Eric Myers

R┼Źnin Physicist

(Particle AND wave man)
Panorama view of the Walkway Over the Hudson

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I am a physicist with a wide range of interests. My original training was in theoretical particle physics, but some of my research has overlapped with cosmology, solid state physics (mainly superconductivity) and even the behavior of DNA molecules. Although I started out as a theorist, I believe strongly in the primacy of experiment over theory. I have been fortunate enough to have worked on several major physics experiments, including the DØ experiment at Fermilab, the ATLAS experiment at CERN, and most recently, LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory. I have taught physics, mathematics, and computer programming at the undergraduate level and also occasionally taught or tutored these subjects to younger students.

SUNY New Paltz

I'm currently the "lab guy" for the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the State University of New York at New Paltz. I also teach one section of General Physics 2 Laboratory (PHY212) on Monday evenings. I previously was a Visiting Assistant Professor (2012-13) and Lecturer (2013-14) in the same department. In addition to teaching introductory calculus-based physics and physics labs I developed a new course on the Physics of Sound and Music, and I have taught advanced courses in particle physics and optics. I also taught introductory physics labs at New Paltz in 2005-2006.

West Point

I taught physics at the United States Military Academy at West Point for two years (2015-17), as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering. In my first year I taught four sections (including labs) of Physics 201/202 in the Core Physics Program. I was trained and used the Academy's traditional Thayer Method of instruction (somewhat like a "flipped" classroom), which emphasizes self-study and personal responsibility for learning, along with small class sizes, in-class practice, and personal interaction with instructors. The following year I taught mechanics to physics majors in the Advanced Physics program, specifically, PH381, Intermediate Classical Mechanics, and PH482, Advanced Classical Mechanics. I also served as a faculty advisor to the Astronomy Club, and learned a lot from that experience about flying high altitude balloons.


From 2005 to 2009 I worked on a science education project called Interactions in Understanding the Universe, which lets high school teachers and their students access LIGO environmental data (from seismometers, magnetometers and weather stations) and to use these data for inquiry-based investigations called "e-Labs". This is part of a larger collaboration between physics labs and experimental collbarorations which use Grid computing, with the overall goal of making Grid tools and resources available for education and outreach, in addition to their use for research.

Vassar College

I worked at Vassar College twice, first as a Visiting Assistant Professor (1993-95) and then later as an Assistant Professor of Physics (2002-2005). While at Vassar I created an accessible course in General Relativity for undergraduates, revamped the Modern Physics Laboratory, and started the Vassar Journal of Modern Physics. My research efforts were focused on LIGO and developing the Einstein@Home project.

University of Michigan

As a research physicist at the University of Michigan (2000-2002) I worked on several projects. I helped test the use of "QoS" packet prioritization for the transfer of data from the ATLAS experiment at CERN, and I worked on the Web Lecture Archive Project, which recorded physics lectures and technical training courses for distribution via the web.

From 1995 to 2000 I was a Lecturer and later a Visiting Assistant Professor (same job, different title) in the UM Physics department, where I was a full-time instructor for introductory physics classes, and in some case I was the Lecturer for introductory classes of 400 to 600 students.

iPhone Apps

I would go nuts staying at home without some kind of technical project to keep me busy, even if I can only work on it during nap time. So I taught myself how to create Apps for my iPhone and my wife's iPad. My first app, called Little Doodles, is a simple fingerpainting app I made for my daughter, with a twist -- by connecting the iPad to a TV with a cable she can draw on the TV. That was followed by Please Take My Picture, which help you ask someone to take your picture in any of more than 15 languages. I have several more apps in preparation, and ideas for more to follow.


I am co-author of TeXsis - a collection of TeX macros for physicists. I'm also a TeX "Grand Master", which means I've written output routines for TeX.

Student Investigations with LIGO Data

For the past several years I have been guiding students on their own personal research investigation using real data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). LIGO makes its data available to the public within 2 years of collection (usually less) and they also provide sample code and tutorials to make working with their data easier. I started doing this as a summer program for accomplished high school students through Pioneer Academics, but since moving to SUNY New Paltz I have been guiding advanced undergraduates in investigating the potential gravitational wave signal from cosmic strings. You can read the papers written by my stduents here:

Model Solar System

While teaching an astronomy class at Marist College, I learned about the 100 yard model of the solar system. This is a scale model of the solar system which shows, at the same time and on a linear scale, both the sizes of the planets and the distances between them. At this scale the Sun is about the size of a soccer ball, the Earth is about the size of a peppercorn, and Pluto is a grain of salt a little over 1000 yards from the Sun. I've taken to calling it the "Peppercorn Model" and I've constructed portable stations (with solar lights) which can be put out at the appropriate distances. One of the best places to experience this model is on the Walkway Over the Hudson. For more details and maps for other locations, see this web page about the Peppercorn Model.


I've created a couple of games that are worth sharing:
Mousetraps and Megaladons
A modified version of the kids game Mousetrap with Dungeons and Dragons additions. You just need a standard Moustrap game set and a D20 die, along with these Instructions (and, optionally, some score cards)
Ultimate Sailing
Ultimate Frisbee played with sailboats. This is a great game for light wind in summer, and for testing and improving sailing skills. It's also a heck of a lot of fun! Instructions here.


From August 2009 until the spring of 2012 I was a stay-at-home dad, taking care of our daughter Amanda, who was born 14 weeks premature. In addition to regular baby things, we had lots of doctor appointments and therapy sessions through the Early Intervention program. The good news is that everything is fine and she's now just a regular 14 year old who has a Black Belt in Tang Soo Do karate. She says that when she grows up she wants to be a police officer, possibly a dog handler. And she loves sharks.

Eric Myers with his daughter Amanda (Halloween, 2015)
Halloween 2015, with my daughter Amanda.


Before I created a blog at work I would sometimes I post notes for my friends on Facebook, and these are generally readable by anybody (who has a Facebook account, not just my "friends"). Here are a few that might be interesting: View the full list of my notes.

Mid-Hudson Astronomical Association

I have been actively involved with the Mid-Hudson Astronomical Association for the past several years, and I currently serve as the club Treasurer. MHAA hosts monthly public star parties at Lake Taghkanic State Park, on the Friday evening closest to the new moon. MHAA also organizes public lectures about astronomy and related topics on the SUNY New Paltz campus, on the 3rd Tuesday of every month.

Stellarium Landscapes

Stellarium is free planetarium software for your computer (Windows, Mac, and Linux), which can show you a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. It is also used in real planetariums (including the one at SUNY New Paltz). I have created several custom landscapes for Stellarium, which include the Walkway Over The Hudson in Poughkeepsie (shown below), and the cadet Observatory on top of Bartlett Hall at West Point.




In 2004-2005, as a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, I was part of the team which set up a distributed computing system called Einstein@Home which uses spare computing cycles on your home or office computer to search through LIGO data for evidence of gravitational waves from periodic sources, all while displaying a nifty screensaver. I hope you will install the BOINC software that makes this possible and contribute your own spare computer time to the project. It's very easy, and worthwhile.

While LIGO recently detected gravitational waves, these were from colliding black holes, not from continuous wave (CW) sources. Einstein@Home has not yet made a detection of gravitational waves, but they have also been searching through radio data from the Arecibo observatory, which has resulted in the "re-discovery " of over 100 known radio pulsars, and the discovery of over 50 new radio pulsars never before detected. I was not involved with this part of the project, but I'm proud of the progress it's made since I helped get the whole thing started.


As a part of my work on creating Einstein@Home I set up a test project using the same BOINC software, called Pirates@Home After serving admirably as a test platform, the project was shut down at the end of June 2005. It was later brought back when it was deemed useful for further testing and software development for I2U2. Right now the project is running silent again, but I'm hoping to put it to good use for a new mission in the near future.

Selected Talks

View the full list of my talks, which include: View the full list of my talks

Strings 2000

I was one of the organizers of the "Strings 2000 Conference" at the University of Michigan, and one important result of that conference was a list of 10 Physics Problems for the Next Millennium.

Teaching and Physics Education

I have taught physics -- and sometimes math and computing -- at the US Military Academy at West Point, Yale, Vassar College, the University of Michigan, the State University of New York at New Paltz, St. Louis University, and Marist College.

Some of the teaching materials I've prepared over the years which others might find useful include:

Eric Myers on an Oregon beach
Explaining something about waves
on an Oregon beach.

PGP Keys

Here are my PGP/GPG keys. You can use this to send me private, encryted e-mail which only I can read, or you can use it to verify that a digitally signed document is signed by me rather than someone else. You can verify that the keys on that page are correct by comparing to these fingerprints:
PGP Key #6E2D2259/RSA: BA39 1D46 5EC3 0D59 C2AC 6FCB F920 4DC8
PGP Key #E519EAC3/DSS: D15B 9A50 B1ED 2947 EC29 B0F6 EA61 FB6E E519 EAC3
PGP Key #88F8EFDF/DSS  9107 B297 B8A8 10A2 CE57 9DA2 8763 A52B 88F8 EFDF

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