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 for students across campus in any major.In this course, “Seeing Light”, I work with students to study a historical sequence of theories of light and vision from Lucretius through Einstein, using hands-on experiments and images taken with their phones, to learn about optics, color theory, and how scientific models progress through successive approximation and new concepts. I have taught other courses including graduate quantum mechanics, computational physics, and large introductory science lecture courses .
Administration and service
I am serving as associate dean of research and scholarship in the College of Arts & Sciences (July 2017-present) and served as chair of the Department of Physics (July 2013-Dec. 2017). I have served as the director of undergraduate studies for Physics (2000-2007), a core faculty member of the Renee Crown Honors Program at SU (2009-2015), as associate chair (2009-2013), as chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Council (2015-2016), as the faculty sponsor for the University Travel Policy Team (2015-2016), as a member of the University Senate (2016-; including the Committee on Women’s Concerns and the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Affairs), as a member of the advisory team for the University Lecture Series (2017-), on the Task Force on Travel Safety Policy (2017-), and as a member of the university Faculty Salary Committee (F2016 through F2017). I was a co-PI on Syracuse University’s IGERT program in soft interfaces (2011-2018).
Department of Physics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244