Plasma is Star Stuff: A journey from the cosmos to your computer chip
with Saikat Chakraborty Thakur, Ph.D.
Friday, April 25 at 7 p.m.
Dunne Conference Center, Tschoepe Hall

Learn More
Welcome to the Physics Department at Texas Lutheran University. Our mission is to provide a background of physics knowledge to the TLU community, especially to students preparing for careers in the health sciences, engineering and secondary education. We also provide support for majors of biology, chemistry, kinesiology, mathematics, computer science and non-science majors who wish to broaden their educational background.

Physics & Pre-Engineering Programs

Physics majors take challenging courses geared to help students succeed in industry, teaching, or graduate school in physics, engineering, or applied mathematics. Majors will develop a deeper understanding of the core physics principles: mechanics, electricity and magnetism, statistical mechanics, and quantum mechanics. Students will get lab experience starting with our introductory labs, advanced labs I and II, and then work on an independent research project as their senior capstone projects. The department’s computational applied science courses will develop students’ scientific programming skills using MatLab™, a language used in industry, engineering, and physics.

Bachelor's Degrees in Physics & Applied Science

  • Major in Physics (B.A.)
  • Major in Physics (B.S.)
  • Applied Science Pre-Engineering Dual Degree

Minors in Physics

  • Physics
  • Business of Science
View the Course Catalog for degree requirements and courses offered.
Why Physics at TLU?
Physics and Engineering students encounter various disciplines through small introductory classes before choosing a field. Hands-on experience is acquired with engineering concepts, software, and laboratory tools. Pre-engineering students participate in team projects in engineering design of autonomous robots using the physics shop and computer labs; engineering computation and analysis using MATLAB™ and virtual test instrumentation using LabView™; commercial software packages widely used in modern engineering and applied science. Physics labs introduce students to digital data acquisition and analysis, analog and digital electronic test equipment, and nuclear counting and spectroscopy instrumentation.

Learn about career opportunities for physics majors!
Saikat Chakraborty Thakur is a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, San Diego’s Center for Energy Research.
Saikat Chakraborty Thakur is a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, San Diego’s Center for Energy Research.

<a href="/ftpimages/527/misc/misc_104694.pdf" target=_blank>Download and print</a> the event flyer to help spread the word about Plasma Physics!
Download and print the event flyer to help spread the word about Plasma Physics!
Plasma is Star Stuff: A journey from the cosmos to your computer chip
with Saikat Chakraborty Thakur, Ph.D.
Friday, April 25 at 7 p.m.
Dunne Conference Center, Tschoepe Hall

This event is free and open to the public. No tickets required.

Plasmas are all around us. They make smartphones possible and can be found in stars! Plasma is sometimes called the fourth state of matter and it is the most abundant form of known matter in our universe. Join Dr. Saikat Chakraborty Thakur to discover how plasmas similar those found in the cosmos are used in our everyday lives. Plasmas naturally occur right here on Earth, but there are extra-terrestrial examples to explore as well. Plasmas have many industrial applications that make them so much closer than you can imagine. Take a tour of plasma physics research facilities, learn about fusion plasma research and find out how you can enter the world of plasmas from a physicist who’s been there. Come learn just how close you are to the cosmos!

About Dr. Saikat Chakraborty Thakur
Saikat Chakraborty Thakur was gifted his long name on a cold dark “Friday the 13th” night, way back in February 1981, in Durgapur, a small but heavily industrialized town in the state of West Bengal in India. His dad was a soccer player and coach and his mother was kept busy taking care of him. He finished his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physics in India and then moved to West Virginia University (WVU) at Morgantown, for graduate school. He is the first person in his family to pursue higher studies beyond a bachelor’s degree. He received his Ph. D. degree from WVU in 2010 and then moved to the University of California at San Diego to continue research on plasma turbulence and self organization. He loves working with students, encouraging and motivating them to be in touch with the wonderful field of scientific research. He also loves to play soccer and racket ball, to go hiking in nature, mountain biking and going on long drives with his wife through historic highways and national parks. 
Physics Faculty
Shawn Hilbert
Assistant Professor
Shawn Hilbert, assistant professor and chair of physics, advisor to applied science (pre-engineering) program, earned his Ph.D. in experimental physics from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, where he did is research on matter optics. He earned his B.S. in physics from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA.

Dr. Hilbert’s Ph.D. research focused on ultrafast electron pulse propagation, which can be used for molecular photographs and movies for molecular motion. Currently, his research is focused on using acoustic analogs to visualized quantum phenomena and sports physics. His teaching experience is in physics; he has taught a plethora of upper level courses including mechanics, quantum mechanics, optics, and advanced laboratory.

Jerry Carr
Assistant Professor
Jerry Carr, Jr., assistant professor of physics, Ph.D. in plasma physics from West Virginia University.
Dr. Carr’s Ph.D. research involved working with Helicon plasmas, exploring double layers and ion heating using laser induced fluorescence as his primary diagnostic tool. The science behind this research can be used to provide applications for space propulsion and materials processing industries.
Dr. Carr has worked as a teacher, tutor and program coordinator in the Boston area and in Atlanta. He has interned at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as an operator and researcher for the Spallation Neutron Source. Here he helped create sources needed for baseline and power upgrade operations.
Dr. Carr also is devoted to community development through education, mentoring, and project management. He has helped communities in various ways since the age of fourteen.

Erin Scanlon
Instructor in Physics
Erin Scanlon, instructor in physics, M.S. in physics from Georgia Institute of Technology and B.S. in physics from Michigan Technological University. Her master’s research was focused on physics education and teaching practices. Her current teaching interests lie in implementing computational modeling and new research-based teaching methods in the undergraduate classroom.

Lorne Davis
Retired Professor
Lorne Davis, Jr., retired professor of physics, Ph.D. in physics from Texas A&M University. Published work spans physics, engineering, geology, computing, and biomedicine. Eleven patents in noninvasive, nondestructive measurements on rocks, soils, and the flow of fluids in porous media.
Dr. Davis is experienced in industrial R&D project management. International consulting experience with industry and government includes applications of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and x-ray computed tomography (CT). Teaching experience in physics and engineering.
Physics Events & Guest Speakers
Discover the science of bone-crunching hits, soaring field goals, and awe-inspiring passes with Tim Gay, professor of physics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

"From Science Fiction to Reality" with Dr. Herman Batelaan, theoretical physicist
What is the current status of teleportation, faster than light phenomena, and gravitational shielding? Quantum teleportation, lightning effects such as “Elves”, and levitating frogs have all been in the news, and are effects that are actually observed. They are also related to the ideas that make such science fiction series as Star Trek work. But are the observed effects really related to their science fiction counterparts, or is this all just smart marketing? And what is the current status of the research? The answers are perhaps even more surprising than the fiction. Listen to the lecture on iTunes U.