Dr. Michael (Mike) Stamatikos is currently an Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at The Ohio State University (OSU), an Astrophysicist affiliated with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), near Washington D.C., and the Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP) at OSU in Columbus, OH. He joined OSU as a CCAPP Fellow in January 2009, after serving as a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow at GSFC since 2006. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A.) in 1998, with a major in Physics and a minor in Teaching Education, from the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB). After teaching high school physics in Western New York for a couple of years, he returned to UB and earned additional degrees in Physics consisting of a Master of Science (M.S.) in 2003 and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in 2006. His Ph.D. was based upon work performed while at the University of Wisconsin (UW) Madison, using the Antarctic Muon and Neutrino Detector Array (AMANDA), located at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica, where he spent three weeks in November of 2003.
In 2012, Stamatikos began serving a two-year term as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the OSU-Newark regional campus and joined as a tenure-track faculty member in 2014. As the sole faculty representative of both the physics and astronomy departments at OSU-Newark, Stamatikos manages the physics laboratory and coordinates the physics and astronomy programs. In addition, Stamatikos teaches calculus-based physics for scientists and engineers (PHY 1250) and has introduced a general education level cosmology course (ASTRON 1143), which is a first amongst OSU’s other regional campuses. Stamatikos spearheaded the installation and management of a state-of-the-art (30 foot, 60 seat, 4k) digital SciDome at The Works that uniquely provides an immersive, interdisciplinary educational environment for local K-16 students, the public and the professional development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educators, via the SciDome Academy, which has been funded by NASA Glenn Research Center. In that regard, Stamatikos dually serves as OSU Newark’s Founding Director of the SciDome and The Works’ first Chief Science Officer (CSO). His continued passion for education and public outreach has earned him awards from the Buffalo Research Institute on Education for Teaching (1998), the American Association of Physics Teachers (2002), the UB Graduate School (2005) and a nomination for the NASA Robert H. Goddard Honor Award for Outreach (2011). At OSU Newark, Stamatikos has won the Best New Undergraduate Research Mentor (2016), Teaching Excellence (2017) and Service awards (2017). He has been featured in The Columbus Dispatch, gives frequent invited public lectures, including TEDxOhioStateUniversity, contributes to the “Ask the Expert” segment of OSU’s onCampus newspaper, is a guest columnist of the Newark Advocate and makes invited media appearances on WOSU, NPR’s “All Sides with Ann Fisher” and NASA-TV.
At OSU, Stamatikos leads research in high-energy particle astrophysics featuring gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) – transient beacons of high-energy electromagnetic radiation that have challenged astrophysicists for over five decades. Since their serendipitous discovery in the 1970’s, an international ensemble of dedicated satellite missions and ground-based observatories have exposed these cosmological events as the “death cries” of either imploding massive stars or the merger of (binary) stellar companions. Both ultimately result in one of Nature’s most enigmatic creations: a black hole. His work focuses on understanding GRBs in a multi-messenger context. In that regard, he serves as the Principal Investigator (PI) of the GRB Temporal Analysis Consortium (GTAC), guest PI on the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM), which is a component of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (FGST), a Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) Instrument Scientist within the Swift Team, and a member of the IceCube Collaboration (AMANDA’s successor). Dr. Stamatikos has been widely recognized for his work on Swift, which has been ranked the best science mission in its class in two consecutive NASA biennial senior reviews in 2014 and 2016. As a member of Swift and Fermi, Stamatikos won the Bruno Rossi Prize in 2007 and 2011, respectively, from the High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) for major advances in the scientific understanding of GRBs. He has co-authored nearly two hundred scientific articles in top-tiered, high-impact, peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, Science, Physical Review Letters, Physical Review D, and The Astrophysical Journal (ApJ), and serves as an invited peer reviewer for NASA (Swift, Fermi & Chandra) science proposals, as well as The Astrophysical Journal. Stamatikos is currently leading an effort to install an autonomous 1m class, research grade telescope observatory at the John Glenn Astronomy Park, within the Hocking Hills State Park. Furthermore, Stamatikos is exploring quantifying the archeoastronomical significance of the Newark Earthworks using the SciDome. Lastly, Stamatikos is working with Spitz Inc. on a full dome physics curriculum (Physics 360) for application within the SciDome’s immersive environment.