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Department of Physics

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NIU Physics Faculty have close links with Fermilab and Argonne National Lab, and often involve undergrad and graduate students in research involving both institutions. For more information, see the links here and here.


Recent Dissertations and Theses


Department Personnel

Chair: Dr. Laurence Lurio, 815-753-6470 llurio@niu.edu

Assistant Chair/Director of Undergraduate Studies:     Dr. Yasuo Ito, 815-753-6477 yito@niu.edu

Director of Graduate Studies: Dr. Dhiman Chakraborty, 815-753-8804 dchakrab@niu.edu

Contact us: AskPhysics@niu.edu

Physics Help Room: FR 251 M-Th 9-5, F 9-3

Physics Department Colloquia 

(New 2015 Fall schedule slots still available)

News & Highlights

Mu2e Building Construction.

Congratulations to Dr. Stephen Cole whose doctoral dissertation has been recognized by the NIU Graduate Council as the most outstanding disseration of 2014-2015. 

Assistant Professor Young-Min Shin was recently awarded the MVP (Most Valued Professor) award by the Student-Athlete Academic Support Services.

NIU Ph.D. student publishes discoveries in top physics journal

Dr. Clyde Kimball Scholarship: A scholarship in Dr. Kimball’s name has been established to be awarded to NIU physics students to assist in their academic endeavors. Simply indicate "Clyde Kimball Scholarship" in the “Other” designation when donating. (link below)


Moon Madness: Area residents observe total lunar eclipse.

Dr. Mike Syphers will be joining us as a Research Professor at NIU physics department and the accelerator cluster of research excellence starting on September 16, 2015. This is a joint appointment with Fermilab. He is currently a full profesor of physics at Michigan State University. Dr. Syphers had been a long-time staff at Fermilab previously and had wanted to return to the NIU/Fermilab community for some time and this is an ideal opportunity for the cluster to have him on board. Dr. Syphers is the author of one textbook in particle accelerators, is an international expert large hadron particle colliders, had contributed originally to the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC) and now contributing to the Future Circular Collider (FCC) design at CERN, He is a member of the Board of the US Particle Accelerator School and we expect him to boost the NIU accelerator physics both in educational aspects as well as broadening the research to include colliders.

"High Energy" researches attract 1.77 million in new grants

Reception for Undergraduate Women in Science, September 11, 2015, La Tourette Hall Rm 300, 1:00-2:00 pm

NIU Alum Sam Watt takes STEM Outreach to Beijing

Update news story on NIU's STEM program including its origins in physics.

Graduate student Keith Taddei (Advisor Dr. Omar Chmaissem) won the Margaret Etter student lecturer award for the neutron scattering category at this year's ACA annual meeting in Philadelphia.  The award was announced July 27th, 2015. Further details at NIU today.

Watch Dr. Jahred Adelman's interview on Fox 32 Chicago News Friday, July 3, 2015.

STEM Cafe talk on the  Physics of Baseball 

It is with great sadness that I must announce the news of Clyde Kimball’s death last Wednesday in Corvallis, Oregon. Clyde was a fixture of the physics department and every day he worked towards fulfilling an ambition vision of what the department could be.  We will miss him greatly and it  is up to us to now keep his vision alive. (Laurence B. Lurio): Information about Clyde: Click here

Fermilab director Nigel Lockyer to receive honorary NIU doctorate.

Professor and Students Design New Lab Experiment and Produce Instructional Video (Dr. Shin, Gregory Alley and Ryan Churchill-Derose). Their video is available on the Optics Lab website

Research Compliance and Integrity will hold RCR Forum designed to support high quality research and promote graduate student professional development. Forum session will provide information for students about Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).  April 8, 2015 La Tourette Hall 201 at noon - Research Misconduct, hosted by Shannon Wapole (ORCI): Panelist: Dr. Carol Thompson, Dean Brad Bond.

Congratulations to Daniel Stange and Nilanjana Kumar who are recipients of the 2015 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award on April 21, 2015 at the Altgeld Hall Auditorium.

Jamison Thorne's write up and reflection on the Industrial Physics Forum was just published in the latest edition of the national magazine for the Society of Physics Students, called the SPS Observer

Andrew Morrison (our own alumni) will be featured on STEM cafe on 2/24.

"The Physics of Nuclear Propulsion" - Feb. 25, 2015, La Tourette Hall Rm 227, 1:00-1:50 PM - A special lecture for Physics undergraduate majors. The guest lecturer, Lt. Haggerty, is a Nuclear propulsion officer in the Navy, who will share real world experiences and examples about nuclear power, reactor principles and submarine operations.

Michel van Veenedaal pens new book "Theory of Inelastic Scattering and Absorption of X-rays" (Cambridge University Press)

Professor Swapan Chattopadhyay wrote a column on "The 2020 vision:the new face of accelerator science at Fermilab" in Fermilab Today (Jan 28, 2015 edition).

APS/IBM Research Internships for Undergraduate Women and Underrepresented Minorities: Deadline is February 15

Fermilab Today article highlights NICADD scintillator facility.

Professor Steve Martin presents "The Importance of Making Mistakes" as a Presidential Teaching Professor Seminar on October 21, 2014 at Capitol Room, Holmes Student Center.

Physics undergraduates Jamison Thorne and Ashlyn Shellito attend 2014 Industrial Physics Forum conference in Brazil.

NIU Today and Fermilab Today article highlights Harsha Panuganti and Philippe Piot's research on laser-driven beams and nanotube cathodes also appears in CERN Courier.

NIU Today article highlights Octavio Escalante-Aguirre's work on g-2 in Italy in Summer 2014.

NIU Today article highlights Fermilab g-2 experiment and Mike Eads, Mary Shenk, Mike McEvoy, Aaron Epps, Eric Johnson, and Octavio Escalante-Aguirre

Fermilab Today article highlights proton tomography scanner and George Coutrakon.

Renowned physicist Swapan Chattopadhyay, currently director of the Cockcroft Institute in England, has accepted a joint appointment to Northern Illinois University and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Professor Swapan Chattopadhyay will be joining Department of Physics as a faculty this fall 2014.  Please join us in wishing him a warm welcome to the department.

NIU Physics researchers (G. Coutrakon, B. Erdelyi, and V. Zutshi) as members of The NIU proton Computed Tomography (pCT) project team, and the software team led by N. Karonis were issued an US patent (US patent No. 8,766,180) for their application entitled “High performance computing for three dimensional proton computed tomography (HPC-PHT) on July 1st, 2014.

Roland Winkler recognized as an "Outstanding Referees" out of 63,000 active referees of American Physical Society.

Omar Chmaissem, S Avci, J.M. Allred made a new breakthrough in superconductivity research with his ANL collaborators led by Dr. Ray Osborn

Philippe Piot and Chris Prokop highlighted in ASTA newsletter

David Hedin renewed as Board of Trustees Professor

NIU-Fermilab accelerator physics collaborative effort highlighted in Fermilab Today and NIU Today

Jerry Blazey, Steve Boi and Ashlyn Shellitto present at 2014 AAAS meeting

Mike Fortner receives award for outstanding environmental leadership.

Forbes magazine puts physics on the list of the 15 most valuable college majors.