Texas Tech University

2023 Departmental News

Class2021

[2023/12] Our department was featured in Texas Tech Now! "The consistently diligent work of the faculty of Texas Tech University's Department of Physics and Astronomy is paying off in terms of prestige and recognition! The Department was ranked No. 56 among U.S. universities in the recently released ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, one of the significant assessments that review and rate academic institutions from around the world. The department continues a trajectory that has steadily trended upward during the past 20 years. ” | Learn More |

Class2021

[2023/12] Congratulations to all the Physics and Astronomy graduates! Learn More [Video1], [Video2], [Commencement Program]

SPS

[2023/12] We are very pleased to announce that our Society of Physics Students (SPS) chapter has been designated a 2022-23 Distinguished Chapter by the American Institute of Physics. This prestigious award is only granted to SPS chapters that demonstrate a high level of participation in professional and community outreach activities. | Learn More |

MF

[2023/11] Dr. Fausnaugh has been invited to serve on one of the Survey Definition Committees for an upcoming NASA mission, the Roman Space Telescope. This is the "High Latitude Time Domain Survey," which is a large program designed to find Type Ia supernovae for cosmology.| Learn More |

BAT

[2023/11] Dr. Thacker has been elected to be a PERLOC councilor (Physics Education Research Leadership and Organizing Council) staring after the 2024 Winter meeting.

SHR

[2023/10] Our department ranked 201-300th (56-72nd among U.S. universities) in the Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2023 | Learn More |

MHK

[2023/10] A team of scientists, including Dr. Michael Fausnaugh, has used multiple space and ground-based telescopes to observe an exceptionally bright gamma-ray burst, GRB 230307A, and identify the neutron star merger that generated an explosion that created the burst. This groundbreaking observation has just been announced by NASA and published in the Nature. | Learn More [1], [2], KLBK news, Texas Standard |

MHK

[2023/10] Two of our students won awards at the Texas Section of APS Meeting! Amaris McCarver (UG) received the Robert S. Hyer Research Award for excellent undergraduate research! Sandeep Puri (GS) won the outstanding graduate student oral presentation award. Congrats! Amaris McCarver (pictured left), an undergraduate student under the mentorship of Dr. Maccarone, has been honored with The Robert S. Hyer Research Award. This prestigious accolade, presented by the Texas Section of the APS, recognizes Amaris for her outstanding contributions to undergraduate research in the field of physics. Sandeep Puri (pictured right), a Ph.D. candidate, guided by Dr. Duncan, claimed the spotlight by winning the Outstanding Graduate Student Oral Presentation Award. Sandeep's captivating talk, titled "Experimental Approach to Fission Fragment Propulsion System for Deep Space Exploration," showcases his groundbreaking research and earned him well-deserved recognition.

MHK

[2023/09] Dr. Myoung-Hwan Kim has been named the 2023 Emerging Inventor of the Year for Texas Tech University. The award is sponsored by the Office of Research Commercialization. Dr, Kim will be honored at the Inventor Celebration on October 19th. | Learn More [1], [2], [3] |

CorsiOwenKim

[2023/09] Dr. Thacker received an NSF grant for the project “Evidence-based Materials for Teaching Quantum Information Science and Technology” for three years. The total funding of the award is $299,390. Congratulations, Dr. Thacker!

LuisBook

[2023/09] Dr. Luis Grave De Peralta, Emeritus Faculty, has published a new book, “Relativistic and Non-Relativistic Quantum Mechanics: Both at Once” in English and Spanish. The book, released by Springer Nature Switzerland as part of the Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics series, delves into controversial ideas that Dr. Grave De Peralta further elucidates through engaging videos and cartoons on his YouTube channel | YouTube |

FEM

[2023/08] Dr. Hanna Moussa holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Health Physics and Radiological Sciences from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and a Ph. D. in Nuclear Engineering with concentration in Radiological Engineering from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Prior to joining the faculty at TTU in 2012, as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, he served as an assistant director, then director of the Radiological Safety Department at the University of Tennessee from 1997 to 2004. He also worked as a senior health physicist at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC from 2008 to 2010. Dr. Moussa published over 110 peer‐reviewed articles and conference papers in highly ranked health physics, radiation protection, MPDI, and other related journals. Dr. Moussa has working experience and documented expertise for over 20 years with Monte Carlo N-Particle code (MNCP) that can be used for neutron, photon, and electron transport for modeling the interaction of radiation with matter including human tissue and organs, with primary applications to dosimetry, shielding, radiation transport. Radiation protection and detection. Dr. Moussa's broad expertise includes space radiation, cancer risk assessment, radiation and cancer, and medical imaging. His most recent work focuses on developing imaging tools for obesity and cancer research. Dr. Hanna Moussa enjoys music and playing the Arabic Lute (Oud).

YSO

[2023/08] Dr. Yun Suk Eo is joining the PHAS as an assistant professor. Before coming to Tech, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland (College Park) Quantum Materials Center (QMC). He was also a member of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics (FLEET) during that time. Before postdoc, Dr. Eo received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). When he needs to take a break, he likes to drink coffee, go to restaurants, hone his cooking skills, listen to music, and catch up on the latest movies. After making the move to Lubbock, he's been relishing local gems like Whataburger, J&B Coffee, and Rudys BBQ.

MF

[2023/08] Dr. Michael Fausnaugh joins the PHAS as an assistant professor in Fall 2023. Originally from Moriarty, NM, he received his Ph.D. in Astronomy from The Ohio State University in 2017. From 2017 to 2023, he worked as a research scientist at MIT, supporting NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. At MIT, Dr. Fausnaugh led the extragalactic research group for TESS, finding new uses for TESS data to investigate the physics of supernovae and black holes. He is broadly interested in time domain astronomy, including multimessenger astrophysical observations that combine information from photons, neutrinos, and gravitational waves. He also has a longstanding interest in the Philosophy and History of Math and Science from his undergraduate education at Saint John's College, Santa Fe. Dr. Fausnaugh is a recipient of the MIT Infinite Expansion Award, OSU Markowitz Award for Excellence in Observational Astronomy, and co-recipient of the NASA Silver Achievement Medal awarded to the TESS team. Outside of astronomical observing or reducing data, Dr. Fausnaugh is an avid reader, enjoys hiking and camping, and has a penchant for birdwatching.

FEM

[2023/08] Drs. Michael Fausnaugh (Assistant Prof.), Yung Suk Eo (Assistant Prof.), and Hanna Moussa (Associate Prof. of Practice) join us in Fall 2023. Welcome to the department!

BO

[2023/08] Dr. Owen was featured in Texas Tech Today regarding his recent NSF award and research related to this grant. | Learn More | KLBK news |

Karina

[2023/08] Physics major Karina Kimani-Stewart has been accepted by the FUTURE at Caltech program, whose goal is to "support the ambitions of aspiring young women in physics". Congratulations, Karina!

TM

[2023/08] Dr. Maccarone recently received three NASA grants (totaling ~$100K) for the proposals entitled “Correlated Radio/MM-X-ray Timing of Cygnus X-1”, “The Faintest Persistent X-ray Binary”, and “Black Hole Jet Launching Physics with MIRI”, respectively. Congrats Tom!

Class2021

[2023/08] Congratulations to all the Physics and Astronomy graduates! Learn More [Video1], [Commencement Program]

MHK

[2023/07] Texas Tech Today featured Dr. Myoung-Hwan Kim's recent NSF grant! Dr. Kim will use the grant to do research in the up-and-coming field of quantum information science. | Learn More |

CorsiOwenKim

[2023/07] Dr. Corsi was featured in Texas Tech Today regarding her recent NSF award and research projects associated with this grant: “Cosmic Collisions, Relativistic Blasts, and their Remnants in the Era of Multi-Messenger Astronomy”. She will peer into some of the farthest recesses of space in search of gravitational waves. | Learn More |

CorsiOwenKim

[2023/07] Drs. Corsi, Kim, and Owen recently received NSF grant awards ($431K, $235K, $345K) respectively.

CorsiThacker

[2023/6] The NANOGrav Collaboration, including TTU scientists Dr. Romano and Dr. Palliyaguru, has detected additional evidence of gravitational waves. This groundbreaking discovery has been published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. | Learn More [1], [2] |

CorsiThacker

[2023/06] Dr. Alessandra Corsi and Dr. Beth Thacker were re-appointed to the President's Excellence in Research Professorship and the President's Excellence in Teaching Professorship, respectively, renewed through 2026.

DOE

[2023/06] U.S. Department of Energy has awarded the High Energy Physics group a grant of half a million dollars to "provide training and mentorship for the next generation of scientists". | Learn More |

ASB

[2023/05] Texas Tech places final steel beam on Academic Sciences Building. The 131,000-square-foot structure will house first-class teaching laboratories and research facilities for five departments including Physics and Astronomy. Learn More: | Texas Tech Today | Video |

Class2021

[2023/05] Congratulations to all the Physics and Astronomy graduates! Learn More [Video1], [Video 2], [Commencement Program]

TTU_URC_2023

[2023/04] Dr. Vallia Antoniou has been awarded 11.5 days of observing time on the Chandra X-Ray telescope. Her research program was the only very large program approved in Cycle 24. | Learn More |

TTU_URC_2023

[2023/04] Congratulations to Aryan Chugh who earned the First Place Award (in Technology Impact) at Undergraduate Research Conference 2023. [Photo

CMP_APS_2023

[2023/03] Our department ranked 401-450th (78-89th among U.S. universities) in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023: Physics & Astronomy | Learn More |

CMP_APS_2023

[2023/03] Red Raiders (re)present at the APS March Meeting in Las Vegas!  Pictured here: members of Physics and Astronomy's Condensed Matter Physics Group.

Tetarenko

[2023/03] TTU's NASA Einstein Fellow Dr. Alex Tetarenko is part of an international research team that recently made a groundbreaking discovery (published in Nature)! The group discovered a neutron star that consumes matter in a manner previously observed only in black holes. This discovery has also helped identify key new ingredients needed to explain the behavior of matter near these astrophysical objects.  | Learn More |

TomM

[2023/03] Dr. Maccarone has won a $530K DOD's DURIP grant through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Dr. Maccarone's project is to install the new Long Wavelength Array mini-station near Crowell, Texas | Learn More [1], [2] |

Shelby

[2023/03] Alessandra Corsi, physics and astronomy professor, has become one of the world's top astrophysicists through her pioneering gravitational-wave research. As we celebrate Women's History Month this March, read the story of this extraordinary woman at Texas Tech who is making history through her research, discoveries and tenacity. Texas Tech Today profiled Dr. Corsi for Women's History Month! Read about Dr. Corsi's approach to research, mentoring, and intellectual collaboration: | Learn More [1] , [2] |

IA

[2023/02] Imtiaz Ahmad (CMP group) has been awarded a TTU Graduate Student Research Support Award. Congrats, Imtiaz.

SPRSRF2023

[2023/02] Our department leads the 67th Annual South Plains Regional Science and Engineering Fair for K-12 Students. 309 students from 31 schools presented their projects in the biological and physical sciences. Thank you to everyone who volunteered and participated! | Learn More |

Shelby

[2023/02] The race is on to discover a new energy source that will be safe, affordable and accessible, and Texas Tech University is right in the middle of this cutting-edge research. Robert V. Duncan, professor and president's distinguished chair in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and his team within the Center for Emerging Energy Sciences (CEES) lab recently received a grant to work with other teams at major research institutions in the United States in exploring alternative nuclear energy possibilities that promise to be safe and to produce no fuel-related nuclear waste. Congratulations to Dr. Duncan and CEES team for winning $1.15 million in funding from the Department of Energy (ARPA-E)! The team will develop accurate materials fabrication, characterization, and analysis to attempt to resolve the physical understanding of NENR | Learn More [1], [2]  |

Shelby

[2023/01] Shelby Courreges showed up on the campus of Texas Tech University convinced she could go places. The Department of Physics and Astronomy provided the direction in her quest to reach well beyond the skies. In a few months, Courreges, a third-year student, will embark on a new adventure, traveling to Laurel, Maryland, to begin a Brooke Owens Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory – one of only 47 students selected for this honor. Read the complete article and find out the unique way her passion for physics started by visiting this link. UG physics major Shelby Courreges has won a Brooke Owens Fellowship, a prestigious fellowship that places exceptional women and gender minorities in space and aviation internships. Please join us in congratulating Shelby! Shelby Courreges showed up on the campus of Texas Tech University convinced she could go places. The Department of Physics and Astronomy provided the direction in her quest to reach well beyond the skies. In a few months, Courreges, a third-year student, will embark on a new adventure, traveling to Laurel, Maryland, to begin a Brooke Owens Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory – one of only 47 students selected for this honor. Read the complete article and find out the unique way her passion for physics started by visiting links: | Learn More [1], [2], [3] |

Class2021

[2023/01] Dr. Kim was highlighted in the “Research Commercialization at Texas Tech”, concerning his quantum research. | Learn More |

Class2021

[2023/01] Please join us in congratulating physics doctoral student Zach Brown and undergraduate physics major Sabrina DeBreau for winning the 2023 Office of Naval Research NREIP Award.