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.

  • 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


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!

Watch the Video

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

Environment ·

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

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Stars. Photo by: Benjamin Voros

Science ·

Shedding Light on Distant Stars

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Nate Harshman

Meet Our Staff

Appointments available online noon-5:00 weekdays.


Staff Directory

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