image:  single slit diffraction

Sonoma State University
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Two New Professors to Join Department

Two new assistant professors will join the SSU Department of Physics and Astronomy in the fall of 2007. Both will be seeking students to join them in their research programs.

Dr. Jeremy Qualls brings with him an extensive background in material development and a passion for teaching. He received his Ph.D. in physics from Florida State University while working at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida in 1999. Since then he has taught at Wake Forest University and the University of Texas–Pan American. He has established himself as an experimental physicist in the field of solid state physics working in the low temperature and high magnetic field regime.

With the transition to SSU, Dr. Qualls will bring with him many components of his current research endeavors, including synthesis and characterization of novel electronic structures such as charge transfer salts and molecular conductors, as well as his work on active photonic systems which was recently funded by the National Science Foundation. The research is attractive both in the scope of the science and in the potential for commercial application. He will establish a new research lab at SSU to be used by students and collaborators. The experiences undergraduates receive in his research lab often set them apart from others and dramatically improve their chances at entering strong graduate programs or a technical career. Over the last 5 years a number of students from Dr. Qualls’ lab have been quite successful, going on to graduate programs at Cornell University, Texas A&M, and the University of New Mexico.

Interested students and others from the community are welcomed to contact Dr. Qualls and learn more about his work.
Dr. Scott Severson joins our department from the University of California Santa Cruz, where he was an Associate Research Astronomer. He received his Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from The University of Chicago and his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin. His research has focused on experimental astrophysics, and he has built and used world-class telescopes and instruments, such as the Lick Observatory Adaptive Optics system, and the SPIREX near-infrared telescope located at the South Pole.

Dr. Severson will lead the effort to construct a state-of-the-art remote controlled telescope at the Galbreath Wildlands Preserve using environmentally friendly technology. He works in the cross-disciplinary field of adaptive optics and will operate a laboratory on-site at SSU. He looks forward to working with Sonoma State University students on these activities and in astronomical observing programs.

Scott Severson brings to Sonoma State University his passion to teach. His teaching interests include: innovative teaching practices, such as project- and inquiry-based learning; mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers; and recruiting, educating and retaining a diverse population of scientists. Scott has taught astronomy at the COSMOS summer school program at UCSC, mentored undergraduate and graduate students, and will be chief coordinator for an advanced summer school in adaptive optics in summer 2007. He is excited to teach at Sonoma State University and serve the Sonoma County community.

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