Dean of the Faculty

Reed College Faculty Profiles

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Johnny Powell

Professor of Physics
Physics Department
Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Johnny Powell joined the Reed faculty in the Fall of 1987, following a two-year post-doc at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Solid State Physics in Stuttgart, Germany where he worked on molecular biophysics of the DNA molecule using a Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer in Professor Ludwig Genzel’s Abteilung. His experience at the MPI led to his receiving an NSF grant for $200,000 during his first year on the faculty which was used to purchase a state-of-the-art FTIR spectrometer for his laboratory at Reed College. Although Johnny’s publication and grant record are primarily in experimental condensed matter physics of the DNA molecule: FTIR, Raman, and Brillouin spectroscopy, he spent several years in neural biological physics which included a sabbatical at the Medical Research Council (MRC) in Cambridge, England where his research efforts concentrated on total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy of endo- and exocytosis. Johnny is presently concentrating his research efforts on understanding galactic bars through N- body simulations in collaboration with the Department of Astronomy at the University of Washington. In his nearly 30 years at Reed College, he has directed over 70 theses of which the astrophysics theses have included the following topics: N-body galactic simulations, observations of an active galactic nucleus, laboratory astrophysics, offset galactic bars, and exo-planet detections.

Physics Department webpage


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