Faculty Name

Michael Burns-Kaurin, Ph.D.


Associate Professor





Office Location

Albro-Falconer-Manley Science Center 184


Ph.D., M.Phil., Yale University
B.A., Carleton College


Professional Experience

August 2000 to Present
Associate Professor of Physics, Spelman College

August 2007 to August 2013
Chair of Physics Department, Spelman College

August 1994 to August 2000
Assistant Professor, Spelman College

Taught all levels. Conducted Course development and curriculum reform. Served on teams that developed “Lasers, Optics, and Spectroscopy,” “Interdisciplinary Science,” and “Advanced Experiments, Theory, and Modeling.”  Conduct research on laser vapor deposition, optical methods, and liquid drops.  

Supervise student research.  Served on committees including Faculty Council.  Served as principal investigator of NSF-CCLI grant “Phenomenological Investigations in Introductory Physics” and Massie grant from Department of Energy. Served as Faculty Fellow of Center for Scientific Applications of Mathematics (CSAM)--September 1995 to August 1996.  Co-PI of Program in Physical Sciences (PIPS).  Co-PI of NSF-CCD grant, “Infusion of Laser Technology into Science Courses.”

September 1993 to August 1994
Assistant Professor, Shippensburg University
Taught introductory and intermediate-level physics courses.  

September 1989 to May 1993
Assistant Professor, Augustana College
Taught all levels.  Supervised student lab assistants.  Worked with colleague on experimental research on the diffusion of gases into metal, including x-ray diffraction experiments and computer simulations.

Summer 1991
Argonne National Laboratory Faculty Research Participant

August 1992
Augustana College Grant
Used ion-beam channeling to study high-temperature superconductors.

Summer 1983
Research Assistant, Yale University
Experimental nuclear gamma ray spectroscopy.

Summer 1982
Summer Student Trainee, Iowa State University
Solid state nuclear magnetic resonance.

Professional Organizations
American Association of Physics Teachers
American Physical Society
Southern Atlantic Coast Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (president March 2003 to March 2004)


Spelman College Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence — Senior Teaching, 2013-2014.

Research Interests

  • High-speed videography of liquid drop impact on liquid surfaces
  • Analysis of video images
  • Development of computer activities for physics teaching


Interactions of liquid drops with liquid surfaces, as a function of surface tension.   High speed videography.  Computer analysis of video, including trying out neural networks for analyzing images.  Use of computers in physics education.