Michael Vera

Associate Professor

Courses that I have taught include General Physics (versions with and without calculus), Modern Physics, Electricity and Magnetism (undergraduate and graduate versions) and several courses involving computer modeling.  My primary research area is the numerical simulation of acoustic propagation in the ocean.  Computer models support the application of sound in the ocean to problems such as the determination of the temperature field, the effect of oceanographic perturbations, the nature of the seafloor and the identification of contaminants.

EDUCATION:

Ph.D. Physics, University of California, Santa Cruz, December 2001.
Major Field of Study:  Ocean acoustics, wave propagation in random media.
Dissertation:  “Internal-Wave-Induced Ocean-Acoustic Fluctuations:  Comparison between Path-Integral Approximations and Parabolic-Equation Simulations.” 
Advisor:  Professor Stanley Flatté.

M.S. Physics, University of California, Santa Cruz, June 1998.
Major Field of Study:  Ocean acoustics, nonlinear dynamics.
Qualifying Oral Presentation:  “The effects of internal-wave time dependence on chaotic ocean-acoustic rays.” 

B.S. Physics, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA, June 1995.
Concurrently completed the degree requirements in Philosophy at Pomona College.  Graduated with Honors.

SELECTED ACHIEVEMENTS:

  • Awarded tenure at the University of Southern Mississippi, Summer 2010.
  • Received a grant from the Office of Naval Research, Grant N00014-08-1-0529, Spring 2008-Summer 2009.
  • Received a University of Southern Mississippi Summer Faculty Research Grant, Summer 2007.
  • Developed a core graduate course and participated in the introduction of a Ph.D. program in Computational Science with a Physics emphasis, Spring 2005.
  • Introduced the first Physics courses offered at the Gulf Park campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, August 2004.
  • Co-Investigator, North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory.  Office of Naval Research Grants N00014-97-1-0258 and N00014-97-1-0259, 2003-2004.
  • Received the Graduate Trainee Fellowship in Ocean Acoustics from the Office of Naval Research, October 1999.

EXPERIENCE:

Associate Professor, University of Southern Mississippi, July 2010 – present.

Assistant Professor, University of Southern Mississippi, Aug. 2004 – June 2010.

                    Teaching:  Courses taught (not including instructor of record):

  • General Physics I/II, General Physics with Calculus I and all associated labs
  • Modern Physics I/II
  • Electricity and Magnetism I/II, Graduate Electricity and Magnetism
  • Introduction to Computational Physics (Special Topics)
  • Fundamentals of Theoretical Physics (Special Topics)
  • Computational Methods for Physical Systems II
  • Undergraduate Research, Graduate Research

Postgraduate Researcher, Scripps Inst. of Oceanography, Apr. 2002 – Jul. 2004.
Involved in computer modeling of long-range ocean-acoustic experiments.  Developed simulations of a 3889 km path in the North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory experiment of sufficient accuracy to enable identification.  Prior to these advances, the inability to identify receptions had significantly hindered experimental analysis.  Also a member of the science team on an instrument-recovery cruise for the Hawaii Ocean Mixing Experiment (April-May 2002).

Postgraduate Researcher, Univ. of Calif., Santa Cruz, Jan. 2002 – Apr. 2002.
Further developed graduate research in preparation for publication.

Graduate Researcher, Univ. of Calif., Santa Cruz, Apr. 1998 – Dec. 2001.
Investigated the chaotic behavior of ocean-acoustic rays.  Tested the accuracy of analytic approximations to the acoustic path integral by comparing the results to parabolic-equation simulations using multiple realizations of the internal-wave field.  These approximations are often used in long-range ocean acoustics.

Teaching Assistant, Univ. of Calif., Santa Cruz, Sept. 1995 – March 1998.
Responsible for two laboratory sections per week, each consisting of approximately 20-25 students.  Duties included a pre-laboratory lecture, assisting students in conducting experiments, grading of reports, grading of class examinations, and the preparation of laboratory grades.

Grader, General Relativity, Harvey Mudd College, Jan. 1995 – May 1995.

Writing Center Consultant, Harvey Mudd College, Sept. 1992 – Dec. 1994.

RESEARCH ACTIVITIES:

1. Articles

  • Heaney, K.D., M.D. Vera and A.B. Baggeroer.  “Geoacoustic inversion for a volcanic seafloor using equivalent fluids,” in preparation.
  • Vera, M.D. and J.M. Stephens (2011).  “Numerical simulations of broadband acoustic propagation through a sound-speed field impacted by oil,” POMA, Vol. 11, pp. 1-7.
  • Vera, M.D. (2008).  “Complex-density equivalent-fluid modeling of acoustic interaction with the seafloor,” POMA, Vol. 2, pp. 1-6.
  • Vera, M.D. (2007).  “Examples and applications in long-range ocean acoustics,” Eur. J. of Physics, Vol. 28, pp. 1063-1072.
  • Vera, M.D. (2007).  “Comparison of ocean-acoustic horizontal coherence predicted by path-integral approximations and parabolic-equation simulation results,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 121, pp. 166-174.
  • Vera, M.D., K.D. Heaney and the NPAL group (2005). “The effect of bottom interaction on transmissions from the NPAL Kauai source,” J. Acoust.  Soc. Am., Vol. 117, pp. 1624-1634.
  • Flatté, S.M. and M.D. Vera (2003). “Comparison between ocean-acoustic fluctuations in parabolic-equation simulations and estimates from integral approximations,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 114, pp. 697-706.
  • Flatté, S.M. and M.D. Vera (2002). “Internal-wave time evolution effect on ocean-acoustic rays,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 112, pp. 1359-1365.

2. Reviewed Conference Presentation Abstracts

  • Vera, M. (2011).  “Ocean-acoustic propagation modeling relevant to petroleum exploration and recovery,” J. of Miss. Acad. of Sci., Vol. 56, p. 109.
  • Vera, M. and J.M. Stephens (2010). “Numerical simulations of broadband acoustic propagation through a sound-speed field impacted by oil,” 160th Meeting, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 128, p. 2384.
  • Vera, M. (2010).  “Applications of equivalent-fluid representations of an elastic seafloor in simulating ocean-acoustic propagation,” J. of Miss. Acad. of Sci., Vol. 55, p. 117.
  • Pudasaini, P.R., M. Vera and M. Pokhrel (2010).  “Optical propagation through atmospheric turbulence using phase screens,” J. of Miss. Acad. of Sci., Vol. 55, p. 118.
  • Vera, M. (2009). “Acoustic propagation in the ocean and equivalent-fluid modeling of an elastic seafloor,” J. of Miss. Acad. of Sci., Vol. 54, pp. 97-98.
  • Vera, M. and K. Heaney (2008). “Inverting for the properties of an elastic seafloor using complex-density equivalent fluids,” 156th Meeting, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 124, p. 2502.
  • Heaney, K.D. and M. Vera (2008). “Geoacoustic inversion over a basalt seafloor,” 156th Meeting, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 124, p. 2502.
  • Vera, M. (2007). “Complex-density, equivalent-fluid modeling of acoustic interaction with the seafloor,” 154th Meeting, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 122, p. 2941.
  • Dzieciuch, M.A., M.D. Vera, and the NPAL Group (2006).  “Horizontal coherence of tracked arrivals in the North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory 98 (NPAL98),” 152nd Meeting, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 120, p. 3022.
  • Vera, M.D. (2005). “Numerical simulation of long-range acoustic propagation in the ocean and ocean acoustic tomography,” Proceedings of the 9th World Multi-Conference, WMSCI 2005.
  • Vera, M. (2005). “Line-integral prediction for horizontal coherence in deep-water propagation,” 149th Meeting, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 117, p. 2576.
  • Vera, M., E.K. Skarsoulis, and B.D. Cornuelle (2004). “Sensitivity kernels for finite-frequency ocean acoustic observables,” 148th Meeting, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 116, p. 2634.
  • Flatté, S.M. and M.D. Vera (2004).  “Comparison between ocean-acoustic fluctuations in parabolic-equation simulations and estimates from integral approximations,” 148th Meeting, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 116, p. 2609.
  • Vera, M. and M. Dzieciuch (2004).  “Horizontal coherence in the NPAL experiment,” 147th Meeting, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 115, p. 2617.
  • Vera, M. and M. Dzieciuch (2003). “Modeling the acoustic receptions at the NPAL array from the Kauai source,” 145th Meeting, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 113, p. 2279.
  • Flatté, S.M. and M.D. Vera (2002). “Discrepancies between ocean-acoustic fluctuations in parabolic-equation simulations and estimates from integral approximations,” 144th Meeting, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 112, pp. 2231-2232.
  • Flatté, S.M. and M.D. Vera (2002). “Calculations of ocean-acoustic fluctuations for use in tomography of internal waves,” 144th Meeting, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 112, p. 2232.
  • Vera, M. and S.M. Flatté (2000). “The effect of internal wave time dependence on ray chaos,” 140th Meeting, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 108, p. 2543.

3. Selected Presentations Without Published Abstracts

  • Rhodes College, Mid-South Acoustical Society of America meeting, October 2010.
  • Univ. of Mississippi, Physics, September 2010.
  • Univ. of Southern Miss., Center for Science and Math Education, September 2009.
  • Univ. of Southern Miss., Society of Physics Students, January 2009.
  • Univ. of Southern Miss., LETTERS Day, August 2007.
  • Univ. of Southern Miss., Society of Physics Students, April 2007.
  • Univ. of Southern Miss., Computational Science, September 2006.
  • Univ. of Southern Miss., Physics, October 2005.
  • Stennis Space Center, USM Marine Science, July 2005.
  • North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory Conference, May 2005.
  • Stennis Space Center, USM Marine Science, October 2004.
  • Univ. of Southern Miss., Scientific Computing, October 2004.
  • North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory Conference, March 2004.
  • North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory Conference, March 2003.
  • North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory Conference, August 2002. 
  • North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory Conference, October 2000.
  • North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory Conference, January 2000.

SERVICE ACTIVITIES:

  • Multiple journal article reviews for Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Applied Physics B: Lasers and Optics, and Applied Acoustics.
  • Chair, Physics and Engineering Division, Mississippi Academy of Sciences, 2009-2010.
  • Member, Faculty Council, College of Science and Technology, 2008-present.
  • Revision of Tenure and Promotion Guidelines, Department of Physics and Astronomy, 2008-2009.
  • M.S. Comprehensive Examination development, 2008-present.
  • Mentor to Stephen Broughton, Summer Research Program, Alliance for Graduate Education in Mississippi (AGEM), 2008.  A presentation of this research concerning ocean-acoustic rays went on to win an award at the HBCU-UP National Conference in Atlanta in Fall 2008.
  • Computational Science Committee, 2006.
  • Issues and Answers Lecture Series Committee, 2005-2006.
  • College of Science and Technology Awards Committee, 2005-2006.
  • Participated in the establishment of the doctoral program in Computational Science.  Created a new course, Computational Methods for Physical Systems II, required of students with a Physics emphasis, 2005.  Substantial revision, 2010.
  • Search Committee, Physics Faculty, 2004-2005.
  • Search Committee, Physics Department Chair, 2004-2005.
  • Scheduling Committee, Gulf Park campus, 2004-2005.
  • Instituted Physics courses at the Gulf Park campus.  Coordinated laboratory sections, 2004-2006.