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The department faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduate students are actively involved in ongoing research initiatives. The department faculty general research topics include astrophysics, atmospheric physics, biophysics, computational physics, condensed matter physics, nuclear and particle physics, optics, physics education and statistical physics.
ASTROPHYSICS AND COSMOLOGY
Faculty members in astrophysics and cosmology have worked on cutting edge and fundamental topics within the discipline. Some of their work has touched on dark matter, dark energy, and black hole formation.
The Climate and Radiation Group (CARG) is being developed as a core research component in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Howard University Program in Atmospheric Sciences (HUPAS). CARG is also a key participant in Center for the Study of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Atmospheres (CSTEA) and the NOAA-Howard University Cooperative Center for Atmospheric Sciences. CARG’s overall research goal is to investigate unresolved questions in climate change and its impact on society. CARG is particularly interested in engaging in research that contributes: To an improved understanding of the the role of clouds and the H2O cycle in climate through the development and application of climate models and innovative techniques in remote sensing: To understanding the impact of climate on public health.
Topics of interest to faculty members in biophysics include systems biology, fluid dynamics, and population dynamics.
The computational physics laboratory has a strong history of producing graduates at all levels including the doctorate. Computational physics projects have included: relativistic scattering, black hole formation, atmospheric waves and oscillations, DNA sequencing, cellular electroporation, fluid dynamics, and electromagnetic scattering from rough surfaces. Members of computational physics group have used standard professional software packages as well as designing special customized codes for particular applications.
CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS
The topics of faculty working in condensed matter physics cover a wide range. Their work has primarily been divided between experimental and computational studies. Topics include carbon nanotubes, microstructures of extreme environments, materials structures , magnetic spin glasses, semiconducting and superconducting materials.
LASER SPECTROSCOPY AND OPTICS
Research in both laser spectroscopy and optics has primarily focused on atmospheric measurements, and spectroscopic measurements of discharge plasmas and organic molecules.
NUCLEAR AND ELEMENTARY PARTICLE PHYSICS
Faculty working in nuclear and elementary particle physics are considering theoretical, experimental, and computational approaches to solving fundamental problems of physics. Their work includes superstrings, supersymmetry, and relativistic and non relativistic few-body scattering.
Faculty work in PER has dealt primarily with developing and assessing the impact of novel earth and space science course curricula. In addition, faculty are developing theoretical models of science culture in underrepresented communities.