Willliam Mebane Baker has served as the department's chair since 1998. An award-wining teacher, he currently teaches astrophysics and electrodynamics at Furman, as well as introductory courses. He became a member of Furman's faculty in 1994. Prior to joining Furman, Baker taught mechanical engineering at the University of South Carolina and physics at North Carolina State University. Between those teaching opportunities, he served as a planning engineer at the Safeguard Anti-Ballistic Program of the Western Electric Company/Bell Telephone Laboratories. He also had a 14-year career with Michelin Americas Research and Development Corporation. When he left Michelin, Baker was the chief of service for Michelin's advanced engineering division.

Name Title Description


General Physics I

The basic concepts and laws of classical mechanics. Measurement and units, vectors, kinematics, Newton's laws of motion, work and energy, systems of particles, collisions, rotational kinematics, torque and angular momentum, rigid body statics and dynamics, simple harmonic motion, gravitation, and mechanics of solids and fluids.


General Physics II

The basic concepts and laws of classical electricity and magnetism. Electrostatic and magnetostatic forces and fields. Gauss' law, electric circuits, Amperee's law, Faraday's law, electric and magnetic properties of matter, time-varying fields, Maxwell's equations and electromagnetic waves, and geometrical optics.


Introduction to Modern Physics

Special theory of relativity, particle nature of electromagnetic radiation, waves and wave nature of matter, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, historical models of the atom, Schroedinger146s equation and its application to one-dimensional systems, quantum theory of the hydrogen atom, electron spin, many-electron atoms, and introduction to nuclear physics. Should be enrolled with MTH-160.


Electromagnetic Theory I

Development of the Maxwell equations. Electrostatic forces and fields, potential theory, magnetostatic forces and fields, time-varying fields.


Electromagnetic Theory II

A continuation of the first course on electromagnetic theory. Application of Maxwell?s equations to radiating systems, systems and properties of electromagnetic waves in vacuum and matter. Radiation theory and relativistic electrodynamics.



Survey course in introductory astronomy and astrophysics for science majors. Gravitation and orbital motion; evolution and structure of the solar system, galaxy, and universe; stellar classes, structure and evolution. Laboratory activities include numerical simulations of various cosmological and stellar models, the study of spectrographic data, and astronomical observations. Credit is not normally granted (except as approved by the Physics faculty) for both PHY-105 and 451.


  • Henry and Ellen Townes Assistant Professorship in Physics, 1996-1998
  • Innovision Award for Innovation in Education, 2003


  • American Physical Society
  • Sigma Xi: Research Society
  • Sigma Pi Sigma: Physics Honor Society
  • Pi Mu Epsilon: Mathematics Honor Society
  • Senior Fellow of the Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies, Clemson University

"Detection of Induced Space-Time Torsion," A White Paper for Physics-United States Army Research Office, May 31, 2011

"Designer emission spectra through tailored energy transfer in nanoparticle-doped silica preforms,"Courtney Kucera, Baris Kokuoz, Dale Edmondson, David Griese, Michael Miller, Andrew James, William Baker, and John Ballato, Optics Letters, 34, 15, 2339-2341, 2009

"Projective Invariance in Cosmological Models and Dark Energy," W.M. Baker , Dec 2006, The International Journal Of Theoretical Physics. Volume 45, Number 12 / December, 2006

"Dark Energy as a Geometrical Effect," A White Paper for Dark Energy Task Force, William M. Baker, Department of Physics, Furman University, 2006

"An Investigation of Two Cosmological Models Timothy Durham, William Baker, published in 2001 Proceedings of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research

"Spinning Particle Motion Near a Rotating Black Hole," W.M. Baker, K Jones, R. Staton, 2000 Proceedings of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research

"The Effects Of Strings and Non-Spherical Stellar Mass Distributions On Orbital Precession," W .M. Baker and B. Rogers, Classical and Quantum Gravity, 16, (1999) ,1273-1278

"Topological Invariants and Cosmic Strings", W.M. Baker, Invited paper for the 1993 Lanczos Conference, N. C. State University. Cornelius Lanczos Collected Published Papers with Commentaries, published by the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and Department of Physics at North Carolina State University in cooperation with the Eotvos Physical Society, Hungary, the Swiss Academy of Sciences and the Swiss National Science Foundation. 1999

"The Effects of a Non-Spherical Stellar Core On Orbital Precession," W. M. Baker and B. Rogers, Proceedings of the Twelfth National Conference On Undergraduate Research, 1998

"A Study of Molecular Level Models Which Can be Used to Describe Macroscopic Elastomeric Behavior," W. M. Baker, Work sponsored by Michelin Americas Research And Development Corporation, 1994

"Adapting Finite Element Solvers to Massively Parallel Processors", H. Porter, W. Baker, R. Gall, W. Shepherd, Lanczos International Conference, N. C. State University, Dec. 12-17, 1993

"Cosmic Strings in Riemann-Cartan Space-Times", W. M. Baker. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 7, 1990, pp 717-730

"Torsion Fields Near Singularities", W. M. Baker Classical and Quantum Gravity, 1986, p L19

"Simple Conformal-Projective Invariant Gravitational Theories with Torsion", W. M. Baker, W. R. Davis and L. H. Green, Proceedings of the Sir Arthur Eddington Centenary Symposium, Vol.2, On Relativity Theory, Editors Y. Choquet-Bruhat and T. M. Karade, 1985, World Scientific , p 1; An Investigation of Certain Fundamental Invariance Properties of Field Theories Including Gravitational Theories with Torsion, W. M. Baker, book copyright 1980, United States Copyright Registration Number, 595-236

"On Duality Invariance in Simple Gauge Theories Including Electromagnetic Type Fields with Sources". Il Nuovo Cimento, 54A, 1979, 63. W. M. Baker and W. R Davis

"On the Properties of Torsion in Riemann-Cartan Space-Times: Torsion Associated with U4 Reinterpretation of Null Electromagnetic Solutions of Einstein's Equations". Il Nuovo Cimento, 44B, 1978, 1. W. M. Baker, W. K. Atkins and W. R. Davis

"Reinterpretation of Gravitational Radiation Solutions in U4". Il Nuovo Cimento , 44B, 1978, 17 W. K. Atkins, W. M. Baker and W. R. Davi

"Classification of Torsion and General Discussion". Il Nuovo Cimento, 44B, 1978, 23. W. R. Davis, W. K. Atkins and W. M. Baker

"On Variational Principles of Relativistic Theories Involving Torsion". Physics Letters, 61A, 1977, 363. W. M. Baker, W. K. Atkins and W. R. Davis; A Quantum Mechanical Boltzmann Equation for a Polyatomic Gas in Magnetic and Electric Fields, W. M. Baker, Thesis, UNC-G, 1972.

North Carolina State University
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
North Carolina State University

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