United States Air Force Academy

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Dr. Ryan Cress

Director of Nuclear Science / Assistant Professor of Physics

Department of Physics

Official photo of Dr. Cress (DFP)
Contact Information

(719) 333-3272




Dr. Ryan P Cress is the Director of Nuclear Science and an Assistant Professor of Physics, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado. He teaches in the Department of Physics and leads the Nuclear Weapons and Strategy Minor and Nuclear Research Program run through the Department of Physics. He also serves as the Academy’s Radiation Safety Officer. Through the Nuclear Program, Dr. Cress has focused on the development of three new physics courses with a nuclear weapons focus. He works with DTRA, AFNWC, AFTAC, and NNSA to create robust nuclear research opportunities for cadets at the Air Force Academy.

Dr. Cress Began his Civilian service after completing his PhD from Lehigh University in 2013 based on the work “Modeling the Structure of Disordered Binary Alloys and their Transformation Under Thermal Forcing”. He has a wife Melanie and a son Isaac as well as two dogs. When not at work he enjoys hiking, biking, skiing and Philadelphia sports.

Acronyms: DTRA- Defense Threat Reduction Agency, AFNWC-Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, AFTAC- Air Force Technical Applications Center, NNSA- National Nuclear Security Administration


Doctorate of Philosophy, Physics, Lehigh University, Pennsylvania (2013)

Masters of Science, Physics, Lehigh University, Pennsylvania (2009)

Bachelor of Science, Physics, Moravian College, Pennsylvania (Honors Graduate) (2008)

Professional Experience

Director of Nuclear Science and Assistant Professor of Physics, Department of Physics, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado (2017-present)

Assistant Professor of Physics and Quantitative Reasoning Faculty, Department of Physics and Department of the Registrar, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado (2013-2017)

Honors & Awards

Dean of Faculty, Department of Physics, Civilian of the quarter (2017)

Research and Scholarly Interests

Nuclear Physics, Nuclear Weapon Effects, Nuclear Nonproliferation, Monte Carlo Simulations, Thermal Physics.


Cress, Ryan and Brown, Kirk “The Nuclear Weapons and Strategy Minor at the United States Air Force Academy” Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy: General, Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, Vol. 116, San Francisco, California, June 11–15, 2017

Cress, Ryan P and Kim, Yong W “Statistical Physics Modeling of Disordered Metallic Alloys.” Progress in Metallic Alloys, ISBN 978-953-51-2697-3, edited by Vadim Glebovsky, Published October 19, 2016

Kim, Y.W. & Cress, R.P “Modeling of Disordered Binary Alloys Under Thermal Forcing: Effect of Nanocrystallite Dissociation on Thermal Expansion of AuCu3”. Int J Thermophys (2016) 37: 111

“Effects of thermal forcing on morphology of disordered binary metallic alloys: local equilibration and modification of near-surface elemental composition”, Y.W.Kim and R.P. Cress, High Temperature-High Pressure 40, 335-347 (2011).