Syracuse University

Department of Physics

201 Physics Building
Syracuse, NY 13244-1130
(315) 443-3901
(315) 443-9103 (fax)

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Research Specialties and Staff

Research Specialties and Staff

Syracuse University

Specialties for Degree Program

Research specialty Degree type
(Final degree/Enroute to PhD)
Astrophysics Both Both
Biophysics Both Both
Computational Physics Theoretical Both
Condensed Matter Physics Both Both
Cosmology Theoretical Both
Energy Sources & Environment Experimental Both
High Energy Physics Both Both
Low Temperature Physics Experimental Both
Medical, Health Physics Experimental Both
Nano Science and Technology Experimental Both
Nuclear Physics Experimental Both
Particles and Fields Theoretical Both
Relativity & Gravitation Both Both
Soft Matter Both Both
Statistical & Thermal Physics Theoretical Both
Surface Physics Both Both

Departmental Research and Staff



Collective behavior of biological molecules, especially actins and motor proteins; interaction of living cells to form structure; pattern formation of active material; rheology of biological tissue.
Mark Bowick, M. Lisa Manning, M. Marchetti, Jennifer Schwarz

Computational Physics

Gravitational-wave data analysis and source modeling; grid computing; connections between algorithms and physical principles; study of condensed-matter order and optimal distributions on curved interfaces; analysis of phase transitions and phase structure in disordered systems; simulations of lattice quantum field theories; numerical simulations on parallel computers; technicolor and supersymmetric theories; models beyond Standard Model Physics.
Mark Bowick, Duncan Brown, Simon Catterall, John Laiho, Alan Middleton

Condensed Matter Physics

Soft condensed-matter physics; statistical mechanics; nonequilibrium dynamics including two-dimensional matter, collective behavior of biological molecules, interaction of living cells, jamming in granular materials, superconductors, hysteresis in magnets, colloidal particles, topological defects, glassy materials, networks, and relationship between algorithms and physics.
Mark Bowick, M. Lisa Manning, M. Marchetti, Alan Middleton, Jennifer Schwarz

Cosmology & String Theory

Theoretical models of dark and cosmic acceleration; inflation and alternatives; origin and evolution of cosmological structures.
Simon Catterall, Jay Hubisz, Scott Watson

Particles and Fields

Quantum gravity; supersymmetry; renormalization theory; chiral symmetries; monopoles and dyons in curved space-time; noncommutative geometry; random surfaces, electroweak theory; quantum chromodynamics; general quantum field theory; constrained field theories; geometric quantization; phenomenological particle dynamics; simulations of lattice QCD; supersymmetric field theories on space-time lattices; quark gluon plasma. Particle cosmology. Theories with extra dimensions. Simulations of lattice quantum field theories; technicolor and supersymmetric theories; holographic models of strings; models beyond Standard Model physics.
Simon Catterall, Jay Hubisz, John Laiho, Carl Rosenzweig, Scott Watson



Laboratory studies of physical and chemical processes occurring in the interstellar medium and in planetary atmospheres, including formation of molecular hydrogen and hydrogenation and oxidation reaction on interstellar and/or planetary dust grain analogs.
Gianfranco Vidali


Single-molecule biophysics; membrane biophysics; bionanotechnology and biosensors; protein design; development of new optical technologies; photosensory transduction in microorganisms; bioinformatics; self-organized beating of cilia; phylogenetics and molecular clocks.
Liviu Movileanu, Alison Patteson

Condensed Matter Physics

Much of the activity in this area is described under low-temperature physics and under solar physics. Additionally, soft condensed matter physics: tabletop experiments studying nonlinear and emergent behaviors in soft systems; examples include the wrinkling, crumpling, and folding of thin elastic sheets, and the arrangements of solid particles in a sludge. These scenarios feature soft, easily deformed materials that are common in nature and industry. The overarching goal is to uncover the fundamental principles that govern their behavior when they are pushed far away from the low-energy or spatially-uniform states that they prefer.
Matthew LaHaye, Joseph Paulsen, Britton Plourde, Eric Schiff

High Energy Physics

Experimental studies of the fundamental electroweak and strong interactions as manifested by the decays of beauty and charm quarks and the search for exotic particles; b & c quark decays are studied at the LHCb experiment at the CERN LHC hadron collider Geneva, Switzerland, concentrating on rare and CP violating decays; searches for exotic particle production, including unusual decays of the Higgs boson, are also done using LHCb; study of nucleon structure, including spin and quark components carried out at JLab; R&D into advanced silicon micro-pattern detectors, such as pixel sensors, and their related readout electronics. Members of the group have discovered several new particles, including the B, Ds, and Y(1D); made the first measurements of several very important decay modes of these objects; and is also starting an effort in neutrino physics.
Marina Artuso, Steven Blusk, Richard Holmes, Raymond Mountain, Tomasz Skwarnicki, Mitchell Soderberg, Paul Souder, Sheldon Stone, Jianchun Wang, Denver Whittington

Low Temperature Physics

Quantum coherent superconducting circuits; measurement and coupling of circuits for quantum computing; vortex dynamics in nanofabricated thin-film devices; superconducting microwave resonant circuits; nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS); quantum dynamics of mechanical systems; sensitive environmental gas and biosensors; measurements at millikelvin temperatures.
Matthew LaHaye, Britton Plourde

Nano Science and Technology

Much of the activity in this area is described under low-temperature physics (for example nanoscopic mechanical systems) and under biophysics (nanopore technology).
Matthew LaHaye, Liviu Movileanu, Britton Plourde

Nuclear Physics

Medium-energy physics: use of spin degrees of freedom to study quantum chromodynamics and the Standard Model at low energies. Experiments are under way at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab).
Richard Holmes, Paul Souder

Relativity & Gravitation

Gravitational-wave detection and astrophysics: searches for gravitational waves using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO); commissioning and technology development for advanced gravitational wave detectors; gravitational wave source modeling and phenomenology; developing tests of general relativity using gravitational waves.
Stefan Ballmer, Duncan Brown, Peter Saulson

Solar Physics

Electronic and optical properties of unconventional semiconductors (e.g., amorphous silicon, porous titania, and silicon); solar cell device physics; thin-film growth (plasma, hot-wire); hybrid organic-inorganic semiconductor devices; v surface physics (i.e., structure, kinetics, dynamics, and reactions).
Eric Schiff

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