Department of Physics



The Department of Physics has four faculty members pursuing research in light scattering, stellar classification, asteroid research, granular physics, and other topics accessible to undergraduates. 

Paul Nakroshis

I'll work on any interesting research project that grabs my interest and can involve undergraduates in research. So, perhaps table-top physics is the best way to describe what I do. My graduate work involved looking for a weak composition-dependent gravitational force, while at USM, I've done work on video microscopy of Brownian motion, granular physics, image recognition, and currently, I'm returning to my graduate school training by building a sensitive torsion pendulum to measure small shifts in the earth's magnetic field. I'm also interested in Computational Physics, and designed and teach Computational Physics (Physics 261). 

Julie Ziffer

University of Southern Maine Professor Julie Ziffer is part of an international team of eight researchers that has discovered a layer of ice and organic molecules covering the surface of an asteroid. The team’s discovery could explain how ingredients necessary for life arrived on Earth. In general, Professor Ziffer's research focuses on identifying characteristics of the surface compositions of asteroids. She has access to such facilities as NASA’s Infrared Telescope at Mauna Kea, Hawaii, through a remote observation lab at USM.

Article on Julie Ziffer and the Asteroid that was named after her: