Gary Burdick, PhD.

Gary Burdick, PhD.

Gary Burdick, PhD.

Title: Dean of Research
Professor of Physics

Office Location: Buller Hall 234; Haughey Hall 222
Phone: (269) 471-3501


BS Physics and Mathematics, Southern Adventist University
PhD Physics, University of Texas at Austin


Gary Wayne Burdick is a Professor of Physics and Dean of Research. He joined the physics faculty in 1999 and was the Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences from 2007 to 2018. Dr. Burdick became the Associate Dean for Research and Creative Scholarship in 2010 and then Dean of Research in 2016.

Born in St. Joseph, Michigan, Dr. Burdick graduated from Southern Adventist University in 1985 with a bachelor of science in physics and mathematics. In 1991, he received his doctorate in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. His doctoral dissertation is entitled: Third Order Contributions to Spin-Forbidden Rare Earth Optical Transition Intensities.

After receiving his PhD, Dr. Burdick held postdoctoral positions in France, Hong Kong, and Virginia before joining the faculty at La Sierra University as assistant professor of physics.

In his research area of optical spectroscopy, dealing with electronic (optical) transitions of lanthanide elements in solid-state media, he has established international collaborations with various research labs in New Zealand, Europe and the United States. He has more than sixty refereed scientific publications, two co-authored scholarly books, and many international conference presentations on his work.

He is married to Aurora Burdick. They have two sons, Adrian and Emanuel, and three grandchildren, Henry, Ava, and Luca.

Current Research or Professional Activities


The unique optical properties of the lanthanide elements in solid state media have found a wide array of important technological uses in the past few years, with much current research progressing in diverse areas such as laser cooling, self-doubling and summing lasers, and the development of new luminescent materials that will be required for mercury-free fluorescent lamps and plasma displays. The work done here develops new methods of calculating and interpreting measured crystal-field energy levels and transition intensities in solid state media--the spectroscopic data necessary for the development of next-generation optical devices incorporating lanthanide elements.