Michael W. Watson, PhD


Michael Watson received his doctorate in Plasma Physics from Hampton University.  He has been teaching physics at the undergraduate and graduate level at Fisk University for sixteen years. His current research is computer simulation of plasma jets emitted from spinning black holes.  He serves as the Fisk University representative for the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium and the Co-Director of the Fisk Rocket Team.  The Fisk Rocket Team has instituted a number of outreach initiatives at local schools, which promote science and mathematics through the building and launching of rockets.


Dr. Watson is working to understand one of the most powerful forces in the universe – the radiation emissions from active galactic nuclei (AGN).  These AGN contain spinning black holes surrounded by dense cloud of dust and plasma.  These supermassive black holes are a few million times the size of our sun.  Dr. Watson developed a particle-in-cell code that incorporates the Kerr metric.  This code provides a tool to self-consistently study the energy emissions from the bipolar jet.  Dr. Watson is working in collaboration with researchers at NASA Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC). This self-consistent system evolution will allow us to calculate the radiation produced from the accretion disk and emitting jet of the simulated AGN system. Emission from the accelerated particles is commonly assumed to be either synchrotron radiation or inverse Compton radiation, or combinations of both. An indication that firmer physical grounds are necessary for optimized simulations of AGN.


  1. “A Method of Incorporating General Relativity in Electromagnetic Particle-in-Cell Code”, M. Watson andK.-I. Nishikawa, Comp. Phys. Comm 2009
  2. “Modeling and Experimental Results of CdxZn1-xTe Detector Response”, M. Watson, K. Chattopadhyay, D.Hillman, D. Hillman, A. Burger, and R. B. James, Proceedings of SPIE, 4141 352 (2000).
  3. “Charging of silica particles in an argon dusty plasma”, E. Thomas, Jr. and M. Watson, Phys. Plasmas 73194 (2000).  
  4. “First Experiments with the Dusty Plasma Experiment Device”, E. Thomas Jr. and M. Watson, Phys. Plasmas,6 4111 (1999)
  5. “The vertical confinement of a dusty plasma in the Fisk Plasma Source”, E. Thomas, Jr. and Michael Watson, Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on the Physics of Dusty Plasmas, 446, 120 (1998)

Michael W. Watson

Michael W. Watson, PhD
Associate Professor of Physics

Hampton University Ph. D. in Physics

241 W.E.B. DuBois Hall
1000 17th Ave. North,
Nashville, Tn 37208
Office: 615.329.8525
Fax: 615.329.8623