New Faculty Member, Dr. Micah Shepherd

The newest addition to the BYU Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Micah Shepherd, brings his love of science and learning, ready to contribute to his field.

Dr. Shepherd grew up in a military family with his father in the Air Force. As a result, he has lived in many different states, including South Carolina, Alaska, and Illinois, and even spent time in England.

His love of physics was fostered from a young age, beginning in high school thanks to the work of his high school physics teacher. Dr. Shepherd entered BYU as an undergraduate and explored physics, especially enjoying the wave aspect of physics. He then served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Dr. Shepherd received his B.S. and M.S. in Physics from BYU. He worked with Dr. Leishman and Dr. Sommerfeldt for his undergraduate research, and with Dr. Gee for his Masters research–he was Dr. Gee’s first graduate student!

After he obtained his M.S. degree, Dr. Shepherd worked as a research assistant at Penn State doing defense work, then applied to Penn State’s Ph.D. program after about a year. Upon finishing, he joined the graduate faculty at Penn State.

Dr. Shepherd was hired as an Associate Professor at BYU in 2022. He works primarily with acoustics, and is currently studying how vibrations travel through beams while it’s in a vacuum. For something to create sound we can hear, it needs to vibrate in a medium like air. But the medium in turn affects the vibration of the object, making the sound radiate less efficiently. The internal vibration damping of the beam Dr. Shepherd is working with has been measured before, but that was while the beam was in air. He hopes to makes measurements that are a couple orders of magnitude more precise than existing values.

While research and the life of a professor has its pros and cons, Dr. Shepherd loves being able to contribute to the world’s knowledge of acoustics. He is driven by his love of learning. He said his purpose is to, “do interesting things and scratch [his] head sometimes and wonder, ‘why’ and figure it out”.

Dr. Shepherd is a great reminder about the joy of lifelong learning and how it drives us all. We’re excited to have him in the BYU Department of Physics and Astronomy!

Student Authors: Emma Zappala, Kristina Nuttall, Josh Belot, Elliot Tidd, and Christian


Edited by Brian Anderson

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