Physics Department Faculty at WSU

[Amiri | Armstrong | Arnold | Carroll | Galli | Inglefield | Johnston | Ostlie | Palen | Schroeder | Sohl | Spjeldvik]


Amiri_s.gif (13628 bytes)Farhang Amiri, Professor (Ph.D. Theoretical High Energy Physics, 1981, Florida State University).

Dr. Amiri has primarily been interested in applying quantum chromodynamics (QCD) to high energy processes. The idea is to use QCD to describe the production of particles detected in experiments at a number of high energy physics laboratories. Dr. Amiri's work in this area has resulted in several publications in various physics journals. His current research interests include the production of heavy mesons in electron-positron annihilation, the neutrino mass, the production and detection of Higgs particles, and electroweak effects.

Dr. Amiri has also been involved in the applications of computers to physics education. His has recently published work on the use of Mathematica in quantum mechanics.   Since June 1997, Dr. Amiri (in collaboration with Dr. Bradley Carroll) has been involved in developing computer simulations to illustrate physics concepts.  The project is titled "An Interactive Conceptual Physics Course Designed for On-Demand, Remote Access," is being funded by the Utah System of Higher Education Technology and Distance Education Initiative, and involves a collaboration with the University of Utah (Dr. Sid Rudolph) and Brigham Young University (Dr. Dorian Hatch and Dr. Phillip Dukes).

Phone: (801) 626-6199
FAX: (801) 626-7445
e-mail: famiri@weber.edu
Web site for courses: http://physics.weber.edu/amiri/phsx2010/

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John C. Armstrong, Research Professor (Ph.D. Astronomy and Astrobiology, 2003, University of Washington)

Dr. Armstrong's research focuses on the climates of Earth-like planets, in our own solar system and beyond. Projects include studying polar water ice deposits on Mars using the latest orbital imagery, connecting the current environment of the Great Salt Lake to possible ancient Martian habitats through detailed climate models, and exploring the nature of earth-like planets orbiting other stars. This interdisciplinary research gives students an opportunity to explore the connections between physics, chemistry, microbiology, and geology. The focus is on employing modern computational methods (high performance and parallel computing) to study detailed climate systems.

In addition to astronomy and physics, Dr. Armstrong's teaching interests include astrobiology, climate studies, and mentoring students in the use of high performance parallel computing systems.

Go to Dr. Armstrong's personal web page at http://aeon.physics.weber.edu/jca/.

Phone: (801) 626-6215
FAX: (801) 626-7445
email: jcarmstrong@weber.edu

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Michelle Arnold, Assistant Professor (Ph.D. Medical Physics, 2000, McMaster University)

Dr. Arnoldís research area is a unique application of nuclear physics in which x-ray fluorescence (XRF) is used to measure elemental composition. This technique involves using a radioactive source to excite atoms of interest. When these excited atoms return back to their ground state they emit characteristic x-rays which can then be measured with a gamma detector. The energy of these x-rays depends on the electron shell spacing for that element, and therefore every element has unique x-ray energies. Measuring the energies of the x-rays emitted can then be used to determine elemental composition. XRF has been used to measure many different elements, such as lead, nickel, copper, uranium, arsenic, gold and silver. Some of the applications of XRF have included measuring paints, soil samples, archeological specimens, gasoline and hygiene products. Dr. Arnoldís research focuses on the use of XRF to non-invasively measure the concentration of lead in human bones, which is representative of a personís long term lead exposure history and can be used in assessing the personís risk for developing symptoms of lead poisoning.

Go to Dr. Arnold's personal web page at http://physics.weber.edu/arnold.

Phone: (801) 626-7982
FAX: (801) 626-7445
email: marnold@weber.edu

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  Bradley W. Carroll, Professor (Ph.D. Astrophysics, 1981, University of Colorado, Boulder).

Dr. Carroll is now serving as the Chair of the Physics Department.  Dr. Carroll's research interests include the structure and non-radial pulsation of upper main-sequence stars, white dwarfs, and neutron stars. These oscillations are numerically modeled using computer programs. Other research has involved modeling astrophysical accretion disks and studies of vertebrate dispersal in ecology. The results of this research have been published in journals and presented at various professional meetings.

Dr. Carroll has coauthored two upper-division, undergraduate astrophysics texts with Dr. Dale Ostlie, An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, and An Introduction to Modern Stellar Astrophysics, published by Addison-Wesley Longman, ©1996. He has also worked with Dr. Spencer Seager and Dr. Michelle More of the Chemistry Department to develop a hands-on elementary education course, "Principles of Physical Science."

Since June 1997, Dr. Carroll (in collaboration with Dr. Farhang Amiri) has been involved in developing computer simulations to illustrate physics concepts.   The project is titled "An Interactive Conceptual Physics Course Designed for On-Demand, Remote Access," is being funded by the Utah System of Higher Education Technology and Distance Education Initiative, and involves a collaboration with the University of Utah (Dr. Sid Rudolph) and Brigham Young University (Dr. Dorian Hatch and Dr. Phillip Dukes).

Go to Dr. Carroll's personal homepage at http://physics.weber.edu/carroll.

Phone: (801) 626-7921
FAX: (801) 626-7445
e-mail: bcarroll@weber.edu
e-mail regarding An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics: modastro@weber.edu

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Galli_s.gif (22947 bytes)J. Ronald Galli, Professor (Ph.D. Solid State Physics, 1963, University of Utah).

Dr. Galli has served as the chair of the Physics Department from 1964-1970 and from 1983 to 1995.  As such, he has assisted with the planning and development of the many existing Physics programs. Dr. Galli served as Dean of the College of Science from 1995 to 2003.  His research interests include the study of fractals and their relationship to chaos. He has also received national attention regarding the demonstration and explanation of how a falling cat can perform a torque-free twist and land on its feet. Dr. Galli has constructed a mechanical model of a cat which duplicates this feat.

Dr. Galli is also actively involved in developing and using lecture demonstrations to illustrate various physical concepts. Many of those novel demonstrations have been presented in the meetings of the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Phone: (801) 626-6158
FAX: (801) 626-7445
e-mail: jgalli@weber.edu

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Inglefield_s.gif (25474 bytes)Colin Inglefield, Associate Professor (Ph.D. Solid State Physics, 1998, University of Utah)

Dr. Inglefield’s research focuses on experimental studies of semiconductors and semiconductor devices. Previously, Dr. Inglefield studied the optical properties of III-V semiconductors, i.e. semiconductors consisting of elements from column III and column V of the periodic table, at low temperatures. Current research interests include the macroscopic and microscopic properties of interfaces of III-V and other semiconductors. An apparatus is being built to study the reflectance of exposed surfaces and buried interfaces and the dependence of the reflectance on various parameters. Typical information obtained from such measurements includes the electronic energy levels associated with the interfaces, the degree of inhomogeneity of an interface, and the presence of internal electric fields associated with defects at interfaces. With the department’s Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) structural properties of semiconductors and semiconductor interfaces at scales as small as interatomic distances can be studied. This type of microscopic information is very important to the design and fabrication of semiconductor devices. Of particular interest are systems in which microscopic information from the AFM may be correlated with (macroscopic) optical measurements of surface quality.

Phone: (801) 626-6127
FAX: (801) 626-7445
e-mail: cinglefield@weber.edu
Dr. Inglefield's Research Group Homepage:  http://physics.weber.edu/inglefield

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Johnston_s.gif (36541 bytes)Adam Johnston, Associate Professor (Ph.D., Physics Education, 2000, University of Utah).

Dr. Johnston's interests are in physics education.  Dr. Johnston is currently investigating how students' conceptions of science develop and change in different situations.  He has recently received a Research, Scholarship, and Professional Growth grant (co-authored with Dr. Carroll) to develop a version of the general education physics course (PHSX 1010) taught at Weber State's satellite campus in Davis County.   This course has evolved into a new course called "Physics of the Mundane."

Go to Dr. Johnston's personal home page at http://physics.weber.edu/johnston/.

Phone: (801) 626-7711
FAX: (801) 626-7445
e-mail: ajohnston@weber.edu

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Ostlie_s.gif (26561 bytes)Dale A. Ostlie, Professor (Ph.D. Astrophysics, 1982, Iowa State University).

Dr. Ostlie served as the Chair of the Physics Department from 1995 to 2003; he is now serving as the Dean of the College of Science. Dr. Ostlie's ongoing research interests include stellar structure and stellar pulsation theory. This work involves the numerical modeling of stellar interiors and simulating the physical processes involved. In particular Dr. Ostlie is interested in the effects of time-dependent convection on the pulsation characteristics of several classes of variable stars, using both linear and nonlinear techniques. His work has resulted in many papers presented in international meetings and published in journals and conference proceedings.

Dr. Ostlie has coauthored two upper-division, undergraduate astrophysics texts with Dr. Bradley W. Carroll, An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, and An Introduction to Modern Stellar Astrophysics, published by Addison Wesley Longman, ©1996.

Go to Dr. Ostlie's personal homepage at http://colleges.weber.edu/science/dean..

Phone: (801) 626-6201
FAX: (801) 626-7445
e-mail: dostlie@weber.edu
e-mail regarding An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics: modastro@weber.edu

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Stacy Palen, Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Physics, 1998, http://www.physics.uiowa.eduUniversity of Iowa)

Dr. Palen's primary field of research is in observational astronomy. She focuses on the fate of solar-type stars in the late stages of stellar evolution (i.e. stars like the Sun that are dying).  These objects are interesting in their own right, because they share the fate of the Sun, and because the are a great display of many physical principles at work in unusual environments.  These objects also allow us to determine galactic distances with a greater degree of precision than previously possible.  The results of this research have been presented in journals and at various professional meetings.  If you are a student interested in working with Dr. Palen on one of her projects, drop in and see her in SL 209.

Dr. Palen has also been primarily responsible for the creation of the (http://www.astro.washington.edu/labs/clearinghouse) Astronomy 101 Clearinghouse, a set of lab exercises and activities for Introductory Astronomy.  She is the author of an introductory astronomy book, Schaum's Outline of Astronomy, and is also the author of several education articles concerning experiments she has tried out on her students.

Go to Dr. Palen's personal homepage at http://physics.weber.edu/palen.

Phone: (801) 626-7030
FAX: (801) 626-7445
email: spalen@weber.edu

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Schroeder_s.gif (26277 bytes)Daniel V. Schroeder, Professor (Ph.D. Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics, 1990, Stanford University).

Dr. Schroeder s research interests are in high-energy reactions at future linear electron-positron colliders. He is currently studying unwanted background processes that may degrade the performance of these otherwise promising machines. His recent work in this field has been published and presented at international conferences.

Dr. Schroeder is the coauthor, with Professor Michael Peskin of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, of a graduate-level textbook An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory, published by Addison-Wesley Longman, ©1995. He has also recently published a second textbook for Addison-Wesley Longman, An Introduction to Thermal Physics, which came out in August 1999.  He is also interested in new ways of using computers in physics education, and has published work on this subject.

Phone: (801) 626-6048
FAX: (801) 626-7445
e-mail: dschroeder@cc.weber.edu

Go to Dr. Schroeder's personal homepage at http://physics.weber.edu/schroeder/.

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Sohl_s.gif (39735 bytes)John E. Sohl, Professor (Ph.D. Atomic Physics and Laser Spectroscopy, 1990, Ohio State University).

Dr. Sohl is primarily interested in using laser spectroscopy to determine the atomic structure of transition-group elements. This research is done using several high-resolution high-power lasers intersecting an atomic beam. Current work is directed towards building the equipment needed to perform this research in the Department so that students can be directly involved in laser spectroscopic research.

Biophysics is another area of research interest for Dr. Sohl.  He is currently working on two biophysics projects; one involving ultraviolet vision in lizards and the other investigates the effects of low-frequency electromagnetic fields on biological systems.

Dr. Sohl is also involved in developing methods to diversify and broaden the learning experience in the introductory astronomy course and in the advanced undergraduate laboratories. He has developed new laboratory experiments that have been presented at professional meetings and published in national journals. A grant from the National Science Foundation has been awarded to Dr. Sohl for the development of a modern laser optics laboratory.

Phone: (801) 626-7907
FAX: (801) 626-7445
e-mail: jsohl@weber.edu

Go to Dr. Sohl's personal homepage at http://physics.weber.edu/sohl/.

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Spjeldvik_s.gif (35746 bytes)Walther N. Spjeldvik, Professor (Ph.D. Meteorology/Space Physics, 1974, UCLA).

Dr. Spjeldvik's research interests include space physics and solar system science with emphasis on space plasmas, magnetically-confined energetic charged particles, solar-particle emissions and cosmic rays. He has participated in scientific-detector-instrumentation development for several successful U.S. space missions, in spacecraft data analysis and scientific interpretation, and in physical system simulations using mathematical and computational tools. Dr. Spjeldvik has interests in remote sensing and imaging techniques. He is a NASA research principal investigator and a NASA Headquarters management alumnus. Dr. Spjeldvik has published extensively in the scientific literature, and he has coauthored the U.S. Air Force Handbook of Geophysics and the Space Environment. Dr. Spjeldvik is affiliated with international science collaboration teams, and he participated in and presents papers at national and international symposia and conferences.

Phone: (801) 626-6203
FAX: (801) 626-7445
e-mail: wspjeldvik@weber.edu

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