Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Mississippi


New Faculty Members

The Department of Physics and Astronomy welcomes new faculty members Dr. Jake Bennett and Dr. Leo Stein. They will both join the department in fall 2018.

Dr. Bennet is a particle physicist specializing in amplitude analysis or hadron spectroscopy.  Jake did his graduate training at Indiana University — Bloomington and post doctoral work at Carnegie Mellon University.   He is  presently engaged with work on the Belle II experiment at KEK, Japan.



Photo of Dr Leo Stein

Dr Leo Stein

Dr. Leo Stein has just joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Mississippi. Before coming to Ole Miss, Leo lived in sunny Southern California, where he was a Senior Postdoctoral Researcher at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). His earlier trajectory started with a BS in Physics from Caltech (2006), followed by a PhD in Physics from MIT (2012), and he previously held a NASA Einstein Fellowship while at Cornell (2012–2015). Dr. Stein’s main research interests are in testing Einstein’s theory of gravity (general relativity) using black holes and the gravitational waves they emit when black holes smash together. Testing general relativity (GR) involves doing numerical simulations of these black hole mergers, in GR and in theories beyond GR.


Students who are interested in these new  research areas in our department  should contact the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Maryam Landi Develops New Miniature Speaker Structure for Enhanced Sound

Maryam Landi, a recent graduate of The University of Mississippi’s Master of Science physics program, was featured in the Graduate school Summer 2018 newsletter for developing  a new structure that emits sound waves from miniature speakers more efficiently, especially when it comes to low frequency, or bass. A lot of speaker designs in the world yield powerful, high-quality sound but fail to deliver when the speaker is miniaturized. This is because no one has figured out the physics behind doing so — until now. The article describes her physical acoustics research with Dr Likun Zhang and others on metacavities that act as highly effective miniaturized speakers. Their work was published in Physical Review Letters (Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 114301).

Drs. Marshall and Stolzenburg Have Been Funded by the National Science Foundation to Further Lightning Research

Thomas Marshall and Maribeth Stolzenburg, a pair of University of Mississippi professors of the Physics and Astronomy depaertment, have been granted two National Science Foundation awards to study lightning initiation.

Hunter Gabbard Applies Machine Learning Tools to Gravitational Waves

Hunter Gabbard, a recent graduate of The University of Mississippi’s Bachelor of Science physics program, is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Glasgow. Under the supervision of Dr Christopher Messenger, Mr Gabbard and his collaborators have demonstrated that machine learning algorithms may be useful in automating the search for astrophysical events that are detected on earth as gravitational waves.

Physics Graduate Students Recognized by the Mississippi Academy of Sciences

Many physics graduate students presented their research at the 82nd Annual Meeting of Mississippi Academy of Sciences, which was held February 22–23 in Hattiesburg, MS. Students Shrobana Ghosh and Sunethra Dayavansha were each awarded first prize for talks they gave in the Physics and Engineering division; BB Pilgrim earned second prize. Ashoka Karunarathne’s poster was awarded third prize in the Mississippi INBRE graduate scholars symposium.