Here at the College of Sciences and Humanities, we love to highlight the new faculty members joining our team. Dr. Michael Skoby is a new assistant teaching professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Skoby’s area of research involves experimental, high-energy nuclear physics.
What is your journey to Ball State?
My BA in physics is from the University of Minnesota, Morris. I went on to earn an MS and PhD from Purdue University, where I also completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Indiana University and then at the University of Michigan.
Before joining the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ball State University, I was a physics instructor at Purdue Polytechnic Columbus. The emphasis on teaching along with support for research within the Department of Physics and Astronomy were the primary reasons I wanted to come to Ball State.
What are your research and teaching interests?
I am currently a member of a large nuclear physics collaboration called STAR. The principal goal of my research is to study the phase diagram of nuclear matter. At sufficiently high temperatures and energy densities, regular nuclear matter is melted into its constituent quarks and gluons.
This form of matter, called the quark-gluon plasma (QGP), existed shortly after the Big Bang and is created in relativistic heavy ion collisions. The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory accelerates heavy nuclei in opposite directions around a ring to speeds near the speed of light. These heavy ion beams cross at interaction regions to create collisions that are observable by detectors centered on the beam pipe. The QGP was first discovered at RHIC and its characterization is the focus of my area of research.
Is there anything in particular you hope to accomplish in your first year at Ball State?
In my first year I hope to successfully meet the learning objectives for my students under the current pandemic environment. I am also looking forward to getting students involved with my research activities in the STAR collaboration, and hope to be well on my way to establishing a productive research program for years to come.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my spare time, I enjoy watching baseball and movies, and when the pandemic is over I look forward to traveling more often to see family and friends.
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