Kenneth Pestka
Associate Professor of Physics

Phone (434) 395-2717
Department Chemistry and Physics Department
Office Chichester Science Center 208B

Dr. Pestka’s research focus includes physical acoustics, astrophysics and material science. Many of the physical acoustic methods he uses were developed for applications in geophysics, engineering and astrophysics.

Recent projects include the study of white dwarf stars, self-healing thermoplastic ionomers, wooden, composite and aluminum baseball bats. iron-nickel meteorites, rare-earth scandates as well as the physics of snack foods and other organic materials, including pretzels, popcorn, marshmallows, carrots, celery and wood. Students can choose to focus on fundamental research, educational research, or a combination of both. Students will gain hands on experience performing experiments using research equipment such as the Quasar RUSpec resonant ultrasound spectrometer as well as opportunities to perform computational modeling using software such as Femap with NX-Nastran, which has been used by industry leaders to design and model complex systems.

Selected Publications:

Kenneth A Pestka II, Adam M. Crews (Longwood class of 2019), Robert C. Highley (Longwood class of 2018) and Laura K. Deale(Longwood class of 2017), “Cubic crystal elastic constants of a white dwarf stellar core determined via modal analysis, AIP Advances 11, 105111 (2021).

Kenneth A Pestka II, Buckley, J D. (Longwood class of 2016), Kalista Jr., S. J. and Bowers, N. R., “Elastic evolution of a self-healing ionomer observed via acoustic and ultrasonic resonant spectroscopy” Sci. Rep. Vol. 7, Article number:14417 (2017).