High Tech with a Human Touch
Physics and Space Sciences
The Astronomy and Astrophysics Group at Florida Tech is concerned primarily with observational and theoretical studies of white dwarf stars, M dwarf stars, and cataclysmic variable systems. We are the lead institution in the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA), and have a 15% share of this 0.9-m telescope facility located at Kitt Peak National Observatory outside Tucson, Arizona. We also own and operate the 0.8-m Ortega Telescope in our Olin Observatory on campus.The picture at right was taken at SARA by former Florida Tech student Vanessa Wilkat. Astronomy and Astrophysics Faculty: Terry Oswalt, Dan Batcheldor, Hakeem Oluseyi, and Eric Perlman.
The work of the experimental High-Energy Particle Physics group is centered on the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) experiment at the Large
Hadron Collider located at CERN, the European Center for Particle Physics in Geneva, Switzerland. This experiment is conducted by
an international collaboration of scientists, making precision measurements of the laws governing the known elementary particles and
the fundamental forces between them, as well as searching for new phenomena such as the Higgs and supersymmetric particles. The group
also performs R&D on advanced gaseous particle detectors, specifically GEM detectors, with the RD51 collaboration hosted
by CERN, investigates muon tomography applications of these detectors, and operates a Tier-3 site on the Open Science Grid for CMS
users and other grid users.
Particle Physics Faculty: Marc Baarmand, Marcus Hohlmann, and Francisco Yumiceva.
The Lightning Research Group in the Geospace Physics Laboratory primarily investigates the role of runaway breakdown in thunderstorms, lightning and in the upper atmosphere. In particular, x-ray measurements of natural and rocket-triggered lightning are performed at the UF/Florida Tech International Center for lightning Research and Testing (ICLRT) at Camp Blanding, FL. Work also includes theoretical investigations of terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs), lightning initiation processes, thunderstorm electrification, and runaway breakdown. Lightning Research Faculty: Joseph Dwyer, Ningyu Liu, and Hamid Rassoul.
Space Physics Research
The Space Physics Research Group works in conjuction with Geospace Physics Laboratory (GPL) at Florida Tech. Current research topics include studying the Solar-Earth magnetospheric and ionospheric interactions, cosmic ray propagation from their source in the galaxies to the interplanetary system (NASA), relativistic charged particle propagation from the Jovian magnetosphere, development of a meriodinal array of magnetometers up the East coast of the United States (NSF) and detection of energetic radiation from rocket triggered lightning (NSF). The Space Physics Group also designs and fabricates particle and high-energy radiation detectors. Space Physics Faculty: Joseph Dwyer, Hakeem Oluseyi, Hamid Rassoul, Niescja Turner, Sam Durrance, and Ming Zhang.