"I was always mathematically inclined, so that sort of threw me into science," said Dr. John Millis, reflecting on his years in high school and how he became interested in physics. It was during a discussion with an instructor his senior year of high school that Millis decided to pursue a career in the field. He earned his bachelor of science in physics, with mathematics minor from Purdue University and remained there for the completion of his doctorate in philosophy. Now, he teaches astronomy at Anderson University and most recently, has started writing for the Astronomy and Space page on About.com.
He applied for the job on a whim and, after a two-month interview process, was hired. At first, writing for the Web was an adjustment. Millis was used to academic writing and publishing journals. He’s writing for a different audience now – students and educators. [Photo on left: John Mills teaches Physics at Anderson University. John not only teaches here at AU, but will soon be teaching the readers on the World Wide Web through his about.com job. (Fifth Street Communications Photo/Emilee Hammond)]
"The way people read articles sitting at a computer is completely different from the way you would read something from a magazine," he said.
Part of his job with About.com includes writing a weekly article and maintaining a blog. Many of the articles he writes contain general information about the universe, astrophysics, astrology, the solar system and basic terminology. "My students in astronomy are always getting these terms confused," said Millis. "They say astronomy when they really mean astrophysics or astrology. These articles explain the difference."
Students are not the only ones learning from Millis’s work. His desire for the position stemmed from his goals to conduct more research, dive into new topics and give his students more than what their textbooks have to offer. "During the interview process I wrote an article covering the history of astronomy. The facts were just so interesting and the students really got into it," he said. Millis aspires to one day write a textbook himself. Writing gives him something fun and interesting to do and Millis wants to do it for as long as he can.
Millis came to AU to interact with students and engage them in discussions connecting science and faith. He enjoys being with students in the classroom and the conversations they have in the department lobby. He hopes to spend the rest of his career there. "I couldn’t ask for a better department," he said.
Rebekah Shirar is a junior from Darlington, Ind., majoring in communication arts. Shirar is an associate with Fifth Street Communications writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.