory (IDL).
In 1985, Dr. Ratzlaff was elected president of the Computers in Chemistry division of the American Chemical Society. Promotion to Senior Scientist came in 1987.
As part of the IDL, Dr. Ratzlaff has been part of a very diverse array of projects: astro-particle detectors at the South Pole (where he made several deployment trips), on an Antarctic ice shelf, in Utah, and in Siberia as well as an array of equipment for FermiLab and CERN. In contrast, other projects have dealt with fruit flies, fireflies, mice, rats, and legless lizards. In between, we find high-speed lasers, miniaturization techniques, radar and much more. Additional expertise has been developed in remote power systems (photovoltaic/wind) in extreme environments including the Antarctic plateau.
Dr. Ratzlaff has taught short courses in this country and abroad, a graduate lab course in laboratory electronics and computers, and currently team teaches a project-based electronics course in Physics.
Dr. Ratzlaff came to KU from Northern Illinois University where he was an Associate Professor. From 1969-1973, he taught science and math at Moeding College in the Republic of Botswana.
In 1967, he earned his B.A. in Chemistry at Tabor College, followed by an M.S. at the University of Illinois in 1969. After returning from Botswana, he received his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Illinois in 1975. Besides numerous papers and intellectual property, he is author of a book on laboratory computers and editor of a book on imaging detectors.
Ken married Ginger Harms in 1968 and they have four chiildren and 6 grandchildren with all but one living within 50 miles of their home in Lawrence, KS. For nearly 20 years, he was intensely involved in Lawrence Habitat for Humanity. He also enjoys photography in his leisure time, especially capturing Kansas wildflowers and landscapes.