Florida A&M University
Department of Physics
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The Florida A&M University NSF-CREST Center for Astrophysical Science and Technology (CCAST) is housed within FAMU’s premier Center for Plasma Science and Technology (CePAST)

at Innovation Park. Here, a large variety of lasers, optical and electronic detectors and other associated equipment is being used to study plasma and photonics physics. CCAST personnel are faculty researchers from the FAMU physics and chemistry departments. They are also using the equipment and facilities of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, operated by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, its Chandra X-ray Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Brookhaven National Laboratory and CERN. The Principal Investigator of CCAST is Dr. Charles A. Weatherford, Professor and Chairman of FAMU Physics.

Through CCAST, FAMU students are able to perform research in astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology and the ongoing upgrade of the FAMU observatory to a remotely controllable robotic station has generated great student interest and participation. The NSF award is $1 million a year for five years.

Through the CCAST, students can pursue an undergraduate minor or a Ph.D. research concentration in astrophysics. The program will provide state-of-the-art focused student training in areas such as:
  • Computations and collision processes in space (Bidhan Saha, Charles Weatherford, Jesse Edwards) - In addition to the explanation of the unexpected discovery of X-ray emission from the comets and other astronomical objects, the charge exchange has been increasingly recognized as a major player in spectra from deep space and magnetic fusion research as well. It is our aim to evaluate these state-selective charge-transfer cross sections very accurately. Various numerical procedures will be used to evaluate both the structure and the dynamics of the problem. Quantal as well as semi-classical methods will be applied to assess the reliability of the results.

  • Turbulence Phenomena in Astrophysical Systems (Dr.Joseph A. Johnson III, Dr. Lewis Johnson, Dr. Maurice Edington) - The difficulty with turbulence in astrophysics is noticeable

    over the broadest range of systems ranging from planetary and solar to interstellar to intergalactic even to problems cosmological. Our research addresses this problem. Using ionizing shock waves, a TeraWatt femtosecond laser, and a spheromak we will produce a complete dynamical theory of turbulence. Through the new turbulent plasma physics, the activities should provide, for example, explanations of the processes which produce equipartition of energy in interstellar media, anomalous spectra and the processes of Taylor relaxation to self-organized states with a specific set of implications for solar effects.

  • Experimental particle astrophysics and high energy astrophysics (Ray H. O’Neal, Jr.) - We conduct research in the area of particle astrophysics, high energy astrophysics and observational astronomy. Our research interests include detector materials, systems and instrumentation for particle astrophysics, high energy astrophysics, and observational space and ground based astronomy.


Patricia A. Stampe
Ronald L. Williams
Bidhan Saha
Ray H. O'Neal, Jr.
Mario R. Encinosa
Halina Niculescu
Kalayu Belay
Charles A. Weatherford
Lewis Johnson

Keith Jackson

The faculty, staff and students in the dept. of physics conduct research in over 40,000 sq. ft. of space that houses state of the art equipment. The faculty investigators have received nearly $40 M in federal and state funding to support their research activities.

I'd like to invite you to consider the persuit of graduate degrees in physics, particularyly the Ph.D. degree

Dr. Keith Jackson, Vice President of Research and Professor of Physics.


Charles A. Weatherford

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Dept. of Physics is in the midst of a period of rapid progress. A new Ph.D. program, in addition to our existing B.S. and M.S. programs, in Physics, started in the Fall of 2001.

The research facilities and productivity have expanded at a rapid pace since that time. Undergraduate and graduate student support, including tuition support, is available for qualified students.

Dr. Charles A. Weatherford
Chairman Department of Physics.