Research Interests

The physics department is engaged in research in a variety of directions spanning across various sub disciplines.

Click on the individual faculty names to explore and learn more about their research interest.

Atmospheric Physics 

Atmospheric physics is an interdisciplinary science which attempts to understand the composition, structure and long-term temporal development of Earth's atmosphere by combining the study of fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, chemistry and radiative transfer.

Sean Hartery

Atomic and Molecular Physics

Atomic, Molecular, and Optical physics is concerned with understanding basic phenomena ranging from the few-body to the many-body level. Included are processes such as the behavior of quantum gases such as Bose-Einstein condensates and degenerate Fermi gases as well as Bose-Fermi mixtures, which connects with modern day condensed-matter physics.

Experimental - Thomas Colbert
Theoretical Theja De Silva


This is the branch of astronomy concerned with the physical nature of stars and other celestial bodies, and the application of the laws and theories of physics to the interpretation of astronomical observations.

Joseph Newton

Biological physics

Research in Biological Physics focuses on questions at the interface of the physical and the life sciences and covers all scales of biological organization, from molecular to organismic and populations. At Augusta University the specific focus is on biological applications of physics, particularly from the damages done to DNA by ultraviolet and ionizing radiations, and post-irradiation effects on cells, as well as spectroscopic studies of proteins, nucleic acids and other biologically important molecules using visible and ultraviolet light.

John Sutherland, Jonathan Dawson

Research in this subfield of physics at Augusta University further involves the study of biological phenomena using computational and theoretical approaches based on physics to gather insights into the physical principles underlying how cells and tissues carry out their functions. Examples include collective cell movement during embryogenesis and tumor growth, and how cells sense their mechanical environment.

Theoretical – Abdul Malmi-Kakkada

Condensed Matter Physics

Condensed matter physics is a branch of physics that deals with the physical properties of condensed phases of matter where particles adhere to each other. Condensed matter physicists seek to understand the behavior of these phases by using physical laws. In particular, they include the laws of quantum mechanics, electromagnetism and statistical mechanics. The most familiar condensed phases are solids and liquids while more exotic condensed phases include the superconducting phase exhibited by certain materials at low temperature, the ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic phases of spins on crystal lattices of atoms, and the Bose–Einstein condensate found in ultra-cold atomic systems. At Augusta University the faculty are concerned with study of microfluidics and electrified jets, quantum magnetism, strongly correlated electron systems, and high-temperature superconductors.

Experimental – Josefa Guerrero-Millan
Theoretical – Theja De Silva, Trinanjan DattaAbdul Malmi-Kakkada

Applied Physics

There are many opportunities for research and development in the Augusta University electronics laboratory. These projects typically involved design and testing of instruments and devices important to a variety of interdisciplinary investigations including environmental sensors. Students involved in this area of research will learn about both analog and digital electronic circuits and will also learn how to write microcontroller software appropriate for successfully completing their particular project.

Andy Hauger

Medical Physics

This is the branch of physics that applies physics to the needs of medicine. Studies within medical physics are responsible for establishing the technical foundations of radiation, dosimetry, and nuclear medicine. Medical physics incorporates experimental, computational, and theoretical methods to study effect of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Andy Hauger, Joseph Newton

Nuclear Physics

Nuclear physics is the field of physics that studies atomic nuclei and their constituents and interactions. Other forms of nuclear matter are also studied.

Joseph Newton

Physics Education and Technology/Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Physics education research (PER) refers both to the methods currently used to teach physics and to an area of pedagogical research that seeks to improve those methods. The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) uses discovery, reflection, and evidence-based methods to research effective teaching and student learning. These findings are peer reviewed and publicly disseminated in an ongoing cycle of systematic inquiry into classroom practices.

Thomas Colbert, Trinanjan Datta, Andy Hauger, Theja De Silva