Group Leader: Professor Benjamin Frandsen

Contact info:, 801-422-2341, N234 ESC

Hi! I am an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at BYU, where I have been since 2018. My research involves structural studies of interesting and useful materials using neutron, x-rays, and photons. I currently teach General Physics II (Physics 106) and Advanced Mechanics (Physics 321). Before beginning my current position, I was a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where I worked with Prof. Bob Birgeneau on neutron and x-ray scattering studies of iron-based superconductors. Prior to that, I performed my graduate studies at Columbia University in New York, where I was co-supervised by Profs. Tomo Uemura and Simon Billinge on muon spin spectroscopy and pair distribution function analysis of strongly correlated electron systems. And before that, I was right back here at BYU as an undergraduate, where I studied physics and German and did research with Prof. Branton Campbell on relaxor ferroelectric materials. I grew up in southern California and enjoy going back to visit whenever I can.

My wife and I have been married since 2011. She is a writer with an undergraduate degree in English from BYU and a master's degree in literature from the City University of New York. She is currently working on a masters of fine arts degree at BYU. We have three wonderful and vivacious children. Outside of work and family, my passions and hobbies include music (piano and cello), athletics (soccer and running), the outdoors (hiking, snowboarding), traveling, and working to make BYU a more inclusive and loving place.

Faculty webpage: //

Graduate Students

  • Raju Baral (PhD): Probing local magnetic correlations in geometrically frustrated and low-dimensional magnetic systems with magnetic pair distribution function analysis
  • Parker Hamilton (MS): Increasing the impact of magnetic pair distribution function analysis with 3D-mPDF 
  • Braedon Jones (MS): Local structure and magnetism investigations of multiferroics and magnetocalorics

Undergraduate Students

  • Jade Stevens: Muon spin relaxation analysis of magnetic nanoparticles
  • Alec Petersen: Introducing BEAMS, a new and improved analysis suite for muon spin spectroscopy
  • Jacob Christensen: Developments and applications of magnetic pair distribution function techniques
  • Karolyn Mocellin: Understanding the structure of nuclear-relevant ionic salts
  • Christiana Zaugg: Muon spin relaxation analysis of antiferromagnetic semiconductor MnTe
  • Emma Zappala: Muon spin relaxation analysis of antiferromagnetic semiconductor MnTe
  • Kane Fanning: Advanced data reduction algorithms to improve magnetic PDF analysis
  • Victor Velasco: Upgrading PDFgui to include magnetic PDF analysis
  • Elizabeth Vargas: Upgrading PDFgui to include magnetic PDF analysis
  • Beric Bearnson: Upgrading PDFgui to include magnetic PDF analysis
  • Eric Stubben: Enhancing magnetic structure representation in diffpy.mpdf

Former Group Members


  • Alex Shaw (2018 - 2020): Calculating dipolar magnetic fields from atomistic structure models for muSR analysis. Switched to a research project in economics
  • Dylan Bailey (2018 - 2020): Fitting muSR spectra in python. Switched to a research project in computational physics
  • Nick Ducharme (2019-2020): PDF analysis of dilute magnetic semiconductors. Went on to a PhD program at Boston University.
  • Jake Hughes (2019 - 2020): PDF fitting methodologies using symmetry mode analysis. Took a job with a Chicago-based electronic trading firm.
  • Ethan Gibson (2019 - 2020): Analysis of muSR data on magnetocalorics. Went on to a graduate program at George Mason University.
  • Ethan Fletcher (2018 - 2021): PDF analysis of Mott insulator V2O3 and iron-based superconductors. Went on to a PhD program at Michigan State University.
  • Charlotte Read (2018 - 2021): Synthesis and advanced characterization of magnetic nanoparticles (co-advised with Dr. Karine Chesnel). Went on to a medical physics graduate program at Duke University.
  • Caleb Dame (2020 - 2021): Visualizing and creating magnetic models for magnetic pair distribution function analysis. Took a job in software/data science.
  • Godofredo Fajardo (2020 - 2021): Tools for cutting-edge analysis of molten salt structure for nuclear reactors. Switched to a different research group.