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Department of Physics & Astronomy College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Support Page Content

About The Department

Department Resources

Faculty Weekly Schedules

Please visit our Meet Us page

Faculty Awards

2021 - Dr. Mikkel Jensen, NSM Outstanding Teaching Award

2021 - Dr. Vera Margoniner, NSM Outstanding University Service Award

2016 - Dr. William DeGraffenreid, NSM Outstanding Community Service Award

2016 - Dr. Vera Margoniner, NSM Outstanding Teaching Award

2014 - Dr. William DeGraffenreid, NSM Outstanding Teaching Award

2014 - Dr. Vera Margoniner, NSM Outstanding University Service Award

2012 - Dr. Tatiana Sergan, NSM Outstanding Scholarly Activity Award

2012 - Dr. Vassili Sergan, NSM Outstanding Scholarly Activity Award

2012 - Dr. Christopher Taylor, NSM Outstanding University Service Award

2011 - Dr. Vassili Sergan, President's Award for Research and Creative Activity

2010 - Dr. William DeGraffenreid, NSM Outstanding University Service Award

2010 - Dr. Christopher Taylor, NSM Outstanding Community Service Award

2008 - Dr. Peter Urone, NSM Outstanding University Service Award

2005 - Dr. Michael Shea, Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service

2003 - Dr. Edward Gibson, Outstanding Scholarly Activity Award

2003 - Dr. Suhkbir Mahajan, NSM Outstanding Teaching Award

2002 - Dr. Randy Phelps, President's Award for Research and Creative Activity

1998 - Dr. Michael Shea, NSM Outstanding Teaching Award

1996 - Dr. Hossein Partovi, California State University Outstanding Professor

1993 - Dr. Hossein Partovi, Outstanding Scholarly Activity Award

1993 - Dr. Hossein Partovi, Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award

1988 - Dr. Donald Hall, Outstanding Scholarly Activity Award

Research Areas in the Department

Faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy conduct research in many fields of physics and astrophysics.


  • Dr. Rodolfo Barniol Duran
  • Dr. Vera Margoniner
  • Dr. Chris Taylor
  • Dr. Kyle Watters


Computational Methods

  • Dr. Rodolfo Barniol Duran
  • Dr. Matthew Block
  • Dr. Jerome Buerki

Experimental Condensed Matter

High Energy Physics

  • Dr. Joshua Moss

Liquid Crystals

  • Dr. Tatiana Sergan
  • Dr. Vassili Sergan

Physics Education Research

  • Dr. Vera Margoniner
  • Dr. Lynn Tashiro

Theoretical Condensed Matter

  • Dr. Matthew Block
  • Dr. Jerome Buerki

Faculty Publications & Patents

  • M.H. Jensen, E.J. Morris: "Stochastic Ordering of Complexoform Protein Assembly by Genetic Circuits." PLoS Computational Biology (2020).
  • R. Barniol Duran: “Analysis and Modeling of the Multi-wavelength Observations of the Luminous GRB 190114C.” The Astrophysical Journal (2019).
  • R. Barniol Duran: “ALMA Detection of a Linearly Polarized Reverse Shock in GRB 190114C.” The Astrophysical Journal (2019).
  • R. Barniol Duran: “EM counterparts of structured jets from 3D GRMHD simulations.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2019).
  • R. Barniol Duran: “Observational Constraints on Late-time Radio Rebrightening of GRB/Supernovae.” The Astrophysical Journal (2019).
  • R. Barniol Duran: “The short GRB 170817A: Modelling the off-axis emission and implications on the ejecta magnetization.” The Astrophysical Journal (2019).
  • V. Margoniner, J. Bürki, M. Kapp: “Monkeying Around in Mechanics: Using Student-Student Dialogue Videos to Increase Physics Learning.” The Physics Teacher (2019).
  • R. Barniol Duran: “A lesson from GW170817: most neutron star mergers result in tightly collimated successful GRB jets.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2018).
  • E. Morris: “Minimizing context-dependency of gene networks using artificial cells.” ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces (2018).
  • R. Barniol Duran: “First ALMA Light Curve Constrains Refreshed Reverse Shocks and Jet Magnetization in GRB 161219B.” The Astrophysical Journal (2018).
  • T. Sergan, V. Sergan, and R. Herrera: “Control of liquid crystal alignment using surface-localized low-density polymer networks and its applications to electro-optical devices." Journal of Molecular Liquids (2018).
  • R. Barniol Duran: “Marginally fast cooling synchrotron models for prompt GRBs.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2018).
  • R. Barniol Duran: “Modeling the High-energy Emission in GRB 110721A and Implications on the EarlyMultiwavelength and Polarimetric Observations." The Astrophysical Journal (2017).
  • R. Barniol Duran: “Off-axis short GRBs from structured jets as counterparts to GW events.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2018).
  • R. Barniol Duran: “Theoretical Description of GRB 160625B with Wind-to-ISM Transition and Implications for a Magnetized Outflow." The Astrophysical Journal (2017).
  • M. Jensen: “Cell volume change through water efflux impacts cell stiffness and stem cell fate." Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (2017).
  • T. Sergan, V. Sergan, and R. Voss: “Comparative study of the anchoring strength of reactive mesogens and industrial polyimides used for the alignment of liquid crystals.” Physical Review E (2017).
  • J. Moss: “Measurement of the ZZ production cross section in proton-proton collisions at √s = 8 TeV using the ZZ→ℓ-+ℓ'-ℓ'+ and ZZ→ℓ-+νν decay channels with the ATLAS detector.” Journal of High Energy Physics (2017).
  • M. Ray: “Tying Quantum Knots.” Nature Physics (2016).
  • M. Block: “Numerical studies of various Néel-VBS transitions in SU(N) anti-ferromagnets.” Journal of Physics - Conference Series (2015).
  • M. Jensen: “Mechanics and dynamics of reconstituted cytoskeletal systems." Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research (2015).
  • M. Block: “Rényi entanglement entropy of critical SU(N) spin chains.” Physical Review B (2015).
  • J. Bürki: “Lifetimes of Metal Nanowires with Broken Axial Symmetry.” Physical Review B (2015).
  • C. Taylor: “High-resolution Observations of Molecular Gas in the Early-type Dwarf Galaxy NGC 404.” The Astronomical Journal (2015).
  • V. Margoniner: “Learning Gains in Introductory Astronomy: Online Can Be as Good as Face-to-Face.” The Physics Teacher (2014).
  • S. Hillbrand: “The Next Generation BLAST Experiment.” Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation (2014).
  • S. Hillbrand:"The Detector System for the Stratospheric Kinetic Inductance Polarimeter (SKIP).” Journal of Low Temperature Physics (2014).
  • V. Sergan: “Surface localized polymer aligned liquid crystal lens.” Optics Express (2013).
  • V. Sergan: “Mechanism of electric-field-induced segregation of additives in a liquid-crystal host.” Physical Review E (2012).
  • J. Bürki: “A Nano-Transistor Based on Gate-Induced Thermal Switching.” International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Nanotechnology (2012).
  • H. Partovi: “Entanglement Detection Using Majorization Uncertainty Bounds.” Physical Review A (2012).
  • T. Sergan and V. Sergan: “Spatial and orientational control of liquid crystal alignment using a surface localized polymer layer.” Applied Physics Letters (2012).
  • V. Margoniner: “Galaxy-Mass Correlations on 10 Mpc Scales in the Deep Lens Survey." The Astrophysical Journal (2012).
  • T. Sergan, V. Sergan, and R. Herrera: “In situ control of surface molecular order in liquid crystals using a localised polymer network and its application to electro-optical devices.” Liquid Crystals (2012).
  • V. Sergan: “Tunable Polymer Localized Liquid Crystal Lenses for Autostereoscopic 3D Displays.” Society for Informational Display International Symposium Digest (2012).
  • V. Margoniner: “Discovery of a Dissociative Galaxy Cluster Merger with Large Physical Separation." The Astrophysical Journal (2012).
  • W. DeGraffenreid: “Reference lines in the optogalvanic spectra of uranium and thorium in the wavelength range 422 nm to 462 nm.” Journal of the Optical Society of America B (2012).
  • H. Partovi: “Majorization Formulation of Uncertainty in Quantum Mechanics.” Physical Review A (2011).
  • J. Bürki: “The Nanoscale Free-Electron Model.” Chapter published in Handbook of Nanophysics: Principles and Methods (2010).
  • T. Sergan: “Application of Commercially Available Liquid Crystal Polymer Films for Improvement of Color and Viewing angle Performance of Twisted Nematic Devices.” Japanese Journal of Applied Physics (2010).
  • J. Bürki: “Determining the Energy Barrier for Decay out of Superdeformed Bands.” Physics Letters B (2010).
  • T. Sergan and V. Sergan: “Control of the molecular pretilt angle in liquid crystal devices by using a low-density localized polymer network.” Chemical Physics Letters (2010).
  • H. Partovi: “Equilibrium Charge Density on a Thin Curved Wire.” American Journal of Physics (2009).
  • V. Margoniner: “Shear-selected Clusters from the Deep Lens Survey. III. Masses from Weak Lensing.” Astrophysical Journal (2009).
  • H. Partovi: “Correlative Capacity of Composite Quantum States.” Physical Review Letters (2009).
  • H. Partovi: “Verschränkung versus Stosszahlansatz : Disappearance of the Thermodynamic Arrow in a High-Correlation Environment.” Physical Review E (2008).
  • V. Margoniner: “Photometric Redshifts and Signal-to-Noise Ratios.” Astrophysical Journal (2008).
  • V. Margoniner: “Probing the Relation Between X-Ray-Derived and Weak-Lensing-Derived Masses for Shear-Selected Galaxy Clusters. I. A781.” Astrophysical Journal (2008).
  • T. Sergan and V. Sergan: “High-Performance Active Liquid Crystalline Shutters for Stereo Computer Graphics and Other 3-D Technologies.” Journal of Display Technology (2007).
  • V. Sergan and H. Garcia: “Wide-angle achromatic prism beam steering for infrared countermeasures and imaging applications: solving the singularity problem in the two-prism design.” Optical Engineering (2007).
  • H. Partovi: “Intrinsic comparative statics of a general class of profit-maximizing rate-of-return regulated firms.” Oxford Economic Papers (2007).
  • E. Gibson: “The HKS experiment on Λ-hypernuclear spectroscopy via electroproduction at JLab.” Nuclear Physics A (2007).
  • H. Partovi: “ Existence of a Universal Comparative Statics Matrix for Differentiable Optimization Problems.” Economic Theory (2007).
  • E. Gibson: “Determination of the Pion Charge Form Factor at Q2 = 1.60 and 2.45 (GeV/c)2.” Physical Review Letters (2006).
  • E. Gibson: “Pionic charge exchange on the proton from 40 to 250 MeV.” Physics Letters B (2006).
  • H. Partovi: “A Complete Theory of Comparative Statics for Differentiable Optimization Problems.” Metroeconomica (2006).
  • H. Partovi and Eliza Morris: “Electrodynamics of a Magnet Moving through a Metallic Pipe.” Canadian Journal of Physics (2006).
  • E. Gibson: “π±p differential cross sections at low energies.” Physics Letters B (2006).
  • R. Phelps: “CCD Photometry of the Globular Cluster ESO 452-SC11.” The Astronomical Journal (2006).
  • C. Taylor: “The Faint End Luminosity Function of Compact Galaxy Groups.” Astronomy & Astrophysics (2006).
  • R. Phelps: “Photometry and Spectroscopy of Old, Outer Disk Star Clusters: vdB-Hagen 176, Berkeley 29, and Saurer 1.” The Astronomical Journal (2006).
  • E. Gibson: “The π→ππ process in nuclei and the restoration of chiral symmetry.” Nuclear Physics A (2005).
  • W. DeGraffenreid: “Coincidence in the two-photon spectra of Li and Li2 at 735 nm.” Journal of Physics B (2005).
  • C. Taylor: “A High-Resolution Mosaic of Molecular Gas in Stephan's Quintet.” The Astrophysical Journal (2005).
  • R. Phelps and Jason Ybarra: “A Parsec-Scale Outflow in the Rosette Molecular Cloud?” The Astrophysical Journal (2005).
  • H. Partovi: “Universal Measure of Entanglement.” Physical Review Letters (2004).
  • W. DeGraffenreid: “Beam-loss Spectroscopy of Cold Collisions in a Brightened Sodium Beam.” Physical Review A (2004).
  • V. Sergan: “FAST SWITCHING POLYMER STABILIZED SPLAY CELL (PSSC).” Molecular Crystals Liquid Crystals (2004).
  • E. Gibson: “General properties of the pion production reaction in nuclear matter.” Nuclear Physics A (2004).
  • R. Phelps and Jason Ybarra: “An [S II] Survey of the Rosette Molecular Cloud.” The Astronomical Journal (2004).
  • T. Sergan: “Switchable Broadband Achromatic Half-wave plate with Nematic Liquid Crystals." Optics Letters (2004).
  • T. Sergan: “Lyotropic Chromonic Liquid Crystals for Optical Applications – an Optical Retardation plate for Twisted Nematic Cells.” Molecular Crystals Liquid Crystals (2004).
  • H. Partovi: “Prinicple Portfolios: Recasting the Efficient Frontier.” Economics Bulletin (2004).
  • T. Sergan: “Liquid Crystalline Device with Reflective Wire Grid Polarizer.” Molecular Crystals Liquid Crystals (2004).
  • T. Sergan: “Negative Birefringence Films from Non-Traditional Materials.” Molecular Crystals Liquid Crystals (2004).


  • V. Sergan and T. Sergan: “Photo-Patterned Pre-Tilt Liquid Crystal cells, Lenses, and Methods” US Patent 8654281 (2014).
  • J. Bürki: “Nanoscale variable resistor/electromechanical transistor.” US Patent 8492231 (2013)
  • T. Sergan: “Elliptically polarizing plate and liquid crystal display.” US Patent 6839103 (2005)
  • T. Sergan: “Optical Compensation film for Liquid Crystal Display.” US Patent 6,822,713 B1 (2004).