Complex Systems Science

The cross-disciplinary programs at RIT enable researchers to solve complex problems in many diverse disciplines.

Neuroscience at RIT

Neuroscience at RIT is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the College of Science and the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts, mixing critical coursework from both fields. Neuroscience projects may also include collaborations with information technology, computer engineering, motion picture science, and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Discipline-Based Education Research

Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER) is a scholarly field that combines disciplinary expertise in a STEM field (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) with research methods from cognitive science, psychology, and the learning sciences. Researchers in this field are interested in studying and transforming STEM Education through basic and applied research. Faculty in the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences are exploring how students learn concepts in molecular biology and genetics and how students apply their knowledge to novel learning and assessment tasks. Gaining insight into students’ mental models of complex molecular processes allows the team to develop new assessments and activities to measure and improve student learning. Faculty are also investigating how newly developed 3-D models of biomolecules and molecular processes can help students learn concepts related to genetic information flow.

Dina Newman headshot
Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences
College of Science
Co-Director of MBER
Tony Wong headshot
Assistant Professor
School of Mathematics and Statistics
College of Science

Color Science

Research conducted in color science revolves around the activities of the Munsell Color Science Laboratory, the pre-eminent academic laboratory in the country devoted to color science. Research areas include:

  • color appearance modeling
  • lighting
  • image quality
  • spectral-based image capture
  • archiving
  • reproduction of artwork
  • color management
  • computer graphics
  • AR/VR
  • material appearance

Soft Matter and Biological Physics

Biological physics researchers at RIT are studying molecular interactions related to cataract disease and to the eye vitreous, using scattering techniques, nuclear magnetic resonance, confocal microrheology, and statistical thermodynamics modeling. Theorists are studying the roles of connectivity, structural and functional heterogeneities, and proximity to phase transitions in determining the robustness and adaptability of biological networks in cells and tissues, as well as networks of neurons. Such work can lead to design principles for bio-inspired, engineered systems. Soft matter researchers focus on understanding the physics of systems of many interacting bodies. Areas of research include using micro-fluidics and fluorescent optical imaging to study the complex fluids confined in solid phases where interactions are mediated by hydrodynamics and using light and other scattering methods to study micellar and micro-emulsion systems. RIT physicists also study granular materials, collections of larger particles (sand, sugar, and coins) that interact primarily through contact forces. 

Moumita Das headshot
School of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science
Program Faculty, School of Mathematics and Statistics
George Thurston headshot
School of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science
Director of Physics MS Program
Program Faculty, School of Mathematics and Statistics