University of Minnesota, Morris

Open to U. Relations: 






Name:              Sylke Boyd

Title:                 Assistant Professor

Unit:                 Division of Science and Mathematics

Campus Address:                                             Home Address:       

Sci 2315, Science Building                                9 Sunnyslope Road

                                                                        Morris, MN 56267

Campus Phone:  (320)589-6315                      Home Phone:           (320)589-7145






College and University Education

October 1993 – July 1997:

      Institut of Physics

      University of Technology

      Chemnitz, Germany

      Degree awarded:  Doctor rerum naturalium in Theoretical Physics

      Advisor: Prof. Dr. Thomas Frauenheim

      Title of dissertation:

      Molecular Dynamics Study of Effects of Low Energy Ion Bombardment in Carbon and Silicon Systems


October 1992 – October 1993:

      Institute of Physics

      University of Technology

      Chemnitz, Germany

      Degree awarded: Diploma in Physics

      Advisor: Prof. Dr. Thomas Frauenheim

      Title of Diploma thesis:

      Molecular Dynamics Simulations of subplantation of hyperthermal  carbon atoms into diamond(111)


Undergraduate Honors and Awards

November 1993 – October 1996:

      Scholarship of the Graduate College Thin Films and superhard materials at the University of Technology Chemnitz, Chemnitz, German

Graduate Honors and Awards

September 1997 – August 1999:

Postdoctoral Scholarship of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn, Germany




Professional Employment

August 2004- present

Assistant Professor

Division of Science and Mathematics, University of Minnesota-Morris, Morris, MN 56267


August 2002 - May 2004

Assistant Professor

Department of Physics and Dual-Degree Engineering,

Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA 70125

1.      Teaching algebra- and calculus-based introductory physics courses, junior-level Optics, Thermodynamics, and Seminar class, introductory laboratory classes.

2.      Setting up a computational laboratory for materials simulations, mentoring two undergraduate students in simulations and programming projects.


January 2000

-July 2002


Department of Physics, University of New Orleans,

New Orleans, LA 70148

teaching of various undergraduate courses in physics


December 1999-July 2002

Senior Research Assistant

Department of Chemistry, University of New Orleans,

New Orleans, LA 70148

development of computational model for hot spot development in RDX, density-functional tight-binding investigation of carbon nanotubes


August 1997-March 2000

Postdoctoral Research-Assistant

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Richard. H. Boyd

Development of a Conformational Energy Model for PET and PEN assisted by density-functional based methods; molecular dynamics study of the elementary processes leading to the subglass transitions in PET and PEN






Professional Organization Memberships


Member of the American Physical Society (APS) since 1997

Member of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG) since 1993

Member of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Association of Physics Teachers since Oct 2006




University of Minnesota, Morris Courses Taught

*Phys1101: General Physics I (Spring 2005, Spring 2006, Spring 2007, Spring 2008)

*Phys3003: Computer Modeling of Materials (Spring 2006, Spring 2008)

*Phys1063 Physics of Weather (Fall 2007)

*Phys4101: Electromagnetism (Fall 2005, Fall 2007)

Phys3501: Statistical Physics (Spring 2005, Spring 2007)

IS1001: FYS Bottom dwellers in an ocean of air (Fall 2006)

Phys3101: Classical Mechanics (Fall 2004, Fall 2006)

Phys1061: The Physics of Sound and Music (Fall 2004, Fall 2005)


*Total of seven advisees (Fall 2007 – Fall 2008)


Special Teaching Methods Implemented

*Special projects for Computer Modeling

*Series of lab exercises for Physics of Weather

On-line learning checks

Chapter handouts

Course websites

Field trip to physics labs TC campus

Use of computer demonstrations for sound and mechanics problems

Field trips to music department and wind turbine


Field trip to computational landmarks in the Twin Cities (Army High Performance Computing Center, research groups in computational chemistry)


Advising and Instruction-Related University Activities

*Course development for International Programs: 3-week summer program focusing on history of science in context of 16th century mining in the Erzgebirge, Germany

*Course development: Phys1063 Physics of Weather, Phys2300 Atmospheric Physics

* Involvement in development of new Environmental Science Major Program

*Received grant through UMM Faculty Enrichment Project, working with faculty mentor Nancy Carpenter since Spring 2007

*Two independent studies (Fall 2006, Fall 2008)

Advisor to currently seven students

Advisor for senior thesis (1 in 2005, 2 in 2006, 1 in 2007)

Recipient of grant from IT Bush program for implementation of technology in the class room, Summer 2005






* Sylke Boyd and Kevin J Boyd, A computational analysis of the interaction of lattice and intramolecular vibrational modes in crystalline alpha-RDX, J. Chem. Phys. 129, 134502 (2008); DOI:10.1063/1.2987368


Sylke Boyd, Matthew Gravelle, and Peter Politzer, Nonreactive molecular dynamics force field for crystalline hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5 triazine, J. Chem. Phys. 124, 104508 (2006).


Z. Peralta-Inga, Pat Lane, Jane S. Murray, S. Boyd, M. E. Grice, C. O’Connor, and P. Politzer, Characterization of Surface Electrostatic Potentials of some (5,5) and (n,1) Carbon and Boron/Nitrogen Model nanotubes, Nanoletters 3(1), 21, 2003.

Z. Peralta-Inga, S. Boyd, J. S. Murray, C. J. O’Connor and P. Politzer, Density Functional Tight-Binding Studies of Carbon Nanotube Structures, Struct. Chem. 14, 431 (2003) .

P. Politzer and S. Boyd Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Energetic Solids, Struct. Chem. 13, 105 (2002). 

Z. Peralta-Inga, J. S. Murray, M. E. Grice, S. Boyd, C. J. O’Connor and  P. Politzer, Computational Characterization of Surfaces of Model Graphene Systems, J. Mol. Struct. (Theochem), 549, 147 (2001).

Sylke U. Boyd and Richard H. Boyd, Chain Dynamics and Relaxation in Amorphous Poly(ethylene terephthalate): A Molecular Dynamics Simulation Study, Macromolecules 34, 7219 (2001)

S. Uhlmann, Th. Frauenheim, and Y. Lifshitz, Molecular dynamics study of the fundamental processes involved in subplantation of diamondlike carbon, Phys. Rev. Lett. 81, 641 (1998)

Kevin J. Boyd, Denes Marton, Wayne Rabalais, Sylke Uhlmann, and Thomas Frauenheim, Semiquantitative subplantation model for low energy ion bombardment of solid surfaces, I. Noble Gas Ion-Surface Interactions, Journ. Vac. Sci. Technol. A16, 444 (1998).

Kevin J. Boyd, Denes Marton, Wayne Rabalais, Sylke Uhlmann, and Thomas Frauenheim, Semiquantiative Subplantation model for low energy ion bombardment of solid surfaces. III. Ion Beam Homoepitaxy of Si, Journ. Vac. Sci. Technol. A16, 463 (1998).

Sylke Uhlmann, Thomas Frauenheim, Kevin J. Boyd, Denes Marton, and Wayne Rabalais, Elementary processes during low-energy self-bombardment of Si(100)2x2 - a molecular dynamics study,  Rad. Eff. 141, 185 (1997).

Thomas Frauenheim, Frank Weich, Thomas Köhler, Sylke Uhlmann, Dirk Porezag, and Gotthardt Seifert, Density-functional based construction of transferable non-orthogonal tight-binding potentials for Si and SiH, Phys. Rev. B 52, 11492 (1995).

Sylke Uhlmann, Uwe Stephan, Thomas Frauenheim, and Gotthardt Seifert, Density-functional based MD studies of low-energy atom collisions onto diamond and graphite, Mat. Res. Symp. Proc. Vol. 389, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1995.

Sylke Uhlmann and Thomas Frauenheim, Structure formation in low-energy methyl radical collisions onto diamond(100): an MD study, Diam. Rel. Mat. 5, 169 (1995).

Sylke Uhlmann, Thomas Frauenheim, and Uwe Stephan, Molecular-dynamics subplantation studies of carbon beneath the diamond(111) surface, Phys. Rev. B51, 4541 (1995).


Conference Papers and Presentations


*16th Conference on Current Trends in Computational Chemistry, Jackson, MS, Nov 2-3 2007, A Computational Study of the Vibrational Spectrum of Crystalline RDX,  Sylke  Boyd, poster presentation

Gordon Conference on Energetic Materials, June 2006, Computer Simulations Of Point Defects In Crystalline RDX, Sylke Boyd and Matt Gravelle, poster

14th Conference on Current Trends in Computational Chemistry, Jackson, MS, Nov 4-5 2005, A computer study of point defects in the RDX crystal, M. Gravelle and S. Boyd, poster

10th Conference on Current Trends in Computational Chemistry Jackson, MS, Oct 2001, Development of forcefield and molecular model for RDX crystal,  S. Boyd, J. Murray, M. Concha, and P. Politzer, poster

Spring meeting of the American Physical Society in  Atlanta, USA, 1999, Molecular Dynamics Study of subglass relaxation of PET, S. Boyd and R. H. Boyd, oral presentation.

VII Conference on Computer Simulations of Radiation Effects in Solids, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom, 1996. Computational determination of penetration and displacement threshold for low-energy ion bombardment of silicon, S. Boyd, K.J. Boyd, Th. Frauenheim, D. Marton, and W. Rabalais, poster.

Spring meeting of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft in Münster, Germany , 1994, Molecular dynamics study of low-energy ion bombardment of diamond surfaces, S. Boyd and Th. Frauenheim, poster.


Spring meeting of the Materials Research Society in  San Francisco, USA, 1995

Third European conference on diamond and superhard materials, Barcelona, Spain, 1995

Annual meeting of the tri-national DACH in Gloggnitz, Austria, 1995

Spring meeting of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft in Regensburg, Germany, 1996

Annual meeting of the tri-national DACH-Verbund in Grimentz, Switzerland, 1993


Grants Received

      Within the University:

* Faculty Single-Semester Leave for Development of multiscale computer model of frictional interfaces, taken in Fall 2008


* Faculty Research Enhancement Fund Grant for trip to Bremen Center for Computational Materials Science, Summer 2008


Faculty Research Enhancement Fund Grant for trip to Bremen Center for Computational Materials Science, Summer 2007


Grant-in-Aid from the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota 2005/2006

Computer Modeling of Point defect Formation in RDX


Bush IT participant summer 2005, Computer Modeling of Materials


Sponsored UROP research project for

      Anna Schliep, Experimental study of sound production by strings in moving air (Spring 2006)

      Matthew Gravelle, Study of point defects in an RDX crystal (Spring 2005)


Grant Proposals Submitted, Not Accepted


August 2006: submitted preproposal on a Study Of Point Defect Agglomeration In Energetic Solids to the Office of Naval Research, Army Research Office, Air Force Office for Scientific Research and DARPA


November 2002: Board of Regents of Louisiana, on Computer simulations of Defect Formation in Molecular Solids.


Professional Meetings Attended

November 2003: Workshop of the APS and AAPT for new faculty members in physics


Research and Scholarly Activities in Progress

*RDX project:

      I have developed a computer model of RDX, which allows to study questions of defect properties, detonation initiation and remote detection. The model has led to two publications, several conference presentations, several student projects. Current work focuses on the effect of electric fields on the decomposition of the RDX crystal.


*Friction project:

      Currently I am working on  the development of a computer model for the investigation of the transition from static to kinetic friction. There is no good theoretical model for a comprehensive description of the processes accompanying this transition. The model extensively utilizes the parallel-computing capabilities of the 32-node Beowulf cluster, and will include features on three modeling scales, from a QM description of molecular interaction at the interface to bulk behavior as described by FEMs.

-         Collaboration on friction project with Bremen Center for Computational Materials Science has been established in summer 2007 during a visit to BCCMS

-         A single-semester leave in Fall 2008 was granted for this project.

-         Apply for a Grant-in-Aid in Jan 2009 in order to employ student researchers on various aspects of this model.


*Atmospheric droplet formation:

      I am working with a MAP student on a computer model of atmospheric droplet growth, using molecular dynamics methods. We are investigation homo- and hetero-nucleations, as well as droplet coalescence. This project is expected to be concluded by May 2009, and possibly may lead to a conference poster for the MAP student.




UMM Service



         *Scholastic committee Fall/Spring 2007/08

         *Founding member and faculty advisor for the Parent Pack (student club for students with children)

         *URS organizing committee: since January 2006

         *Safety committee Division of Math and Science, since August 2005

         *Kaufmann-McCree committee: Spring 2006 and 2008

         Commission on Women: September 2006-May 2007

         Student parent subcommittee: chair since October 2006

         Physics discipline Contact of the for Education Licensure

         represented UMM at Stevens County Fair


Professional Service Activities

*Co-PI on S-STEM proposal to the NSF for a Mathematics and Physics Scholarship Program (MPSP),      Principal Investigator: Gordon McIntosh, submitted Nov 12, 2007

      *Reviewed article for Journal of Physical Chemistry in August 2008

      *Reviewed article for Journal of Molecular Modeling, Apr 2007

      *Reviewed article for Journal of Molecular Modeling, Dec 2007

      Reviewed article for Journal of Physical Chemistry in Spring 2007

      Reviewed article for Journal of Physical Chemistry in Fall 2006


Public Service Activities


* serve MACCC Board of Directors since August 2008


* Co-chair of ad-hoc faculty committee to foster stabilization of the MACCC with the help of UMM, resulting in funding for an economic study and business plan development through UMM economics faculty in summer 2008


* Super Science Saturday, October  2005 and 2007

      activity on air pressure


* A Day in the Division of Science and Mathematics for Kindergarteners May 2007 and May 2008 (Various hands-on physics activities for children)


      Plan-It-Green for 5th- and 6th graders: experimental activity on greenhouse gases, Spring 2007


      Morris Elementary School Reuse committee (October 2005- January 2007)



      Science Show at Traverse County Fair, August 2005

                     Together with Gordon McIntosh


      Served on RFC advisory committee, Spring 2005


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