Department of Physics and Astronomy
Tom Timusk did his undergraduate work at the University of Toronto and his Ph.D. at Cornell. After postdoctoral work in Frankfurt, Germany and at the University of Illinois, he joined the physics department at McMaster in 1965. He has spent research leaves at Cornell, Berkeley, University of Florida and AT&T Bell Laboratories. He has held a Sloan Fellowship and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Royal Society of Canada and the CIFAR Quantum Materials program.. Notable honours include the Brockhouse Medal of the CAP, CAP Gold Medal for Achievement in Physics and the Frank Isakson prize of the American Physical Society.
Dr. Timusk's research centers on the use of infrared radiation in studying interesting problems in physics. He has worked on the exciton gas and electron hole fluid in semiconductors, on the far infrared radiation from the big bang as observed in high altitude balloons, and on the study of the propagation of radiation in fibers, such as goose down and fiberglass used for thermal insulation.
His recent work is in the area of exotic superconductors, organic quasi-one-dimensional crystals, heavy Fermion systems, quasi-crystals and most recently an intense effort in high temperature superconductors. It is felt by many that far infrared spectroscopy, because it probes energies that are directly relevant to superconductivity, will hold the key to the fundamental mechanism that makes these materials so unique.
Another recent interest is his discovery of flashes of light reflected from water drops undergoing capillary oscillations. This common phenomenon is related to the optics of the rainbow, a subject going back to Descartes and Newton but for some odd reason not discussed in the literature on the optics of water drops. The only reference in the scientific literature seems to be a brief report by Voltz (cited in the Applied Optics article) and a brilliant piece of original science by two German high school students, Florian Ostermeier and Henrike Wilms who noticed the flashes of light from dripping water in a cave. Theit project won a EU award in Valencia in 2007.
To see the pheomen just look for a bright spot 12 mm below any dripping tap with a bright overhead light. Or watch the movie.
You can also see it on YouTube under Flashing Water Drops.
The pseudogap in high-temperature superconductors: an experimental survey, T. Timusk and B. Statt, Reports on Progress in Physics 62, 61-122, (1999). For a preprint, download a pdf file.
High-transition-temperature superconductivity in the absence of the magnetic resonance mode, J.S. Hwang, T. Timusk, and G. Gu, Nature 427, 714 (2004).
Bosonic Spectral Density of Epitaxial Thin-Film La1:83 Sr 0:17CuO4 Superconductors from Infrared Conductivity Measurements, J. Hwang, E. Schachinger, J. P. Carbotte, F. Gao, D. B. Tanner, and T. Timusk, Phys. Rev. Letters, 100, 137005 (2008).
Flashes of light below the dripping faucet: an optical signal from capillary oscillations of water drops, T. Timusk, Applied Optics, 48 1212-1217 (2009). pdf file.
More information about Dr. Timusk's group can be accessed by returning to Optical Research
in Solid Materials
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