Nathan L. Harshman
Associate Professor and Department Chair of Physics

Department of Physics

College of Arts and Sciences
American University, Washington DC

SCAN 116
4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016-8058
Phone: 202-885-3479
Fax: 202-885-2723

Brief professional history: After completing my undergraduate degree at Duke University in 1995, double-majoring in physics and English, I received my Ph.D. under Arno Bohm in theoretical particle physics from the Department of Physics at the University of Texas in Austin in 2001. After graduating, I was a Wiess Instructor of Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University for two years. In Fall 2003, I joined American University as an assistant professor. I spent Spring and Summer 2006 in the Physics Faculty at the University of Trento, Italy on a Fulbright Junior Lectureship, where I worked on my research and taught a class on group theory in quantum mechanics.  I received tenure in 2009 and then went on sabbatical AY 2009-2010 to the Institute for Quantum Theory at the University of Ulm, Germany on a DAAD Fellowship. 

Brief research summary: I am a mathematical physicist who does work on quantum information theory.  I am a specialist in applying representation theory of space-time symmetry groups in quantum mechanics.  I use techniques from group theory to quantify entanglement in particle systems and study how entanglement changes in dynamical processes. Right now I’m looking at entanglement in few-body systems, with application to trapped ultra-cold atoms.  More generally, I’m interested in how entanglement is a relative concept that depends on how the algebra of observables is partitions. 

Currently, I have a few undergraduate students working with me on this topic.  If you are an AU student interested in working with me, email me.

I am also interested in physics education research and try to apply it to what I do in my classroom, teaching physics at the introductory and advanced levels. In particular, I am always experimenting with new technology in the classroom and on the web with the goal of engaging and assisting as many students as possible.

What's new in my research?

·         Latest CV.

·         Most recent preprint: N.L. Harshman, “Symmetries of Three Harmonically-Trapped Particles in One Dimensions,” arXiv: 1209.1398.

·         Most recent publication: Gary A. Morris, Nathan Harshman, Lee Branum-Martin, Eric Mazur, Taha Mzoughi and Stephen D. Baker, “An Item Response Curves Analysis of the Force Concept Inventory,” Am. J. Phys. 80  (2012) 825-831.

·         I gave a talk entitled “Tailored Observables and Entanglement in the Two-Body System” at Quantum Theory: Reconsideration of Foundations – 6, at Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden June 11-14, 2012.

 Research Publications
Articles Submitted to Refereed Journals

  • N.L. Harshman, “Symmetries of Three Harmonically-Trapped Particles in One Dimensions,” arXiv: 1209.1398.  Submitted to Physical Review A on 6 Sep 2012.

Articles in Refereed Journals

  • N.L. Harshman and S. Wickramasekara, “Tensor Product Structures, Entanglement, and Particle Scattering,” Open Systems and Information Dynamics, 14 (2007) 341-351, arXiv: quant-ph/0611230.
  • N.L. Harshman and S. Wickramasekara, “Galilean and Dynamical Invariance of Entanglement in Particle Scattering,” Physical Review Letters 98 (2007), 080406 (4 pages), arXiv: quant-ph/0607181.  Reprinted in Virtual Journal of Nanoscale Science and Technology, March 2007.
  • N.L. Harshman, “Continuous-Discrete Entanglement: An Example with Non-Relativistic Particles,” Quantum Information and Computation 7 (2007) 273-280, arXiv: quant-ph/0607138.
  • N.L. Harshman, “Dynamical Entanglement in Non-Relativistic, Elastic Scattering,” International Journal of Quantum Information 5 (2007) 273-278, arXiv: quant-ph/0606011.
  • N.L. Harshman, “Poincaré Semigroup Symmetry as an Emergent Property of Unstable Systems,” International Journal of Theoretical Physics, 46 (2007) 1929-1946, arXiv: hep-ph/0511298.
  • N.L. Harshman “Limits on entanglement in rotationally-invariant scattering of spin systems,” Physical Review A 73 (2006), 062326 (4 pages), arXiv: quant-ph/0509013.  Reprinted in Virtual Journal of Quantum Information, July 2006.
  • Gary A. Morris, Lee Branum-Martin, Nathan Harshman, Stephen D. Baker, Eric Mazur, Suvendra Dutta, Taha Mzoughi, and Veronica McCauley, “Testing the test: Item response curves and test quality,” American Journal of Physics 74 (2006), 449-453.
  • N.L. Harshman, “Dynamical Entanglement in Particle Scattering,” International Journal of Modern Physics A 20 (2005) 6220-6228, arXiv: quant-ph/0506212.
  • N.L. Harshman, “Basis States for Relativistic Dynamically-Entangled Particles,” Physical Review A 71 (2005), 022312 (8 pages), arXiv: quant-ph/0409204.  Reprinted in Virtual Journal of Quantum Information, March 2005.
  • N.L. Harshman and N. Licata*, “Clebsch-Gordan Coefficients for the Extended Quantum-Mechanical Poincarè Group and Angular Correlations of Decay Products,” Annals of Physics 317 (2005), 182-202, arXiv: hep-ph/0407299.
  • N.L. Harshman, “Representations of the Poincaré semigroup and relativistic causality,” International Journal of Theoretical Physics 42 (2003), 2357-2370.  
  • N.L. Harshman, “Visualizing the Mass and Width Spectrum of Unstable Particles,” American Journal of Physics 71 (2003), 984-989, arXiv: physics/0305095.  Reprinted in Virtual Journal of Nuclear Astrophysics, Vol. 1, Iss. 9.
  • A. Bohm, N.L. Harshman and H. Walther, “Relating the Lorentzian and exponential: Fermi’s approximation, the Fourier transform and causality,” Physical Review A 66 (2002), 012107 (11 pages), arXiv: quant-ph/0206145.
  • A. Bohm, N.L. Harshman, H. Kaldass and S. Wickramasekara, “Time asymmetric quantum theory and the ambiguity of the Z-boson mass and width,” European Physical Journal C 18 (2000), 333-342.
  • Arno R. Bohm and N.L. Harshman, “On the mass and width of the Z-boson and other relativistic resonances,” Nuclear Physics B 581 (2000) 91-115, arXiv: hep-ph/0001206.

Book Chapters

  • A. Bohm and N.L. Harshman, “Rigged Hilbert Spaces and Time Asymmetric Quantum Physics,” in Compendium of Quantum Mechanics: Concepts, Experiments, History and Philosophy, eds. Friedel Weinert, Klaus Hentschel, Daniel Greenberger, and Bridgitte Falkenburg. (Springer, Berlin, 2009), pp. 660-670.

Articles in Conference Proceedings

  • Jonathan Bougie, Philip Johnson, Nathan Harshman, Teresa Larkin, Michael Black, “Redesigning a Major: A Case Study of a Changing Curriculum,” 2007 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, electronic proceedings, article AC 2007-2555.  Reprinted with minor changes as “Assessing the Changing Face of the Physics Major: A Case Study,” in 37th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, electronic conference proceedings, paper number 1653, pp. S2G-7 – S2G-11.
  • N.L. Harshman, “Kinematic Correlations of Decay Products and the State Spaces of the Relativistic Gamow Vector,” in Proceedings of XXV International Colloquium on Group Theoretical Methods in Physics, IOP Conference Series 185, Eds. G.S. Pogosyan, L.E. Vicent, and K.B. Wolf, (IOP/Canopus, Bristol, 2005), pp. 293-298.
  • N.L. Harshman, “Selecting the Mass and Width of Relativistic Resonances,” in Proceedings of the XXIII International Colloquium on Group Theoretical Methods in Physics, Eds. L.G. Mardoyan, G.S. Pogosyan and A.N. Sissakian, (Joint Institute for Nuclear Research Publishing Department,  Dubna, Russia, 2002).
  • Arno R. Bohm, N.L. Harshman and M. Mithaiwala, “Relativistic Resonances, Relativistic Gamow Vectors and Representations of the Poincaré Semigroup,” in Proceedings of the International Symposium ‘Quantum Theory and Symmetries’, Eds. H.-D. Doebner, V.K. Dobrev, J.-D. Hennig, and W. Leucke, (World Scientific, Singapore, 2000), pp. 191-201, arXiv: hep-ph/9912228.
  • A.R. Bohm and N.L. Harshman, “Quantum Theory in the Rigged Hilbert Space—Irreversibility from Causality,” in Irreversibility and Causality in Quantum Theory—Semigroups and Rigged Hilbert Space, Vol. 504, Springer Lecture Notes in Physics, Eds. A. Bohm, H.-D. Doebner and P. Kielanowski (Springer, Berlin, 1998), pp. 181-237, arXiv: quant-ph/9805063.

Book Reviews

  • Nathan L. Harshman, “Charting the path of our geometric knowledge,” Chicago Tribune Books Section, March 19, 2007.
  • Nathan L. Harshman, “Crunching numbers--as well as lines, angles and shapes” Chicago Tribune Books Section, December 3, 2006.


*undergraduate co-author


Maintained by Nathan L. Harshman

Updated 11 September 2012