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    Kansas State University
  Nov 19, 2017
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog


116 Cardwell Hall
Fax: 785-532-6806

Interim Department Head:

Brett DePaola

Directors of Graduate Studies:

Michael J. O’Shea

Graduate Faculty:

*Itzik Ben-Itzhak, Ph.D., Technion, Israel
*Matthew Berg, Ph.D., Kansas State University
*Timothy A. Bolton, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
*Kevin Carnes, Ph.D., Purdue University
*Amitabha Chakrabarti, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
*Kristan L. Corwin, Ph.D., University of Colorado-Boulder
*Brett DePaola, Ph.D., Texas-Dallas
*Brett D. Esry, Ph.D., University of Colorado-Boulder
*Charles C. Fehrenbach, Ph.D., University of Michigan
*Bret N. Flanders, Ph.D., University of Chicago
*Glenn Horton-Smith, Ph.D., Stanford University
*Andrew G. Ivanov, Ph.D., University of Rochester
*Ketino Kaadze, Ph.D., Kansas State University
*Vinod Kumarappan, Ph.D., Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India
*James Laverty, Ph.D., Michigan State University
*Bruce Law, Ph.D., Victoria University, New Zealand
Anh-Thu Le, Ph.D., Belarusian State University, Belarus
*Chii-Dong Lin, Ph.D., University of Chicago
*Yurii Maravin, Ph.D., Southern Methodist University
*Michael J. O’Shea, Ph.D., University of Sussex, England
*Bharat Ratra, Ph.D., Stanford University
*Daniel Rolles, Ph.D., Technical University Berlin, Germany
*Artem Rudenko, Ph.D., Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia
*Lado Samushia, Ph.D., Kansas State University
*Eleanor Sayre, Ph.D., University of Maine
*Jeremy Schmit, Ph.D., University of California-Santa Barbara
*Christopher M. Sorensen, Ph.D., University of Colorado-Boulder
*Uwe Thumm, Ph.D., University of Freiburg, Germany
*Brian Washburn, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
*O. Laurence Weaver, Ph.D., Duke University
*Gary M. Wysin, Ph.D., Cornell University

Emeritus Faculty:

*C. Lewis Cocke, (Emeritus) Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
*Nathan Folland, (Emeritus) Ph.D., Iowa State University
*Thomas J. Gray, (Emeritus) Ph.D., Florida State University
*Siegbert J. Hagmann, (Emeritus) Ph.D., University of Cologne, Germany
*Talat S. Rahman, (Emeritus) Ph.D., University of Rochester
*Neville W. Reay, (Emeritus) Ph.D., University of Minnesota
*Patrick Richard, (Emeritus) Ph.D., Florida State University
*Noel R. Stanton, (Emeritus) Ph.D., Cornell University
*Dean A. Zollman, (Emeritus) Ph.D., University of Maryland

Adjunct and Ancillary Faculty:

*Hongxing Jiang, Adjunct, Ph.D., Syracuse University
*Ronald Lee, Adjunct, Ph.D., Iowa State University
*Jingyu Lin, Adjunct, Ph.D., Syracuse University
*Stephen Lundeen, Ph.D., Harvard University
*John D. Spangler, Adjunct, Ph.D., Duke University
*Theodore J. M. Zouros, Adjunct, Ph.D., Yale University

*Denotes graduate faculty that are certified to serve as the major professor for doctoral students.

Program description

The research programs of the Department of Physics are focused in the areas of atomic, molecular and optical physics, condensed and soft matter physics, physics education, cosmology, and high energy physics. We have concentrated our major research commitments in these areas to maintain strength and balance. The Department of Physics offers graduate programs leading to the Ph.D. degree. These are described here with the research interests of the faculty. Our graduate core curriculum is an excellent foundation for work in a large variety of specialties.


Graduate study in physics provides training for many varied academic and technological careers. Graduates in physics at all levels have found attractive careers in industrial and governmental laboratories and in academic departments. Graduates from K-State are presently engaged in communications research, x-ray laser development, genetic research, university teaching and research in various areas of physics, petroleum research, industrial electronics, and many other fields. M.S. graduates generally occupy skilled technical positions and Ph.D. graduates generally occupy positions requiring independent work in a wide range of areas.

Research and facilities

Atomic, molecular and optical physics

The experimental atomic, molecular and optical physics group is involved in a diverse program that investigates the interactions of atoms, molecules and light using intense ultrashort laser pulses. High harmonic generation, ionization, electron re-scattering and molecular breakup are a few of the problems being investigated using the state-of-the art lasers housed in the James R. Macdonald Ultrafast Laser Laboratory (JRML), which can produce pulses from the infrared to X-ray regimes. The Laboratory also houses research using ultrafast fiber lasers to investigate frequency combs, with a goal of developing applications useful in the telecommunications industry, and research into the coherent control of cold photo-association collisions.

The results of the experiments carried out in the lab are compared to the theoretical predictions made by the Kansas-State theory group as well as by theorists elsewhere. The close interplay between theorists and experimentalists often leads to a better understanding of the physics and in some cases suggests new phenomena, experimental methods, or improved calculation methods. The combination of strong groups in both theory and experiment within the same department makes Kansas State one of the leading atomic, molecular and optical physics groups in the world. Because of this, we have attracted researchers from around the world to come to Kansas State to carry out their experiments.

Soft and condensed matter physics

Our condensed matter physics group performs research in a multitude of areas, including controlled assembly of nanoparticles into 2-D and 3-D solids, the stretching of proteins, and growth of nanowires and their application to living cells. Our soft matter group works at the interface of physics, chemistry and biology.

Cosmology and particle astrophysics

The K-State cosmology group studies the physical properties and evolution of the Universe. Questions we are trying to address include: Why is the Universe’s expansion accelerating? What is Dark Energy and Dark Matter? We develop theoretical models and look into cosmological data to provide answers to these fundamental questions.”

High energy physics

This group studies physics at the smallest known scales of the universe; the indivisible particles that make up atoms and matter. The group seeks to provide answers to many fundamental questions of physics such as the existence of extra dimensions of space, dark energy and the nature of the dark matter of the universe, and the origin of mass. The group members collaborate with many groups throughout the world, including the Fermilab near Chicago, and with CERN in Switzerland, where recently they were involved in discovering the Higgs boson.

Physics education research

The physics education group conducts research related to the teaching and learning of physics, and develops learning materials based on that research and the research of others. The group continues to develop cutting-edge teaching technology, as well as improve both in-service and pre-service teacher education.

Financial support

The department is continually awarded outside support for research and teaching. The extramural research support for the department has averaged over $6.5 million during each of the last four years. This support is important for the graduate student because it is an indication that the research conducted by the department is regarded highly by the research peers who review the department’s proposals. It also indicates that a large number of graduate research assistantships are available in the department. Exceptional students can compete for university graduate fellowships and graduate fellowships offered by the Graduate School. Applications must be completed by January 8 to be considered for a fellowship. The schedule for teaching assistants is about 8 to 10 hours per week in laboratory sections in the introductory physics courses. Summer appointments as research assistants are generally available. The stipend is sufficient for a comfortable life in Manhattan.


Doctor of Philosophy

Master of Science