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Dr. George Flynn

Professor of Physics

Photo by George Joch, courtesy Argonne National LabDr. Flynn was the team leader of the Preliminary Examination Team doing Chemical Analysis for Project Stardust.

Project Stardust resulted in the capture and return to earth of comet particles. These particles could be more than 4 billion years old, and when chemically analyzed will hopefully provide clues to the origin of the earth and other planets of the Solar System.

Dr. Flynn has a long history of studying the chemistry of meteorite and cosmic dust samples, and is considered a world-class expert in this field. He often travels to Brookhaven National Lab on Long Island to conduct research, and takes students along to help him in his research.

When not trying to unlock the secrets of the solar system, George can often be found wandering with his camera. An avid photographer, George particularly enjoys photographing landscapes and butterflies.


  • Ph.D. in Physics, Washington University, 1982
  • M.S. in Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1973
  • B.S. in Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1973

Teaching Areas

  • Astrochemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics

Professional Appointments

  • Team Leader, Chemical Analysis NASA Stardust Science Team, Preliminary Examination Team, 2005–2006
  • Professor of Physics, SUNY Plattsburgh 9/90–present
  • Professor of Mathematics, SUNY Plattsburgh 9/96–present
  • Associate Professor of Physics, SUNY Plattsburgh 9/88–8/90
  • Assistant Professor of Physics, SUNY Plattsburgh 9/85–8/88
  • Assistant Professor of Physics, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University 9/82–8/85

Recent Publications

  • Flynn, G. J., & Durda, D. D. (2004). Chemical and mineralogical size segregation in the impact disruption of inhomogeneous, anhydrous meteorites. Planetary and Space Science, 52(12), 1129–1140.
  • Keller, L. P., Messenger, S., Flynn, G. J., Clemett, S., Wirick, S., & Jacobsen, C. (2004). The nature of molecular cloud material in interplanetary dust. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 68(11), 2577–2589.
  • Flynn, G. J., Keller, L. P., Jacobsen, C., & Wirick, S. (2004). An assessment of the amount and types of organic matter contributed to the Earth by interplanetary dust. Advances in Space Research, 33, 57-66.
  • Flynn, G. J., L. P. Keller, M. Feser, S. Wirick, and Jacobsen, C. (2003). The origin of organic matter in the solar system: evidence from the interplanetary dust particles. Published in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 67, 4791-4806.
  • Matrajt, G., Taylor, S., Flynn, G., Brownlee, D., & Joswiak, D. (2003). A nuclear microprobe study of the distribution and concentration of carbon and nitrogen in Murchison and Tagish Lake meteorites, Antarctic micrometeorites, and IDPs: Implications for astrobiology, Published in Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 38, 1585-1600.

Synergistic Activities

I: As part of an ongoing NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics funded project for the "Experimental Study of the Impact Disruption of Meteoritic Samples" Co-I Daniel Durda and I have performed impact disruptions of meteorites at the NASA Ames Vertical Gun Range (Moffit Field, CA) for TV crews from the British Broadcasting Company, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the National Geographic Channel. Our meteorite disruption experiments are relevant to the development of techniques to deflect or destroy asteroids on a collision course with Earth, and the disruption videos and short interviews in which we describe what we have learned from these impact experiments have been featured in:

  1. The 2-hour CBC program, which aired in 2003 titled “Asteroid: The Doomsday Rock
  2. The 1-hour National Geographic Channel program, which aired in 2004 titled “Armageddon—Asteroid Impact

This participation in TV specials provides an opportunity for public outreach, explaining how basic physics, chemistry and geology are relevant to practical problems that effect the general public.

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