Physics & Astronomy

Dr. Watson completed his PhD in Astrophysics and Cosmology and a brief postdoctoral appointment at The Ohio State University in 2006. He joined the faculty at Millikin University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the fall of 2006. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012, became Department Chair in 2013, and was promoted to full Professor in 2018. Since Dr. Watson’s arrival, 100% of graduates from the Millikin Physics Program who have applied to graduate school have been accepted, and 100% of all graduates are now either in graduate school or employed.

Dr. Watson specializes in astrophysics and cosmology, and has published work in several areas, including the multi-wavelength (optical, IR, X-ray) evolution of galaxies, AGN and the Star Formation Rates, dark matter, dark energy, and gravitational lensing. Most recently, he has focused exclusively on dark matter research, which has generated many student presentations at regional and national meetings, three publications with over 300 citations, including one with a Millikin student (Nick Polley; 2012), and six invited lectures at international meetings: five in Paris, France (2012-2016) and one in Daejeon, South Korea (2014).

Dr. Watson has also conducted a number of interdisciplinary research projects with dozens of students, leading to publications and presentations in biology, chemistry, entrepreneurship, mathematics, and material science. To support his entrepreneurial work teams of science and business students, he created a new course called Physics Entrepreneurship, which focuses on assessing the commercial potential of scientific research and taking all the necessary steps to fulfill that potential: building and testing prototypes, filing for patent(s), fine-tuning pitches to prospective partners, finding the right manufacturing, marketing, and distribution partner(s), and crafting the proper agreements to bring product(s) to market.

In recognition of his contributions to interdisciplinary student research, Dr. Watson was named the second John A. Leighty Distinguished Professor of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in 2016 (a two-year appointment) and a Coleman Foundation Fellow in 2016 and 2017, for his entrepreneurial work.