Research: collective dynamics & algorithms
I study matter and systems with many interacting elements, such as atoms, vortices in superconductors, and even vehicles in traffic. The collective behavior of these elements leads to phenomena such as phase transitions and “glassy” (very slow) behavior. One especially challenging problem is to find out how disordered matter “remembers” its past history. We use analytical arguments, implement efficient algorithms for modeling complex systems, and investigate the deep connections between computational methods and physical concepts, especially in dynamics.
Much of my classroom teaching has been in statistical physics and condensed matter physics; I have mentored undergraduate and PhD students in algorithms and statistical physics. I have developed a course on light and vision and its study from ancient China through Alhazen, Newton, and Einstein, exploring rainbows, retinal cells, titanium jewelry, and relativity, have taught graduate quantum mechanics, computational physics, large introductory courses, and others.
I am serving as Associate Dean of Research and Scholarship in the College of Arts & Sciences (July 2017-) and Department Chair (2013-Dec. 2017). I have served as Director of Undergraduate Studies for physics (2000-2007), a Core Faculty member of the Renee Crown Honors Program at SU (2009-2015), Associate Chair (2009-2013), Chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Council (2015-2016), as a member of the University Senate (2016-), Faculty Sponsor of the University Travel Policy Team (2015-2016), and member of the university Faculty Salary Committee (2016-). I am a co-PI on Syracuse University’s IGERT program in soft interfaces (2011-).
Department of Physics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244