Researcher Highlight

December 2014's A&S Researcher of the Month
Dr. Matthew Berg, Assistant Professor of Physics

Dr. Matthew J. Berg is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. He is also a faculty member in the Center for Computational Sciences at the MSU High Performance Computing Collaboratory (HPC^2). Berg received his B.Sc. in engineering physics from the Colorado School of Mines in 2003, his Ph.D. in physics from Kansas State University in 2008, and he was a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. He joined MSU in 2010.

Berg conducts research in theoretical and experimental electromagnetic scattering. Recently, he has developed new laboratory methods to characterize aerosol particles such as plant pollen, wind-blown mineral dust, and airborne bacteria using digital holography. In 2014, he received a patent for this research and has partnered with a company in Boulder, Colorado to commercialize the concept. In recent theoretical work, he discovered a new wave-interference mechanism for the extinction paradox and formulated explanations for patterns seen in scattering from aerosol particles. In other work, his research group is conducting simulations at the HPC^2 to investigate the use of light scattering to improve solar power technology, and is building a field instrument to characterize agricultural-dust aerosols.

Berg's research has drawn both national and international recognition. In 2011, the Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer (JQSRT) named him the recipient of its Young Scientist Award. He has been nominated twice by the Army Research Office (ARO) for the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and was elected chair of the Aerosol Working Group for the American Association for Aerosol Research. He has served as Managing Guest Editor for an issue of JQSRT and has funded, organized, and chaired two national conferences on electromagnetic scattering. Berg has published 31 articles in high-impact peer-reviewed journals and one book chapter. He has given 43 presentations, eight of which have been invited, and has given a review talk at the 2010 NATO Advanced Science Institute in Kyiv, Ukraine. In 2013, he served as an invited defense-examiner for a doctoral student at the Universite de Toulouse, France and an invited pre-examiner for another doctoral student from the University of Helsinki, Finland. At MSU, he has served as a member of the College of Arts & Sciences, Diversity Advisory Committee to the Dean. Berg's research is funded by MSU and the U.S. Department of Defense, including the Young Investigator Program award from ARO and an equipment grant from the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program. His research group includes five Ph.D. and two M.S. students. Berg has also sponsored summer research-projects for six undergraduate students through the Army's Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program, and mentored two high school students from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS) through a partnership between MSMS and ORED.

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