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Robert A. Knop

Associate Professor

Physics Faculty


knopra@westminster.edu

(724) 946-7201

curriculum vitae


Campus Location:
   Hoyt Science Resources Center
   121
Mailbox: 218


About Me


Rob Knop is an Associate Professor Physics.  He's taught at Westminster since September 2014.  He teaches algebra-based introductory physics, Modern Physics, Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetic Theory, Computational Physics, and courses in the Astronomy minor including Galaxies & Cosmology, and Life in the Universe.  He works with students on projects in computational physics and astrophysics.  Last year, he advised alum Isaiah Morgenstern in the development of code to solve the time-dependent Schrödinger Equation of quantum mechanics in two-dimensions, using NVidia video cards as a high-performance compute engine.

Rob received is BS in Physics from Harvey Mudd College in 1990, and his PhD in Physics from Caltech in 1997.  At Caltech, he worked in infrared astronomy, and his thesis work was on spectroscopy of active galactic nuclei.  From 1996 through 2001, he was a post-doc at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA, working with Saul Perlmutter.  While there, he was a core member of one of the two teams that discovered that the expansion of our Universe is accelerating.  Saul Perlmutter received the Nobel Prize in 2011 for this discovery.  Rob was a co-recepient of the Gruber Prize in Cosmology in 2007 for this discovery, and of the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in 2014.

Rob's current research interests center around computational astrophysics, including N-Body simulations of star clusters and interacting galaxies, as well as smaller projects in computational physics.

When not thinking about physics and astronomy, Rob is an avid science fiction fan and gamer.  He also is an amateur violinist and violist, and plays viola in the Westminster College Symphony Orchestra.  In the past, he's been heavily involved in community theater, having (among other things) played the Fiddler in Fiddler on the Roof, Brutus in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, and having directed plays such as Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound.  If you want to install Linux on your machine, Rob would be happy to talk to you.