Prabhakar Misra

Prabhakar misra
Professor of Physics
Howard University
Office Address:

2355 6th St., NW, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Washington, DC 20059


Prabhakar Misra is an American physicist, who researches and teaches at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and is currently a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Born and raised in India, he came to the United States to pursue graduate studies in physics. He earned an M.S. in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1981 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), followed by a Ph D. in Physics in 1986 from The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio). After a post-doctoral fellowship at the Laser Spectroscopy Facility of The Ohio State University, he joined Howard University in 1988. He was a Visiting Scholar in 1990 at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. 

Misra's research interests are in the following areas: Raman Spectroscopy and Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Nanomaterials; characterization of stable molecules, free radicals and molecular ions using laser spectroscopy; development of spectral library and databases of organic molecules of relevance to the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission; and machine learning and algorithm development of relevance to START databases (GTD, POICN and PIRUS).

Prof. Misra, Co-Investigator on the “Dynamic Response of the Environments at Asteroids, the Moon, and moons of Mars" (DREAM2) team, received the 2018 Robert H. Goddard team award for excellence in science (PI/Team Lead: Dr. William Farrell, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center). The citation reads: “For excellence in the application of space environmental science to exploration applications.”


  • The Ohio State University, Ph.D. (Physics), 1986
  • Carnegie Mellon University, M.S. (Physics), 1981
  • University of Calcutta, India, M.Sc. (Physics), 1978
  • University of Calcutta, India, B.Sc. (Physics Honors), 1975
  • Robert H. Goddard Team Award for Excellence in Science, 2018
  • Elected Fellow of The American Physical Society (APS), 2015
  • President, Howard University Chapter of Sigma Xi – The Scientific Research Society, 2013-14
  • NASA Summer Faculty Fellowships at Goddard Space Flight Center, 2007-2010, & 2012
  • Elected Senior Member of The Optical Society of America, 2010
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Certificate of Appreciation, 2008
  • Fulbright Scholar, 2004-05
  • NASA Administrator’s Fellow, 1999-2001
Professional Experience:
  • Howard University, Professor of Physics, 1997-present
  • Howard University, Associate Professor of Physics, 1992-97
  • Howard University, Assistant Professor of Physics, 1988-92
  • Northwestern University, Visiting Scholar, 1990
  • The Ohio State University, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 1986-88
  • Howard University, Chair, Department of Physics & Astronomy, 2010-14  
  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Visiting Scientist & Research Affiliate, 2010-present
  • University of Maryland, START, MSI Fellow & Visiting Professor, 2014-present