Home page for W.A. Zajc

This page was last changed on Thursday, May 14, 2009 10:25 AM

"Most institutions demand unqualified faith;
but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue."

(Robert K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Structures, Free Press, NY., p.547, 1962 )

Where do I work?

I am a Professor of Physics at Columbia University. Some of my work involves teaching in the Physics Department. My research is conducted from Nevis Laboratories. (There is also a little Web page on the physics department server which is another place to learn about my research interests.)

What do I teach?

In Spring '08 I'll be teaching C1602 (Physics II: Thermodynamics, Electricity and Magnetism, accessible to Columbia people via Courseworks).

Also in Spring '08 I am sitting in on as many of Prof. Miklos Gyulassy's lectures in G6040 (Graduate Nuclear Physics) as I can, with the hope of broadening my knowledge and perhaps being able to help the students now and then.

Previously I've taught  C1601 (Physics I: Mechanics and Special Relativity),  W3072 (Current Research Topics aka Senior Seminar) in Spring '05, G4023 (Thermal and Statistical Physics) in Fall'05, C1402: Introduction to Electromagnetism and Optics in Spring '04 (accessible to Columbia people via Courseworks), C1494/C2699 Introduction to Experimental Physics in Spring '03, G8099 (Special Seminar on RHIC Data and RHIC Physics) in Spring'02, W3083 (Electronics Laboratory)  (Spring'01),  W3003 (Mechanics) (Fall'97), G8099 (Special Seminar on QGP Physics) (Spring'98), Physics C1801 (Fall'95), and Physics C1802 (Spring'96), a two-semester accelerated introduction to physics for entering students with (typically but not exclusively) advanced preparation in physics. (I have also taught many courses in the distant pre-HTML era...)

What do I research?

My primary research activity is experimental heavy ion physics, conducted as part of the Nevis heavy ion group. Previously, I was involved in (AGS experiments) E859, E866 and E910 at BNL. From 1997 to 2006 it was my privilege to serve as spokesperson for the PHENIX experiment at RHIC. (If you are looking for slides from one of my talks, you can probably find them  on my 'Presentations' page, which is part of my spokesperson's pages.) A large part of our PHENIX effort at Nevis involves the PHENIX DAQ and Trigger system. Before becoming overwhelmed with spokesperson duties, I maintained a set of pages on hadron physics in PHENIX and on computing in PHENIX.  

What have I published?

My curriculum vitae and a not-exactly-up-to-date list of publications is available in this PDF file. A reasonably complete list of research publications can be found here. I had some fun writing a little while ago writing a  book review for Science magazine. More recently, Michael Riordan and I wrote  an article about the surprising and fascinating RHIC results for Scientific American; there's also a podcast available from here. Another nice article on my research by Tim Folger appeared in the February, 2007 issue of Discover Magazine.  And while blogging is just about as far removed from "real" publishing as you can get, I could not resist posting comments to this long thread on the (possible) connection via the AdS/CFT correspondence between RHIC collisions and string theory.


Why haven't I answered your mail?

I'd really like to! But in the course of my academic, professional and research responsibilities, I get a lot of mail, so I might be just a little back-logged when your message comes in.

Where do I live?

In the state of New York. Some other stuff about me:

How to reach me?

  • Nevis : "My last name at nevis dot columbia dot edu" (preferred contact mode)
  • Campus: (212)-854-8175 (or 4-8175 from Nevis ROLM system)
  • Nevis : (914)-591-2811 (or 72-2811 from Columbia ROLM system)
    Brookhaven: (516)-344-4443
Snail Mail
  • Campus: Department of Physics, Columbia University, NY, NY, 10027
  • Nevis: Nevis Laboratories, P.O. Box 137, Irvington, NY 10533
  • Campus: 724 Pupin (Need a subway map?)
  • Nevis: 102 (main building)