About Physics programs
Department of Physics
Location: Building, 50, Room 2600
Phone: (904) 620-2729
Fax: (904) 620-1989
Web Address: www.unf.edu/coas/physics
Dr. Greg Wurtz, Chair
The mission of the Department of Physics is to serve the people of
the State of Florida and the nation by providing excellent educational
experiences in physics, astronomy, earth and geological science, and advancing
knowledge in physics through research, and service to the university, public
and our profession. As a primary constituent of a liberal arts education, we
seek to foster an appreciation of the physical world and an understanding of
the scientific method of inquiry. We aspire to install in our students the
principles, motivations, comprehension, and vision to prepare them for careers
in physics and related fields, for physics teaching careers, and for
intellectual growth throughout their lives.
The Department of Physics offers the Bachelor
of Science degree in physics with the following concentrations: traditional
physics, astrophysics, engineering physics with electrical or mechanical engineering emphases, and computing
emphasis, physics: materials science and premedical physics for those students who desire to matriculate to a
medical school or a graduate program in medical physics. A minor is also
offered in physics. Interested students may decide to major in physics
while choosing the physics teaching option which combines the physics
baccalaureate degree with an education minor. Some students may choose the
traditional physics major along with a minor in business. The department offers honors-in-the physics
major. The department encourages the more applied-oriented physics majors to
take part in industrial internships. Other opportunities for our majors include
a teaching apprenticeship program, and an exchange program at the University of
Technology of Troyes, France.
The importance of physics in the intellectual and economic life of
the 21st century is clear to thoughtful individuals. The increased use of
complex technologies in nanoelectronics, environmental physics, optics,
space and renewable energies, defense, health care, manufacturing and other
industries provides ample evidence that the value of understanding physics will
continue to be important for individuals and society. Physics provides a strong
foundation of skills which allows for our students to also enter professional
and graduate studies both within and outside the physics discipline. The
faculty members are committed to excellence in undergraduate instruction and
have the two-fold objectives of teaching physics, astronomy, earth and
geological sciences to students from all programs of the university while also
educating competent baccalaureate physicists who engage in active and
productive funded research on topics of current interest to society at large.
Students in the physics program often participate in the research
of our faculty. Currently, physics students can participate in research on the
experimental and theoretical properties of magnetic semiconductors, superconductors, magnetic
materials, optical studies of correlated electron systems, graphene, carbon
nanotubes, nanophotonic devices, non-linear optical and electrical transport
properties of metamaterials, Dirac materials, nanomagnets, metallic, complex oxide,
and semiconducting nanostructures, theoretical astrophysics of black holes and
dark matter, experimental astrophysical studies of cosmic rays, and physics
history. The department has an extraordinary array of major research
instruments for a comprehensive university of UNF’s size: two atomic force
microscopes, femto sec pulsed laser, scanning electron microscope-EDAX and
ebeam lithography, photolithography instrument, Raman spectrometer, SQUID
magnetometer, physical properties measurement system and thermal and electron
vacuum deposition systems for thin films. In addition, the department is one of
only a handful of primarily undergraduate universities in the nation that has a
Helium liquefier facility and a dual chamber molecular beam epitaxy system used
for the fabrication of complex oxide multilayer films. The department
also has a multi-node computer cluster facility. UNF does not have a graduate
program in physics which means faculty pay full attention to mentoring our
undergraduate physics majors who routinely participate in research utilizing
this wide array of equipment.
Many physics students receive financial support from faculty
research grants (National Science Foundation, Research Corporation, and NASA),
and university grants and scholarships to support their research activities
under the mentorship of the faculty. Students are often times employed by the
university and department as tutors and graders. The department supports
students via scholarships (e.g., Hercules and Shacter). Two active students
clubs are on campus that our majors often join: the Society of Physics
Students and the Astronomy Club.
Many of the physics graduates at UNF over the
past decade have continued their studies in graduate or professional schools
around the nation and the world.
Department of Physics Faculty
James L. Garner, Professor (Ph. D. Ohio State
University, Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics)
Lev V. Gasparov, Terry Presidential Professor
& Associate Dean (Ph. D. Institute for Solid State Physics, Experimental
Condensed Matter Physics)
Jason Haraldsen, Associate Professor (Ph. D.
University of Tennessee, Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics)
John William Hewitt, Assistant Professor (Ph.
D. Northwestern University, Experimental Astrophysics)
Chris Kelso, Associate Professor (Ph. D.
University of Chicago, Theoretical Astrophysics)
Jane H. MacGibbon, Associate Professor (Ph.
D. University of Cambridge, Theoretical Astrophysics)
Thomas M. Pekarek, Terry Presidential
Professor (Ph. D. Purdue University, Experimental Condensed Matter Physics)
Daniel F. Santavicca, Associate Professor
(Ph. D. Yale University, Experimental Condensed Matter Physics)
Maitri Warusawithana, Assistant Professor
(Ph. D. University of Illinois, Experimental Condensed Matter Physics)
Gregory Wurtz, Associate Professor and
Chairman (Ph. D. University of Technology of Compiegne-France, Experimental
Condensed Matter Physics)
Lynn B. Albright, Associate Lecturer (Ph. D.
University of California-Riverside, Geology)
John E. Anderson, Associate Lecturer (Ph. D.
Harvard University, Experimental Biophysics)
Warren Huelsnitz, Lecturer (Ph. D. University of Maryland,
Experimental High Energy Physics)
Michael Johnson, Lecturer (Ph. D. University of Wisconsin-Madison,
James L. Montgomery, Lecturer (M.S.
University of Central Florida, Experimental Optics)
Nirmalkumar G. Patel, Associate Lecturer (Ph.
D. Patel University, India, Experimental Condensed Matter Physics)
Dennis Gay, Associate Professor (Ph. D.
Florida State University, Experimental Nuclear Physics)
Jay Huebner, Professor (Ph. D. University of
California-Riverside, Experimental Condensed Matter Physics)
Grace Bosse, Lab Manager and Instructor (Ph.
D. Johns Hopkins University, Experimental Condensed Matter Physics)
Loraine Morgan, Office Manager