Department Chair
Lars Q. English
Associate Professor of Physics (2003).
Tome Scientific Building Room 219
(717) 254-8925
Department Faculty
Robert J. Boyle
Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy (1981).
Tome Scientific Building Room 218
(717) 245-1415 |
B.A., Princeton University, 1971; M.Phil., Yale University, 1976; Ph.D., 1981.

Major research interests involve infrared astronomy, studies of old stellar systems, and variable stars. His teaching activities include introductory physics, introductory astronomy, theoretical physics, and a variety of other topics in physics and astrophysics.
Hans Pfister
Professor of Physics, George Wesley Pedlow Chair in Pedagogy (1991).
Tome Scientific Building Room 211
(717) 245-1307 |
Staatsexam, Eberhard Karls Universitat, 1981; Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles, 1991.

As an advocate for the environment he encourages sustainable living, supports sustainable technology, and embraces renewable energy sources. With the help of a 2006 Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) Seed/Assistance grant he was able to turn one of his visions, a sun-tracking solar concentrator, into a reality. This prototype will soon make some of the hot water for the students living in Dickinson’s Center for Sustainable Living. A 2009 Innovation Transfer Network (ITN)/KIZ Seed/Assistance grant enabled him to design and build a concentrating solar collector, which converts solar energy directly into electricity, using a thermoelectric converter (TEC). A 2007 ITN/KIZ grant supported the design and construction of a dental device, which removes temporary crowns and bridges by a series of micro pulses, applied to the backside of the dental appliances. Over the course of the semester he devotes time as a plasma physicist to work with senior physics majors on his design of a plasma propulsion device known as a Hall thruster. With another group of seniors he built a solar powered Stirling engine. Over the course of the past 18 years he has developed numerous kinesthetic physics experiments, incorporating his students into the experiment, thus allowing them to feel the forces and accelerations on their own body. Three of his inventions, a Kinesthetics Cart for Motion in 1-D, a Kinesthetics Cart for Motion in 2-D, and a Thermodynamic Engine and Ideal Gas Law Demonstration Apparatus are being used at over a thousand colleges, universities, and high schools. Some of his other interests include physics puzzles, tricks, and toys, as applied to the physics classroom.
Windsor A. Morgan, Jr.
Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy (1994).
Tome Scientific Building Room 220
(717) 245-1386 |
A.B., Harvard College, 1986; Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 1995.

His major area of research is the spectral evolution of X-ray-emitting active galactic nuclei. He also studies new statistical methods of studying astronomical surveys, the formation of hydrocarbons in the early solar system, and the nature of x-ray binary star systems. He is also interested in astronomy education research.
David P. Jackson
Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy (2001).
Tome Scientific Building Room 210
(717) 245-1073 |
B.S., University of Washington, 1989; M.A., Princeton University, 1991; Ph.D., 1994.

His main research interests are in pattern formation and non-linear dynamics. In particular, he studies the interfacial instabilities of magnetic fluids in applied magnetic fields. He also has an avid interest in physics education, particularly in regards to non-science students, and is co-author of an activity-based textbook titled "Explorations in Physics."
Lars Q. English
Associate Professor of Physics (2003).
Tome Scientific Building Room 219
(717) 254-8925 |
B.S., Denison University, 1996; M.S., Cornell University, 1999; Ph.D., 2003.

Professor English's research interests focus on the dynamics of nonlinear lattices and networks. Physical systems under investigation range from the microscopic (magnetic crystals / spin lattices) to the macroscopic (coupled pendulum arrays). Driven electrical lattices - comprised of inductors and diodes - have been a recent experimental focus; here we study the spontaneous emergence of highly localized voltage-patterns. A recent numerical project modeled learning in a neural network.
Catrina M. Hamilton-Drager
(on sabbatical 2016-17)
Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy (2006).

(717) 254-8935 |
B.A., Mount Holyoke College, 1991; M.S., Arizona State University, 1994; Ph.D., Wesleyan University, 2003.

Professor Hamilton-Drager's research focuses mainly on young stars in the process of forming. She has examined the rotation rates of stars in clusters of different ages to trace the evolution of angular momentum. Stars naturally spin up as they contract while forming (like the ice skater who pulls in her arms). However, some stars are observed to spin fast (P < 2 days), while some spin slowly (3 < P < 14 days). Her research is exploring the interaction of the star's magnetic field and its circumstellar disk, or the material out of which planets will eventually form. Looking at stars in clusters of varying ages (1, 3, 5, 10 million years) allows one to assess exactly how long it takes for stars spin up and thereby infers a possible length of time associated with planet formation. As the disks dissipate, due to planet formation or other factors (high energy winds from nearby hot stars), the stars are freed and allowed to spin up. Professor Hamilton-Drager is probably best known for her pioneering work on the young stellar system known as KH 15D. The KH 15D system is a binary system surrounded by a circumbinary ring. Its light output has been evolving since ~1960 as a result of the gradual precession of the ring in front of the orbit of the binary. The ring acts as a natural coronagraph and provides us with information about the close environment of one of the stars. Her spectral observations show that star A's magnetosphere varies with time, sometimes compact (~1 stellar radius), while at other times, substantially larger (~2 stellar radii or more). There is also evidence for enhanced accretion following periastron passage (generally larger flux values during egress than ingress) as predicted by the models of gas flow from a circumbinary disk through a gap to the binary.
Brett J. Pearson
Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy (2007).
Tome Scientific Building Room 221
(717) 245-1049 |
B.A., Grinnell College, 1997; M.S., University of Michigan, 2003; Ph.D., 2004.

Professor Pearson’s research interests center on using ultrafast laser pulses to measure and control molecular systems, with a particular focus on applications in non-linear microscopy and spectroscopy. The optics lab in the department has an ultrafast laser oscillator and pulse shaper, and students have assisted with both the development of the laser system and the ensuing experiments.
Stephen Strickland
Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy (2016).
Tome Scientific Building Room 209
(717) 254-8724 |
B.S., B.A., Wofford College, 2010; Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 2015.

Laura Watson
Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy (2016).
Tome Scientific Building Room 222
M.S., University College, London, U.K., 2009; Postgraduate Certificate in Education, King's College, London., U.K., 2014; Ph.D., Imperial College, London, U.K., 2015.

Emeriti Faculty
Kenneth Laws
Professor Emeritus

Priscilla Laws
Professor Emerita

John Luetzelschwab