Carnegie Mellon University

Department of Physics

Mellon College of Science

Kunal Ghosh

Teaching Professor
Assistant Head for Undergraduate Affairs

7303 Wean Hall

assistant: Maria Wilkin, 412-268-2747


Prof. Kunal Ghosh

Education & Professional Experience

PhD: Iowa State University, Solid State Physics (1988)
M.S.: University of Calcutta (India), Nuclear Physics (1982)

Honors & Awards
Innovation in Education Award (as a member of the MCS First Year Seminar Committee), Carnegie Mellon University, 2017
Student Advising Award, Carnegie Mellon University, 2016
Technology Innovation Award, Mississippi Board of Institutions of Higher Learning, 1997
Mississippi Legislature HEADWAE Award, 1997

Assistant Dept. Head for Undergraduate Affairs, Physics Dept., Carnegie Mellon University, 2001–
Teaching Professor in Physics, Carnegie Mellon University, 2001–
Associate Professor and Chair, Dept. of Physics, Atmospheric Sci., and General Sci., 1996–2000
Director, High Performance Computing and Communication Research Training Office, 1995–2000
Director, Mississippi Science Partnership, Jackson State University, 1990–2000

Professional profile

Within the Mellon College of Science, Prof. Kunal Ghosh has been deeply involved in curriculum development and has been a major driver to establish our current, modern curriculum in the Physics Department. As the Assistant Head of Undergraduate Affairs, Prof. Ghosh has instituted an administrative point of contact that serves as the official "gate-keeper" for all legal affairs and official business associated with the undergraduate program, providing the student body with a single person to see with requests and a clear record of actions for their concerns. He advises all first year students who choose Physics as their primary or additional Major and continues in that role through the end of their sophomore year. Moreover, he organizes and supervises the advising of all Physics Majors throughout their entire career at CMU and serves as the anchor point for academic support for students in the Physics Department.

In student advising, Prof. Ghosh sees his responsibility in passionately caring for each student, with face time devoted to each and every individual person. In multiple meetings, each freshman develops a comprehensive map of academic goals – inside and outside of Physics – and thus estabilshes a four-year Academic Plan. Subsequently, this plan is carefully monitored and adjusted over the student's whole career at Carnegie Mellon. This advising model has been followed through since the graduating class of 2004, and is being praised by alumni who confirm that it provided them with a true sense of ownership and responsibiltiy for their academic careers.

In many cases, students were willing to put in the necessary effort, but started without the skills required for success. Hitting the first challenging courses, typically at the sophomore level, such students frequently conclude, "I am no good at this" – an attitude that calls for failure. Following through with our advising efforts, we often see them transformed, over the next three years, into graduates who have worked hard and methodically, and with their achievements found a very good job after graduation. It makes us proud to hear more and more such stories in which we were an integral part of change.

Prof. Ghosh also established the Sustained and Intensive Advising Program (SlAP) for students who face difficulties in pursuing their program. All students – first year and above – falling under SlAP are regularly and frequently advised, and their progress monitored.

Prof. Ghosh helped start and guided the Physics Student Advisory Council (SAC), a forum for listening to student input on various issues such as course development and program requirements. In addition, the SAC aimed at building a strong, engaged community of students by hosting a multitude of regular community events. More recently, the SAC has been replaced by the Student Steering Committee.

Physics majors are active participants in several student organizations: The Society of Physics Students, the Astronomy Club, the Carnegie Mellon Rocket Command, the Student Pugwash, Women in Science, the Interfaith Spiritual and Religious Embassy (INSPIRE). Prof. Ghosh is an advisor or co-advisor to all these clubs and some other student organizations at CMU. In addition he has been involved in several university-wide discussions and initiatives in the arenas of Spirituality and Meaning-Making, Mental Health, and Global Citizenship.

Selected Publications

R. Fuchs and K. Ghosh, Optical and Dielectric Properties of Self-Similar Structures, Physica A 207, 185 (1994).

K. Ghosh and R. Fuchs, Critical Behavior in the Dielectric Properties of Random Self-Similar Composites, Phys. Rev. B 44, 7330 (1991).

R. Fuchs and K. Ghosh, Anomalous Skin Effect in a Cylindrical Conductor,  Phys. Stat. Sol. A 111,  K83 (1989).

K. Ghosh and R. Fuchs, A Spectral Theory for Two-Component Porous Media, Phys. Rev. B 28, 5222 (1988).