Marian P Shih

Professor of Physics
Department of Physics
Science Engineering & Technology
Academic and Student Affairs

SVSU Main Campus
Science West 259


I joined the Physics Department at SVSU in Fall 1995. 

At the University of Michigan (Go Blue!), I received my PhD in Physics (1995).  Shortly before that, I received a Master’s of Science degree in Physics (1995) and a Master’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (1994), also at University of Michigan.  Before that, I received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Physics from MIT (1990).

When I was a graduate student in Ann Arbor, my thesis advisor (and therefore all of his graduate students, including me) collaborated in the summer with a professor from SVSU’s Physics Department.  Every summer, recent SVSU graduates passing through Ann Arbor would drop in at our lab just to visit with their former professor.  I became intrigued at the concept of a university that fostered such a close learning relationship between faculty and student that alumni would simply enjoy dropping in on their former physics professors.  When the opportunity to join the SVSU Physics Department opened up, I jumped at the chance.

My husband and I have one child.  My husband is an Associate Professor of Science Informatics at Central Michigan University, and holds a joint appointment in both the Geology and Computer Science Departments.


Doctor of Philosophy
Univ Michigan-Ann Arbor

Master of Science
Univ Michigan-Ann Arbor

Master of Science
Univ Michigan-Ann Arbor


My research is the experimental field of coherent optics applications.  I do experiments with lasers and other temporally coherent light sources, preferably with the intention of developing a measurement technique that might someday be useful in a practical real-life setting.

For example, I spend a lot of time doing interferometry, which is the measurement technique for measuring small phase differences in light.  Some very useful applications of interferometry are the measurement of extremely tiny deformations or variations in thickness, variations that other techniques are not sensitive enough to detect.  

My research interests also include holography, in which I capture variations in phase by recording an interference fringe pattern.  The holograms that I make in the laboratory are not the beautiful spectacular holograms that you see in the museums for art’s sake.  The holograms that I make in the laboratory lack visual appeal because they are scientific holograms for the purpose of capturing the subtle numerical variations in the phase of light waves in order to extract useful information about what the light has traveled through. 

If you have ever heard Electrical Engineers talk about how the Fourier Transform is indispensible for  studying communications theory, then you will perhaps appreciate that I spend a lot of time working in the field of Fourier Optics, which is its two dimensional analog in the spatial domain.