Physics and Space Sciences


Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Astrobiology Research

Supermassive Black Holes | Human Space Exploration | Active Galactic Nuclei | Massive Stars | High-Contrast-Ratio Imaging

The Astronomy and Astrophysics Group at Florida Tech is concerned primarily with astrobiology, stellar astrophysics, the physics of galaxies and active galactic nuclei, and in the development of advanced instrumentation. We have a 15% share in a network of three one-meter class telescopes on the Canary Islands, at Kitt Peak National Observatory, and Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory. 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. Faculty: Dan Batcheldor, Sam Durrance, Saida Caballero-Nieves, and Eric Perlman


Experimental High-Energy Particle Physics Research

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

Atmospheric Electricity and Lightning Research

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: Amitabh Nag 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 magnetospherSun and Magnetosphereic 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: Hakeem Oluseyi, Jean-Carlos Perez, Hamid Rassoul, Sam Durrance, and Ming Zhang.