Wolfgang Bauer (physicist)

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Wolfgang Bauer
Wolfgang Bauer2012.jpg
Born (1959-04-05) April 5, 1959 (age 59)
Nidderau, Germany
Residence United States
Nationality Germany
United States
Alma mater University of Giessen
Known for Phase transitions in nuclear matter
Heavy ion reaction theory
Awards German National Merit Scholarship (Studienstiftung)
NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow Award
Humboldt Prize
Fellow of the American Physical Society
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Institutions California Institute of Technology
Michigan State University
Doctoral advisor Ulrich Mosel
Other academic advisors George Bertsch, Steven Koonin

Wolfgang Bauer (born April 5, 1959) is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University. He is also an author of the introductory calculus-based physics textbook "University Physics", published by McGraw-Hill in 2010.


Wolfgang Bauer obtained his Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics from the University of Giessen in 1987.[1] After a post-doctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology, he joined the faculty at Michigan State University in 1988. He has worked on a large variety of topics in computational physics, from high-temperature superconductivity to supernova explosions, but has been especially interested in relativistic nuclear collisions.

Nuclear physics[edit]

Prof. Bauer has a dual appointment at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, where he works on nuclear physics topics. He is best known for his work on phase transitions of nuclear matter in heavy ion collisions,[2] and transport theory of heavy ion collisions, in particular as applied to interferometry,[3] particle production,[4] collective flow,[5] and isospin degrees of freedom.[6]

LON-CAPA and Textbook[edit]

Prof. Bauer has taught physics and astronomy classes on the undergraduate and graduate level since 1988. He is particularly interested in the introductory physics curriculum for engineering and science majors. For decades he has collaborated closely with his MSU colleagues Walter Benenson and Gary Westfall. They obtained NSF funding to develop novel teaching and laboratory techniques, and authored multimedia physics CDs for their students at MSU's Lyman Briggs School. Based on this work they co-authored cliXX Physik, a complete physics textbook on CD-rom. In 1992, they became early adopters of the Internet for teaching and learning by developing the first version of their online homework system. In subsequent years, they were instrumental in creating the LearningOnline Network with CAPA (LON-CAPA), which is now used at more than 70 universities and colleges in the United States and around the world. Since 2008, Bauer and Westfall have been part of a team of instructors, engineers, and physicists, who investigate the use of peer-assisted learning in the introductory physics curriculum. This project has received funding from the NSF STEM Talent Expansion Program, and its best practices have been incorporated into their textbook "University Physics", which was published in 2010 by McGraw-Hill, and which has also been translated into Spanish and Korean languages.

Other research topics[edit]

Prof. Bauer has worked on nonlinear dynamics and chaos, where he is best known for he work on billiards systems and their decays[7] and for his work on buckyball fragmentation.[8] He also worked in bio-medical physics and holds a US patent on cell-by-cell cancer detection.[9] In recent years, he has focused much of his research and teaching on issues concerning energy, including fossil fuel resources, ways to use energy more efficiently, and, in particular, alternative and carbon-neutral energy resources. He has been a member of the group designing the energy transition plan for Michigan State University.[10]

Administrative positions[edit]

  • Head of Nuclear Theory Group, National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (1997-1998)
  • Associate Chair and Undergraduate Program Director, Department of Physics and Astronomy, MSU (1998-2001)
  • Chairperson, Department of Physics and Astronomy, MSU (2001-2013)
  • Founding Director of the Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research (since 2009)


Professor Bauer was awarded the National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellow Award in 1992 and the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation Distinguished Senior U.S. Scientist Award (Humboldt-Forschungspreis für Naturwissenschafler aus den USA, Humboldt Prize) in 1999. He was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2003. Also in 2003, Professor Bauer received the ComputerWorld 21st Century Achievement Award for Education and Academia for his work on LON-CAPA, "Judged best IT application in the world in Education and Academia". In 2007 he was named University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University.[11]


Scientific publications[edit]



  1. ^ "Wolfgang Bauer Bio". McGraw-Hill. 2010. 
  2. ^ Bauer, W (1988). "Extraction of signals of a phase transition from nuclear multifragmentation". Phys. Rev. C. 38: 1297–1303. Bibcode:1988PhRvC..38.1297B. doi:10.1103/physrevc.38.1297. 
  3. ^ Bauer, W; Gelbke, CK; Pratt, S (1992). "Hadronic interferometry in heavy-ion collisions". Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science. 42: 77–98. doi:10.1146/annurev.nucl.42.1.77. 
  4. ^ Bauer, W; Bertsch, GF; Cassing, W; Mosel, U (1986). "Energetic photons from intermediate energy proton-and heavy-ion-induced reactions". Physical Review C. 34: 2127–2133. Bibcode:1986PhRvC..34.2127B. doi:10.1103/physrevc.34.2127. 
  5. ^ Westfall, GD; et al. (1993). "Mass dependence of the disappearance of flow in nuclear collisions". Physical Review Letters. 71: 1986–1989. Bibcode:1993PhRvL..71.1986W. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.71.1986. PMID 10054554. 
  6. ^ Li, BA; Ko, CM; Bauer, W (1998). "Isospin physics in heavy-ion collisions at intermediate energies". International Journal of Modern Physics E. 7: 147–230. arXiv:nucl-th/9707014Freely accessible. Bibcode:1998IJMPE...7..147L. doi:10.1142/s0218301398000087. 
  7. ^ Bauer, W; Bertsch, GF (1990). "Decay of ordered and chaotic systems". Physical Review Letters. 65: 2213–2216. Bibcode:1990PhRvL..65.2213B. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.65.2213. 
  8. ^ LeBrun, T; et al. (1994). "Ionization and Multifragmentation of C60 by High-Energy, Highly Charged Xe Ions". Physical Review Letters. 72: 3965–3968. Bibcode:1994PhRvL..72.3965L. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.72.3965. PMID 10056345. 
  9. ^ "Method and system for detection of biological materials using fractal dimensions (US Patent 5848177)". 1998. 
  10. ^ "MSU Energy Transition Plan website". 2012. 
  11. ^ "Tim Beers and Wolfgang Bauer earn University Distinguished Professor title". 2007. 

External links[edit]