Feb 25, 2024  
2023-2024 University of Wyoming Catalog 
2023-2024 University of Wyoming Catalog

Department of Physics and Astronomy

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204 Physical Sciences Building,
(307) 766-6150
FAX: (307) 766-2652
Web site:
Department Head: Jinke Tang


MICHAEL S. BROTHERTON, B.S. Rice University 1990; M.A. University of Texas at Austin 1992; Ph.D. 1996; Professor of Physics and Astronomy 2014, 2002.

YURI DAHNOVSKY, Ph.D. Institute of Chemical Physics, Moscow 1983; Professor of Physics 2007, 2000.

DANIEL A. DALE, B.S. University of Minnesota 1993; M.S. Cornell University 1996; Ph.D. 1998; Professor of Physics and Astronomy 2009, 2001.

HENRY A. KOBULNICKY, B.S. University of Iowa 1991; M.S. University of Minnesota 1993; Ph.D. 1997; Professor of Physics and Astronomy 2014, 2002.

ADAM D. MYERS, M.S. Durham University, United Kingdom 2000; Ph.D. 2004; Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy 2017, 2011; Professor of Physics and Astronomy Fall 2022

H. EDWARD SEIDEL B.S. College of William and Mary 1981; M.S. University of Pennsylvania 1983; Ph.D. Yale University 1988; Professor of Physics and Astronomy 2020.

JINKE TANG, B.S. Jilin University 1982; M.S. Iowa State University 1990; Ph.D. 1989; Professor of Physics 2007.

Associate Professors:

TEYU CHIEN, B.S. National Taiwan Normal University 2001; Ph.D. University of Tennessee-Knoxville 2009; Associate Professor of Physics 2019, 2013.

MICHAEL J. PIERCE, B.S. University of Oklahoma 1980; M.A. University of Hawaii 1983; Ph.D. 1988; Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy 2005, 2001.

WENYONG WANG, B.S. Nankai University 1993; M.S. Yale University 1999; Ph.D. 2004; Associate Professor of Physics 2014, 2008.

Assistant Professors:

JIFA TIAN, B.S. Beijing Normal University 2003; Ph.D. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences/Institute of Physics, CAS 2009; Assistant Professor of Physics 2018.

Maxwell Moe, B.A./B.S. University of Colorado, Boulder 2009; M.A. Harvard University 2011; Ph.D. Harvard University 2015; Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy 2022. 

Senior Academic Professional Lecturer:

RÜDIGER MICHALAK, Dipl. Phys FZ Julich 1989; Ph.D. 1993; Academic Professional Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy 2007, 2004.

Assistant Academic Professional Lecturers:

AYSENUR BICER, B.S. Ege University 2006; M.S. 2009; Ph.D. Texas A&M University 2018; Assistant Lecturer in Physics 2019.

JESSE FEDDERSEN, B.S. Indiana University 2013; M.S. Yale University 2015; Ph.D. Yale University 2019; Assistant Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy 2020.

Adjunct Professors:

Gabrielle Allen, Pu Du, Paul Marquard, William Rice, Zhaohui Shang, Tim Slater, Hannah Jang-Condell, Edmund Synakowski.

Professors Emeriti:

Ronald W. Canterna, Paul E. Johnson, A. Raymond Kunselman, Terry P. Roark, James M. Rosen, Jimmie Verley, David R. Thayer.


Physics originated in antiquity as the study of natural philosophy. As such, it attempts to describe the universe within the context of both physical laws and the fundamental particles of nature. The broad scope of physics runs from the microscopic nuclear structure and that of the elementary particles themselves to the macroscopic, the galaxy and evolution of the universe as a whole. Today the subject is generally divided into broad areas such as condensed matter, nuclear, elementary particles, astrophysics, etc. The department maintains competence in most major branches of physics and offers instruction in these areas at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, it has a strong interest and involvement in science education.

Learning Outcomes

The B.S. and B.A. in Physics, the B.S. in Astronomy, and the B.A. in Physics and Physics Education all have the broad objectives enumerated below. These objectives are designed to promote the success of our majors in their chosen career path, whether that takes them into academia, secondary teaching, industry or further education:

  1. Provide students with problem-solving and data-manipulation skills appropriate to the growing range of scientific and technological careers in academia or industry.
  2. Develop students’ oral, written, interpersonal and communication skills.
  3. Provide students with skills in experimental design, data collection, and data analysis through research experiences in a laboratory/computational/telescope setting.
  4. Educate students in the application of mathematical tools that will be useful for them to achieve success in a postcollege career.
  5. Provide a conceptual and analytical uderstanding of the core areas of physics and their specialty area.
  6. Provide students with an understanding of scientific reasoning, i.e., the roles of theory, hypothesis, and experiment in the scientific method.

The B.S. in Physics and the B.S. in Astronomy are primarily designed for students who wish to pursue post-graduate education or to have a more in-depth physics background. The Physics B.A. is primarily designed for students interested in pursuing a double major, or a professional career. The B.A. in Physics and Physics Education is structured for those interested in pursuing a secondary science teaching career.

Undergraduate Curriculum

The four-year physics programs are the Bachelor of Arts in physics and the Bachelor of Science in physics. The Bachelor of Science programs are intended for students who will pursue a career or a graduate degree in the field, whereas the Bachelor of Arts program is primarily geared toward those who are interested in pursuing physics as a second major. The department also offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Graduate Study

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers the degrees of master of science in physics, master of science in teaching, and doctor of philosophy. Advanced degrees in physics may be based on experimental or theoretical research in physics or astrophysics.

Please refer to the departmental homepage at http://www.uwyo.edu/physics/ for the programmatic updates, or contact the department directly.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

We will begin to review applications in late January.  Both the GRE general and physics subject exams are optional, and we will review all applications on their total merits.  Students of all backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and countries of origin are encouraged to apply at http://www.uwyo.edu/admissions/apply-online.html

Applications should include:

-Resume or CV

-Undergraduate transcript

-A Personal Statement that says why you want to pursue a PhD, why Wyoming is a good fit for you, and what experiences you’ve previously had completing long-term projects

-Three letters of recommendation (this will be done through the application website)

-GRE scores Both the GRE general and physics subject exams are optional.

-TOEFL for non-native English speakers

-Please see the Graduate Admissions and Graduate Student Regulations and Policies entries in the front section of the UW Catalog for more information.

Program Specific Graduate Assistantships

The Physics and Astronomy Department commits to providing first- and second-year students with teaching assistantships for the nine-month academic year. More advanced students are generally supported on federal grants or fellowships. Both teaching and research assistantships carry a full tuition waiver and insurance. Summer assistantships are often available to students making satisfactory progress. Refer to http://www.uwyo.edu/physics/ for current amounts.  




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