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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

Dr. Downing was the chair of SFA’s Department of Physics and Astronomy from 1988-2019, 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

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. Robert Friedfeld

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. Norman Markworth

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

Edward Michaels is the director of the SFA 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. Joseph Musser

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. Hector Ochoa

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.

Ali Piran

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

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

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.

Angela Perry

Angela Perry holds a B.F.A. in creative writing from SFA.

Dr. Michael Janusa

Dr. Janusa’s research interests include environmental science, particularly water, soil and air quality involving metals and anions. His most recent research involves a study of local water quality in Lanana Creek and the Nacogdoches Surface Water Treatment Plant. Janusa holds a patent in complexing heavy metals with bagasse, a sugar cane byproduct. 

Janusa teaches general chemistry, inorganic, analytical and environmental chemistry at SFA. He co-developed, an online homework system, and he is the author of an e-textbook, “Chemistry: The Core Concepts, Part I and II.” Janusa holds a B.S. from Louisiana Tech University and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University.

Dr. Matthew Beauregard

Dr. Beauregard is an applied mathematician with research interests in numerical analysis, mathematical modeling and singular partial differential equation theory. His research expertise has enabled collaborative and interdisciplinary research efforts in quantum mechanics, computer and mechanical engineering, and biology. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in economics from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree in applied mathematics and doctoral degree in applied mathematics with a minor in aerospace and mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona.

Outside of the classroom, Beauregard enjoys reading, cycling, spending time with his family and studying the Bible.​

Dr. Carl Ziegler

Dr. Ziegler is an observational astronomer who is interested in planets orbiting other stars outside of our solar system. His research uses robotic telescopes to determine what these distant worlds are like, including whether they may be suitable for life. He also uses large telescopes on remote mountains to explore the stellar environment in which these planets are found. Ziegler is also the director of the SFA Observatory, which is being updated to perform automated astronomical observations.​​



Department of Physics, Engineering and Astronomy

Physical Address:
Cole STEM Building
Suite 207

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 13044, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962

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