Here at the College of Sciences and Humanities, we love to highlight the new faculty members joining our team. Dr. John Millis is a new professor and department chair in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Millis’ broad area of research entails quantum mechanics, electromagnetics, and astrophysics.

What is your journey to Ball State?

After completing my PhD in physics from Purdue University, I made my way to Anderson University as an assistant professor of physics. There, I continued to grow as an instructor and researcher. I eventually became chair of the Department of Physical Sciences & Engineering—a role I served in for nearly seven years.

Why did you want to work at Ball State?

I found that I was spending much of my time at Anderson University advancing our engineering programs, which was great, but I was moving away from my true passion, which is physics and astronomy. Additionally, I was ready for a new challenge—and at Ball State, I’ll have the opportunity to work with my colleagues to grow our existing programs in physics and astronomy while looking to the future where there are great opportunities for new and exciting initiatives.

How do you feel about becoming the new chair of the department?

I am excited about the challenges and possibilities that exist as the incoming chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. While I am still getting acclimated to the department and Ball State in general, which is compounded by the ongoing (COVID-19) pandemic, we have some general goals for growing the enrollment in the department and expanding our offerings.

We have a number of great resources in the department—such as the planetarium, the observatory, and a host of great faculty doing engaging research—and I look forward to capitalizing on these to continue to move the department forward.

What are your research and teaching interests?

I have broad teaching interests, including quantum mechanics, electromagnetics, and astrophysics. My research background is primarily in high-energy astrophysics, using the VERITAS gamma-ray experiment to student very high energy radiation from black holes and neutron stars. More recently, I have also conducted research in physics, astronomy, and engineering education.

What do you like to do in your free time? 

I enjoy being active, spending time with my family outdoors, and exercising regularly. I also have found a love of cooking, particularly the creativity of creating new dishes. And, for those that know me well, know that I have a love of the piano and play often, particularly when things get hectic and stressful as a way to relax.

To learn more about the Department of Physics and Astronomy and its programs, please visit their website. To stay up to date on news and events, follow them on Facebook or visit their blog. For questions, please email the department at