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Scholars on Campus

Professor Roman Kezerashvili
Physical & Biological Sciences
Spring 2003

A love for physics runs in Professor Roman Kezerashvili’s family. Both of his brothers became nuclear physicists, as did he. Two of his cousins and one of his sons also are physicists.

Kezerashvili, who was born in Georgia, a part of the former Soviet Union, is an internationally recognized physicist who earned two doctorates (in nuclear physics and theoretical physics), did research at the Institute of Physics (Tbilisi, Georgia) and taught at Tbilisi State University before emigrating to the U.S. in 1995. He came to City Tech’s Department of Physical & Biological Sciences on a part-time basis that same year and became a full-time member of faculty two years later. He was named Scholar on Campus in spring 2003.

In his Scholar on Campus Lecture, “Neutron Matters? Is It a Matter? What’s the Matter?” Kezerashvili described neutron matter as “the least understood of the five states of matter, which also include solids, liquids, gases and plasma. This mysterious extreme state of matter results from the catastrophic implosion-explosion of stars much more massive that our Sun.”

Starting with the existence of a single neutron, one of the tiniest objects in our cosmos, and progressing to two-, three- and four-neutron systems and then to stars, the largest objects in the Universe, Kezerashvili led his audience through a history of the cosmos starting after the Big Bang. He also discussed different scenarios for its end.

Author/co-author of more than 85 research papers, Kezerashvili has made valuable contributions to the understanding of a number of challenging issues in the field of nuclear physics, including nuclear matter and high energy nuclear reactions on light atomic nuclei. He was a visiting professor at Pisa University and collaborated on research with the Nationale Instituto di Fisica Nucleare in Italy.

Recognized as an innovative educator for implementing computer-based laboratory experiments in general physics and integrating computer-based education into City Tech’s physics curriculum, he is also author of three textbooks, Experiments in Physics (three editions), Experiments in College Physics and Problems in Physics and Mathematics.

“As a college professor, you are always young because you are always around young people,” he said. “I enjoy seeing my students ‘get’ physics and fall in love with it. For me, physics makes all my weekdays feel like weekends. My whole life revolves around physics.”

“Physics is the basis of all new technologies,” Kezerashvili added. “Achievements in physics in the 20th century, especially quantum optics and atomic, nuclear and solid state physics, changed the face of our civilization for the better.”

In fall 2004, Professor Kezerashvili chaired a committee set up to organize the New York Section of the American Physical Society (APS) Conference, “Physics of the Microworld: From Quarks to Nanostructures,” which City Tech hosted and which attracted some 200 participants from 58 universities, research labs, and other public and private sector institutions. It was the largest gathering of scientific minds in the College’s 58-year history. Previous hosts include such prestigious institutions such as Cornell, the State University of New York, Polytechnic University and the Rochester Institute of Technology.

In 2005, Kezerashvili took first place in the American Association of Physics Teachers Apparatus Competition held at the University of Utah for his development of a new use for the laser pointer. He also was appointed that year by City University of New York Chancellor Matthew Goldstein to chair the physics panel of the University Committee for Research Awards.

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