Tikhon Bykov

About Me

Hello everyone! Thank you for visiting my webpage.

I was born in 1974 in Kaliningrad, Russia. My home city Kaliningrad is the westernmost Russian city on the Baltic Sea. Everybody there is somehow related to sea. Even my mother, who is a professor of physics, teaches it for future marine engineers. I used to spend a lot of time at the coast. Watching the sea, how it changes colors and moods during different parts of the day and different seasons is one of my favorite things to do. I have missed it a lot since I left my city. Kaliningrad has a long history. In fact, it has only been Russian during the last sixty years. Before WWII it was German city, Kenigsberg, the capital of East Prussia and the second German city for several centuries. I think, that a few reminders of its great history, medieval castles lost in the sand dunes near the sea, old gothic Cathedral and fantastic tales of E.T.A Hoffman, who was born in the same street as I, but 200 years earlier, were the brightest impressions of my childhood and made me the romantic dreamer for the rest of my life.

After I finished high school in 1991 I moved to St. Petersburg, where I became a student at St. Petersburg State University, one of best Russian schools. It starts counting its history back in the 18th century, when it was founded by Peter the Great in 1724, not long time after the foundation of St. Petersburg, the capital of Russian Empire until 1917. From very beginning I was physics major. Doing physics is my family calling and I am in the third generation of physicists. I spent seven years in the College of Physics of St. Petersburg State University, first as an undergraduate and then as a graduate student. I think, years I spent there were the most interesting years of my life. It was the time of change. Revolution and collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought so many new things to life. St. Petersburg was at the center of many political events, but it always was and is the cultural capital of Russia. I can not count now how much time I spent in museums, exhibitions, art galleries, theatre, opera and ballet. All possible sorts of artistic experiments on stage and in exhibition halls represented St. Petersburgís life of the 90es. Everything, which was not even possible to think about a few years earlier, had become a reality. That was the time when theatre and especially opera and ballet became my greatest passions. If somebody wants to know more about the city of St. Petersburg or considering the possibility of spending vacation there, come and talk to me. I can tell you a lot of things which none of the guidebooks mentions. Interested in Russian opera and ballet? I can tell you all about that too.

In 1995 I got my Bachelor degree in theoretical physics and in 1998 my Master degree. The same year I moved to Lincoln, Nebraska to continue the research work I started back in St. Petersburg. University of Nebraska had the state of the art computer equipment, which at that time was not available in Russia and very good research team in the area of Computational Chemical Physics. So, I decided to continue my work on Ph.D. in UNL. At the same time I started teaching in the Department of Physics, which is very much different experience compared to what I use to see in Russian educational system. After several years of being graduate teacher assistant and lecturer and receiving several teaching awards, I realized that I want teaching to become the essential part of my job. This is why I decided that my new job should be not in the large public, research oriented school, like UNL but rather in a small private university like McMurry. Here I can spend most of my time working with students. I hope that they will learn physics from me and I will learn more about American culture from them. I traveled a lot around the United States and almost everywhere I meet wonderful people. The people, is what makes this country so special and I want to learn more about them and to find new friends.

I am looking forward to meet these friends here in Abilene TX.

My Research

My scientific research is connected to all aspects of nucleation theory, formation of the liquid droplets in supersaturated vapor. I am interested in homogeneous nucleation as well as heterogeneous nucleation on different types of nucleation centers. The main method I am using is the Density Function Theory (DFT). Using this approach I have published several papers mostly about interfacial properties of liquid-vapor interfaces and their significance for nucleation theory. During last several years I have studied surface tension of spherical droplets and its dependence on the curvature of droplet. This investigation was carried out for different types of liquid intermolecular potentials for simple monatomic and dipole polar fluids. I have also studied behavior of liquids near solid walls and, in particular, heterogeneous nucleation on macroscopic and microscopic wettable nucleus. My current work is focuses on the curvature dependence of the disjoining pressure for thin liquid films.

Recently, as a result of my teaching involvement, I have become interested in Physics Education, in particular how to use different multimedia resources for teaching of introductory physics courses.

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