Gary D. Westfall

Gary D.   Westfall
  • University Distinguished Professor
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • National Superconducting Cyclotron Laborator


Gary Westfall, professor of physics, is an accomplished nuclear physicist who conducts his experimental physics research in heavy ion reactions at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) at MSU. Westfall’s research focuses on studying the quark-gluon plasma at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y., using the STAR (Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC) detector. He is a faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the NSCL.

Westfall received his B.S. in physics, with honors, from the University of Texas, Arlington, his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas, Austin, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California where he also served as staff scientist.

Westfall is heavily involved in science and math enrichment activities for youth across Michigan. He has served as state event supervisor of the Michigan Science Olympiad State Tournament and as a mentor for high school honors summer students. He has also co-written a cutting-edge textbook, University Physics with Modern Physics, published by McGraw-Hill, a calculus-based book used in first-year higher education curricula. Westfall is a fellow of the American Physical Society.