Updates from the Chair

School of Physics Chair, Feryal Ozel, during the State of the School address

Dear School of Physics Community and Alumni,

Greetings from the chair’s office at Howey Physics! As we welcome the new academic year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past one and share some of the exciting happenings. The past year has been a remarkable one for the School of Physics, filled with achievements and breakthroughs that underscore our commitment to advancing science. Our faculty’s research endeavors have continued to push boundaries, with notable contributions in understanding new quantum behavior of matter, imaging black holes, making miniature atomic clocks, detecting high energy neutrinos from the Milky Way, and reproducing the evolutionary path to multicellular organisms. We also welcomed to the School five new faculty members, with three more joining in the coming months, as well as seventeen postdocs and research scientists.

Beyond research, our commitment to fostering a vibrant academic community has continued. We are hosting colloquia, seminars, and an AI/ML Conference featuring distinguished guest speakers, providing a platform for intellectual exchange and the exploration of cutting-edge ideas. As we embark on this new semester, we carry these achievements with us, but are also eager to build upon them and continue our mission to discover the mysteries of science through the lens of physics.

Our undergraduate student body is continuing to grow: we are nearly at 300 majors! We have added new laboratory courses, electives, and undergraduate research opportunities to respond to this growing interest in physics. We also restructured our advising program to give each one of our students a dedicated advisor who can help them navigate class options and undergraduate research. Last but not least, our graduate program rose to the #21 spot in the US News Rankings. It is gratifying to see the academics and research in our school recognized by our peers in this way. We are excited to continue this journey of knowledge with all your support. Go Jackets!

Feryal Ozel, Ph.D.
Chair and Professor of the School of Physics


Meet Feryal Özel

Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Feryal Özel received her B.S. in physics and applied mathematics at Columbia University and her Ph.D. in 2002 at Harvard University. After completing a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, Özel joined the University of Arizona faculty in 2005, where she has worked as a professor of astronomy and physics, and as associate dean for research in the College of Science.

She is co-investigator of the NASA Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) Mission and has twice earned the American Astronomical Society Bruno Rossi Prize (NICER and EHT collaborations), along with a number of honors including a joint Breakthrough Prize in Physics, and NSF Diamond Achievement Award.

In 2016, Özel was named a Guggenheim Fellow, as well as a visiting professor and member of the Harvard University Black Hole Initiative. In 2017 she was honored as the Columbia University Annual Bishop Lecturer. She has also served as a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellow at Harvard University and as a Miller Visiting Professor at University of California, Berkeley.

Özel is a member of the American Astronomical Society and an Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society. She is past chair of the NASA Astrophysics Advisory Committee and NASA Lynx X-ray Telescope Science and Technology Definition Team, and currently serves as an advisor of NANOGrav and the Miller Institute, as well as a member at Aspen Center for Physics.

Özel and Psaltis enjoy running marathons and biking long distances together.

Learn more about Feryal Özel and Dimitrios Psaltis.

About Georgia Tech

The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is a top 10 public research university developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its nearly 44,000 students representing 50 states and 149 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.

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