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Department of Physics & Earth-Space Science

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Physics & Earth-Space Science Faculty

Dr. Leah Courtland, Assistant Professor, Physics & Earth Space Science

Dr. Leah Courtland

Assistant Professor
Physics & Earth-Space Science
Martin Hall 265

Areas of Expertise
near surface geophysics, volcano morphology and hazards, explosive eruption dynamics, geophysical archeology, cyberinfrastructure, geoscience education, and quantitative literacy

Before accepting her current position at UIndy, Dr. Courtland worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Volcanology and Multiphase Flow research group at GA Tech, investigating the propensity for aggregation of volcanic ash particles in subzero conditions. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of South Florida with emphasis in applying the techniques of near surface geophysics and computational modeling to volcanic processes and hazards. Dr. Courtland’s undergraduate degree is from Western Washington University where she majored in physics while minoring in geology, mathematics, and astronomy, and performing research in star formation and galaxy evolution.

Research Interests
Dr. Courtland’s research uses field, laboratory and numerical methods to investigate key concepts in near surface geophysics and natural and environmental hazards. Today, human populations are overwhelmingly concentrated in areas known to be susceptible to hazardous geologic and environmental phenomena, including volcanoes, earthquakes, ground contamination and more. By developing a deeper scientific understanding of how Earth systems function with regards to these hazards, Dr. Courtland’s work aims to increase our fundamental knowledge of the Earth while at the same time providing both basic and quantitative information and tools directly applicable to hazard mitigation. She specializes in ground penetrating radar, and her multidisciplinary research interests span volcanology, tectonics, hydrology, archaeology, environmental science, and related fields.

You can access many of Dr. Courtland’s research publications and learn more about her at:

Postdoctoral work, Georgia Institute of Technology
PhD, Geology, University of South Florida
BS, Physics, Western Washington University

Fun facts
I love cycling, especially long trips with a tent and saddle bags, and once rode my bicycle from Canada to Mexico along the west coast. When not pedaling cross country, I cycle commute to UIndy year round. 

Favorite thing about UIndy
The ability to interact with students one-on-one, especially in lower division courses.

View Dr. Courtland's full CV.

Dr. Timothy Duman

Associate Professor
Physics & Earth-Space Science
Martin Hall 261

Areas of Expertise
physics, space plasma physics, earth's magnetosphere, computational science, high altitude ballooning, physics education

Research Interests
high altitude ballooning, physics education and computational science

PhD, Physics, University of Kansas
MS, Computational Physics, University of Kansas
BS, Physics, University of Kansas

Fun facts
I enjoy exploring the physics of superheroes.

Favorite thing about UIndy
Free parking.

Stacy McCormack

Physics & Earth-Space Science
Martin Hall 255

Dr. Chris Moore, assistant professor of geology

Dr. Christopher R. Moore

Associate Professor of Anthropology & Earth-Space Sciences

Good Hall 008

Areas of Expertise
Midwestern and Southeastern prehistoric archaeology; hunter-gatherer archaeology; Spanish Mission period archaeology; Midwestern historic archaeology; lithics and ceramics analysis; bone tools analysis; geoarchaeology; archaeological theory

Dr. Moore received his PhD in anthropology from the University of Kentucky in 2011, where he studied the organization of production of the stone and bone tool technologies of the Kentucky Green River Archaic. During this time he began investigations into the location of the Spanish mission on Sapelo Island, Georgia, with Dr. Richard Jefferies. Dr. Moore has published in several peer-reviewed journals, including World Archaeology, Journal of Social Archaeology, Southeastern Archaeology, North American Archaeologist, and the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology. He is qualified as a Principal Investigator in the State of Indiana and works closely with archaeologists from the Indiana State Museum. He is also on the board of the Indiana Archaeology Council, Indiana's statewide organization of professional archaeologists.

Research Interests
Dr. Moore's research interests are many and varied. His continuing interest in hunter-gather archaeology led him to the work of Tim Ingold and explorations into how a dwelling perspective of Archaic cultures can inform us about hunter-gatherer lifeworlds, materiality and ritual practices. This research has led him to an interest in public archaeology and the public dissemination of archaeological knowledge. His work at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum in Crawfordsville, Ind., is an outgrowth of this interest. Dr. Moore's commitment to archaeology in the Hoosier state has led him to an interest in landscape archaeology in Carroll County and the study of Fort Ancient cultures in Southeastern Indiana. Finally, he is co-director of a collaborative University of Kentucky and University of Indianapolis research project investigating the Spanish Mission period in Georgia, where he is researching the social roles of material culture in multiethnic communities. You can access many of Dr. Moore's publications and learn more about him at:

PhD, Anthropology, University of Kentucky
MA, Anthropology, University of Kentucky
BS, Archaeology/Anthropology, University of Indianapolis

Fun fact
Dr. Moore is an avid geocacher and regularly goes on geocaching runs with students who play the game.

Favorite thing about UIndy
The emphasis on student-faculty collaboration, and the number of strong undergraduate and graduate students who participate in these collaborations.

View Dr. Moore's full CV.

Dr. Stephen Spicklemire

Department Chair, Physics & Earth-Space Science
Associate Professor of Physics
Martin Hall 263

Areas of Expertise
scientific computing, lasers and optics, instrumentation development

Has been teaching physics at UIndy for more than 25 years. From the implementation of "flipped" physics class to the modernization of scientific computing and laboratory instrumentation courses, Steve has brought the strengths of his background in physics, engineering and computer science into the classroom. Steve also does IT and engineering consulting.

Steve is an active participant in several national research initiatives relating to improving physics education. These range from improving materials to help students prepare for class, to tracking student participation using handheld devices in the classroom. Steve is directing an effort to expand the Laser and Optics research in the department and developing a collaborative research program with the Laser and Optics Research Center at the US Air Force Academy, where he was a visiting professor during the academic years of 2011 and 2012. Steve has created a set of software libraries designed to help students make use of parallel computational resources without having to spend many hours learning lots of technical details of networking and task coordination. Finally, along with Dr. Duman, Steve has helped create a thriving Near Space physics research program at UIndy using high altitude balloons to deploy hundreds of experiments over the last five years. We continue to use Near Space Physics and high altitude ballooning as a way of introducing students to collaborative research, instrumentation development and a great deal of fun to boot!

Research Interests
physics education, lasers and optics, scientific computing, near-space physics and instrumentation

PhD, Physics, California Institute of Technology
MS, Physics, California Institute of Technology
BS, Physics, minors in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology

Fun facts
I love music and theater, both as a performer and a member of the audience. Someday (possibly retirement) I hope to give these both more attention.

Favorite thing about UIndy
UIndy is a wonderful and supportive community of administrators, faculty and students. I love to go to work (almost) every day!

Brian Vermillion

Assistant Professor
Martin Hall 259