Dr. Michael Burin
Dr. Michael Burin
Associate Professor of Physics

Office: Science Hall II, Room 215
Phone: (760) 750-8575

What is the Universe physically composed of? What determines material properties, and how/why do things move the way they do? And once we think we know the answer, how do we test our idea to gauge its accuracy? Such questions are ultimately the stuff of physics.

The act of learning is an enjoyable pursuit - and one that is also essential to the health of individuals and societies. Here at CSUSM I teach on several topics in physics and astronomy. I hope through teaching to equip students to appreciate natural phenomena while becoming life-long learners that will successfully seek out, gain, and responsibly apply knowledge.

Classes taught at CSUSM:

Phys 201: Physics of Mechanics and Sound

Phys 320: Classical Mechanics

Astr 342: Elements of Astronomy

Phys 421: Applied Electromagnetic Waves and Optics

Phys 480: Advanced Applied Physics Laboratory

Education and Professional Background:

  • Assistant Professor of Physics, CSUSM, 2007-current
  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Pomona College, Claremont, CA, 2006-2007
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dept. of Astrophysical Sciences and Plasma Physics Lab (PPPL), Princeton University, NJ, 2003-2006
  • Ph.D. (Engineering Physics); U.C. San Diego, La Jolla, CA (2003)
  • M.S. (Mechanical Engineering); U.C. San Diego, La Jolla, CA (2000)
  • M.S. (Astronomy); San Diego State University, San Diego, CA (1998)
  • B.S. (Physical Science); Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA (1994)

A full CV is available upon request.

Current Research Interests:


Turbulence in Rotating Flows (Taylor-Couette flow, accretion disks)


Photo courtesy of NASA


Electrical Discharges in Gases (e.g. lightning, aurora)


Photo courtesy of NASA

Published Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

(and those under review; for conference proceedings etc. please see CV)

Burin, M.J., Czarnocki, C. J. Subcritical Transition and Spiral Turbulence in Circular Couette Flow, accepted by the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, June 2012.

Schartman, E., Ji, H., Burin, M.J., Goodman, J., "Stability of Quasi-Keplerian Shear Flow in a Laboratory Experiment", accepted by Astronomy & Astrophysics, May 2012.

Burin, M.J., Ji, H., Schartman, E. Local Measurements of Turbulent Angular Momentum Transport in Circular Couette Flow, Experiments in Fluids 48, 2010, p. 763.

Schartman, E., Ji, H., Burin, M.J. Development of a Couette-Taylor Flow Device with Active Minimization of Secondary Circulation, Review of Scientific Instruments 80, 2009, p. 024501. 

Ji, H., Burin, M.J., Schartman, E., Goodman, J. Hydrodynamic Turbulence Cannot Transport Angular Momentum Effectively in Astrophysical Disks, Nature 444, 16 November 2006, p. 343.

White, A.E., Zweben, S.J., Burin, M.J., Carter, T.A., Hahm, T.S., Krommes, J. and Maqueda, R.J. Bispectral Analysis of Low to High-Confinement Mode Transitions in the National Spherical Torus Experiment, Physics of Plasmas 13, 2006, p. 072301-1.

Burin, M.J., et al. Reduction of Ekman Circulation within Taylor-Couette Flow, Experiments in Fluids 40, 2006, p. 962.

Burin, M.J., Tynan, G.R., Holland, C., Antar, G.Y., Crocker, N. A. On the Transition to Drift Wave Turbulence, Physics of Plasmas 12, 2005, p. 052320-1.

Tynan, G.R., Burin, M.J., Holland, C., Antar, G.Y., Crocker, N. Radially Sheared Azimuthal Flows and Turbulent Transport in a Cylindrical Plasma, Physics of Plasmas 11, 2004, p. 5195.

Holland, C., Tynan, G.R., Diamond, P.H., Moyer, R.A., Burin, M.J. Evidence for Reynolds-Stress Driven Shear Flows using Bispectral Analysis: Theory and Experiment, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 44, 2002, p. A453. 

Moyer, R.A., Tynan, G.R., Holland, C., Burin, M.J. Increased Nonlinear Coupling between Turbulence and Low-Frequency Fluctuations at the L-H Transition, Physical Review Letters 87, 2001, p.135001-1.

Tynan, G.R., Moyer, R.A., Burin, M.J., Holland, C. On the Nonlinear Turbulent Dynamics of Shear-Flow De-Correlation and Zonal Flow Generation, Physics of Plasmas 8, 2001, p. 2691.