Physics

The mission of the Physics Department is to educate and train the next generation of physicists, perform cutting-edge and internationally-recognized research, and support the education of students in allied areas such as engineering, chemistry, atmospheric science, and the biological sciences.

Our undergraduate program prepares physics majors for employment in industrial research or for further graduate studies in physics or related fields, including astrophysics, space physics, optics, biophysics, engineering, or medicine. We further play a vital role in the education of other science and engineering students, and promote the understanding and appreciation of physics through our general study courses. Externally funded research is the foundation of our graduate program, which prepares our students for scientific challenges in private industry, government labs, or academia. We also encourage our undergraduate physics majors to participate in departmental research endeavors. Finally, we promote the advancement of science through publications, public outreach, and other activities within our profession.

At a Glance

Optics Building

The Department of Physics at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has 21 faculty members, and offers BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Physics, as well as an MS degree in Optics and Photonics Technology.

Contact Us

Optics Building
Room 201 B
Huntsville AL 35899
 256.824.2483

Physics (PH) Catalog Material

JUMP - Joint Undergrad Master's Program

The JUMP in Physics program offers the opportunity for undergraduate students to study at the graduate level and to potentially reduce the time and cost needed to obtain a terminal Physics Master's with thesis degree.

Nanophotonic and Quantum Devices Lab

Waylin Wing, PhD candidate, and Prof. Seyed Sadeghi in Nanophotonic and Quantum Devices Lab at the UAH Physics Department.


News

2014 Graduates

2014 Graduates Kristen Lackeos and Eric Zirnstein, with their advisors Richard Lieu and Jacob Heerikhuisen, respectively.

Dr. Carol Strong

Dr. Carol Strong was awarded the University Teaching Prize, the Oscar of UAH awards. She was the first among thousands to climb the Commencement platform.

Dr. Ashley Lindley

Astrophysicist Dr Ashley Lindley is our latest PhD graduate. Her adviser is Prof. Bonamente, and her topic is clusters of galaxies.

Don1ccs

Don Gregory was conferred as Distinguished Professor on April 4th, 2014. This is the highest academic rank in UAH, and only about a dozen faculty in the whole history of the University have the status. Congratulations, Don!

ESO 137-001

This Hubble image shows spiral galaxy ESO 137-001, framed against a bright background as it moves through the heart of galaxy cluster Abell 3627. The data for this image comes from the Hubble Space Telescope project 12377, with UAH's Dr. Ming Sun as principal investigator.

NASA, ESA, Ming Sun (UAH), and Serge Meunier
Physics Holiday

Physics graduate students dine with UAH President Dr. Altenkirch and Physics Chair Dr. Lieu in the Physics Success Center to celebrate the holidays.

Physics Holiday

Four professors at the Physics holiday lunch in the Physics Success Center.


Physics Department News

News July - September 2014

Press Release

UAH Press release by Dr Richard Miller: Scientists work may lead to mission to find out what's inside asteroids, 2 Sep 2014 (over 50,200 website posts, tweets, or direct references to this release).

WAAY-TV, `Asteroid Research and Earth's Near Miss' hosted Dr Richard Miller as the interviewee and subject matter expert, 8 Sept., 2014 (story followed up by multiple other stations nationwide).

WAFF-TV, "Strong Solar Storm Heading to Earth", hosted Dr Richard Miller as the interviewee and subject matter expert on 12 Sept., 2014.

Dr Sadeghi's work with his PhD student Ms Kira Patty was covered by two venues: the American Institute of Physics (AIP), and Optics and Photonics News (OPN).

Funding

Two observing proposals of the Chandra X-ray astronomy mission were awarded to Dr Ming Sun, totaling $74,000.

Publications

Nishikawa, K.-I., B. Zhang, I. Dutan, M. Medvedev, P. Hardee, E.-J. Choi, K. Min, J. Niemiec, Y. Mizuno, A. Nordlund, J. Frederiksen, H. Sol, M. Pohl, & D. H. Hartmann, Magnetic field generation via the kinetic Kelvin-Helmholtz instability in core-sheath jets, 2014, ApJ, 793, 60 (arXiv:1405.5247)

Lieu, R., Kibble, T.W.B., and Duan. L., A method to improve the sensitivity of radiotelescopes, 014, ApJ in press (arXiv:1409.7039).

Student News

Undergraduate students of Dr Ken Nishikawa: Kyle Rattle and Qiana Hunt (June - August 2014). Short workshop on kinetic study of astrophysical jets with particle-in-cell code: From introduction to recent research with 3-D illustration of jets with current filaments and magnetic field lines to understand the physics involved. They presented 15 minute talk using Powerpoint. They also prepared a short reports. They will present a poster at 7th Annual Wernher Von Braun Memorial Symposium Student Poster Competition.

Dr Richard Miller was the Invited Speaker of the Public Outreach Event `Astrophysics and Planetary Science' at Bob Jones High School on 19 Sep 2014.


News May - July 2014

Awards

Don Gregory and his graduate student Tomasz Lis are members of a NASA/MSFC team that has been awarded a NASA Headquarters Hands On Project Experience (HOPE) Group Achievement Award for their contribution to the recent balloon flight of HEROES (High Energy Replicated Optics to Explore the Sun). Gregory and Lis designed and built the optical system that monitored the X-ray telescope's critical alignment to the star camera used for position determination.

Funding

Ming Sun won NASA XMM grant of $67,500, on Nearby, low-mass Planck clusters and the extension of scaling relations.

Deep mapping of small solar system bodies with Galactic cosmic ray secondary particle showers, NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase II Proposal selected (among ;only 4 others) for a total funding amount of $500,000. The UAH co-investigator of this effort is Richard Miller.

Publications

Nishikawa, Ken-ichi, et al, Magnetic field generation via the kinetic Kelvin-Helmholtz instability in core-sheath jets, ApJ, September 10, 2014 (arXiv:1405.5247)

Choi, E. J., K. Min, Ken-Ichi Nishikawa, & C. R. Choi, A Study on the Evolution of Relativistic Electron-Ion Shock Using 3D PIC Simulations, Physics of Plasmas, 21, 072905, 2014 (arXiv:1407.4540).

P. Jachym, F. Combes, L. Cortest, Ming Sun, J. D. P. Kenney, Abundant molecular gas and inefficient star formation in intracluster regions: Ram pressure stripped tail of the Norma galaxy ESO137-001,  ApJ, in press, 2014 (arXiv:1403.2328).

E. Roediger, M. Brüggen, M.S. Owers, H. Ebeling, Ming Sun, Star formation in shocked cluster spirals and their tails, MNRAS, 2014 (arXiv:1405.1033).

L. David, Ming Sun, et al.,Molecular Gas in the X-ray Bright Group NGC 5044 as Revealed by ALMA, ApJ, in press, 2014 (arXiv:1407.3235).

S.M. Sadeghi, Dynamics of plasmonic field polarization induced by quantum coherence in quantum dot-metallic nanoshell structures, Optics Letters, in press, 2014.

S.M. Sadeghi and K.D.Patty, Investigation of coherent molecular resonances in quantum dot–metallic nanoparticle systems using their spontaneous emission, J. of Luminescence, vol. 155, 315, 2014.

Presentations and Special Citations

Invited talk by Ming Sun in the conference, "X-ray View of Galaxy Ecosystems".

New insights into the polar depth distribution of Hydrogen at the lunar poles, Oral Presentation by Richard Miller, NASA Exploration Science Forum, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA.

Radiation from accelerated particles in relativistic jets with shocks, shear-flow, and reconnection, an oral presentation by Ken-Ichi Nishikawa in Paris (France), June, 17, 2014 at Gamma-Ray Bursts in the Multi-messenger Era.

The Lunar Occultation Explorer (LOX), Poster Presentation by Richard Miller, NASA Exploration Science Forum, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA.

Invited talks by Lingze Duan at the Chinese Academy of Science, the National Institute of Metrology, Peking University, and the University of Science and Technology of China.

Invited presentations by Lingze Duan at the NSF Workshop for CAREER Awardees in Photonics, held by the NSF EPMD Program in June in San Jose, CA.

Review citation of Richard Miller, Remote Sensing of Chemical Elements Using Nuclear Spectroscopy (T.H. Prettyman), in Encyclopedia of the Solar System, Elsevier (2014).

Student News

Eric Zirnstein earned the PhD degree in Physics by successfully defending his thesis `Simulating Hydrogen Energetic Neutral Atom Flux Measurements for NASA's IBEX Mission' on June 9, 2014.  His adviser is Prof. Jacob Heerikhuisen.

Tae Kim earned the PhD degree in Physics by successfully defending his thesis `Modeling the solar wind outflow using boundary conditions from interplanetary scintillation observations' on June 13, 2014.  His adviser is Prof. Nicolai Pogorelov.

Professional Services

Ming Sun was Deputy chair of Chandra review cycle 16.

Massimilliam Bonamente was on Chandra review cycle 16 panel.

Ken-Ichi Nishikawa was on Chandra review cycle 16 panel.

Ken-Ichi Nishikawa reviewed proposals for the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and Czech Science Foundation.


News March - April 2014

Talks and Presentations

Invited Talk by Prof. Ming Sun at the "X-ray view of galaxy ecosystems" conference hosted by the Chandra X-ray Center at Boston, MA (June, 2014).

"The Lunar Occultation Explorer - A Nuclear Astrophysics Mission Concept",  an Invited Talk by Prof. Richard Miller, Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory (28 Feb 2014).

"Identification of Surface Hydrogen Enhancements Within the Moon's Shackleton Crater", an Invited Talk by Prof. Richard Miller at the Lunar Volatiles Conference ( 17 April 2014).

"Muon Radiography as a Probe of the Interior Structure of Small Solar System Bodies", a Presentation by Prof. Richard Miller at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (16-21 March 2014).

"Professor debunks ET theory surrounding NASA pics", Prof. Richard Miller on the Panel, Communicating Science Workshop, UAH Honors College (3 April 2014).

Prof. Richard Miller as the Topical Expert,WAFF News & nationally (9 April 2014).

Publications

"Spatial Growth of the Current-Driven Instability in Relativistic Jets", Mizuno, Y., Hardee, P. E. and Nishikawa, K.-I.,  ApJ, 784, 167, (2014).

"Magnetic Field Amplification and Saturation in Turbulence Behind a Relativistic Shock" ,Mizuno, Y., Pohl, M., Niemiec, J., Zhang, B., Nishikawa, K.-I., and Hardee, P. E., MNRAS, 439, 3490, (2014).

"A Study on the Evolution of Relativistic Electron-Ion Shock Using 3D PIC Simulations", Choi, E. J. , Min, K., Nishikawa K. -I, and Choi, C.R., Physics of Plasmas, submitted (2014).

"Magnetic field generation via the kinetic Kelvin-Helmholtz instability in core-sheath jets", Nishikawa, K.-I., et al, ApJ, submitted, (2014).

"Abundant molecular gas and inefficient star formation in intracluster regions: Ram pressure stripped tail of the Norma galaxy ESO137-001", Jachym, P., Combes, F., Cortese, Luca, Sun, M., and Kenney, J.D.P., ApJ submitted (2014).

"Bound orbits and virialized systems in a dark energy Universe', Lieu, R., and Lackeos, K., ApJ, submitted (2014).

Education

PhD graduation of Ashley Lindley, on "Mass Function of clusters of galaxies by X-ray and SZ studies", adviser M. Bonamente (Feb. 2014).

Adviser & Committee Member, M.S. Thesis (Jason Waggoner, MAE), "An Evaluation of a Passively Cooled Cylindrical Spectrometer Array in Lunar Orbit"

Awards and Distinctions

Conferment of the title of Distinguished Professor to D.A. Gregory, UAH Physics Department (April 2014).

University Teaching Award to Dr Carol Strong, UAH Physics Department (April 2014).

UAH College of Science Teaching Award to Dr Carol Strong, UAH Physics Department (April 2014).

Ten-Year Service Award to Prof. Richard Miller, UAH Physics Department (April 2014).

UAH College of Science Graduate Student Award to Eric Zirnstein (April 2014).


News February - March 2014

Recent Publications

Mizuno, Y., Hardee, P. E. & Nishikawa, K.-I., Spatial Growth of the Current-Driven Instability in Relativistic Jets, ApJ, in press, 2014 (arXiv:1402.2370)

Mizuno, Y., Pohl, M., Niemiec, J., Zhang, B., Nishikawa, K.-I., & Hardee, P. E., Magnetic Field Amplification and Saturation in Turbulence Behind a Relativistic Shock, MNRAS, in press, 2014 (arXiv:1401.7080)

Canning, R. E. A.; Sun, M. et al. 2013, MNRAS, 435, 1108, "A multiwavelength view of cooling versus AGN heating in the X-ray luminous cool-core of Abell 3581"

Zhang, B.; Sun, M. et al. 2013, ApJ, 777, 122, "The Narrow X-Ray Tail and Double Hα Tails of ESO 137-002 in A3627"

N. Werner, J. B. R. Oonk, M. Sun et al. MNRAS, 2014, in press, arXiv:1310.5450, "The origin of cold gas in giant elliptical galaxies and its role in fueling radio-mode AGN feedback"

J. S. Sanders, A. C. Fabian, M. Sun et al. MNRAS, 2014, in press, arXiv:1401.3131, "The X-ray coronae of the two brightest galaxies in the Coma cluster"

R.S. Miller, D.J. Lawrence, D.M. Hurley, 2014, "Identification of surface hydrogen enhancements within the Moon's Shackleton crater", Icarus, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2014.02.007

Conference talks

XXVII Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics, December 8-13, 2013; Title: Radiation from accelerated particles in relativistic jets with shocks, shear-flow, and reconnection; Speaker: Nishikawa, K.-I.