Cleveland State University - Department of Physics



Faculty Bios



Ulrich Zurcher, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics
Cleveland State University - SI 120
Ph: (216) 687-2429, Email:

1985 Diploma in Physics, University of Basel, Switzerland
1989 PhD in Theoretical Physics, University of Basel, Switzerland

I am interested to apply topics from algebra-based introductory physics to biology and medicine.
Topics covered in PHY 231/2 include:
How does the speed of walking and running depend on the size of the animal?
Metabolism in mammals
What limits the height of plants and trees?
What is the role of surface tension to the physiology of lungs?
Blood circulation in animals and insects
Compound eye of insects
and many others

A brief description of this course was published in the Fall 06 0 Spring 07 newsletter of the APS Forum on Education link pdf


COURSES – Fall 09

College Physics with Biomedical Applications

Introduction to Theoretical Physics


(1) Theoretical models for supercooled liquids and glasses. Robert Zwanzig proposed [Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 85, 2029 (1988)] a simple model for the origin of super-Arrhenius temperature dependence of relaxation rates, r~exp[(e/T)^2]. Zwanzig's model describes the diffusion in a rough potential of a particle in one spatial dimension. I examine how this model can be applied to multi-dimensional systems.

(2) Nonlinear analysis of electromyography [EMG] time series:
[with Drs. Paul Sung and Miron Kaufman]. We find that the EMG signal exhibits time-correlations on intermediate timescales [50 ms < t < 0.5 s] that give rise to a plateau-like behavior of the mean-square displacement. We show that the plateau-value can be used to characterize the signal that is complementary to methods derived from the power spectrum.


Zurcher, U., In the Origin of Instantaneous Normal Modes in Liquids [manuscript in Preparation for Journal of Noncrystalline Solids].

Zurcher, U., Broken Ergodicity in a Rough Energy Landscape, [submitted, Phys.Rev. E].

Zurcher, U., Sung P., Kaufman, M., and Dalton, C., Longtime correlations in electromyography time series [manuscript in preparation]

Zurcher, U., Puck sliding along a rough incline [manuscript in preparation for European Journal of Physics].

Sung P., Zurcher, U., and Kaufman, M., Comparison of power spectrum to entropic measures of electromyography time series, [submitted to Electromyography and Kinesiology, 5/05].

Sung, P., Zurcher, U., and Kaufman, M., Nonlinear Analysis of electromyography time series as a diagnostic tool for low back pain, Med. Sci. Monit. 11, CS1-5 [2005].

Zurcher, U. and Keyes, T., Comment on Direct Observation of Stretched-Exponential Relaxation in Low-Temperature Lennard-Jones Systems Using the Cage Correlation Function, Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 466 (2000).

Zurcher, U. and Keyes, T., Configurational Entropy and Collective Modes in Normal And Supercooled Liquids, Phys. Rev. E 60, 2065 (1999).

Keyes, T., Li, W.-X. and Zurcher, U., Comment on a Critique of the Instantaneous Normal Mode Approach to Diffusion, J. Chem. Phys. 109, 4693 (1998).

Zurcher, U. and Keyes, T., Soft Modes in Glassforming Liquids, The Role of Local Stress, in Experimental and Theoretical Approaches to Liquids: Advances and Novel Applications, J. Fourkas et al, Eds. (ACS Books, Washington, DC, 1997).

Zurcher, U. and Keyes, T., Anharmonic Potentials in Supercooled Liquids: The Soft- Potential Model, Phys. Rev. E 55, 6917 (1997).

Keyes, T., Vijayadamodar, G. V. and Zurcher, U., An Instantaneous Normal Mode Description of Relaxation in Supercooled Liquids, J. Chem. Phys. 106, 6917 (1997).

Zurcher, U., Thermal Fluctuations in Systems with Continuous Symmetry: Brownian Motion and Levy-Flight Sescription, Fractals 5, 87 (1997).

Zurcher, U., A Stochastic Theory of Inhomogeneously Broadened Linewidths in Solids, J. Chem. Phys. 103, 4829 (1995).

Zurcher, U., Scaling Behavior of Fluctuations in Systems with Continuous Symmetry, Phys. Rev. Lett. 72, 3367 (1993).

Zurcher, U. and Doering, C. R., Thermally Activated Escape over Fluctuating Barriers, Phys. Rev. E 47, 3862 (1993).

Zurcher, U. and Silbey, R., Dephasing Processes in Glasses with Strong Interactions, J. Chem. Phys. 96, 6902 (1992).

Zurcher, U. and Silbey, R., Spectral Diffusion Decay for Strongly Interacting Spins In Glasses, in Spectral Holeburning: Science and Applications, (Optical Society of America, Monterey, CA,1991).

Zurcher, U and Talkner, P., Quantum Mechanical Harmonic Chain Attached to Heat Baths I: Equilibrium Properties, Phys. Rev. A 42, 3267 (1990).

Zurcher, U. and Talkner, P., Quantum Mechanical Harmonic Chain Attached to Heat Baths II: Nonequilibrium Properties, Phys. Rev. A 42, 3278 (1990).

Zurcher, U. and Talkner, P., Quantum Mechanical Harmonic Chain Attached to Heat Baths, in Applications of Statistical and Field Theory Methods to Condensed Matter, D. Baeriswyl, et. al, Eds. (Plenum Press, NY, 1990).