David Dolak - Columbia College Chicago

David Dolak

Professor of Instruction



Professor of Instruction; Department of Science and Mathematics; courses taught: Environmental Science, The Science of Musical Instruments; Freshman First Semester Experience, Big Chicago ; A River Runs Through It: Crossroads Chicago and the Making of America.

Full time faculty since 1999; former Environmental Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory (1990-97); 4 years prior experience as an Envrionmental Consultant; Working Luthier (String Instrument Artisan) and member of the Guild of American Luthiers since 1989; instructor at various institutions including the Graham School of the University of Chicago; FIeld Museum of Natural History; Morton Arboretum; and JobLink. Display of new musical instruments at GAL National Convention (2011, '14, '17); published author on the Fossil Concretions of the Mazon Creek (Illinois) area; author and presenter of Lecture "Geology as Destiny: Across the Chicago Portage and the Continental Divide" to numerous educational institutions in the Chicago area.

Website: davedolak.org

B.S., Environmental Science, St. Joseph's College

M.S., Environmental Science, Indiana University

Instructional Areas

Science of Musical Instruments - this includes the physics basis of wave motion, the harmonic series, how pitch and timbre are generated and propagated though acoustic musical instruments, the basics of Lutherie (construction of string musical instruments) and the mathematics of musical scales. Environmental Science - the integrative understanding of the fields of biology, chemistry, and earth science and how these are applied to understanding current environmental issues relevant to human civilization, natural ecosystems preservation, resource sustainability, and economic development. The geology and geography of the Great Lakes and how this has shaped the human and natural ecosystems of the Chicago Region.

Creative Practice and Research Interests

The geologic and chemical processes involved in the formation and preservation of Mazon Creek (IL) fossi concretions. The natural and human history of the Chicago Portage and the Mid-continental Divide The science and artistry involved in the construction of string musical instruments.


B.S., Environmental Science St. Joseph's College 1979
M.S., Environmental Science Indiana University 1985