Joshua M. Grossman

Professor of Physics

Joshua M. Grossman


Professor Grossman and his students research atoms captured and cooled to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, using lasers and magnetic fields. One experiment explores enhanced laser forces, which could be useful for miniaturizing atom trapping apparatuses, enabling practical applications such as portable sensor devices. Another experiment aims to develop microchip traps for individual atoms, a candidate architecture for quantum computers. Additional research involves quantum measurement and quantum random walks. He also performs research on physics education. Professor Grossman pioneered the use of personal response systems ("clickers") at SMCM to foster peer instruction and other research-based methods of interactive engagement in the classroom.

Areas of Research Specialization

  • Atomic Physics
  • Quantum Information
  • Physics Education


  • B.A. in Physics at Williams College, 1996
  • Ph.D. in Physics at Stony Brook University, 2002


  • ONR Grants

    Dr. Josh Grossman has received three grants from the Office of Naval Research to investigate "High atom number in microsized atom traps" and "Large-Number and Individual-Atom Microchip Traps for Sensor Applications and Fundamental Studies." The grants for 2009-2015 fund research equipment, student research stipends, and faculty research stipends. Much of the work funded is performed jointly with the Atomic Physics Laboratory of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division.

  • Teaching Galilean relativity

    Dr. Josh Grossman published "Frames of Reference in the Classroom" in the December 2012 issue of The Physics Teacher. The article describes methods of teaching Galilean relativity using a web camera.

  • Teaching Effectiveness

    Dr. Josh Grossman, along with Elizabeth Clune-Kneuer, Dr. Charles Adler, and Dr. Erin De Pree, presented "Student Evaluations of Teaching vs. Direct Assessment of Student Learning: A Case Study" at three conference in 2013. Their study examined the relationship between students' ratings of an instructor's effectiveness and direct measurement of what students learned. They found a statistically significant, but very weak, correlation between the two.