Faculty & Staff

Dave Burdick Burdick, David N. Burdick

Staff  |  Astronomy, Physics
Technical Assistant/Instrument Maker
F.W. Olin Science Hall
G07
740-587-6504
Show Profile

Kim Coplin ’85 Coplin, Kim A. Coplin ’85

Kim Coplin '85
Staff, Senior Administration  |  Astronomy, Physics, Provost's Office
Provost and Associate Professor
740-587-6243
Service: 
1993-Present
Degree(s): 
B.A., Denison University; M.A., Johns Hopkins University; Ph.D., Ohio State University
Biography: 

Kim Coplin has done research in experimental condensed matter physics, especially concentrating on conducting polymers, and in the biophysics of human movement. She most recently taught Introductory Physics, Modern Physics, and 'Physics and the Sound of Music'. Kim served as an Associate Provost from 2006 to 2013, and as Interim Provost since 2013.

Research: 

Selected Publications

  • S.W. Jessen, J.W. Blatchford, L.-B. Lin, T.L. Gustafson, A.J. Epstein, K.A. Coplin, J. Partee, J. Shinar, D.-K. Fu, M.J. Marsella, T.M. Swager, and A.G. MacDiarmid 1997. Long-Lived Photoexcited States of Pyridine-Based Polymers: Solvent Dependent Control of Triplet Excitons and Polarons.  Physical Review B.
  • R", S. Quillard, G. Louarn, K. Berrada, S. Lefrant, K.A. Coplin, S.W. Jessen, and A.J. Epstein. 1995. Resonance Raman Scattering and Photoinduced Infrared Absorption in Different Forms of Polyanilines and Substituted Polyanilines .Nonlinear Optics. v. 10 p. 253
  • A.J. Epstein, J.W. Blatchford, K. Kim, L.-B. Lin, T.L. Gustafson, K.A.Coplin, and A.G. MacDiarmid. 1994. Long Lived Neutral Solitons in Pernigraniline Base. Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals. v. 256 p. 399
  • K.A. Coplin, S. Jasty, S.M. Long, S.K. Manohar, Y. Sun, A.G. MacDiarmid, and A.J. Epstein. 1994. Neutral Soliton Formation and Disorder in Pernigraniline Base. Physical Review Letters. v. 72 p. 3206
  • K.A. Coplin, J.M. Leng, R.P. McCall, A.J. Epstein, S.K. Manohar, Y. Sun, and A.G. MacDiarmid. 1993. Photoexcitation Spectroscopy: Solitons in Pernigraniline Base. Synthetic Metals. v. 55 p. 7
  • R.P. McCall, J.M. Ginder, J.M. Leng, K.A. Coplin, H.J. Ye, A.J. Epstein, G.E. Asturias, S.K. Manohar, J.G. Masters, E.M. Scherr, and A.G. MacDiarmid. 1991. Photoinduced Absorption and Erasable Optical Information Storage in Polyanilines.Synthetic Metals. v. 41 p. 1329
  • T.E. Skinner, M. T. DeLand, G.E. Ballester, K.A. Coplin, P.D. Feldman, and H.W. Moos, J. Geophys. 1988. Temporal Variation of the Jovian H I Lyman Alpha Emission. Res.. v. 93 p. 29
Show Profile

Steven Doty dr. Doty, Steven David Doty

Steven Doty
Faculty  |  Astronomy, Physics, Computational Science
Professor
F.W. Olin Science Hall
109
740-587-5796
Service: 
1999-Present
Degree(s): 
B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Biography: 

Steven Doty is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Denison University. He teaches courses at all levels of physics and astronomy. His research centers on understanding the processes and environments of stellar birth and death. He also does work on understanding everyday phenomena.

Dr. Doty conducts research involving undergraduate students in a number of areas, including:

  • Star and planet formation
  • Stellar old-age and death
  • Mathematical physics and ordering
  • Everyday phenomena
Research: 

Selected publications:

  • “Chemistry as a probe of the structures and evolution of massive star-forming regions”, S. D. Doty, F. S. van der Tak, E. F. van Dishoeck, & A. M. S. Boonman, 2002, A&A, 389, 446-463
  • Constraining the Structure of the L1544 Star-Forming Region”, S. D. Doty, S. E. Everett*, N. J. Evans II., Y. L. Shirley, & M. L. Palotti*, 2005, MNRAS, 362, 737
  • Multidimensional chemical modeling of young stellar objects, II. Irradiated outflow walls in a high mass star forming region”, S. Bruderer, A. O. Benz, S. D. Doty, E. F. van Dishoeck, & T. L. Bourke, 2009, ApJ, 700, 872
  • Herschel-HIFI detections of hydrides towards AFGL 2591: envelope emission vs. tenuous cloud absorption”, S. Bruderer, A. O. Benz, E. F. van Dishoeck, M. Melchior, S. D. Doty, F. F. S. van der Tak, P. Staueber, S. F. Wampfler, C. Dedes, U. A. Yildiz, and 59 coauthors, 2010, A&AL, 521, 44.
  • Water in low-mass star-forming regions with Herschel: HIFI spectroscopy of NGC1333”, L.E. Kristensen, R. Visser, E.F. van Dishoeck, U.A. Yıldız, S.D. Doty, G.J. Herczeg, F.-C. Liu, B. Parise, J.K. Jørgensen, T.A. van Kempen, C. Brinch, S.F.Wampfler, S. Bruderer, A.O. Benz, M.R. Hogerheijde, E. Deul; and 51 coauthors, 2010, A&AL, 521, 30.
Curriculum Vitae: 
Show Profile

Dan Gibson dr. Gibson, Daniel Gibson

Dan Gibson
Faculty  |  Astronomy, Physics, Oak Ridge Science Semester
Director of Oak Ridge Science Semester, Professor
F.W. Olin Science Hall
108
740-587-5705
Service: 
1996-Present
Degree(s): 
B.S., Ph.D., University of Virginia
Biography: 

I really enjoy teaching and working with students at Denison. I teach introductory physics, optics, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, modern physics, experimental physics, and the associated laboratories. My interests are in atomic, molecular and optical physics including measurements of fundamental properties such as absolute oscillator strengths and branching fractions, photodetachment cross sections, resonance features and bound-boundtransitions in negative ions.

My current research efforts includeboth laser photodetachment from negative ions in our lab in Olin Hall and inner-shell photodetachment from negative ions using the synchrotron at the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley CA. Dr. Walter and I, as well as numerous Denison students, are co-investigators on multiple projects at the ALS including recent studies of H-, Se-, Li-, Pt- and C60-. This research is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Research Corporation, NASA and Denison University.

Research: 

Selected publications:

  • "Inner-shell Photodetachment: Shape and Feshbach Resonances of anions"R.C. Bilodeau, N. D. Gibson, C. W. Walter, A. Aguilar and N. Berrah, Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena, 185(8-9), 219-225 (2012).
  • “Experimental and theoretical study of bound and quasibound states of Ce ,” C.W. Walter, N.D. Gibson, Y.-G. Li, D.J. Matyas, R.M. Alton, S.E. Lou, R.L. Field III, D. Hanstorp, Lin Pan and D. Beck, Physical Review A, 84, 032514 (2011).
  • “Inner-Shell Photodetachment from Ru_ I. Dumitriu , R. C. Bilodeau, T. W. Gorczyca, C. W. Walter, N. D. Gibson, Z. D. Pešić, D. Rolles, and N. Berrah, , Physical Review A, 82, 043434 (2010).
  • “Electron affinity of indium and the fine structure of In- measured using infrared photodetachment threshold spectroscopy” C.W. Walter, N.D. Gibson, D.J. Carman, Y.-G. Li, and D.J. Matyas, Physical Review A, 82, 032507 (2010).
Curriculum Vitae: 
Show Profile

Dan Homan dr. Homan, Daniel Carroll Homan

Dan Homan
Faculty  |  Astronomy, Physics, Computational Science
Associate Professor & Chair (Physics)
F.W. Olin Science Hall
110
740-587-6742
Service: 
2003-Present
Degree(s): 
B.S., University of Maine; M.A., Ph.D., Brandeis University
Biography: 

One of the things that excites me most about Physics is our continuing struggle to develop a better understanding of how the world works at a fundamental level. We Physicists also work to apply that understanding to complex, real world problems. For me, one of the great pleasures of Physics is finding creative ways to address these challenges. I enjoy teaching Physics and Astronomy at all levels in our curriculum.

Research: 

Black Holes and Cosmic Jets

I study distant active galaxies. Active galaxies are extremely energetic galaxies, giving off so much energy that they can be viewed from billions of light years away. All of the unusual, energetic behavior in an active galaxy can ultimately be traced to its galactic center or nucleus, a region only a few light years across. These objects are therefore often called "Active Galactic Nuclei" or "AGN" for short. It is now believed that all AGN have, at their center, a super-massive black hole that is millions or even billions of times the mass of our Sun. Matter falling inward toward the black hole dramatically releases energy to generate the phenomena we observe.

There is a sub-class of AGN that have strong jets of plasma which stream outward from the galactic nucleus and are visible at radio wavelengths. These radio jets come in a number of morphologies with the most spectacular maintaining collimated flows for tens or even hundreds of thousands of light-years before terminating at hotspots in large, inflated radio lobes. I study these jets to understand their physical properties and how they are created by the super-massive black hole and accretion disk of in-falling matter at the center of the galaxy.

Selected publications:

  • “Inverse Depolarization: A Potential Probe of Internal Faraday Rotation and Helical Magnetic Fields in Extragalactic Radio Jets”, by Homan, D. C. (2012) The Astrophysical Journal Letters vol. 747, p. L24
  • “Relativistic Beaming and Gamma-Ray Brightness of Blazars”, by Savolainen, T., Homan, D. C., Hovatta, T., Kadler, M., Kovalev, Y. Y.;,Lister, M. L., Ros, E., & Zensus, J. A. (2010)Astronomy & Astrophysics vol. 512, id.A24
  • “MOJAVE: Monitoring of Jets in Active Galactic Nuclei with VLBA Experiments. VII. Blazar Jet Acceleration”, by Homan, D. C., Kadler, M., Kellermann, K. I., Kovalev, Y. Y., Lister, M. L. Ros, E., Savolainen, T., & Zensus, J. A. (2009) The Astrophysical Journal vol. 706, p. 1253
Curriculum Vitae: 
Show Profile

Beth Jeffries Jeffries, Elizabeth A. Jeffries

Staff  |  Astronomy, Physics, Oak Ridge Science Semester
Academic Administrative Assistant
F.W. Olin Science Hall
101
740-587-6223
Show Profile

Melanie Lott ’04 Lott, Melanie Lott ’4

Melanie Lott '04
Faculty  |  Astronomy, Physics
Assistant Professor
F.W. Olin Science Hall
740-587-8636
Degree(s): 
B.S., Denison University; M.S., University of Michigan; Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College
Biography: 

I enjoy teaching courses across the spectrum of the physics curriculum including introductory physics, mechanics, electronics, modern physics, and the advanced experimental laboratory. In addition to working with students in the classroom setting, I enjoy involving students in my research lab.

I am a biomechanist who works on the whole body level, using principles of classical mechanics to better understand how the human body moves. I am particularly interested in dance biomechanics, which is a relatively new field. My research is interdisciplinary in nature, combining physics, anatomy, and the art of dance. In general I am interested in connections between science and the arts and enjoy finding ways for the two seemingly disconnected worlds to intermingle.

Research: 

Currently my research group investigates how dancers regain balance while spinning in a multiple-turn pirouette. We collect motion capture data of dancers with a multi-camera system to track the positions and orientations of the dancers’ body segments and center of mass throughout the pirouette. We also create a model of the dancer to simulate the pirouette based on theoretical mechanics. Our model can also be used to compute the musculoskeletal forces involved in executing the movement. One of the main goals of our research is to determine if expert dancers utilize a particular adjustment strategy to successfully regain balance while rotating on one foot.

In the past I have also done projects on biomechanics of athletics and even non-human movement (horse jumping). I enjoy collaborating with people across many disciplines.

Selected publications:

  • K. Laws and M. Lott, “Resource Letter PoD-1: The Physics of Dance,” American Journal of Physics 81, 7 (2013).
  • M. Lott and K. Laws, “The Physics of Toppling and Regaining Balance during a Pirouette,” Journal of Dance Medicine and Science 16, 167 (2012).
  • M. Cluss, K. Laws, N. Martin, T.S. Nowicki, and A. Mira, The Indirect Measurement of Biomechanical Forces in the Moving Human Body,” American Journal of Physics 74, 102 (2006).
Show Profile

Steven Olmschenk dr. Olmschenk, Steven M. Olmschenk

Steven Olmschenk
Faculty  |  Astronomy, Physics
Assistant Professor
F.W. Olin Science Hall
104
740-587-8661
Service: 
2012-Present
Degree(s): 
B.S., B.A., University of Chicago; M.Sc., M.S.E., Ph.D. University of Michigan
Biography: 

I arrived at Denison University in 2012, following postdoctoral research in the Laser Cooling group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  Currently, I am doing experimental research in atomic physics and quantum information.  Over the last several years, advances in laser cooling, trapping, and optical/rf manipulation of atoms has given us unprecedented control over the quantum states of these systems.  One of the most intriguing applications of this work is in quantum information, where we want to utilize quantum physics to tackle otherwise intractable computational problems.  This is being pursued at Denison using cold, trapped atomic ions, which have been recognized as a promising candidate for quantum bit (qubit) implementation due to their long trapping times, excellent coherence properties, and the exquisite control that can be achieved over both internal and external degrees of freedom.

Here at Denison I am teaching a variety of courses on all aspects of physics.  Some of the things I am particularly excited about is adding versatile microcontrollers and FPGAs to the curriculum of the electronics course, and having the opportunity to introduce additional contemporary topics in physics to the classroom.

Research: 

Selected publications:

  • S. Olmschenk, R. Chicireanu, K. D. Nelson, and J. V. Porto, “Randomized benchmarking of atomic qubits in an optical lattice,” New J. Phys. 12, 113007 (2010)
  • S. Olmschenk, D. N. Matsukevich, P. Maunz, D. Hayes, L.-M. Duan, and C. Monroe, "Quantum Teleportation Between Distant Matter Qubits," Science 323, 486 (2009)
  • S. Olmschenk, K. C. Younge, D. L. Moehring, D. Matsukevich, P. Maunz, and C. Monroe, "Manipulation and Detection of a Trapped Yb+ Hyperfine Qubit," Phys. Rev. A 76, 052314 (2007)
Curriculum Vitae: 
Show Profile

Riina Tehver Tehver, Riina Tehver

Riina Tehver
Faculty  |  Astronomy, Physics, Computational Science
Assistant Professor
F.W. Olin Science Hall
105
740-587-8259
Service: 
2010-Present
Degree(s): 
B.S., Tartu University; Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
Biography: 

I came to Denison in 2010 after a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Maryland.  I enjoy teaching a broad range of courses including introductory physics, quantum mechanics, electromagnetic theory, and laboratories. I also really enjoy doing research with students.

My research field is computational biophysics. In the broadest sense, my group wants to understand how biological complexity arises from basic physical principles. Specifically, our goal is to understand how biomolecules perform their cellular functions. We use numerical analysis and computational modeling to connect protein structures via their dynamics to their operation. Proteins are responsible for most tasks that make life happen: they create motion, support cellular structures, enable chemical reactions, and so on. We study how proteins can perform these biological tasks. We are currently working on a class of proteins called motor proteins. We build theoretical and computational models that allow us to understand the connection between the structures of the proteins, their internal dynamics, and, how to connect that to their operation.

Research: 

Selected publications:

  • M. Hinczewski, R. Tehver, and D. Thirumalai, Design principles governing the motility of myosin V, PNAS 110, E4059 (2013).
  • M. Jayasinghe, P. Shrestha, X. Wu, R. Tehver, G. Stan, Weak Intra-Ring Allosteric Communications of the Archaeal Chaperonin Thermosome Revealed by Normal Mode Analysis, accepted to Biophys. J. (2012)
  • R. Tehver, D. Thirumalai, Rigor to Post-Rigor Transition in Myosin V: Link between the Dynamics and the Supporting Architecture, Structure 18, 471 (2010).
  • R. Tehver, J. Chen, D. Thirumalai. Allostery Wiring Diagrams in the Transitions that Drive the GroEL Reaction Cycle, J. Mol. Biol. 387, 390 (2009)
  • R. Tehver, D. Thirumalai. Kinetic Model for the Coupling Between Allosteric Transitions in GroEL and Substrate Protein Folding and Aggregation. J. Mol. Biol. 384, 1279 (2008)
Curriculum Vitae: 
Show Profile

Wes Walter dr. Walter, Wesley Walter

Wes Walter
Faculty  |  Physics, Environmental Studies, Astronomy
Professor
F.W. Olin Science Hall
111
740-587-5704
Service: 
1996-Present
Degree(s): 
B.S., University of Dallas; M.A., Ph.D., Rice University
Biography: 

I have been at Denison since 1996, following teaching experience at Saint Mary’s College of California and a research postdoc at SRI International. I enjoy teaching a broad range of courses including introductory physics, introductory astronomy, modern physics, electromagnetic theory, electronics and advanced lab. In addition, I have developed and taught several courses specifically for non-science majors, including “”Renewable Energy and Sustainability” (FYS 102), “Energy and the Environment” (Physics 100) and “Coming of Age in the Milky Way: Aristotle to Galileo to Einstein” (Honors 135 and FYS 102). I am an active member of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Council on Undergraduate Research, and Project Kaleidoscope – F21.

Research: 

My research interests include laser spectroscopy, negative ions, and atomic and molecular collisions. The overall goal of our research program is to understand better the fundamental physics of electron binding particularly regarding the role of electron correlations, that is, how electrons "talk" to each other within an atom. Together with Prof. Dan Gibson (also of Denison's Physics Department) and many student collaborators, we have developed an on-campus ion beam mass spectrometer to investigate properties of negative ions using lasers. We do complementary experiments using the synchrotron Advanced Light Source (ALS) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. Our projects have included: investigations of the effects of static electric fields on laser photodetachment from negative ions (which leads to the formation of single electron interferometers); precision measurements of atomic electron affinities using tunable photodetachment spectroscopy; and investigations of inner-shell photodetachment at the ALS. This research is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Research Corporation, and Denison University. Interested students are always welcome to join our research group!

Selected publications * Denison student

  • A. O. Lindahl, J. Rohlén, H. Hultgren, I. Yu. Kiyan, D. J. Pegg, C. W. Walter, and D. Hanstorp, “Threshold Photodetachment in a Repulsive Potential”, Physical Review Letters 108, 033004 (2012).
  • C.W. Walter, N.D. Gibson, Y.-G. Li*, D. J. Matyas*, R.M. Alton*, S.E. Lou*, R.L. Field III*, D. Hanstorp, L. Pan, and D.R. Beck, “Experimental and Theoretical Study of Bound and Quasi-bound States of Ce”, Physical Review A 84, 032514 (2011).
  • C.W. Walter, N.D. Gibson, D. J. Carman*, Y.-G. Li*, and D. J. Matyas*, “Electron Affinity of Indium and the Fine Structure of In Measured using Infrared Photodetachment Threshold Spectroscopy”, Physical Review A 82, 032507 (2010).
  • C.W. Walter, N.D. Gibson, R.L. Field III*, A.P. Snedden*, J.Z. Shapiro*, C. M. Janczak*, D. Hanstorp, “Electron Affinity of Arsenic and the Fine Structure of As Measured using Infrared Photodetachment Threshold Spectroscopy”, Physical Review A 80, 014501 (2009).
Curriculum Vitae: 
Show Profile