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Center for Condensed Matter Research

About the Center for Condensed Matter Research

The Center will support ongoing work at Hofstra on practical applications of physics such as photocells, more powerful computers, physics of the heart and various types of networks, including ecosystems. Condensed matter physics deals with the macroscopic physical properties of matter, particularly the "condensed" phases that appear whenever the number of constituents in a system is extremely large and the interactions between the constituents are strong. This includes quantum systems, classical physical systems, chemical systems, biological systems, and even networks.

“The Center will be a focus for research in condensed matter at Hofstra University, building on strong efforts by many faculty,” said Harold Hastings, Ph.D., chair of Physics and Astronomy and director of the new center. “The Center will support nationally known visitors, Hofstra students, and Hofstra faculty. The Center will help strengthen physics research and research training of students at Hofstra, building upon a strong recent past towards an even stronger future.”

Among the work underway by faculty at Hofstra:

  • Dr. Rohana Garuthara is working to develop a low cost, easily and safely manufactured photocell largely aimed at the developing world. The development of such a locally manufactured photocell could profoundly improve the lives of many people, while reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and thus reducing global worming.
  • Drs. Sabrina Sobel and Hastings are studying chemical reactions which develop spontaneous oscillations, whose dynamics are a chemical analog for the dynamics of pacemaker cells in the heart.
  • Dr. Hastings is studying the stability properties of large networks, with an aim towards better understanding failures in a diverse variety of networks ranging from ecosystems to the power grid.
  • Drs. Gregory Levine and Maxim Marienko are studying a variety of properties of quantum systems related to a potential quantum computer. In principle, a quantum computer could be many times more powerful than existing computers.

The Center was established through a $525,000 congressional grant through the U.S. Department of Energy. U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) played a key role in obtaining the funding for the Center. The grant will support research training for students who go on to become productive scientists and teachers, and will support for faculty, equipment and collaboration for the period 2008-2011.