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Department of Physics

Department Summary

Professor and Chairman: Stanley F. Radford; Professor: Mohammed Z. Tahar; Associate Professor: Eric M. Monier; Assistant Professor: H.Trevor Johnson-Steigelman

Physics is the study of the physical properties of the universe and of the fundamental properties and interactions of matter and energy.  It has applications in every field of pure and applied science, such as engineering, ­optics, materials science, space science, and medicine.  A degree in Physics is excellent preparation for:

  • Graduate study in physics, engineering, astronomy, or mathematics, leading to a career in university and college teaching and research, or a leadership position in industrial or
    government research projects;
  • Employment as an engineer or technician in an industry, government, or university laboratory;
  • Teaching at the secondary (grades 7-12) level;
  • Professional school in medicine, law, or business

Physics Major
Students majoring in Physics will take Physics core courses covering classical and quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, and experimental physics.  Participation in Physics Seminar, in which students will be exposed to discussions of current research topics by external and internal speakers, is encouraged for all students and required for Senior majors.  In addition, students will take supporting courses in mathematics, chemistry, and computer science.

Research with faculty mentors is strongly encouraged.  Brockport students have completed research projects on campus as well as off-campus in NSF-funded research programs.

In addition to the Physics major, the department also offers a Minor in Physics.

Mathematical Preparation
Students planning to major in Physics should have completed algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus in high school; calculus is a desirable but not necessary preparation. Students who are unable to take Calculus I (MTH 201) in their first semester will be unable to complete a degree in physics in four years without summer study. While at SUNY Brockport, students majoring in Physics must complete courses in calculus and differential equations. Students who plan to go on to graduate study in Physics or engineering are advised to take additional mathematics courses.

Certification for Secondary Teaching in Physics
The Physics Department, in conjunction with the Department of Education and Human Development, offers a program that leads to provisional certification in secondary level (grades 7-12) physics teaching.  Students pursuing this option must satisfy the course requirements for the Physics major; however, additional course work outside the department is needed to satisfy the requirements for certification.  For a complete listing of the requirements for secondary Teacher Certification, consult the Department of Education and Human Development section of the College Catalog.

Student Activities
At SUNY College at Brockport, students interact with the faculty through course work, advisement, and undergraduate research.  They can take an active role with the Physics Club, which is a chapter of the Society of Physics Students, and SPS Honor Society.  Club activities are aimed at providing student peer support and promoting Physics and science in general.  The Physics Club and Physics faculty have sponsored, mentored, and sent more than a dozen students to American Physical Society (APS) national and regional meetings, American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Meetings, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), and the Rochester Symposium of Physics Students (RSPS).  Other activities have included: Field trips to the Cornell Nanotechnology Center, Cornell Electron Storage Ring, Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source, and the University of Rochester Laser Laboratory;

  • Lectures by prominent physicists at SUNY Brockport and local colleges and universities;
  • Social events including an annual picnic, spaghetti dinners, and the student faculty roast;
  • Rocket shoots.

Faculty Information

Dr. H. Trevor Johnson-Steigelman, (, 585-395-5577) earned a B.S.Ed. degree from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.  After teaching high school physics and working at a private tutoring center for several years, he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2004 and 2007, respectively.  His work for his masters degree included research on high dielectric insulators. He was awarded a patent for a method of producing hafnium silicate by depositing Hf metal on silicon oxide. For his doctorate, he studied the growth of cobalt thin films on magnesium oxide.  These components can be used to make magnetic tunnel junctions.  This particular system has potential applications in flash memory devices used in cameras, mp3 players, and computers. At SUNY College at Brockport, he is continuing his study of magnetic thin films grown on both insulators and semiconductors.


Dr. Eric M. Monier, (, 585-395-5589) earned his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Pittsburgh, specializing in observational cosmology.  He came to Brockport in 2004 after a postdoctoral position at The Ohio State University.  His work involves making telescopic observations of galaxies and quasars and studying how the distribution and chemical composition of matter in the Universe have changed since it first formed.  Dr. Monier has observed on telescopes on four continents, and has also used the space-based resources of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray observatory.  He is Director of the campus planetarium and observatory, where he regularly puts on shows for local school groups.


Dr. Stanley F. Radford, (, 585-395-5576) earned a B.S. degree in Physics from Michigan State University in 1976, and his Ph.D. from Wayne State University in 1980.  His work in elementary particle theory covered a variety of areas including: gravitation, renormalization, and bound states in quantum chromodynamics.  In 1986 he moved to private industry and began work in the fields of terrestrial and marine remote sensing, physical oceanography, microwave and millimeter wave sensor system design, and operations analysis. In 1996 he moved to AT&T Bell Laboratories and performed research on optical fiber performance and photonic device design.  Dr. Radford returned to academia in 2001, joining the Physics Department at Marietta College in Marietta Ohio, and becoming its Chairman in 2002. Upon his return to academia he resumed his work in the theoretical and phenomenological study of heavy quarkonia. Dr. Radford joined the Physics Department at The College at Brockport in 2006 as its Chairman, where he teaches and pursues research in elementary particle theory.  He recently was awarded  a KITP Scholars Fellowship from the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara for the years 2008 – 2010.


Dr. Mohammed Z. Tahar (, 585-395-5704) received a B.S.E.E from Wentworth Institute of Technology (1981), an M.S. in Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1985) and a Ph.D. in Condensed Matter at Low Temperature  from Boston University (May 1991). He remained at B.U. for a year as a Post-doc, working with Prof. Zimmerman on High-Tc superconductors. For five years, he held various teaching positions in Ireland. In 1997, he joined SUNY College Brockport, where he has pursued his research interest in Low Temperature Physics. His materials of interest are Ferric Chloride Intercalated Graphite and layered materials with 2D electronic, and 2D magnetic systems, as well as superconductivity and phase transitions. Dr. Tahar is particularly involved in support of the activities of the Society of Physics Students and New York Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers.