Dr. Axel Schmidt

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Dr. Axel Schmidt

Assistant Professor of Physics; Undergraduate Advisor



419 Corcoran Hall, 725 21st Street NW Washington DC 20052

Axel Schmidt has been an assistant professor at George Washington University since 2020. In his research, he uses electromagnetic probes (high energy electrons, positrons, or photons) to learn about how proton and neutrons move and interact within nuclei, or how quarks move and interact within protons and neutrons. He conducts experiments at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) as well as at other accelerators around the world. He is also working to successfully realize the future Electron-Ion Collider.

Prof. Schmidt is the lead PI of GW's Jefferson Lab Group. 

Prof. Schmidt conducts research into how the strong nuclear force determines the structure of protons, neutrons, and atomic nuclei, across several different distance scales. He is particularly interested in questions such as

  • How do protons and neutrons form short-range correlations, and what properties do these correlated pairs exhibit?
  • What are the effective forces between protons and neutrons at very short distances?
  • Why do quarks behave differently when their parent proton or neutron is embedded in a nucleus?
  • What are the properties of different short-lived meson and baryon particles?
  • How much does two-photon exchange affect the results of electron scattering?

To answer these questions, Prof. Schmidt conducts high-energy electron scattering experiments (and occasionally photon-scattering and positron-scattering too) at particle accelerators such as the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab) in Newport News, VA as well as in Germany, at the Deutsche Elektronen Synchrotron (DESY) and at the Mainz Microtron (MAMI). He is a member of the CLAS and GlueX Collaborations at JLab.  

Scattering experiments depend on sophisticated detectors to observe particles emerging from collisions. Most recently, Prof. Schmidt helped build the "Backward Angle Neutron Detector" (BAND), now deployed as part of CLAS at JLab. BAND measures the time-of-flight of neutrons emerging from deep inelastic scattering collisions on deuterium and other nuclei. 

Prof. Schmidt is also a member of the EPIC Collaboration, working to design and build the primary experiment for the future Electron-Ion Collider. 

Learn more at the GW Jefferson Lab Group Website.

Prof. Schmidt teaches:

  • PHYS1021 - University Physics I
  • PHYS2151 - Intermediate Laboratory I
  • PHYS4175 - Nuclear Physics

Recent highlights (for a complete list of publications, see Inspire):

Review Articles and Guest Editorship


Ph.D. in Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016

B.S. in Physics, Yale University, 2009