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Robert Nichols

Associate Professor of Physics & Information Technology

Robert Nichols

Associate Professor of Physics & Information Technology


A.S., Young Harris College

B.S., Davidson College

M.A., Washington University, St. Louis

Ph.D., Washington University, St. Louis

Bobby Nichols teaches algebra-based and calculus-based physics, physical science, engineering courses, computational science courses and associated laboratories. He advises students interested in engineering, computational science and information technology, among other majors. He coordinates the Math and Science Academy, meeting with select math and science students (freshmen through seniors) on a weekly basis. (If you are a Cumberland student and are interested in applying to the Academy, please contact Dr. Nichols).  In many of his courses, he focuses on an awareness of global warming issues.

Bobby actively participates as an event coordinator in the Tennessee State Science Olympiad.

His graduate and post-graduate research career included appointments at Washington University in St. Louis, Purdue University and Caltech, was multi-disciplinary in fields of physics, geo- and cosmo-chemistry, astronomy and astrophysics, and focused on the use of state-of-the-art mass spectrometry to measure the isotopic compositions of many elements of cosmochemical significance. Research over the last 25 years has resulted in at least 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and 50 conference abstracts and invited talks world-wide.

In his spare time, he travels and actively works on unsolved mathematical problems with colleagues.


Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications and Conference Abstracts:

Fuller C.F. and Nichols R.H. Jr. (2015) Generalized Anti-Waring Numbers. J. Int. Seq. 18, 15.10.5

Nichols R. (2006) Chronological constraints on planetesimal accretion. In Meteorites and the Early Solar System II (eds. D. S. Lauretta and H. Y. McSween), Tucson: University Arizona Press, pp. 463-472.

Kitts B., Podosek F., Nichols R., Brannon J., Ramezani J., Korotev R. and Joliff B. (2003) Isotopic composition of surface-correlated chromium in Apollo 16 lunar soils. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 67, 4881-4893.

Podosek F., Nichols R., Brannon J., Meyer B., Ott U., Jennings C. and Luo N. (2000) Potassium, stardust, and the last supernova. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 64, 2351-2362.

Nichols R. (2000) Short-lived radionuclides in meteorites: constraints on nebular timescales for the production of solids. Space Sci. Rev. 92, 113-122.

Nichols R., Podosek F., Meyer B. and Jennings C. (1999) Collateral consequences of the inhomogeneous distribution of short-lived radionuclides in the solar nebula. Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 34, 869-884.

Nichols R., Grimley R. and Wasserburg G. (1998) Measurement of gas-phase species during Langmuir evaporation of forsterite. Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 33, A115.

Podosek F. and Nichols R. (1997) Short-lived radionuclides in the solar nebula. In Astrophysical Implications of the Laboratory Study of Presolar Materials (eds. T. Bernatowicz and E. K. Zinner), pp. 617-647. AIP Conference Proceedings #402, AIP Press, Woodbury, New York.

Nichols R., Wasserburg G. and Grimley R. (1995) Evaporation of forsterite: identification of gas-phase species via Knudsen cell mass spectrometry. Lunar Planet. Sci. 26, 1047.

Nichols R., Kehm K. and Hohenberg C. (1995) Microanalytic Laser Extraction of Noble Gases: Techniques and Applications. In Advances in Analytic Geochemistry Vol. 2, (eds. M. Hyman and M. Rowe), pp. 119-140. JAI Press, Greenwich, Connecticut.

Nichols R., Hohenberg C. and Olinger C. (1994) Implanted solar helium, neon and argon in individual lunar ilmenites: surface effects and a temporal variation in the solar wind composition. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 58, 1031-1042.

Nichols R., Hohenberg C., Kehm K., Kim Y. and Marti K. (1994) I-Xe studies of the Acapulco meteorite: absolute I-Xe ages of individual phosphate grains and the Bjurböle standard. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 58, 2553-2561.

Nichols R., Nuth J., Hohenberg C., Olinger C. and Moore M. (1992) Trapping of noble gases in proton-irradiated silicate smokes. Meteoritics 27, 555-559.

Nichols R., Hohenberg C., Alexander C., Olinger C. and Arden J. (1991) Ne and Xe from acid-resistant residues of Inman and Tieschitz. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 55, 2921-2936.

Caffee M., Hohenberg C., Nichols R., Olinger C., Wieler R., Pedroni A., Signer P., Swindle T. and Goswami J. (1991) Do meteorites contain irradiation records from exposure to an enhanced-activity sun? In The Sun in Time (eds. C. P. Sonett, M.S. Giampapa and M. S. Matthews), pp. 413-425. Tucson: University Arizona Press.

Hohenberg C., Nichols R., Olinger C. and Goswami J. (1990) Cosmogenic neon from individual grains of CM meteorites: extremely long pre-compaction exposure histories or an enhanced early particle flux. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 54, 2133-2140.

Curtiss L. and Nichols R. (1985) Ab initio molecular orbital calculations of the vibrational frequencies of XY4-n anions (abstract). Presented at the 5th International Symposium on Molten Salts, Las Vegas, Nev., 14 Oct. 1985.