Department of Physics

Welcome to the Physics Department at American University! Our research labs and facilities include the Institute for Integrated Space Science and Technology (ISSTI), Design and Build Lab (DaBL), and DC Space Grant Consortium.

  • Philip Johnson received a $77,178.75 grant from NASA)for the project “Spectroscopic Investigations of Processed Planetary and Astrophysical Ices with the Sublimation Laboratory Ice Millimeter/submillimeter Experiment.”

  • Pankaj Kumar received a $60,000 grant from NASA for the project “Understanding How Solar Filament Channels Form.”

  • Prof. Michael Alonzo received a $10,000 grant from the International Society for Arboriculture for the project "When, where, and by how much do urban trees reduce temperatures in the city? A review of the literature."

  • Thomas Fauchez received a $24,613 grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute for the project "How Are Active Region Properties and Heating Connected?"

  • Vladimir Airapetian received supplemental funding of $39,972 (new total: $78,779) from University of California, Berkeley, for the project “Observationally Constrained Modeling of the Origin and Impacts of Exoplanetary Space Weather.”

  • Vladimir Airapetian received supplemental funding of $10,051 (new total: $50,259) from the Space Telescope Science Institute for the project “Evolving Magnetic Lives Of Young Suns.”

  • Frederick Bruhweiler received a $112,044 grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute for the project “High Resolution Spectroscopic Mapping of Mass Loss in Luminous Blue Variables.”

  • Frederick Bruhweiler received supplemental funding of $32,000 (new total: $667,770) from NASA for the project “Developing Technologies for Instruments to Study High-Energy Processes in the Solar Atmosphere.”

  • Thomas Fauchez received a $112,413 grant from NASA for the project “Detectability of water in the atmosphere of terrestrial habitable zone exoplanets due to exo-volcanism: a false positive for habitability.”

  • Philip Johnson received supplemental funding of $53,364 (for a new total of $267,344) from NASA for the project “Interpreting Cassini CIRS Data with a Photochemical Model using Improved ab initio Reaction Rate Coefficients.”

  • Thomas Fauchez received a grant from NASA for the project “Detectability of water in the atmosphere of terrestrial habitable zone exoplanets due to exo-volcanism: a false positive for habitability”

  • Nathan Harshman received a grant from NASA for $110,000 for “District of Columbia Space Grant Consortium Budget Proposal for National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program: Opportunities in NASA STEM FY 2020-2024.”

  • Gregory Harry received a $66,519 grant from the National Science Foundation for the project “Collaborative Research: Center for Coatings Research.”

  • Philip Johnson received a $27,297.89 grant (in addition to previous funding of $393,230.11) from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for the project “Research on the Causes and Consequences of Ionospheric Outflow.”

  • Will Barnes received a $24,870 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the project “Python Development for the CHIANTI Database.”

  • Boncho Bonev received supplemental funding of $43,969 (in addition to previous grant funding of $83,657) from the University of Michigan for the project “The Dynamics, Thermodynamics and Composition of the Cometary Coma.” He also received supplemental funding of $64,734 (in addition to previous grant funding of $134,013) from Johns Hopkins University for the project “A comparative study of how ices are stored in cometary nuclei.”

  • Frederick Bruhweiler received two grants in the amount of $260,000 and $33,956 (in addition to prior funding in the amount of $1,104,680) from NASA for the project “Advanced Development of IR and Visible Array Spectrometers and Imagers for Ground-based and Space-borne Planetary Observations.”

    Nathan Harshman received an $800,000 grant (in addition to prior funding in the amount of $2,450,858) from NASA for the project "District of Columbia Space Grant Consortium Budget Proposal for National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program: Opportunities in NASA STEM FY 2020-2024.”

  • Philip Johnson received a grant from NASA for the project "JWST Observations of Solar System Objects.”

  • Pankaj Kumar received an $83,946 grant from NASA for the project titled “Grant - Single Source, Observational Studies of the Formation and Eruption of Solar Filament Channels.”

  • Silvina Guidoni received a $29,932 grant from NASA for the project “Connecting The Origins of Flux-Ropes In The Lower Corona With Their Evolution Heliosphere.”

  • Dennis Lucarelli received a $32,088 grant (incrementally funded for a total of $63,241) from Dartmouth College for the project “Quantum Characterization and Model Reduction for Fault-Tolerant Quabit Networks.”

  • Philip Johnson received a $29,199 grant (funded over three years for a total of $887,417) from NASA for the project titled “Modeling of Exoplanet Atmospheres and Climates.”

  • Pankaj Kumar was awarded a $265,312 NSF grant for Collaborative Research: SHINE: Where Are Particles Accelerated in Coronal Jets?
  • Adam McKay, AU research professor and research scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will become one of the first people to use the James Webb Space Telescope later this month. He was featured in AU Magazine.
  • Kathryn Walters-Conte received a $50,000 grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute for her work on the HHMI Driving Change D.C. Learning Grant 2021. April 2021
  • Silvina Guidoni and a global team of researchers virtually continued on their work from the NASA Goddard Heliophysics Hackweek 2020 to publish their results about machine learning at the prestigious NeurIPS 2020 conference. February 2021 
  • Philip Johnson received $153,129.41, representing an incremental fund of $420,518 that is expected to go through 2/29/2024, from NASA for his project called "Research on the Causes and Consequences of Ionospheric Outflow." February 2021 
  • Gregory Harry received $92,407 from the National Science Foundation, which will span over three years, for his project called "Collaborative Research: LSC Center for Coatings Research." October 2020 
  • Gregory Harry was awarded $99,984, representing year one of an expected $299,955 award, stretched over three years, from the National Science Foundation, for his project called "Aluminum Gallium Arsenide Coatings to Improve LIGO Sensitivity." August 2020 
  • Boncho Bonev received $347,553 from the National Science Foundation for his project, entitled: "Collaborative Research: Pushing the Boundaries of Post-Rosetta Cometary Science with the New Generation of Near-Infrared Spectographs." August 2020 

60 Seconds on Preparing for the Future Space Industry

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Prof Nate Harshman connects students and faculty of diverse backgrounds and skill sets with NASA's space missions through the DC Space Grant Consortium.

Read more about cosmology, AU physics—and whimsy in From the Subatomic to the Cosmological: AU’s Professor Nathan Harshman.

 

Voyage into the Sun

Voyage into the Sun

Check out Prof. Silvina Guidoni talking about solar physics in the Voyage to the Sun documentary!

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CAS student Ekua Hudson used AU's Design and Build Lab to construct a sustainable farming system.

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A Bountiful Future: AU Student Crafting Sustainable Food Plan for DC Public Schools

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Stars. Photo by: Benjamin Voros

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Shedding Light on Distant Stars

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Nate Harshman

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Tiktok @auphysics: "You're gonna give me an A?!"