Image of B.D. Altschul

Brett D. Altschul

Associate Professor

PSC 703
Physics and Astronomy
University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina 29208
(803) 777-4983


  • Ph. D. in Applied Mathematics, MIT (2003)
  • B.S. in Physics, MIT (2001)
  • B.S. in Mathematics, MIT (1999)

Research Interests

"My research focuses on the possibility of exotic physics beyond the standard model of particle physics. In the most exotic scenarios, we consider relaxing some of the basic requirements that are ordinarily placed on physical theories. For example, there might be tiny deviations from Einstein's theory of relativity. It is interesting to look for such deviations, and even if they are not found, it is useful to know just howwell the theory's predictions have been confirmed.

One well-known consequence of relativity is that all particles have share a common maximum speed, which is the speed of light. By looking at radiation from astrophysical sources, it is possible to ascertain the velocities of extremely energetic particles, to see whether they really all have the same maximum speed and whether that speed is the same for particles moving in different directions. In addition to these astrophysical tests of relativity, I have also shown how astrophysical measurements can provide sensitive measurements of quantities, such as the charge of the photon, that are generally believed to be exactly zero."

Selected Publications

  • "Bound on the photon charge from the phase coherence of extragalactic radiation," B. Altschul, Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 261801 (2007) [hep-ph/0703126]
  • "Bounds on spin-dependent Lorentz violation from inverse Compton observations," B. Altschul, Phys. Rev. D 75, 041301(R) (2007) [hep-ph/0612288]
  • "Vacuum Cerenkov radiation in Lorentz-violating theories without CPT violation," B. Altschul, Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 041603 (2007) [hep-th/0609030]
  • "Limits on neutron Lorentz violation from pulsar timing," B. Altschul, Phys. Rev. D 75, 023001 (2007) [hep-ph/0608094]
  • "Limits on Lorentz violation from synchrotron and inverse Compton sources," B. Altschul, Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 201101 (2006) [hep-ph/0603138]