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Tom Bensky

Tom Bensky

Contact Information


Office: 180-604
Phone: (805) 756-7655

Research Interests:

Research interests include measuring physical parameters of the ocean; ocean optics; spectroscopy of sea-water.

  • Sunlight propagation in sea-water
  • Ocean surface dynamics via laser scattering
  • Phytoplankton fluorescence
  • Breakdown spectroscopy of sea-water
  • Ocean Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR)


Ph.D., Physics, University of Virginia, 1998

Professional Appointments:

Assistant Professor, Physics Department, California Polytechnic
University, San Luis Obispo 2001 - present

Courses Taught :

  • PHYS 323 (Optics)
  • PHYS 315 (Introduction to lasers and laser applications)
  • PHYS 341, 342 (Quantum Laboratory)

Research Projects:

  • Real-time monitoring of sunlight penetration into the ocean
  • Fluorescent yield of chlorophyll
  • Laser/AUV probing of Phytoplankton Communities
  • High voltage breakdown spectroscopy of sea-water


“Attenuation of the Visible Electromagnetic Spectrum at Avila Bay, California” D. Fraser, D. Rohan (both undergraduate Physics Majors), and T. Bensky Joint Meeting of the APS and AAPT Nothern California Section, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, November 14-15, 2003.

Undergraduate Students Supervised:

  • D. Fraser
  • G. Gallagher
  • M. Small
  • D. Rohan
  • M.L. Weeks

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