John Scales
Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics

My work, in a nutshell, is all about waves: ultrasonic, acoustic, electromagnetic and optical. My students and I use waves to perform materials characterization (electromagnetic and mechanical) and we study the fundamental physics of waves in random media. The applications of our work include everything from landmine detection to the basic properties of amorphous semiconductors to how telescopes detect the far infrared light that makes up most of the electromagnetic energy in the universe. Since I do both theoretical and experimental work, there is ample opportunity for undergraduates to get involved in meaningful research and even publish papers.


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  • PhD, University of Colorado
  • BS, University of Delaware

Research Areas

  • Electromagnetics
  • Quantum chaos
  • Mesoscopic phenomena
  • Millimeter wave physics
  • Disordered media

Awards and Recognitions

  • Fellow, Institute of Physics
  • Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society
  • Visiting professor of the French Academy of Sciences, 1999-2000
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