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Physics Department

Location: Luther Foster Hall, Rm 501
Phone: 334-727-4533

Vision         

The vision of the Physics Department is to prepare students for graduate studies by providing quality instruction and research education leading to the B. S. degree. We seek for our students to accept the challenges of the 21st century successfully. To achieve this vision we provide advanced level instruction and research training to prepare students for creating, analyzing and propagating new knowledge.

Mission

The Mission and Purpose of the Physics Department is achieved through the following three elements: 

(i) Learning:  To develop basic scientific education among science, engineering and non-science majors and promote the value of education as a continuous process and lifelong endeavor.
(ii) Innovation:  To inculcate aptitude for research and related training among physics majors: Tuskegee physics students are encouraged to create and propagate new knowledge through required presentations in regional and national conferences.
(iii) Engagement:  Through outreach activities to develop compassion for others, and provide service to the educational and social communities. We prepare students to serve the global society as well as the regional and campus community.

Contact Information

Dr. Akshay Kumar, Head
Department of Physics
Luther H. Foster Hall, Rm. 502
Tuskegee University
Tuskegee Institute, AL 36088

Telephone: 334-727-4533
Fax: 334-724-3917
Email: akumar@tuskegee.edu

Physics Major and Minor: Curricula and Courses

Learning and Teaching

Student Opportunities

  • Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)
  • PERSIST Scholarship Program (NSF funded)
  • Summer Program for 9th,10th, and 11th graders (NASA funded)

Outreach and Recruitment

Physics Grant Awards

CURRENT

  • The Tuskegee University Office of the Provost awarded Dr. Sharvare Palwai the 2023 Title III Faculty Development Award for the project "Establishing an Applied Physics Experimental Research Laboratory" with $14,000.
  • The Tuskegee University Office of the Provost awarded Dr. Dimitar Dimitrov the 2023 Title III Faculty Development Award for the project "Numerical simulations and manufacturing of Photonic light sails" with $8,000.
  • The Tuskegee University Office of the Provost awarded Dr. Akshaya Kumar the 2023 Title III Faculty Development Award for the project "Acquisition of Handheld LIBS spectrometer" with $20,000.
  • The Tuskegee University Office of the Provost awarded Dr. Chitra Nayak the 2023 Title III Faculty Development Award for the project "Enhancing Workforce Development and Student Engagement through Extended Reality (XR) Technologies" with $15,600.
  • The Tuskegee University Office of the Provost awarded Dr. Walter Malone the 2023 Title III Faculty Development Award for the project "Exploring the Effects of Fluorination on Molecular Heterostacks" with $12,300.
  • The Minority University Research and Education project of NASA awarded the "Tuskegee's Summer Institute for Increasing Diversity Among Incoming STEM Undergraduates" from 2023-2027, by Dr. Lecia Robinson (Principal Investigator), Dr. Moses Ntam (co-Principal Investigator), Dr. Marisol Alcantara-Ortigoza (co-Principal Investigator), and Dr. Sheritta Fagbodun with $424,939. 
  • The "Starter Grants for Faculty in Non‐Ph.D.‐Granting Departments" program of the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society awarded the project "Using Machine Learning to Predict Novel Heterogenous Catalysts for the Hydrodesulfurization of Petrochemical Fuels" by Dr. Walter Malone with $55,000 from 2023 to 2025. (PRF# 65980-UNI5)
  • The Catalyst project "Culturally Responsive and Backward-Design-based Bimodal Units and Assessments as Learning Tools in College Physics" by Dr. C. Nayak (Principal Investigator), Dr. M. Alcantara-Ortigoza (co-Principal Investigator), Dr. Dimitar Dimitrov, and Dr. Akshaya Kumar got funded by NSF from 2022 to 2024, Award # 2204838 for $199,937.
  • The project "Promoting Excellence, Retention, Scholarship in STEM (PERSIST)" by Dr. M. Ntam (Principal Investigator), Dr. L. Robinson (co-Principal Investigator), Dr. Alcantara-Ortigoza, Dr. Sheritta Fagbodun, Dr. Hussain Elalaoui-Talibi, and Dr. Brandon Gines got funded for $1.5 million by NSF from 2022 to 2027 to promote STEM degree completion among low-income, high-achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need (NSF Award # 2130350).
  • The NSF program Excellence in Research awarded the project "Co-axial Flow Mixing and Control using Ultra-High Frequency Actuators" with $500,000 by Dr. John Solomon (Principal Investigator), Dr. Chitra Nayak (co-Principal Investigator), Dr. Mandoye Ndoye (co-Principal Investigator), and Dr. Phillip Kreth (co-Principal Investigator) from 2019-2023(NSF Award # 1900177).

PAST (2015 - 2022)

  • The Minority University Research and Education project of NASA awarded the “Tuskegee's Summer Institute for Increasing Diversity among Incoming STEM Undergraduates” to prepare prospective students for college and retain them in STEM disciplines by Dr. Lecia Robinson (Principal Investigator), Dr. Moses Ntam (co-Principal Investigator) and Dr. Marisol Alcantara-Ortigoza (co-Principal Investigator) during Summer 2022 for $65,000.
  • Dr. Z. Chen and Dr. P. C. Sharma received the NSF support for the investigation of graphene growth over silicon carbide. The total budget of this project is $80,000.00 and the period is one year.
  • Dr. P. C. Sharma won four years US Department of Transportation’s “University Transportation Center -  Tier 1” grant of $1,414,100.00 (share with University of Central Florida) to work on to transform the country’s transportation network, create a STEM education for environmental sustainability. Tuskegee University is sub-awarded with $150,000 per year for four year from the period of Jan 2014 to Dec. 2017. 

Physics Committees

  • Media and Web Page Updates: Dr. Marisol Alcantara-Ortigoza
  • Electronics and Virtual Reality Computation: Dr. Dimitar Dimitrov and Dr. Sharvare Palwai
  • Student Affairs and Society of Physics Students: Dr. Walter Malone
  • Student Recruitment: Dr. Akshaya Kumar, Dr. Moses Ntam, Dr. Chitra Nayak, Dr. Marisol Alcantara-Ortigoza, Dr. Walter Malone, Dr. Dimitar Dimitrov, and Dr. Sharvare Palwai
  • Research Mentoring: Dr. Moses Ntam, Dr. Alcantara-Ortigoza, and Dr. Sharvare Palwai
  • Student Learning Outcomes: Dr. Akshaya Kumar, Dr. Chitra Nayak, and Dr. Walter Malone
  • Instructional Laboratory Requirements: Dr. Marisol Alcantara-Ortigoza, Dr. Sharvare Palwai, and Dr. Elvert Colvert

Physics Colloquium

Faculty Development Resources

  • Culturally Responsive and Backward-Design-based Bimodal Units and Assessments as Learning Tools in College Physics
  • ChatGPT: What is it? From Higher-Order Thinking Downfall to Teaching Tool?

Student News

2020 - 2025

  • Physics Majors Ms. Taylor Jones (President) and Mr. Brandon Guiseppi (Vice President), advised by Dr. Chitra Nayak, won the 2022 Marsh W. White Outreach Chapter Award by the Society of Physics Students, for their project designed to increase representation of minorities in physics. 

2015 - 2020

  • Physics major Mr. Salah Elafandi won a FIRST PRIZE in the oral presentation competition the 95th annual meeting of Alabama Academy of Science at Samford University in Birmingham, AL, in Feb. 2018.
  • Physics major Mr. Maurice McGee won a FIRST PRIZE in the poster competition at  the 92nd annual meeting of Alabama Academy of Science at the University of West Alabama in Livingston, AL on March 12, 2015. Congratulations to his faculty mentors: Dr. Prakash C. Sharma and Dr. Zengjun Chen.
  • Physics major Mr. Kumasi Salimu won a SECOND PRIZE in the poster competition at  the 92nd annual meeting of Alabama Academy of Science at the University of West Alabama in Livingston, AL on March 12, 2015. Congratulations to his faculty mentors: Dr. Akshaya Kumar and Dr. Prakash C. Sharma.
  • Physics major Mr. Eduvie Ojebga won a SECOND PRIZE in the oral presentation competition at  the 92nd annual meeting of Alabama Academy of Science at the University of West Alabama in Livingston, AL on March 12, 2015. Congratulations to his faculty mentors: Dr. Akshaya Kumar and Dr. Prakash C. Sharma.

2010 - 2015

  • Physics majors Mr. Jeremiah F. Wilson and Ms. Leah Sanks have been nominated to receive the prestigious White House initiated HBCU ALL STAR Students Award for the Year 2014.
  • Physics majors Mr. Jeremiah F. Wilson and Mr. Sammie Ely III with their faculty mentors Dr. Sesha Srinivasan and Dr. P.C. Sharma have successfully filed their 2013 invention on “Universal Photocatalytic Reactor Design for the Water and Air Detoxification and Fuel Production”.

Faculty and Staff News

2020 - 2025

2015 - 2020

  • Dr. P. C. Sharma published his findings regarding  the effect of nanoparticles on thermal conductivity in a recently published article titled "Phonon conductivity of nanoparticles embedded in dielectric media"  which appeared in  the  journal Physica Status Solidi (b).
  • Dr. Chitra Nayak attended the SACSCOC summer institute as part of the Tuskegee University team. It was a four day institute during July 22-25, 2018 held in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Nayak attended the institute as part of the general education committee which is formed to review the general education curriculum and standards at Tuskegee University. The summer institute included detailed sessions on curriculum mapping, development of program learning outcomes, and critical thinking.
  • Dr. Akshaya Kumar was awarded the fellow of Alabama Academy of Science in Feb. 2018.

2010 - 2015

  • Our paper entitled, "Optical Absorption Spectroscopy of Dry Eraser Marker Ink" has been adjudged as the "Best Research Poster Paper" in the "International Conference on Lasers, Optics and Photonics" held on October 7-9, 2013, at San Antonio. Dr. Sharma’s award has been attributed in recognition of research paper quality, novelty and significance as indicated on the award certificate.The research papers entered in competitions for the best research poster were from countries like China, Russia, Korea, USA, Egypt, and Ethiopia.

Events

2020 - 2025

  • Dr. Sharma Retirement Ceremony, April 26, 2022, REACH Center Suite, 70-421-C John A. Kenney Hall

2015 - 2020

  • Physics Fall BBQ - 2018
Physics students and faculty outing
Physics Department Faculty, Staff, Students and some family members during the Fall Barbecue 2018

Physics BBQ games
Dr. Ortigoza participating in the Physics Barbecue 2018 Games

Physics students
Physics Department Faculty, Staff, Students and some family members during the Fall Barbecue 2018

  • Community Service at The Tuskegee Public Elementary School