Speaker's Bureau

The Department of Physics at the University of South Alabama is pleased to offer as a free service to junior- or senior-level high school physics classes a number of interesting and informative presentations from members of the Physics Department faculty. Presentations will consist of:

  • Lectures covering physics topics delivered at a level appropriate for a high school audience
  • Demonstrations to pique the students’ interest and make a lasting positive impression
  • Questions and answers on the presentation topic
  • Information about majoring in Physics and careers that Physics majors may pursue

The length of the presentations can vary from forty minutes to one hour as desired. The exact content can be adapted to the needs of a particular class.

Teachers interested in having one or more presentations made in their physics classes should make arrangements by contacting the speaker at the appropriate email address below.

 Speakers Bureau 2023-2024


▼   Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM)

Dr. Arjun Dahal. Email: adahal@southalabama.edu

The magnification of the optical microscopes is limited to about 1000 because the optical microscopes cannot produce the image of an object that is smaller than the length of the light wave. Instead, scanning probe microscopes (SPMs) can show single atoms and thus provide the highest possible magnification of the surface of a sample. SPMs use a sharp tip to scan back and forth over the surface to be imaged. During the scanning process, a computer gathers data and transforms the data to an image that represents the surface.

▼   Do Magnetic Monopoles Exist? A Particle Physicist's Perspective

Dr. Martin Frank. Email: mfrank@southalabama.edu

The NOνA experiment at Fermilab has a detector that is the largest free-standing plastic structure in the world weighing a total of 14,000 tons.  This massive detector is located in northern Minnesota just shy of the Canadian boarder and it has more than 100,000 cosmic rays shooting through it every second.  This high precision detector gives us a new perspective on the universe.  In my talk, I will give an overview of the experiment and explain how we are able to see particles that escape the human eye, but are constantly shooting through our bodies.

▼   The Physics of Amazing Materials

Dr. Albert Gapud. Email: gapud@southalabama.edu

Among the different branches of physics, Condensed Matter Physics has the most direct and immediate impact on our daily lives. This lecture will try to show you why. There will also be live, hands-on demonstrations of low-temperature cryogenics.

▼   Understanding Matter and Anti-Matter in the Universe

Dr. Romulus Godang. Email: godang@southalabama.edu

Experiments tell us that for every fundamental matter there exists an anti-matter. The big bang is almost certainty produced matter and anti-matter in equal numbers. However, our observations indicate that we live in a universe of matter, not anti-matter. In this talk, I will explain our current knowledge of the asymmetry of matter and anti-matter in the universe.

▼   Repulsive van der Waals Interactions

Dr. Jianing Han. Email: jhan@southalabama.edu

Van der Waals forces are generally studied in physics, chemistry, biology, and other fields of science. A common misconception about van der Waals forces is that van der Waals interactions are attractive. As I will show in this talk, this is only true for ground state atoms. For excited atoms, van der Waals interactions can be either attractive or repulsive.

▼   Nuclear Physics

Dr. Merrill Jenkins. Email: mjenkins@southalabama.edu

A brief introduction to the subject of nuclear physics.  A discussion of the composition of the nucleus, the radius of the nucleus, the nuclear force and general properties of the different nuclei (called nuclides).  A presentation of nuclear binding energy, liquid drop model and the nuclear shell model will be made.  A brief introduction of the origins of nuclear decay and the radioactive decay law may be presented.

▼   The Special Theory of Relativity

Dr. Merrill Jenkins. Email: mjenkins@southalabama.edu

A brief introduction to the subject of special relativity. Classical Galilean relativity will be discussed and a short discussion of the historical circumstances that led to the acceptance of the special theory of relativity.  The Lorentz transformation, length contraction and time dilation will be discussed. Time-like and Space-like events will be discussed, and a presentation of the pole-in-the-barn paradox presented.

▼   Radioactivity

Dr. Justin M. Sanders. Email: jsanders@southalabama.edu

I will cover nuclear isotopes, the three principal forms radioactive decay (alpha, beta, and gamma), and biological effects of radiation.  Demonstrations with a Geiger counter and radioactive sources will show how each form of radiation penetrates through matter.