Michael Durst

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Cornell University, M.S., Ph.D. applied physics
Georgetown University, B.S. physics

For more information about my research, please check out the Durst Research Group website:

My research involves looking deep within the body without making an incision.  This is similar to ultrasound imaging, except I am interested in using light instead of sound. Light provides superior resolution, allowing you to see details on the cellular level. How can you see through the body? If you have ever looked at a flashlight pressed under your hand, you have witnessed light traveling through thick tissue.  Biomedical imaging entails using lasers, nonlinear optics, and other clever tools to extract images from beneath the surface of biological tissue. With applications in cancer research, nanoparticle characterization, fiber optic endoscopes, and in vivo imaging, these efforts together will provide access to a breathtaking array of unlabeled biological structures. By combining concepts in condensed matter physics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, optics, and biology, this area of research is ideal for undergraduate learning and an enrichment of their understanding of physics.

My goal in teaching is to excite others about physics.  I hope to share my enthusiasm as I teach the following subjects:

General Education:
PHYS 105: Physics in Everyday Life
PHYS 114: The Optics of Life: An Introduction to Biomedical Imaging

Upper Level Courses for Physics Majors:
PHYS 211: Newtonian Mechanics
PHYS 222: Electricity, Magnetism, and Waves
PHYS 308: Introductory Quantum Mechanics
PHYS 361: Thermal Physics
PHYS 373: Classical and Modern Optics
PHYS s30: Electronics

Research Courses:
PHYS 360: Independent Study
PHYS 457, 458: Senior Thesis

Laboratory Courses:
PHYS 107: Classical Physics Lab
PHYS 108: Modern Physics Lab

More information about these courses can be found here: