A photographic tour of the DepartmentA photographic tour of the DepartmentProfessor John Huennekens with graduate students in Atomic and Molecular LabStudy of close, interacting binary stars. Artist's conception of U CepheiProfessor Dimitrios VavylonisProfessor Ou-Yang and students manipulating cell organelles with laser tweezersProfessor Biaggio works with a graduate student in one of his laser labsProfessor and Chair, Volkmar Dierolf in condensed-matter physics labStudents in engaged in REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) ProgramUndergraduate students in a first-year labStudents view the moon through telescopes in introductory astronomy labLehigh graduate student assists a third-grade student in the construction of an electric motor

Department of Physics at Lehigh University


Our Department offers programs leading to the B.A. in Astronomy, the B.S. in Astrophysics, and to the B.A., B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Physics, as well as a summer research program for undergraduates.

Research Opportunities are available in the following areas...

The Department of Physics is housed in the Sherman Fairchild Center for the Physical Sciences, containing Lewis Laboratory, the Sherman Fairchild Laboratory for Solid State Studies, and a large connecting research wing.


Lehigh University Physics - Sherman Fairchild Center for the Physical Sciences



Please contact Alicia Hepner at alh422@lehigh.edu.










2022 has been a terrific year for the Department of Physics. Professor Volkmar Dierolf has won the 2022 Libsch Prize for Research, and Professor Rosi Reed has won the Libsch Early Career Research Award. The Libsch prizes are Lehigh’s annual awards for excellence in research, and Physics has won them both! Rosi has also been selected to serve on the Department of Energy/National Science Foundation Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, an appointment already approved by Congress. Others in the department have won a variety of new research awards that are listed below.

2022 has also been a year of transition for the Department. Professor Joshua Pepper will spend two years as a Program Scientist in the Astrophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. A visiting assistant professor, Dr. Andrew McNeill, an astrophysicist with expertise in asteroids and minor planets, will join us for two years beginning this summer.  

To replace retiring staff, we have had the good fortune to recruit Marina Long as our new Business Manager and Alicia Hepner as our new Department Coordinator. Marina and Alicia are excited to be taking on new responsibilities. I am confident that we are in capable hands.

Fellowship support from a generous donor has helped expand our graduate program to 48 students. Several of our graduate students (Autumn Anthony, Ian Crawley, Zhiyu Jiang, Skipper Kagamaster, and Amanda Ratajczak) have earned their Ph.D. in 2022, and 10 new students have been recruited to join our program. Graduate student Haley Austin won the Graduate Research Prize of the College of Arts and Sciences. And Joseph Jiang won the University Teaching Award.

The following is a selection of recently funded, major research awards from multiple agencies:

  • Sera Cremonini and Timm Wrase, NSF, Strings, gravity, and strongly coupled matter.
  • Volkmar Dierolf and H. Jain, NSF, Spatially selective phase transformations of glass to single crystal 3D architectures.
  • Volkmar Dierolf and H. Jain, DoE, Early stages of single crystal formation in glass under external constraints.
  • Chinedu Ekuma, NSF, Excited-state properties and the impact of random defects in quantum materials.
  • Aurelia Honerkamp-Smith and D. Thevenin, NIH, Full sail ahead: How membranes move and respond to flow.
  • Daniel Ou-Yang and Aurelia Honerkamp-Smith, NSF, Advanced imaging and characterization at the interface between living and nonliving materials.

It is exciting that several of these research grants have been won by junior faculty members. The outstanding success of our junior faculty shows that the future is bright for Lehigh’s Department of Physics and its students!

We have emerged from COVID restrictions at Lehigh, and alumni and emeritus faculty have been able to visit in-person. Many thanks for your interest in the Department of Physics. If you would like to visit, please don’t hesitate.

All the best,

Michael Stavola