Jan Kmetko works in the field of biological physics. His research program focuses on addressing issues hindering efforts in structure determination of biological molecules by x-rays, and there are two major bottlenecks. One, some biological molecules are hard or impossible to crystallize, and two, when the crystals are exposed to the intense synchrotron x-ray beam, they often suffer severe radiation damage. Eliminating these two trouble spots would allow the structure of macromolecules to be determined as soon as they are discovered. Experiments aim to address both issues: one, to understand fundamental aspects of crystallizing biological molecules, and two, to learn the physical and chemical mechanisms of radiation damage during x-ray exposure.

### Areas of Expertise

Biological physics.

### Education

2002 — Doctor of Philosophy from Northwestern University Illino

1996 — Bachelor of Arts from Berea College

### Courses Recently Taught

PHYS 107

## Astronomy: Stars and Galaxies

#### PHYS 107

This course surveys current knowledge of the physical nature of stars and galaxies. Topics include the sun and other stars, the evolution of stars, interstellar matter, the end products of stellar evolution (including pulsars and black holes), the organization of stellar systems such as clusters and galaxies, and the large-scale structure of the universe itself. Evening laboratory sessions will include telescopic observation, laboratory investigations of light and spectra, and computer modeling and simulation exercises. No prerequisite.

PHYS 110

## First-Year Seminar in Physics

#### PHYS 110

The goal of this seminar is to explore a specific topic in physics that is of current significance as well as challenging to first-year students. Generally, the topics will vary from year to year; in the past, the seminar has explored topics such as material science, nanoscience, astrophysics, particle physics, biological physics, and gravitation. In addition to introducing the fundamental physics related to these topics, the course will expose students to recent developments, as the topics are often closely related to the research area of faculty teaching the seminar. The seminar meets one evening a week for lectures, discussions, laboratory experiments, and computer exercises. This course fulfills the concurrent laboratory requirement of PHYS 140 and serves as a solid preparation for PHYS 146. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students who are concurrently enrolled in or have placed out of PHYS 140. Offered every fall semester.

PHYS 141

## First Year Seminar in Physics

#### PHYS 141

This seminar will explore a currently significant topic in physics that will challenge first-year students. The topic varies from year to year; in the past, the seminar has explored such topics such nanoscience, astrophysics, particle physics, biological physics and gravitation. In addition to introducing the fundamental physics connected with these topics, the course will expose students to recent developments, as the topics often are closely related to the research area of faculty teaching the seminar. The seminar meets one evening a week for lectures, discussions, laboratory experiments and computer exercises. This course fulfills the concurrent laboratory requirement of PHYS 140 and serves as solid preparation for PHYS 146. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students who are concurrently enrolled in or have placed out of PHYS 140, including those first-years who enroll in PHYS 240. Offered every fall semester.

PHYS 145

## Modern Physics

#### PHYS 145

This lecture course is a continuation of the calculus-based introduction to physics, PHYS 140, and focuses on the physics of the 20th century. Topics include geometrical and wave optics, special relativity, photons, photon-electron interactions, elementary quantum theory (including wave-particle duality, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and the time-independent Schrödinger equation), atomic physics, solid-state physics, nuclear physics and elementary particles. PHYS 145 is recommended for students who might major in physics and is appropriate for students majoring in other sciences or mathematics. The course will be taught using a combination of lectures, in-class exercises, homework assignments and examinations. Prerequisite: PHYS 140 and MATH 111 or permission of instructor. Corequisite: PHYS 146 and MATH 112 taken concurrently or permission of department chair. Open only to first-year and sophomore students. Offered every spring semester.

PHYS 146

## Introduction to Experimental Physics

#### PHYS 146

This laboratory course is a corequisite for all students enrolled in PHYS 135 or 145. The course meets one afternoon each week and is organized around weekly experiments demonstrating the phenomena of waves, optics, X-rays, and atomic and nuclear physics. Lectures cover the theory and instrumentation required to understand each experiment. Experimental techniques include the use of lasers, X-ray diffraction and fluorescence, optical spectroscopy, and nuclear counting and spectroscopy. Students are introduced to computer-assisted graphical and statistical analysis of data, as well as the analysis of experimental uncertainty. Prerequisite: PHYS 131 or 141. Corequisite: PHYS 135 or 145. Offered every spring semester.

PHYS 240

## Fields and Spacetime

#### PHYS 240

This lecture course is the third semester of the calculus-based introductory sequence in physics, which begins with PHYS 140 and PHYS 145. Topics include electric charge, electric and magnetic fields, electrostatic potentials, electromagnetic induction, Maxwell's equations in integral form, electromagnetic waves, the postulates of the special theory of relativity, relativistic kinematics and dynamics, and the connections between special relativity and electromagnetism. This course may be an appropriate first course for particularly strong students with advanced placement in physics; such students must be interviewed by and obtain permission from the chair of the Physics Department. Prerequisite: PHYS 140 or equivalent. Corequisite: PHYS 241 (upperclass students) or PHYS 141 (first-years) and MATH 213 or equivalent. Offered every fall semester.

PHYS 241

## Fields and Spacetime Laboratory

#### PHYS 241

This laboratory course is a corequisite for all upperclass students enrolled in PHYS 240. The course is organized around experiments demonstrating various phenomena associated with electric and magnetic fields. Lectures cover the theory and instrumentation required to understand each experiment. Laboratory work emphasizes computerized acquisition and analysis of data, the use of a wide variety of modern instrumentation, and the analysis of experimental uncertainty. Prerequisite: PHYS 140 and 141 or equivalent. Corequisite: PHYS 240. Offered every fall semester.

PHYS 355

## Optics

#### PHYS 355

The course begins with a discussion of the wave nature of light. The remainder of the course is concerned with the study of electromagnetic waves and their interactions with lenses, apertures of various configurations, and matter. Topics include the properties of waves, reflection, refraction, interference, and Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction, along with Fourier optics and coherence theory. Prerequisite: PHYS 350 or permission of instructor. Offered every other year.

PHYS 360

## Quantum Mechanics

#### PHYS 360

This course presents an introduction to theoretical quantum mechanics. Topics include wave mechanics, the Schrödinger equation, angular momentum, the hydrogen atom and spin. Prerequisite: PHYS 245 and MATH 213. Offered every other year.

PHYS 370

## Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

#### PHYS 370

This introduction to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics focuses on how microscopic physical processes give rise to macroscopic phenomena; that is, how, when averaged, the dynamics of atoms and molecules can explain the large-scale behavior of solids, liquids and gases. We extend the concept of conservation of energy to include thermal energy, or heat, and develop the concept of entropy for use in determining equilibrium states. We then apply these concepts to a wide variety of physical systems, from steam engines to superfluids. Prerequisite: PHYS 245 and MATH 213. Offered every other year.

PHYS 375

## Condensed Matter Physics

#### PHYS 375

Modern field theories may find their inspiration in the quest for understanding the most fundamental forces of the universe, but they find crucial tests and fruitful applications when used to describe the properties of the materials that make up our everyday world. In fact, these theories have made great strides in allowing scientists to create new materials with properties that have revolutionized technology and our daily lives. This course will include crystal structure as the fundamental building block of most solid materials; how crystal lattice periodicity creates electronic band structure; the electron-hole pair as the fundamental excitation of the "sea" of electrons; and Bose-Einstein condensation as a model for superfluidity and superconductivity. Additional topics will be selected from the renormalization group theory of continuous phase transitions, the interaction of light with matter, magnetic materials, and nanostructures. There will be a limited number of labs on topics such as crystal growth, X-ray diffraction as a probe of crystal structure, specific heat of metals at low temperature, and spectroscopic ellipsometry. Prerequisite: PHYS 245 and MATH 213. Offered every other year.

PHYS 380

## Introduction to Electronics

#### PHYS 380

This course will build upon the foundation developed in PHYS 240 and 241 for measuring and analyzing electrical signals in DC and AC circuits, introducing students to many of the tools and techniques of modern electronics. Familiarity with this array of practical tools will prepare students for engaging in undergraduate research opportunities as well as laboratory work in graduate school or industry settings. Students will learn to use oscilloscopes, meters, LabVIEW and various other tools to design and characterize simple analog and digital electronic circuits. The project-based approach used in this and associated courses (PHYS 381, PHYS 382) fosters independence and creativity, while the hands-on nature of the labs and projects will help students build practical experimental skills including schematic and data sheet reading, soldering, interfacing circuits with measurement or control instruments, and troubleshooting problems with components, wiring and measurement devices. In each electronics course, students will practice documenting work thoroughly, by tracking work in lab notebooks with written records, diagrams, schematics, data tables, graphs and program listings. Students will also engage in directed analysis of the theoretical operation of components and circuits through lab notebook explanations, worksheets, and occasional problem sets, and in each course students may be asked to research and present to the class a related application of the principles learned during investigations. This course is required as part of the 1 unit of upper-level experimental physics coursework to complete the major in physics. Prerequisite: PHYS 240. This course is offered once a year and runs the first half of the semester only.

PHYS 382

## Projects in Electronics 2

#### PHYS 382

In this course, students will explore applications of integrated circuits (ICs), the fundamental building blocks of electronic devices such as personal computers, smart phones and virtually every other electronic device in use today. Taking a two-pronged approach, the course will include experimentation with basic ICs such as logic gates and timers as well as with multipurpose ICs such as microcontrollers that can be programmed to mimic the function of many basic ICs. Prerequisite: PHYS 380 (may be taken in the same semester). This course is offered in alternate years and runs in the second half of the semester only.

PHYS 385

## Advanced Experimental Physics 1

#### PHYS 385

This course is an introduction to upper-level experimental physics that will prepare students for work in original research in physics and for work in industry applications of physics. Students will acquire skills in experimental design, observation, material preparation and handling, and equipment calibration and operation. Experiments will be selected to introduce students to concepts, techniques and equipment useful in understanding physical phenomena across a wide range of physics subdisciplines, with the twofold goal of providing a broad overview of several branches of experimental physics and preparing students to undertake any experiments in PHYS 386 and 387. Prerequisite: PHYS 241 and 245. This course is offered once a year and runs the first half of the semester only.

PHYS 386

## Advanced Experimental Physics 2

#### PHYS 386

In this course students will explore fundamental physical interactions between light and matter, such as Compton scattering, Rayleigh and Mie scattering, and matter-antimatter annihilation, while also learning to use common nuclear and optical detection and analysis techniques. Prerequisite: PHYS 385 (may be taken in the same semester). This course is offered in alternate years and runs the second half of the semester only.

PHYS 387

## Advanced Experimental Physics 3

#### PHYS 387

In this course students will probe the structure of solids using X-ray crystallography and atomic force microscopy, study the physical properties of semiconductors, and use the manipulation of magnetic fields to examine the resonant absorption of energy in atoms and nuclei. Prerequisite: PHYS 385 (may be taken in the same semester). This course is offered in alternate years and runs the second half of the semester only.

PHYS 493

## Individual Study

#### PHYS 493

Individual studies may involve various types of inquiry: reading, problem solving, experimentation, computation, etc. To enroll in individual study, a student must identify a physics faculty member willing to guide the course and work with that professor to develop a description. The description should include topics and content areas, learning goals, prior coursework qualifying the student to pursue the study, resources to be used (e.g., specific texts, instrumentation), a list of assignments and the weight of each in the final grade, and a detailed schedule of meetings and assignments. The student must submit this description to the Physics Department chair. In the case of a small-group individual study, a single description may be submitted, and all students must follow that plan. The amount of work in an individual study should approximate the work typically required in other physics courses of similar types at similar levels, adjusted for the amount of credit to be awarded. Ordinarily, individual study courses in physics are designed for .25 unit of credit. Individual study courses should supplement, not replace, courses regularly offered by the department. Only in unusual circumstances will the department approve an individual study in which the content substantially overlaps that of a regularly offered course. Students contemplating individual study should plan well in advance, preferably the semester before the proposed project.