Zdzislaw Musielak, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics
College of Science
University of Texas, Arlington
Arlington, Texas, USA
- PhD, University of Gdansk, Poland.
I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in physics, astronomy and mathematics, from undergraduate Astronomy to graduate Quantum Field Theory and General Relativity. I greatly enjoy teaching classes at different levels and the interaction with students. My philosophy of teaching is straightforward: provide an atmosphere to get my students interested in a subject and stimulate their thinking by asking challenging questions or leading an interactive discussion. I am very enthusiastic about the subject of my teaching and this, I believe, creates excitement and motivation in the classroom.
- Solar and stellar activity and winds.
- Extra-solar planetary systems and interaction between planets and stars.
- Orbital stability of planets in stellar habitable zones.
- Nonlinear dynamical systems and routes to chaos.
- Quantum field theory and the physics of vacuum.
- The origin of dark matter and dark energy.
- Stellar Astrophysics: My contributions are on the generation, propagation and dissipation of non-radiative energy in atmospheres of late-type stars and white dwarfs; this work has been done in collaboration with R. Rosner of the University of Chicago and P. Ulmschneider of the University of Heidelberg. The results of these studies have been used to determine the physical processes responsible for heating of stellar chromospheres and coronae, and for the acceleration of hot winds from solar-type stars and cool massive winds observed from evolved giants and supergiants. I have worked with P. Ulmschneider's group to construct state-of-the-art, two-component, time-dependent, chromospheric models for late-type stars. We used these models to predict the level of chromospheric activity for different stars and the decrease of this activity with stellar age. In collaboration with R. Rosner's group, we constructed self-consistent and time-dependent models for the solar wind and cool massive winds. I worked with P. Ulmschneider on atmospheric oscillations in magnetic and non-magnetic regions of main-sequence stars. J. Davis and J. Porter of NASA/MSFC, D. Winget of the University of Texas at Austin, M. Noble (UTA) and I searched for coronal X-ray emissions from magnetic and non-magnetic cool white dwarfs using ROSAT and Chandra.
- Extra-Solar Planets: I have investigated the zones of stability of planetary orbits in the newly discovered planetary systems including double and triple stellar systems, and orbital stability of Earth-like planets in stellar habitable zones. This work was done in collaboration with M. Cuntz and M. Noble (UTA). Several years ago, I worked with M. Cuntz and S. Saar (Center for Astrophysics), and we predicted that the proximity of giant planets to their host stars should influence the outermost atmospheric layers of these stars and result in enhanced stellar activity in selected planetary systems. Our theoretical prediction has been recently confirmed by observations and this has triggered a number of citations of both the observational and theoretical results in several scientific magazines (e.g., Science, Astrobiology Magazine and Sky & Telescope), the popular press (USA TODAY, NEW YORK TIMES), and on local and national TV (CNN) and radio stations.
- Chaos and Nonlinear Dynamics: My research activities in this field have included studies of routes to chaos in nonlinear dynamical systems with many degrees of freedom, fractal statistics, and Julia and Mandelbrot sets. Rapid changes in routes to chaos have been discovered in dynamical systems when the number of degrees of freedom was increased. A novel fractal technique has been used to investigate the onset of chaos in several nonlinear systems. This work was done in collaboration with D. Musielak (UTA). Some of my results on generalized Julia and Mandelbrot sets were selected to illustrate the cover pages of FRACTALS. Working with scientists at NASA/MSFC, I applied fractal techniques to analyze complexity of the solar magnetic data and its relevance to the prediction of the onset of solar flares.
- Mathematical Physics: I have used Klein-Gordon and Dirac equations to investigate the behavior of hydrodynamic (HD) and magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) waves in highly inhomogeneous media. R. Moore of NASA/MSFC and I developed a novel analytical technique based on the Klein-Gordon equation. This technique allows defining critical frequencies that uniquely determine the conditions for wave reflection. In my work done in collaboration with R. Alicki of the University of Gdansk in Poland, we used the Dirac equation to investigate the linear coupling between HD and MHD waves. G. Gary of NASA/MSFC and I worked on ill-posed problems by applying the Tichonov Regularization Method to extrapolate the observed solar magnetic field. In addition, S. Nerney (Ohio State University), E. Schmahl (University of Maryland) and I derived the most general analytical solutions to the vector Burgers equation. My recent work done with L. Swift and J. Fry (UTA) has been concentrated on a new principle unifying the Dirac, Klein-Gordon and Proca fields.
- Cosmology: There is strong observational evidence that luminous matter makes only a very small fraction of all matter in the Universe, which is dominated by cold dark matter and dark energy - this view has been confirmed by recent measurements of the cosmic background radiation. The realization that some unknown form of matter and mysterious form of energy dominate the structure and evolution of the entire Universe is one of the most profound discoveries in science. A large number of scientists participate in observational and theoretical efforts that aim to shed new light on the nature and origin of dark matter and dark energy. I am fascinated by these cosmological discoveries and think that our group at UTA can also contribute to our understanding of both dark matter and dark energy. We are working on a fluid model of dark matter that will account for its known physical properties. We are also developing a model for dark energy that is based on strongly self-interacting (chaotic) quantum fields.
- Astrophysics Research Group: The astrophysics group is performing research that plays an essential role in understanding the observed activity of our Sun and different stars, the existence of Earth-like planets at distant stars, and the evolution and fate of the Universe. Specific topics of current studies are: Theoretical studies of stellar activity in late-type stars CHANDRA and HST observations of solar-type stars and magnetic white dwarfs Extra-solar terrestrial planets, stellar habitable zones and astrobiology (press release: Planets) ApJ paper: zipped ps or pdf The origin of dark energy and dark matter
- Outstanding Research Award, UTA, 2002.
- Humboldt Prize, Germany, 1997.
- DFG Research Award, Germany, 1995.
- Research and Creative Achievement Award, UAH, 1992.
- Smithsonian Research Award, SAO, 1987.
- NAS/NRC Award, NASA/MSFC, 1986.
- "Atmospheric Oscillations in Solar Magnetic Flux Tubes. I. Excitation by Longitudinal Tube Waves and Random Pulses", Musielak, Z.E. and Ulmschneider, P., Astron. Astrophys., 400, 1057-1064 (2003).
- "Atmospheric Oscillations in Solar Magnetic Flux Tubes. II. Excitation by Transverse Tube Waves and Random Pulses", Musielak, Z.E. and Ulmschneider, P., Astron. Astrophys., 406, 725-734 (2003).
- "Chandra Observation of Magnetic White Dwarfs and Their Theoretical Implications", Musielak, Z.E., Noble, M., Porter, J.G. and Winget, D.E., Astrophys. J., 593, 481-485 (2003).
- "Torsional Magnetic Tube Waves in Stellar Convection Zones. I. Analysis of Wave Generation and Application to the Sun", Noble, M., Musielak, Z. E. and Ulmschneider, P., Astron. Astrophys., 409, 1085-1095 (2003).
- "Mechanisms of Chromospheric and Coronal Heating" (Invited Review), Ulmschneider, P., and Musielak, Z.E., ASP Conference Series, Vol. 286, Eds. A.A. Pevtsov and H. Uitenbrock, 363-376 (2003).
- "Heating of Stellar Chromospheres and Transition Regions"(Invited Review), Musielak, Z.E., ASP Conference Series, Eds. A. Benz and A. Dupree, IAU Symp. 219, 437-448 (2004).
- "The Onset of Chaos in Nonlinear Dynamical Systems Determined with a New Fractal Technique", Musielak, D. E., Musielak, Z. E. and Kennamer, K, S., Fractals, 13, 1-13 (2005).
- "Chaos and Routes to Chaos in Coupled Duffing Oscillators with Multiple Degrees of Freedom", Musielak, D. E., Musielak, Z. E. and Benner, J. S., Chaos, Solitons \& Fractals, 24, 907-922 (2005).