Department Contact Information

Physics Department

Location: 180-204
Phone: (805) 756-2448
Fax: (805) 756-2435
Chair: Karl Saunders

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Jennifer Klay

Jennifer Klay

Jennifer Klay


Office: 180-620
Phone: 805.756.1250


  • Ph.D., Physics, University of California, Davis, 2001
  • M.S., Physics, University of California, Davis, 1998
  • B.S., Astrophysics, University of California, Los Angeles, 1994

Research Interests

  • Relativistic Nuclear Collisions
  • Nuclear Reactions
  • Cosmic Ray Detection
  • Scientific Computing


Most of my work is heavily computational, which is challenging for students who don't have much training in computer programming.  I've recently got very excited about the Python programming language and the IPython notebook as a way to develop code interactively with real documentation.  My colleague Brian Granger is one of the lead architects of the IPython notebook and it is great to have him as a resource just across the hall.

Here are some links to my favorite scientific computing projects right now:

  • C4P - Computing 4 Physics - is a complete introductory course on scientific computing aimed at physics majors.  Here at Cal Poly this curriculum was used to teach PHYS 202: Physics on the Computer in Spring 2014.  All of the content is freely available at GitHub!
  • MCGlauber - Monte Carlo Glauber Model of Nuclear Collisions - a 2014 senior project aimed at creating a complete library for modeling the geometry of nuclear collisions.
  • Galaxy Project - Several of my students are modeling the behavior of galaxies interacting through Newtonian gravity.   The visualizations are my favorite part.
  • X-Ray Spectroscopy - Another project I am working on with a student is an interactive program for nondestructive identification of materials in solid objects using X-Ray fluorescence spectroscopy.  We are looking at rock and mineral samples and hoping to try it out on some meteorites.  Check back later to see our code in action!




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