Stellar faculty and staff members
When you study physics, engineering and astronomy at SFA, you’ll get out of the classroom for some truly out-of-this-world experiences: You’ll get an astronaut’s-eye-view of the solar system in the SFA planetarium and an amazing view of the stars at the observatory. And, most importantly, you’ll find yourself working with experienced professors who are passionate about their subject matter and sharing their knowledge.
Dr. Harry Downing
Professor and Department Chair
Dr. Downing has been the chair of SFA’s Department of Physics and Astronomy since 1988, and he was Regents Professor from 2013 to 2014. He holds a B.S. in physics from the Arkansas State University, and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in physics from the Florida State University. Dr. Downing completed his post-doctoral work at the Kansas State University, where he conducted infrared spectroscopy studies on various liquids.
Dr. James Adams
Dr. Adams holds a B.S. in physics from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Ph.D. in physics from Texas A&M University. His primary research interest is optical polarimetry.
Dr. C.J. Aul
Dr. Aul holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Central Florida and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. Before joining the physics and astronomy faculty at SFA, Dr. Aul worked as a mechanical engineer at Schlumberger, a researcher at Argonne National Laboratory and a staff scientist on a collaborative research project between The Aerospace Corporation and Texas A&M University.
Dr. Dan Bruton
Professor and Associate Dean
Dr. Bruton teaches courses in physics, engineering, and astronomy and conducts research at the SFA Observatory. He is an associate dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics and recently developed a new engineering physics degree program or SFA students. He holds a B.S. and an M.S. in physics from SFA, and he received his Ph.D. in physics from Texas A&M University. With the help of many students, Dr. Bruton has discovered 11 new asteroids in the solar system.
Dr. Thomas Callaway
Dr. Callaway holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics from West Texas State University, and he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas, where he studied the structure of liquid metals using x-ray diffraction techniques. He has been teaching at SFA since 1973 and served as Regents Professor from 1998 to 1999.
Dr. Friedfeld holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Seton Hall University and a master’s and doctoral degree in physics from the Florida Institute of Technology. His current research focuses on thin film deposition for photovoltaics, scanning probe microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. Friedfeld has been at SFA since 1998.
Dr. Markworth is the director of the SFA observatory, which is the second-largest observatory in Texas. He earned his B.S. in physics from the University of Illinois and his PhD. in astronomy from the University of Florida. He has been a member of SFA’s physics, engineering and astronomy department since 1978, and he was Regents Professor from 2000 to 2001. His primary research interests are close binary star dynamics and computer-controlled telescopes and telescope instrumentation.
Edward Michaels is the director of the Stephen F. Austin Planetarium. He holds a B.S. in physics from the University of Texas at Dallas and an M.S. in natural science from SFA. He is a member of several astronomy and physics associations, including the International Planetarium Society, the Southwest Association of Planetariums and the Rocky Mountain Planetarium Association.
Dr. Musser holds a B.S. in education from West Texas State University and a Ph.D. in physics from Texas A&M University. His primary research interest is in environmental sensing and quantum optics. He is been at SFA since 2008.
Dr. Ochoa holds a B.S. degree in physical sciences from Universidad de Guadalajara and an M.S. degree in physical sciences and a Ph.D. in computer and electrical engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso. His research interests include remote sensing, radar signals and analysis of high velocity targets. Dr. Ochoa has been at SFA since 2016.
Lecturer and Lab Coordinator
Ali Piran holds a B.S. in physics from Lamar University and an M.S. in physics from SFA. He primarily teaches PHY 101 and 102, and he has been the physics lab coordinator since 1990. He is the faculty advisor for the SFA chapter of the Society of Physics Students.
Collin Timmons is an SFA graduate with a B.S. and an M.S. in physics. His research at SFA involved the deposition of polymer thin films and aluminum to fabricate an organic light emitting diode. His primary teaching interest is in electronic courses.
Dr. Walter Trikosko
Dr. Trikosko holds a B.S. in physics from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, an M.S. in physics from the University of Memphis and a Ph.D. from Clemson University. His research interests are in Josephson tunneling and superconductivity. Dr. Trikosko has been at SFA since 1983.
Clay Watts came to SFA in 2013 from Southern Illinois University, where he earned B.S. degrees in botany and advanced technical studies. He holds associate degrees in technology, aircraft mechanics technology and tool and manufacturing technology. He enjoys helping faculty and students to design, fabricate, modify and repair scientific instruments, equipment and apparatus.