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Val Veirs

Retired Faculty

Val Veirs was the founding director of the environmental program and now lives on San Juan Island and studies underwater sound and orca whales.

Background:  Professor Veirs came to Colorado College in 1971 wishing to teach some ‘environmental physics’.  Ric Bradley, Department Chair at that time, said “give it a try” and here we are 45 years later, still trying to use science to solve environmental problems and direct public policy toward science-based solutions.

Over the years, I enjoyed teaching all of the Physics Department’s courses and creating a few new ones along the way.  After much effort and much cooperation from faculty and staff and students, I helped create the College’s Environmental Program.

In 2000 I started bringing physics students to San Juan Island, Washington, for a block-long course in underwater acoustics and orca vocalizations and soon after Leslie and I moved to San Juan Island.

Research:  Professor Veirs has applied physics to a wide variety of environmental problems.  Currently I work with our son, Scott, at his Beam Reach Marine Science and Sustainability School.  We study the underwater noise from large commercial vehicles and seek to understand how this noise may compromise the use of acoustics by killer whales and other marine mammals and how ships might be quieted through new designs and operating procedures.


    B.S.          Physics, Case Western Reserve University (1964)

    Ph.D.      Physics, Illinois Institute of Technology (1971)