The Physics department is committed to education and research in physics, the study of the fundamental universal laws that govern the behavior of matter and energy, and the exploration of the consequences and applications of those laws. Our department is widely known for its excellent teaching and student mentoring. Our department plays an important role in the university’s Core Curriculum. We have strong academic programs with several options for undergraduate physics majors, leading to the B.S. degree, as well as graduate curricula leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Our research groups span a variety of fields within physics. Our principal concentrations are in Astrophysics, Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology, Condensed Matter Physics, Lasers and Optics, Physics Education, Solar Physics, and the Space Science and Engineering Lab.

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Recent Submissions

  • Confident detection of doubly ionized thorium in the extreme Ap star CPD-62° 2717 

    Chojnowski, S Drew; Hubrig, Swetlana; Nidever, David L; Niemczura, Ewa; Labadie-Bartz, Jonathan; Mathys, Gautier; Hasselquist, Sten (Oxford University Press, 2023-05)
    Despite the Universe containing primordial thorium (Th) of sufficient abundance to appear in stellar spectra, detection of Th has to date been tentative and based on just a few weak and blended lines. Here, we present ...
  • The Role of Magnetic Shear in Reconnection-Driven Flare Energy Release 

    Qiu, J.; Alaoui, M.; Antiochos, S. K.; Dahlin, J. T.; Swisdak, M.; Drake, J. F.; Robison, A.; DeVore, C. R.; Uritsky, V. M. (Cornell University, 2023-08)
    Using observations from the Solar Dynamics Observatory's Atmosphere Imaging Assembly and the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, we present novel measurements of the shear of post-reconnection flare loops (PRFLs) ...
  • Origins of the Evil Eye: M64's Stellar Halo Reveals the Recent Accretion of an SMC-mass Satellite 

    Smercina, Adam; Bell, Eric F.; Price, Paul A.; Bailin, Jeremy; Dalcanton, Julianne J.; de Jong, Roelof S.; D’Souza, Richard; Gozman, Katya; Jang, In Sung; Monachesi, Antonela; Nidever, David; Slater, Colin T. (American Astronomical Society, 2023-06)
    M64, often called the "Evil Eye" galaxy, is unique among local galaxies. Beyond its dramatic, dusty nucleus, it also hosts an outer gas disk that counter-rotates relative to its stars. The mass of this outer disk is ...
  • JWST’s PEARLS: TN J1338–1942 – I. Extreme jet-triggered star formation in a z = 4.11 luminous radio galaxy 

    Duncan, Kenneth J; Windhorst, Rogier A; Koekemoer, Anton M; Röttgering, Huub J A; Cohen, Jansen; Summers, Jake; Tompkins, Scott; Hutchison, Taylor A; Conselice, Christopher J; Driver, Simon P; Yan, Haojing; Adams, Nathan J; Cheng, Cheng; Coe, Dan; Diego, Jose M; Dole, Hervé; Frye, Brenda; Gim, Hansung B; Grogin, Norman A; Holwerda, Benne W; Lim, Jeremy; Marshall, Madeline A; Nonino, Mario; Pirzkal, Nor; Robotham, Aaron; Ryan, Russell E; Willmer, Christopher N A (Oxford University Press, 2023-04)
    We present the first JWST observations of the z = 4.11 luminous radio galaxy TN J1338–1942, obtained as part of the ‘Prime Extragalactic Areas for Reionization and Lensing Science’ (‘PEARLS’) project. Our NIRCam observations, ...
  • Structure of the Plasma near the Heliospheric Current Sheet as Seen by WISPR/Parker Solar Probe from inside the Streamer Belt 

    Liewer, Paulett C.; Vourlidas, Angelos; Stenborg, Guillermo; Howard, Russell A.; Qiu, Jiong; Penteado, Paulo; Panasenco, Olga; Braga, Carlos R. (IOP Publising, 2023-05)
    Parker Solar Probe (PSP) crossed the heliospheric current sheet (HCS) near the perihelion on encounters E8 and E11, enabling the Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR) to image the streamer belt plasma in high resolution ...
  • The Imprint of Clump Formation at High Redshift. II. The Chemistry of the Bulge 

    Debattista, Victor P.; Liddicott, David J.; Gonzalez, Oscar A.; Beraldo e Silva, Leandro; Amarante, João A. S.; Lazar, Ilin; Zoccali, Manuela; Valenti, Elena; Fisher, Deanne B.; Khachaturyants, Tigran; Nidever, David L.; Quinn, Thomas R.; Du, Min; Kassin, Susan (American Astronomical Society, 2023-04)
    In Paper I, we showed that clumps in high-redshift galaxies, having a high star formation rate density (ΣSFR), produce disks with two tracks in the [Fe/H]–[α/Fe] chemical space, similar to that of the Milky Way's (MW's) ...
  • Ambipolar Heating of Magnetars 

    Tsuruta, Sachiko; Kelly, Madeline J.; Nomoto, Ken’ichi; Mori, Kanji; Teter, Marcus; Liebmann, Andrew C. (American Astronomical Society, 2023-03)
    Magnetars, neutron stars thought to be with ultrastrong magnetic fields of 1014–15 G, are observed to be much hotter than ordinary pulsars with ∼1012 G, and additional heating sources are required. One possibility is heating ...
  • NuSTAR Observations of a Heavily X-Ray-obscured AGN in the Dwarf Galaxy J144013+024744 

    Ansh, Shrey; Chen, Chien-Ting J.; Brandt, W. N.; Hood, Carol E.; Kammoun, E. S.; Lansbury, G.; Paltani, Stéphane; Reines, Amy E.; Ricci, C.; Swartz, Douglas A.; Trump, Jonathan R.; Vito, F.; Hickox, Ryan C. (American Astronomical Society, 2023-01)
    We present a multiwavelength analysis of the dwarf Seyfert 2 galaxy J144013+024744, a candidate obscured active galactic nucleus (AGN) thought to be powered by an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH, M • ≈ 104−106 M ⊙) of ...
  • Multiwavelength scrutiny of X-ray sources in dwarf galaxies: ULXs versus AGNs 

    Thygesen, Erica; Plotkin, Richard M; Soria, Roberto; Reines, Amy E; Greene, Jenny E; Anderson, Gemma E; Baldassare, Vivienne F; Owens, Milo G; Urquhart, Ryan T; Gallo, Elena; Miller-Jones, James C A; Paul, Jeremiah D; Rollings, Alexandar P (Oxford University Press, 2023-01)
    Owing to their quiet evolutionary histories, nearby dwarf galaxies (stellar masses M⋆≲3×109M⊙⁠) have the potential to teach us about the mechanism(s) that ‘seeded’ the growth of supermassive black holes, and also how the ...
  • Auger electron spectroscopy mapping of lithium niobate ferroelectric domains with nano-scale resolution 

    McLoughlin, Torrey; Babbitt, Wm. Randall; Nakagawa, Wataru (Optica Publishing Group, 2022-12)
    The +/−Z ferroelectric domains in periodically poled lithium niobate are characterized with Auger electron spectroscopy. The -Z domains have a higher Auger O-KLL transition amplitude than the +Z domains. Based on this, ...
  • First Flight of the EUV Snapshot Imaging Spectrograph (ESIS) 

    Parker, Jacob D.; Smart, Roy T.; Kankelborg, Charles; Winebarger, Amy; Goldsworth, Nelson (American Astronomical Society, 2022-10)
    The Extreme-ultraviolet Snapshot Imaging Spectrograph (ESIS) launched on a sounding rocket from White Sands Missile Range on 2019 September 30. ESIS is a computed tomography imaging spectrograph (CTIS) designed to map ...
  • Intermediate-mass black holes and the Fundamental Plane of black hole accretion 

    Gültekin, Kayhan; Nyland, Kristina; Gray, Nichole; Fehmer, Greg; Huang, Tianchi; Sparkman, Matthew; Reines, Amy E; Greene, Jenny E; Cackett, Edward M; Baldassare, Vivienne (Oxford University Press, 2022-09)
    We present new 5 GHz Very Large Array observations of a sample of eight active intermediate-mass black holes with masses 104.9 M⊙ < M < 106.1 M⊙ found in galaxies with stellar masses M* < 3 × 109 M⊙. We detected five of ...
  • Extracting the Heliographic Coordinates of Coronal Rays Using Images from WISPR/Parker Solar Probe 

    Liewer, P. C.; Qiu, J.; Ark, F.; Penteado, P.; Stenborg, G.; Vourlidas, A.; Hall, J. R.; Riley, P. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-09)
    The Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR) onboard Parker Solar Probe (PSP), observing in white light, has a fixed angular field of view, extending from 13.5∘ to 108∘ from the Sun and approximately 50∘ in the transverse ...
  • Nano-scale ferroelectric domain differentiation in periodically poled lithium niobate with auger electron spectroscopy 

    McLoughlin, Torrey; Babbitt, Wm. Randall; Nakagawa, Wataru (Optica Publishing Group, 2022-03)
    A new method for characterizing lithium niobate +/-Z ferroelectric polarization domains using Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) is presented. The domains of periodically poled samples are found to be differentiable using ...
  • Hundreds of Low-mass Active Galaxies in the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) Survey 

    Salehirad, Sheyda; Reines, Amy E.; Molina, Mallory (American Astronomical Society, 2022-09)
    We present an entirely new sample of 388 low-mass galaxies (M ⋆ ≤ 1010 M ⊙) that have spectroscopic signatures indicating the presence of massive black holes (BHs) in the form of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) or tidal ...
  • Determining the Spectral Content of MOSES Images 

    Parker, Jacob D.; Kankelborg, Charles C (American Astronomical Society, 2022-06)
    The Multi-Order Solar Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrograph (MOSES) sounding rocket was launched from White Sands Missile Range on 2006 February 8th, to capture images of the Sun in the He ii 303.8 Å emission line. MOSES is a ...
  • Wandering Black Hole Candidates in Dwarf Galaxies at VLBI Resolution 

    Sargent, Andrew J.; Johnson, Megan C.; Reines, Amy E.; Secrest, Nathan J.; van der Horst, Alexander J.; Cigan, Phil J.; Darling, Jeremy; Greene, Jenny E. (American Astronomical Society, 2022-07)
    Thirteen dwarf galaxies have recently been found to host radio-selected accreting massive black hole (MBH) candidates, some of which are “wandering” in the outskirts of their hosts. We present 9 GHz Very Long Baseline Array ...
  • Fossil turtle eggs from the Upper Cretaceous Gaogou Formation, Xiaguan-Gaoqiu Basin, Neixiang County, Henan Province, China: Interpretation of the transformation from aragonite to calcite in fossil turtle eggshell 

    Xu, Li; Xie, Junfang; Zhang, Shukang; Choi, Seung; Kim, Noe-Heon; Gao, Diansong; Jin, Xingsheng; Jia, Songhai; Gao, Yongli (Elsevier BV, 2022-06)
    In 2007, a clutch of approximately 30 fossil eggs reported from the Upper Cretaceous Gaogou Formation, Xiaguan-Gaoqiu Basin, Neixiang County, Henan Province, China was assigned to the oofamily “Crocodiloolithidae”. After ...
  • Environmental Factors Affecting Feather Taphonomy 

    Schweitzer, Mary Higby; Zheng, Wenxia; Equall, Nancy (MDPI AG, 2022-05)
    The exceptional preservation of feathers in the fossil record has led to a better understanding of both phylogeny and evolution. Here we address factors that may have contributed to the preservation of feathers in ancient ...
  • Thermal transport in two-dimensional nematic superconductors 

    Choudhury, Sourav Sen; Peterson, Sean; Idzerda, Yves (American Physical Society, 2022-06)
    We study the thermal transport in a two-dimensional system with coexisting superconducting (SC) and nematic orders. We analyze the nature of the coexistence phase in a tight-binding square lattice where the nematic state ...

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