Michael Pravica

Professor, Physics
Expertise: General Physics, High Pressure Science, Explosives, X-ray Spectroscopies, Accelerator Physics, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Raman and Infrared Spectroscopy, Condensed Matter Experiment, Helium


Michael Pravica is an expert in general physics. He especially enjoys research focused on the study of matter at extreme conditions of high pressure, high temperature, and high radiation flux.

Pravica — well-known for his community activism and dedication to spreading the joy of science to the masses via television, radio, print media, and public forum appearances — has worked to further the field through development of several innovative concepts. They include: a) A new field of science, dubbed "useful hard x-ray chemistry," wherein high energy, penetrating and focused x-rays are harnessed to initiate novel chemistry in isolated and sealed chambers, and b) Ion Beam Nuclear Transmutation Doping, a novel method to dope wide bandgap semiconductors using penetrating, high-energy protrons initiating nuclear transmutation to create dopant layers.

He has also decades of experience using liquid helium for nuclear magnetic resonance (related to MRI technology).


  • Ph.D., Experimental condensed matter physics, Harvard University
  • M.A., Physics, Harvard University
  • B.S., Physics and applied mathematics (honors), California Institute of Technology

Michael Pravica In The News

KVVU-TV: Fox 5
May 14, 2019
A global helium shortage is impacting businesses large and small. Local businesses that rely on the non-renewable gas are making due without any idea of when or if helium will be readily available again.
KSNV-TV: News 3
May 6, 2019
A major helium shortage could deflate your next party or celebration.
KLAS-TV: 8 News Now
March 5, 2019
Neon has proven to be a very important and a storied part of Nevada's history -- in particular, in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Sun
February 11, 2019
Thank you to Brian Greenspun for a wonderful column about UNLV (“UNLV now sits on a very short list,” Feb. 3).

Articles Featuring Michael Pravica

A man rests his palm on his face in front of a whiteboard with equations
ResearchAugust 15, 2019
Physics professor Michael Pravica's work on useful hard X-ray photochemistry could reveal novel materials — and possibly an explanation for the origin of life on Earth.
Michael Pravica talks to Marshawn Lynch
PeopleOctober 31, 2017
Physics professor Michael Pravica teams up with Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch in Bleacher Report web series.