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LVC Physics Professor Awarded NSF Grant to Continue Student-Faculty Research

Lebanon Valley College physics professor Dan Pitonyak works with students

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that it has awarded a grant to Dr. Daniel Pitonyak ’08, Lebanon Valley College assistant professor of physics. The more than $160,000 grant will support ongoing student-faculty research in theoretical nuclear physics to be conducted with Dr. Pitonyak in the College’s Neidig-Garber Science Center.  

The NSF grant will provide funding for Dr. Pitonyak’s project, Hadronic Structure from Spin Observables in pQCD, through July 31, 2023. The goal of this research is to map out a 3-dimensional image of the internal structure of visible matter. Dr. Pitonyak’s team writes code in Python to compute high-energy particle collisions and analyze how models fit experimental data. This allows them to extract information on the elementary particles, quarks and gluons, that make up objects like the proton. The grant will support LVC students through summer research stipends and funds to travel to national conferences. In addition, students will be able to work closely with Dr. Pitonyak’s collaborators at other universities and national labs.   

“I’m excited by the National Science Foundation’s support of the theoretical nuclear physics research we conduct at Lebanon Valley College,” said Dr. Pitonyak. “This grant will help us continue LVC’s long-honored tradition of providing extensive opportunities for our science students to engage in high-quality research experiences, which allows them to learn valuable skills beyond the classroom and better prepare them for future careers in the STEM fields.” 


About Dr. Pitonyak 

Dr. Pitonyak graduated from Lebanon Valley College as a double major in physics and mathematics before earning his Ph.D. at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. His dissertation, “Exploring the Structure of Hadrons through Spin Asymmetries in Hard Scattering Processes,” received the 2015 Dissertation Award from the Group on Hadronic Physics of the American Physical Society. He then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the RIKEN BNL Research Center at Brookhaven National Lab in Upton, N.Y., Penn State University Berks in Reading, Pa., and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. 

Dr. Pitonyak has more than 20 research publications in national and international peer-reviewed journals, including Physical Review Letters, the Journal of High-Energy Physics, Physical Review D, and Physics Letters B. His academic areas of expertise include atomic and nuclear physics, elementary particle physics, analytical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and quantum mechanics. At LVC, Dr. Pitonyak teaches courses ranging from General College Physics and Atomic and Nuclear Physics to Electronics and Analytical Mechanics.