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Helene Flohic

Associate Professor of Physics


Phone: 209.946.3127


101 Olson Hall


PhD, Pennsylvania State University, 2008

BS, University of Florida, 2001

Curriculum Vitae 

Research Interests

I study the way matter falls into black holes. Matter does not fall straight into black holes, but orbits them for a long time. There is so much matter near the event horizon of black holes that it heats up due to friction. The matter gets so hot it emits light. This light is still outside the black hole and can escape its gravity to reach us. Surprisingly, this actually makes black holes some of the brightest objects in the Universe. By studying the way the light varies, I can infer the structure of the matter near the black hole. I use photons and the laws of physics to understand things that cannot be observed directly. I am also interested in science education research. I have studied the impact of different science courses on the attitude of students towards science. This kind of research allows me to adapt my general education courses to make sure that all students are appreciative of science in their everyday life.


PACS 001 Pacific Seminar 1
PHYS 041 Introduction to Astronomy