James O'Brien | Springfield College

James O'Brien

James O'Brien

Chair for the Department of Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science / Associate Professor of Physics and Mathematics
James O'Brien head shot
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn., 2010
  • Master of Science, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn., 2005
  • Bachelor of Science, SUNY New Paltz, New Paltz, N.Y., 2003
  • Bachelors of Arts in Mathematics, SUNY New Paltz, New Paltz, N.Y., 2003

James O'Brien, PhD, is a theoretical and computational physicist who specializes in astrophysics, cosmology, and gravity. A large portion of his work over the last few years focuses on alternative gravitational theories outside of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity. O'Brien's passion for teaching has also lead to numerous publications in physics education, as well as the development of educational-based board games such as "Sector Vector" with his colleagues. Outside of physics, O'Brien was a VHDL Engineer at IBM for four years before pursuing a PhD. He has been a musician for more than 20 years, and enjoys spending his free time playing guitar and reading on the philosophy of science. He joined Springfield College in 2018 and loves showing Pride support on campus.

Research Interests
  • Cosmology
  • Gravitation
  • Physics of Video Games
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Metaphysics
Courses Taught
  • General Physics 1
  • General Physics 2
Certifications and Memberships
  • Vice President, International Association of Relativistic Dynamics
  • American Physical Society
  • American Association of Physics Teachers
  • American Association of Engineering Educators

Selected Works


  • "An Answer to the Radial Acceleration Relation and the first proof of the Tully Fisher Relation," International Association of Relativistic Dynamics Bi Annual Conference, Merida, Mexico, June 2018
  • "The Radial Acceleration Rule (RAR) as explained by Conformal Gravity," American Physical Society, APS 2018 April Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, April 2018
  • "Physics of Music, The Harmony of the Cosmos," Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro, Queretaro, Mexico, November 2017
  • "It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Learns,', Hawaii University International STEAM Conference (HUIC), Honolulu Hawaii, June 2017
  • "Explaining Large Scale Structure without Dark Matter," American Natural History Museum, New York, N.Y., March 2017
  • "Undergraduate Research in Physics as a Technical Elective for Engineering Students," American Physical Society, APS 2017 April Meeting, Salt Lake City Utah, January 2017
  • "Dark Matter and Darker Matter: Past, Present and Future," Bridgewater State University Colloquium, Bridgewater, Mass., November 2016
  • "The Music of the Spheres," Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven Conn., November 2016
  •  "Conformal Gravity Solutions to Standard Gravity", International Workshop on Relativistic Astrophysics, Gramado, Brazil, October 2016 


  • "Universal Properties of Centripetal Accelerations in Spiral Galaxies," Physical Letters B (PLB), Vol 782, 2018
  • "A Preliminary Classroom Survey Explains the Students’ Reflections on Engineering Physics I (Mechanics) In Their Freshman Year," American Association of Engineering Educators Conference Proceedings, 2018
  • "Alternative Gravity Rotation Curves for the LITTLE THINGS Survey," The Astrophysical Journal (ApJ), Vol 852, 2017
  • "Conformal Gravity Solutions to Standard Gravity Problems," International Journal of Modern Physics, Vol 45, 2017
  • "Gravity Waves: A 100 Year Success Story," APS-NES Newsletter, March 2016
  • "Conformal Gravity Rotation Curves," International Journal of Modern Physics, Volume 437, 2013
  • "Dwarf Galaxy Rotation Curves in Conformal Gravity," Physics Review D, Vol 2, 2012
  • "Impact of a Global Quadratic Potential on Galactic Rotation Curves in Conformal Gravity," Physics Review Letters (PRL), 2011