George Washington University

Department of Physics

Corcoran Hall
725 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
(202) 994-6275
(202) 994-3001 (fax)

http://physics.columbian.gwu.edu/

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Research Specialties and Staff

Research Specialties and Staff

George Washington University

Specialties for Degree Program

Research specialty Degree type
PhD
(Theoretical/Experimental)
Master's
(Final degree/Enroute to PhD)
Astrophysics Both Both
Biophysics Both Both
Energy Research Both Both
Nuclear Physics Both Both
Physics and other Science Education Both Both

Departmental Research and Staff

THEORETICAL

Astrophysics

The Astrophysics Group has tripled in size over the past 3 years. Its faculty, postdocs, and students perform cutting-edge high-energy astrophysics research. We apply our expertise in astrophysics, nuclear and particle physics, to the exotic processes occurring near extremely dense and compact objects, such as white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. Some of these processes, such as extremely strong magnetic and gravity fields, stellar collapse, stellar mergers, and matter falling into black holes, are impossible to duplicate on Earth. They are responsible for powerful distant sources of light, neutrinos, and gravity waves. We study neutron stars, magnetars, black holes, X-ray and gamma-ray binaries, and gamma-ray bursts to understand the physics of these systems. Six astrophysics faculty are strongly committed to providing solid graduate education adopted to the needs of modern-day astronomy and astrophysics. We work hard to ensure that students get involved in research as early as possible and have enough time to publish their original research and make themselves noticeable. For further information, click on Astrophysics Group Webpage.
Bethany Cobb Kung, Kalvir Dhuga, Sylvain Guiriec, Oleg Kargaltsev, Chryssa Kouveliotou, Alexander van der Horst

Biophysics

The Theoretical Biophysics Group currently consists of our four faculty members, and associated postdoctoral associates, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Current research interests of the faculty members are as follows: Ganhui Lan - Theoretical analysis of biochemical networks for cells to maintain their precise temporal and spatial regulation; computational modeling of intracellular assembling processes. Weiqun Peng - Computation study of functional genomics, epigenomics, and gene regulation; bioinformatics; mathematical modeling of evolutionary dynamics. Guanyu Wang - Physical Oncology, disease modeling, and bionetwork analysis. Chen Zeng - Computational modeling and design of protein structures and numerical studies of bionetworks' robustness and evolvability. To learn more, click on the Biophysics Group's Web site.
Neil Johnson, Weiqun Peng, Chen Zeng

Nuclear Physics

The theoretical nuclear physics research group aims to understand the structure and interactions of photons, hadrons, and nuclei at low and intermediate energy scales. It employs a variety of theoretical tools, such as lattice QCD and QCD sum rules, coupled-channels analysis, relativistic reaction theories, and effective field theories. For more information, click on the Theoretical Nulcear Physics Web site.
Andrei Afanasev, Andrei Alexandru, Michael Doering, Harald Griesshammer, Helmut Haberzettl, Frank Lee, Donald Lehman, Igor Strakovsky, Ron Workman

EXPERIMENTAL

Astrophysics

The GWU Physics Faculty has a long tradition in Astrophysics going back to George Gamow, the developer of the hot Big Bang Theory of the Universe. The group has recently expanded with the hire of 3 new faculty members specializing in multiwavelength observational high-energy Astrophysics. Our current interests center on understanding the underlying physical processes of explosive transients (such as Gamma-Ray Bursts) and the emission processes near extremely compact and dense objects, such as magnetized neutron stars and black holes. We study these processes through the analysis of X-ray and gamma-ray data that have been collected by a number of space-borne telescopes. Astrophysics faculty and students use world's best space observatories (Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, Fermi Gamma-ray Observatory) as well as state-of-the-art optical and radio observations on the ground (with with JVLA, LOFAR, GTC). The GW group closely collaborates with colleagues at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and Naval Research Laboratory. For further information, click on Astrophysics Group Webpage.
Bethany Cobb Kung, Kalvir Dhuga, Sylvain Guiriec, Oleg Kargaltsev, Chryssa Kouveliotou, Alexander van der Horst

Biophysics

The experimental biophysics group currently consists of faculty members, Mark Reeves and Xiangyun Qiu, and their graduate and undergraduate students. The group features expertise in scanning probe-based near-field microscopy; detection of biomolecules by localized surface plasmon sensing; analysis of biomolecular structure, interaction, and functional relationships; X-ray and neutron scattering; and osmotic stress methods for modifying cellular components. These techniques are being applied to the study of electronic materials, biomaterials, and to problems in cellular biological physics. Our expertise allows our students to study structural linkages in proteins and crystalline systems, and to study biological and electronic functionality through sub-wavelength length-scale probes of the electromagnetic response of materials. Collaborations with federal laboratories (NRL, ORNL, NIH, and NIST) and with faculty in chemistry, biology, and in the medical school allow us to address a wide array of research questions. New approaches to investigating protein functionality are being developed, based on the electronic and optical response of self-assembled nanoparticle systems. To learn more, click on the Biophysics Group's Web site.
Xiangyun Qui, Mark Reeves

Nuclear Physics

The focus of the experimental nuclear physics group remains the understanding of the strong interaction in the nuclear medium. Our intention is to measure the elementary amplitudes for meson photoproduction and baryon excitation on the nucleon and see how they are modified in the nuclear medium, particularly in the light nuclei, where the nuclear density changes dramatically with very little change in nuclear size. To learn more, click on the GW Experimental Nuclear Physics Research Group's Web site.
William Briscoe, Kalvir Dhuga, Evangeline Downie, Gerald Feldman, Axel Schmidt, Igor Strakovsky, Ron Workman

Physics and other Science Education

Peer instruction: Developing and testing large collection of ConcepTests, organizing coherent sequences (ConcepModules), linking conceptual questions with numerical problems. Thinking skills curriculum: Taxonomy of physics problems (based on Marzano); develop cognitive skills necessary for problem-solving; problem-solving protocol (GW–ACCESS). Collaborative SCALEUP classroom: Students work in cooperatively groups; full integration of lecture; recitation and laboratory; entirely focused on students (instructor as coach).
William Briscoe, Gerald Feldman, Mark Reeves, Ron Workman

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