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Physics Faculty


Angela Capece – Plasma Physics

Angie Capece Faculty InterestAssistant Professor of Physics
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology

Research Interests – Dr. Capece’s research involves experimental studies of the interactions that occur at plasma-solid and plasma-liquid interfaces. Plasma materials interactions are important for nanomaterials synthesis, environmental remediation, plasma medicine, and fusion devices. She is specifically interested in surface modifications and the transport of reactive species in plasma discharges.

Teaching Interests – Dr. Capece is currently teaching an introductory physics course on electricity and magnetism, and she will be developing an advanced course on plasma physics.

Danielle S. Dalafave – Computational Biophysics

Professor of Physics
Ph.D., Florida State University

Research Interests – Dr. Dalafave and her students perform research in biophysics, with emphases on computational design and study of druglike agents that might be useful for treatments of various diseases. These include cancers and neurodegenerative disorders that develop due to either suppression or overexpression of programmed cell death (apoptosis). Dr. Dalafave published and presented her research in international venues.

Teaching Interests  Dr. Dalafave has taught at all levels of the curriculum. She created several new physics and interdisciplinary courses, played a leading role in the development of the Biomedical Physics Specialization, co-initiated the 7 year BS/MD program within the Physics major, and authored laboratory manuals. Dr. Dalafave has mentored numerous student independent research projects that led to presentations, publications, and national recognition.

More Information – Dr. Dalafave’s Page

Kalani Hettiarachchilage – Condensed Matter Physics

Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics
Ph.D., Louisiana State University

Research Interests – Dr. Hettiarachchi specializes in novel analytical and computational techniques to treat strongly correlated systems, one of the most intensively studied areas of research in condensed matter Physics.  In addition, she uses computational methods based on the density functional theory to calculate material electronic structure to understand correlation between electronic structure and physical properties.

Teaching Interests – Dr. Hettiarachchi teaches General Physics I and II courses at TCNJ.  Although she has many years of teaching experience, she is always learning and improving her teaching skills.  When teaching, it is very hard to conclude that you are a great teacher. Your method of teaching, problem-solving strategies, introducing new concepts, real life examples, the order of introducing new concepts, and connections to the sections that the students learned should match your class.

More Information – Dr. Hettiarachchilage’s Page

Nathan Magee – Cloud Microphysics

Associate Professor of Physics
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

Research Interests – Dr. Magee’s research is in Experimental Cloud Microphysics. Dr. Magee and his students are conducting experiments that probe the microscale phase-change processes of ice under very cold conditions. He is interested in applying novel experimental techniques to atmospheric research, including electrodynamic levitation and in-situ ellipsometry. Other research interests include development and implementation of new technologies for precision precipitation and water-vapor measurements, microphotography of ice, atmospheric radiation measurements, and statistical analysis of physics pedagogies.

Teaching Interests – Dr. Magee routinely teaches introductory meteorology and general physics along with upper-level physics core courses. Dr. Magee also coordinates the Secondary Education program in Physics and he is interested in helping bridge pedagogical theory and practice for our teaching candidates and faculty. He is currently developing a new seminar course, Research Fundamentals in Physics and an upper-level elective course: The Physics of Clouds and Climate. Dr. Magee also enjoys teaching experimental design and fabrication techniques to research students.

More information Dr. Magee’s Page

David McGee – Photonics and Nonlinear Optics

McGee photo for SoS

Professor of Physics and Department Chair
Bryn-Mawr College

Research Interests – David McGee’s research is at the intersection of photonics and materials science, with an emphasis on the linear and nonlinear optical properties of novel organic-inorganic nanostructured materials. Students in his laboratory work with state of the art equipment, including Argon lasers, nanosecond pulsed Nd:YAG lasers, and single-photon detectors. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation, and involves physics, chemistry, and engineering students on a year-round basis in both Independent Study projects and full time paid summer employment.

Teaching Interests – David McGee has taught most courses in the physics curriculum, and has been funded by NSF to develop new instructional lab experiences in modern optics and organic electronic devices.  Presently he is teaching the introductory physics course sequence and is developing new laboratories for the Physics 495 Advanced Experimental Physics course.  Dr. McGee also teaches a study-abroad course in Germany focused on the history of atomic physics, and is working with the Beuth University of Applied Science in Berlin on joint degree programs with TCNJ.

More Information – Dr. McGee’s Page

Tuan Nguyen – Experimental Biophysics

Associate Professor of Physicsnguyen faculty interests
Ph.D., University of California Berkeley

Research Interests – Dr. Nguyen’s research lies at the interface of physics and biology.  Specifically, he is interested in studying the physics of living neuronal networks.  By applying techniques such as laser scanning photostimulation and calcium imaging, neuronal network activity can be simultaneously stimulated and recorded, allowing for analysis of many unique and emergent network properties.

Teaching Interests – Dr. Nguyen teaches the introductory physics course sequence as well as a biophysics course offered every other year.

More Information – Dr. Nguyen’s Page

Romulo Ochoa – Optics & Lasers

ochoaheadshotProfessor of Physics
Ph.D., Catholic University of America

Research Interests – Dr. Ochoa and his students study materials structure and properties using optical spectroscopy techniques such as Raman and photoluminescence. He also designs and develops experiments for introductory physics courses. Other studies have students trapping and manipulating micro-particles and cells using optical tweezers.

Teaching Interests – Dr. Ochoa teaches introductory level as well as upper level physics courses. The latter include Analog and Digital Electronics, Mathematical Physics, Electromagnetic Waves and Optics, Condensed Matter, and Classical Mechanics. He has mentored multiple independent research students; some of this work has led to student coauthored publications.

More Information – Dr. Ochoa’s Page

Robert Richard – Physics and Science Education

richard headshotVisiting Assistant Professor of Physics
M.S., Lehigh University

Research Interests – Using Problem Based Learning approaches to implementing the Next Generation Science Standards in NJ secondary schools.

Teaching Interests – Methods of Teaching Secondary Science, Collaborative Capstone for Professional Inquiry.

A.J. Richards – Physics Education

Assistant Professor of Physicsrichards faculty interests
Ph.D., Rutgers University

Research Interests  Dr. Richards’ research specialty is in the subfield of physics education research.  Specifically, he studies how students use their prior knowledge to build understanding of new physics topics.

Teaching Interests – Dr. Richards’ teaching interests lie in introductory physics.  He enjoys assisting new physics majors on their first steps towards their major, and giving non-majors a taste of the subject he loves.

More Information Dr. Richards’ Page (In Progress)

Thulsi Wickramasinghe – Cosmology

Professor of Physics
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests – Dr Wickramasinghe and his students investigate various astronomical systems to see if they can be used as successful detectors of gravitational waves. He also researches on microlensing due to the white dwarfs in the Milky Way. In addition to his interests in astronomy, he studies various boundary value problems in mathematical fluid dynamics and has a keen interest in the astronomical aspects of origin of life in the universe and in archeoastronomy.

Teaching Interests – Dr Wickramasinghe’s teaching spans a wide area of advanced physics, including elementary astronomy. His teaching includes General Relativity, Electrodynamics, Mathematical Physics, etc. Over the years, he as supervised many student research projects and has traveled with his students to international meetings to present their work.

More Information Dr. Wickramasinghe’s Page

Paul J. Wiita – Extragalactic Astrophysics

Professor of Physics
Ph.D., Princeton University

Research Interests – Dr. Wiita works with his students on studies of active galactic nuclei, including radio galaxies, blazars and quasars. The focus of this work is on theoretical and computational studies of the dynamics and evolution of these, the most powerful and largest connected objects in the universe. He also is involved with observational studies of active galaxies using both ground based optical and radio telescopes and space based optical and X-ray telescopes. Dr. Wiita also works with students on experimental and computational fluid dynamics.

Teaching Interests – Dr. Wiita has taught a wide range of courses, including introductory level physics and astronomy courses and a FSP on “Conceptions of the Cosmos”. He also has taught many upper-level and graduate level courses, including galactic and extragalactic astronomy, introductory astrophysics, classical mechanics, stellar structure and evolution, plasma physics and general relativity and cosmology. He has mentored many students in independent research courses in different areas of astronomy and astrophysics.

More Information – Dr. Wiita’s Page