Tom Murphy

I am an associate professor in the physics department at UCSD (currently serving as Vice Chair), and a member of CASS, the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences. I am working on an ultra-precise test of General Relativity using the technique of lunar laser ranging.

See also the more polished bio on the CASS Website.

I have recently started a company (Aircraft Avoidance Systems) to provide safety devices for observatories using lasers for scientific research.


The APOLLO project (Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation) is a joint endeavor between UCSD, the University of Washington (with Eric Adelberger), and Harvard University (with Christopher Stubbs) that utilizes the 3.5 meter telescope at Apache Point in southern New Mexico to bounce a laser pulse off the retro-reflector arrays left on the lunar surface by the Apollo astronauts. By precisely measuring the shape of the lunar orbit (to millimeter precision!), one can put any theory of gravity to a hard test—assessing whether gravity pulls on gravity the same way it pulls on "ordinary" matter (strong equivalence principle), whether the strength of gravity changes as the universe expands, etc. See the APOLLO Page for more information.

Public Lecture on the APOLLO project

Energy/Estimation Presentations


Selected Publications (PDF)


Course Links:


Energy/Environment

Do the Math Blog on Energy, Growth, Options

Energy-Related Publications


Have a Revolutionary Idea?

If you are contemplating sending your physics idea to me, first try taking this quiz and see how it fares.