The University of Utah
Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah

Research Opportunities

Faculty Physical Phenomena

Physical Phenomena Named After Faculty

Note that this page is a work in progress. If you would like to add someone to this page, contact the webmaster with the name of the name of the physical phenomena and a short description. Send it to:

The Calogero-Sutherland Model

Dr. T. Bill Sutherland was a professor at the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah from 1971 to 2004.

The Calogero-Sutherland Model is now a major research area in theoretical physics and pure mathematics.
Learn more here.

A more in-depth look at this model is available in this book:

Calogero-Moser-Sutherland Models (CRM Series in Mathematical Physics).
Van Diejen, J. F., & Vinet, L. (Eds.). (2012).
Springer Publishing.



The Fitch-Cronin Effect

Dr. Jim Cronin, a Nobel Laureate particle physicist and briefly a faculty member at the University of Utah, helped develop the Fitch-Cronin Effect, which clarifies the relationship between matter and antimatter produced by the Big Bang.

Learn more here.





The Keuffel Effect

Dr. Jack W. Keuffel was a professor, and pioneer in Cosmic Ray research at the University of Utah from 1960 to 1974.

Learn more about the Keuffel Effect here.






The Lieb-Schultz-Mattis Theorem

Dr. Dan Mattis was a professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah from 1980 until 2011. The Lieb-Schultz-Mattis theorem. It is a widely known and well cited (2,000+ citations) seminal result for one-dimensional spin models of quantum magnetism. It's higher dimensional extension has been proven in 2004 only, and is also considered a seminal achievement (this result belongs to Matt Hastings of Duke University).

Learn more here.



The Parker Spiral & Parker Wind Models

Dr. Eugene Parker, was a professor at the University of Utah in the 1950's, but moved to the University of Chicage in 1955. Among other honors and achievements, Dr. Parker developed the Parker Spiral & Parker Wind Models.

Learn more here.





The Price Theorem

Dr. Richard Price was at the University of Utah from 1971 to 2004, when he joined the Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy at the University of Texas Brownsville. In 2015 he joined the Physics Department at MIT and in 2017 became the Editor of the American Journal of Physics. Price's theorem, "Whatever can be radiated is radiated", states that perturbations of astrophysical objects are completely radiated away during the collapse to form a black hole.

Learn more here.





If you would like to add someone to this page, contact the webmaster with the name of the name of the physical phenomena and a short description. Send it to:

Getting Started in the Department

Welcome to the Department of Physics & Astronomy!

lasers vershinin_lab teaching gerton_lab telescope ballew

This page outlines nearly everything that you will need to know about getting started as either a new undergraduate, graduate, staff, faculty or postdoc. If you feel we have left anything out, please contact the webmaster.

Read through the Getting Started Guide first.

click image



  • Obtain & complete the New Hire Packet, available in the Accounting Office (203 JFB)
  • Complete the University Orientation
  • Complete and submit the Department Safety Test
  • Watch Risk Management's Defensive Driver training video & take the test (must be done every two years).
  • Go to the U Card Office (Union Building Information Desk – 2nd floor) to get your University ID Card (after Accounting has an ID # for you). Your UTA bus pass will be your UCard, so you must activate it at the same time.
  • Study the Department Safety Manual, then complete and submit the Department Safety Test.
  • Submit a Key Request Form.
  • Obtain Electronic Access to buildings, copiers, computer labs, etc.
  • Setup your Computer Account.
  • Get your Parking Permit from Commuter Services (101 Annex Building)
  • Complete and submit the following forms, found in your welcome packet, to Heidi Frank (201-C JFB) – you MUST have your ID Card before you can complete these forms.
    • Personnel Form
    • Department Access Agreement Form
    • Mailbox issued
    • Picture taken

General Information


University Email

Your computer and email account will need to be set up when you arrive. You can either fill out the computer account request form here, or you can fill it out when you arrive and receive your welcome packet. Within a week, you will receive a paper containing your email account and password. If you aren't sure whether or not you have an account yet, you should send an email to



To get set up on one of the many copiers in the department, please first fill out the Access Request Form online. Please note that copiers are for official University business only, and access may not be granted if it is deemed that you do not fit that requirement. If you have questions about this, please contact Heidi Frank in 201-C JFB, .



To get setup on payroll, you will need to bring 2 forms of ID (driver's license, passport, or birth certificate) to Vicki Nielsen ( or 801-585-1485)Payday is on the 7th and 22nd of each month. Please see attached pay calendar. Direct deposit is required by the University, please inform Vicki, as soon as you have bank account in which to set this up. You can obtain direct deposit by logging into CIS and filling out the information for you routing and account number.



© Onderwijsgek / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Fill out & turn in the Key Request Form. There is a $10 fee which will be refunded when the key is returned. If you require after-hours access into JFB, South Physics or INSCC you have to request a Prox card from the U-card office. Once obtained fill out the Access Request Form and it will be processed.



  • Main Department phone number: (801) 581-6901
  • Secondary phone number: (801) 581-6902
  • Department fax number: (801) 581-4801

Within the University, you only need to dial the 5-digit extension (1-6901). For an outside line dial “9.” In Utah, you must dial the entire 10-digit phone number even if it is a local call (9-xxx-xxx-xxxx). If long distance, 9-1-xxx-xxx-xxxx. Not all phones allow long distance calls – you may need to use a calling card to dial long distance.



Your mailbox has been set up in the break room, 220 JFB. If it has not, make sure you inform someone at the main office (201 JFB) so one can be setup for you. A University address cannot be used to receive personal mail for faculty, staff, or students. Having the Mailing Bureau deliver personal mail is a misuse of state funds, and therefore you cannot have personal mail delivered to this address. If you are a new graduate student, who has not set up an in-state mailbox, it is permissible to use the department address to initially receive mail. However, once you move to the state and have an in-state mailbox, you must change your default address for your mail. The Post Office does not allow “Change of Address” forms for University addresses when you leave and thus we do not forward mail.

*If you have packages sent to the Department, make sure the sender includes your name above the address.


Tuition Waivers

Tuition Waivers

Read the tuition waiver policy carefully. It is your responsibility to stay in compliance. It is posted here.


Web Pages


Step 1: Apply for a department computer account from the system manager (Bradley Hawks)
Step 2: Download an SSH/FTP client
Step 3: In your home directory, create a subdirectory named public_html
Step 4: In the public_html subdirectory, create an HTML file named index.html. This will be the home page of your personal web site. Make sure your files under the public_html directory have the proper access permission

Common permission commands

  • chmod 777 file/directory: Gives read, write and execute access for everyone on a file.
    Most open type of permission.
  • chmod 755 file/directory: Gives read and execute access for everyone on a file.
    Gives write access to the owner file
    /the person who installed the file.
  • chmod 666 file/directory: Gives read and write access for everyone on a file. Often log files.

Step 5: Ask the Webmaster to link your home page to the Department web site.

Resources for writing web pages
Basics of HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language).
About the World Wide Web.

*Note that federal law prohibits us from automatically posting students’ pages to the web.


Other Information

Additional Information

There are three very important documents of which you should be aware:

  1. Departmental Directory
  2. Directory of Staff
  3. Directory of Services
    Please refer to these documents for questions on who does what within the department and how to contact them. Since these are regularly updated and changing, we have not printed them for you. You may print them for yourself, but the most up-to-date version will be available on the Department web.

There is a refrigerator and a microwave available for public use in 220 JFB.


U Card


Your U card works as bus, TRAX, and Front Runner train pass. You can get your University ID at the Ucard Office located at 200 Union Building. They are open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm, and Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Be prepared to present both photo identification and your student or employee number. You may pick up your card (two weeks prior to the start of the semester). You will use this card at the library and it can be coded to open certain doors in the Physics & Astronomy department. You can also “deposit” money onto it to use in vending machines around campus. Take ID card to Marriott Library and have activated as library card.


Feeling Sick?

Madsen Health Clinic

If you are a graduate student or on student health insurance and get sick or have a medical condition that needs attention, please go to the Madsen Health Center first (555 South Foothill Boulevard, (801) 213-8846). The co-pay(fee) is $10.00 and there is no additional charge for the visit. If it's deemed necessary that you need to see an additional doctor, you will receive a referral, and other visits to medical professional involve additional charges.

For illnesses that occur when the center is closed, please go to Redwood Urgent Care (1525 West 2100 South, (801) 213-9900). For EMERGENCIES, and for treatment when the Redwood Urgent Care center is closed, go to the nearest Emergency Room (or dial 911). To get current ER wait times texted to your phone, text your zip code to 23000. You will receive a text giving you the location of the nearest hospital and the current ER wait time. (*Standard text message rates apply)

More clinics, and their locations listed here.


Free Campus Shuttles

Campus Shuttle

The Campus Shuttle department is dedicated to serving the Campus community through accessible routes and schedules. Live Shuttle Tracking and Text Message route locators have enhanced the service. Shuttle operations begin Monday through Friday as early as 6:00 a.m. and continue until 11:30 p.m. depending on the route. There is no regular weekend service.

View Time Schedules (PDF)
Live Shuttle Map
Live Shuttle Map (Mobile)

*When using the mobile map you must follow the prompts and select a route to view.

Text Messaging
Simply text a stop identification number to 41411 and within seconds you will receive a response with the location of the two closest buses of each color for that given stop.
*Make sure there is a space between "uofubus" and the number when texting to 41411.
*Standard text message rates apply


Graduate Links

Tuition Benefit Form | GradSAC | Student Health Insurance | Additional Health Insurance Information

Campus Links

Graduate School | Career Services | Campus Map

About Us


Our Mission

Physics & Astronomy

The mission of the University of Utah Department of Physics & Astronomy is to advance knowledge about the appearances and interactions of energy and matter and of celestial objects and phenomena. We strive to share this knowledge with students and the wider community through a continuous effort in undergraduate and graduate teaching and by achieving research excellence in theoretical physics, experimental physics and astronomy.

In pursuit of our mission, the University of Utah Department of Physics & Astronomy supports the highest levels of research and teaching among its faculty members. We strive to enable the success of undergraduate and graduate students by creating an academically excellent, efficient and comfortable learning environment. The Department supports the utilization of its accomplishments for the benefit of organizations and individuals in the local as well as global community.

Our Research Areas

Our research is split into two separate factions, experimental and theoretical. Click here to learn more about our overall research.

Astrophysics, Relativity, & Cosmology Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics Education Particle Physics Astronomy, Cosmic Ray, & Observational Astronomy Biophysics Experimental Condensed Matter Physics


Department Newsletter - Spectrum

The Spectrum is a publication published for friends & alumni of the Department of Physics & Astronomy.


Our Academic Programs

Number of People in Department

To learn more, check out our Undergraduate Handbook.


Our Department By The Numbers

Number of People in Department


Our History

1915 The first observatory was built on campus. It was torn down in the late 1960's to build the current James Fletcher Building.
1921 Thomas J. Parmley, was awarded the first Physics degree in the department in 1921. He went on to become a Professor of Physics at the University of Utah. He retired in 1997. It is estimated that he taught over 50,000 students.
1927 Department of Physics officially founded, consisting of Professor Orin Tugman (Chair), Professor Thomas Parmley, an undergraduate student as lab assistant, and one secretary.
1931 - 1987 J. Irvin Swigart, Professor of Physics: lecture hall in the James Fletcher Building (JFB 101) was named for him and his portrait hangs in the lecture hall. It is estimated that he taught over 40,000 students.
Oct. 4, 1957 Russia launched Sputnik and suddenly Physics became more important. Physics Departments started to expand and jobs in Physics were abundant.
1959 Jack Keuffel joined the faculty.
1961 The Engineering Hall changed its name to the South Physics building and the Physics Department moved into the building.
Autumn 1967 The first classes were held in the newly-built James Fletcher Building.
1970 The College of Science was formed - previously part of the College of Letters and Science.
1974 Don Groom discovers new nova, initiating Astronomy research.
July 2005 - Now Z. Valy Vardeny appointed Director of the Dixon Laser Institute.
March 2009 "Department of Physics" changed to "Department of Physics & Astronomy".
May 2009 Million-dollar renovation project started on JFB, SP, and 4th floor of INSCC. Adding, among others, 5 research labs.
August 2009 Adam Bolton and Inese Ivans joined the faculty as tenure-track Assistant Professors. Doug Bergman joined the faculty as a tenure-track Associate Professor. Gordon Thomson joined the faculty as a tenured full Professor and the first Keuffel Endowed Chair.
January 2010 Shanti Deemyad, Saveez Saffarian & Michael Vershinin joined the department as tenure-track Assistant Professors.
2011 Pearl Sandick, Anil Seth & Zheng Zheng joined the department as tenure-track Assistant Professors.
August 2012 Dmytro Pesin joined the department as a tenure-track Assistant Professor.
Fall 2013 Vikram Deshpande & Sarah Li joined the department as a tenure-track Assistant Professors.
Fall 2017 Daniel Wik & Gail Zasowski join the department as a tenure-track Assistant Professors
Summer-Fall 2018 Claudia De Grandi & Yue Zhao join the department. Dr, De Grandi as an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) and Dr. Zhao as an Assistant Professor


  • Dept of Physics & Astronomy • 201 James Fletcher Bldg. 115 S. 1400 E., Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0830
  • PHONE 801-581-6901
  • Fax 801-581-4801
  • ©2018 The University of Utah