The Department of Physics at City College has a long tradition of distinguished faculty and students.  Many of our alumni have achieved prominence in academic, industrial and governmental physics positions; three of them, Arno Penzias, Leon Lederman and Robert Hofstadter, have won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Today the Department continues to reflect this tradition of scientific excellence. The faculty include members of the National Academies of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering, fellows of the American Physical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  They are deeply engaged in cutting-edge research, including biophysics, high-energy physics, condensed matter and soft-condensed matter physics, ultrafast spectroscopy and photonics, to name just a few.

Physics students pursue bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees at City College.  Whether they are modeling DNA molecules, working with MRI and CAT scans, building lasers or working with computers, they are preparing for the jobs and opportunities that will dominate the 21st century.

CCNY Undergraduate Bulletin 2013-15

CCNY Graduate Bulletin 2013-15


Bridging the Innovation Valley of Death
Commentary By Michael S. Lubell, May 13, 2015, 3:25 p.m.

"Is Wall Street’s influence in corporate boardrooms killing America’s innovation future? There’s a good case to be made that it is, and that it’s getting worse. But Congress can do something about it when it rewrites the tax code.

"Just a few weeks ago, the Senate Finance Committee released more than 1,400 policy recommendations it had received. There’s one more it should consider: changing the rules on capital gains and stock options. Here’s why."  (More...)

Physics Awards and Research Honors Presentations

On Thursday, May 7, the Physics Department's annual Awards and Research Honors Presentations recognized outstanding students.  Research Honors students described their work to an audience of faculty and peers.  Congratulations to all awardees!  ( Slideshow)

City College hosts the Third International Conference on Optical Angular Momentum (ICOAM)

The City College of New York is hosting the Third International Conference on Optical Angular Momentum, Tuesday - Friday 4 - 7 August 2015.  The Third International Conference on Optical Angular Momentum (ICOAM) 2015 will provide a forum for scientists whose work relates to optical angular momentum (orbital and spin), aiming to identify new developments and directions in the field, both at the fundamental and applied levels.  Optical angular momentum has received recent and significant interest in a myriad of scientific fields including applications in optical fiber, free space, and quantum communication, optical trapping, biomedical photonics, and super-resolution imaging. Optical angular momentum will inevitably be at the foundation of our society's future technologies.

Two City College physicists are among the chairs of the conference committee: Distinguished Professor Robert R. Alfano and Giovanni Milione, NEC Labs. America (United States) 

Technology Opportunity: Optical food spoilage analyzer using native fluorescence spectroscopy

Using a Light-emitting diode (LED) in ultraviolet (UV) range and a CMOS sensor or a spectrometer, a new optical device, developed by the Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers, enables analysis of the degree of food spoilage in a rapid, reagent-less, non-contact and non-destructive way.  The optical food spoilage analyzer (OFSA) can be used to measure bacteria aggregation upon fresh meat without proper storage, and so may have applications to families, supermarkets, and departments of sanitation.  More...

CCNY Researchers Use Novel Polarization to Increase Data Speeds

As the world’s exponentially growing demand for digital data slows the Internet and cell phone communication, City College of New York researchers may have just figured out a new way to increase its speed.
Giovanni Milione, a PhD student under City College Distinguished Professor of Science and Engineering Robert Alfano, led the pioneering experiment conducted at the University of Southern California with collaborators from Corning Incorporated, Scotland, Italy and Canada.  More...

2015-2016 Graduate Dissertation Fellowship Competition
The Graduate Center has offered 91 level III doctoral candidates dissertation fellowships for the 2015 - 2016 academic year.  This funding, including level III in - state tuition coverage to all recipients, addresses the Graduate Center’s goal of increasing financial support for our students. This year the Provost’s Office received 299 proposals; faculty served on the review panels and undertook the painstaking process of ranking the proposals.  Congratulations to all of the award - winning students.  The two Physics awardees are from The City College of New York: 

Mario Capelloni Dissertation Fellowship ($22,000)

Arthur Parzygat (Physics) Perspectives on Quantization
Mentor: Distinguished Professor V. P. Nair

Dissertation Year Fellowship ($22,000)
Scott Dietrich (Physics) Quantal Heating of 2D Electrons
Mentor: Professor Sergey Vitkalov

Physicist Myriam Sarachik Speaks on the Rights of Women in the Sciences

Myriam Sarachik is Distinguished Professor of Physics at The City College of New York. On Thursday, April 23, she speaks of her past experiences and her life-long advocacy for women in science and the human rights of scientists everywhere in the final talk of City College’s inaugural “Presidential Conversations: Activism, Scholarship, and Engagement” series.Her topic, 4 – 5: 30 p.m. in CCNY’s NAC Ballroom, is entitled “Advocating for Women in Science: Advocating for the Human Rights of all Scientists.”

Two Alumni win American Physical Society Awards

2014 John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research
Robert J. La Haye, General Atomics

Robert J. La Haye received his B.S. and M.S. in physics from Queens College, and his Ph.D. in physics from the City University of New York in 1975.  La Haye has taken many assignments abroad.  For instance, he has taken part in thin-shell reversed field pinch stability experiments on the High Beta Toroidal Experiment 1C device at the Culham Center for Fusion Energy, in error-field experiments on both the COMPact ASSembly and Joint European Torus (JET) tokamaks, and in long-pulse beta limit experiments, dominated by neoclassical tearing modes on JET.  He is currently the principal investigator for the General Atomics grant in support of research on the National Spherical Torus Experiment at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.  La Haye is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

2015 Joseph F. Keithley Award for Advances in Measurement Science
Robert J. Celotta, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Robert J. Celotta received his B.S. in physics from the City College of New York in 1964 and his Ph.D. in physics from New York University in 1969.  He was a postdoctoral fellow at JILA in Boulder, Colorado.  He joined the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), became a NIST fellow, led the Electron Physics Group, and now directs the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology.  HIs most recent research activities included nanomagnetics, magnetic imaging, the use of scanning tunneling microscopy for nanostructure characterization and assembly, the optical control of free atoms, and the generation, detection and application of free-electron polarization to measurement.  He is a fellow of APS, AAAS and AVS.

Distinguishing aggressiveness among cancer cell lines using native fluorescence spectroscopy

"Tryptophan as the fingerprint for distinguishing aggressiveness among cancer cell lines using native fluorescence spectroscopy."
Robert R. Alfano, Lin Zhang, Yang Pu, March 12, 2015

One promising method to diagnose cancerous tissue without removing tissue is based on optical spectroscopy.  Optical Biopsy is becoming commonplace to determine the state of tissue in vivo and ex viva.  The major focus in Optical Biopsy is to measure native fluorescence to characterize the properties of normal, benign and malignant metastasic cancers.  Key intrinsic molecules in cells and tissues have unique spectral profiles for absorption and emission from the ultraviolet to visible range.  The emission from tryptophan is clearly the main fluorescence over the other molecules upon exciting the tissues and cells.  Tryptophan is the "food" not only for cancer cells but also for immune cells; the more cancer cells consume, the less is left for immune cells.  Starvation of the immune cells causes apoptosis.  The immune system fails to detect the cancer cells and the cancer cells can spread easily.  
The invention teaches that tryptophan level is an important biomarker for determining aggressive  cancers in cells.  Native fluorescence spectroscopy is used as an effective approach to distinguish cancer cell lines with different metastatic ability as well as normal cell lines, based on their tryptophen levels.  More...

Innovation in an Age of Global Science | Commentary

By Michael S. Lubell, Roll Call, March 16, 2015, 1:30 p.m.

Scientific research is dramatically more global in its practice and impact than it was just a decade ago. Whether the United States is able to capitalize effectively on new discoveries stemming from international collaborations will determine future economic growth and job creation in America. More...

Congratulations to February Graduates!

The following students were graduated in February, 2015:

Bachelor of Science in Physics
Rezlind Bushati           Standard Physics                                Prof. Ngee-Pong Chang, Adviser             
Lukas Skarica              Applied Physics-Materials Science    Prof. Sergey Vitkalov, Adviser             
Christopher Smith      Applied Physics-Materials Science    Prof. Sergey Vitkalov, Adviser          

Master of Science in Physics - Adviser: Prof. Timothy Boyer
Arianna Braconi
Korrigan Clark 
Kyle Foster

New Half-Light Half-Matter Quantum Particles

Prospects of developing computing and communication technologies based on quantum properties of light and matter may have taken a major step forward thanks to research by City College of New York physicists led by

Dr. Vinod Menon.  Professor Menon’s research team included City College PhD students, Xiaoze Liu, Tal Galfsky and Zheng Sun, and scientists from Yale University, National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) and Ecole Polytechnic -Montreal (Canada).  The study appears in the January issue of the journal “Nature Photonics.” It was funded by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Army Research Office and the National Science Foundation through the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center – Center for Photonic and Multiscale Nanomaterials. More...

Physics Department Newsletter

The newest edition of the CCNY Physics Department Newsletter is now available. 

Physics News Archive



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