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Meet the Faculty

Photo of Kassahun Betre, Ph.D.

Kassahun Betre, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Physics

Division: Natural Science Division
Office: Rockwell Academic Center (RAC) 143
Phone: (310) 506-4974
E-mail: kassahun.betre@pepperdine.edu

  • Ph.D., Stanford University
  • M.S., Stanford University
  • B.A., Macalester College

Dr. Kassahun Betre is a theoretical high energy physicist. His research interests include the physics and philosophy of quantum gravity and cosmology. In particular, he is currently investigating models of background independent quantum mechanical systems as laboratories to test ideas of emergent space-time. Dr. Betre is also interested in philosophical questions raised in cosmology and high energy physics due to the wide spread use of fine-tuning arguments to motivate, and at times even validate new theories. Some of these new theories also make claims about regions of the universe where it is impossible, even in theory, to find empirical evidence that can be used to test them. In the absence of empirical evidence, the important question becomes, what guiding principle can be used to distinguish the correct theories from the incorrect ones.

It is Dr. Betre's strong belief that the next generation of physicists who will solve the difficult questions facing us must have training not only in physics, but also in philosophy and history. As a result, he merges all his physics courses with questions and perspectives from history and philosophy in order to highlight the important advances physicists made in the proper historical and philosophical context.


  • PHYS 210
  • PHYS 312

Key Awards/Affiliations:

  • Paul H. Kirkpatrick Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2013
  • Preparing Future Faculty Fellow, 2013
  • Stanford DARE Fellowship Alternate, 2012
  • Best Poster in Particle Physics, Joint Annual Meeting of National Society of Black Physicists and National Honor Society of Hispanic Physicists, 2011
  • Stanford Graduate Fellowship, School of Humanities and Sciences, 2007
  • Macalester College, Best Physics Student, 2007
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Honor Society Member, 2007
  • Phi Mu Epsilon, Honor Society Member, 2007

Academic Interests:

  • High Energy Physics and Cosmology

Selected Works:

  • K. Betre, "Three-Point Current Correlation Functions as Probes of Effective Conformal Theories," J. High Energ. Phys. (2014) 2014:98. https://doi.org/10.1007/JHEP04(2014)098, 2014
  • K. Betre, S.E. Hedri, D.G.E. Walker, "Perturbative Unitarity Constraints on Supersymmetric Higgs Portal," arXiv:1407.0395 [hep-ph], 2014
  • K. Betre, S.E. Hedri, D.G.E. Walker, "Perturbative Unitarity Constraints on Supersymmetric Higgs Portal," arXiv:1410.1534 [hep-ph], 2014
  • "New Quantum Field Theory Methods for Collider Physics and Strongly Coupled Systems", 2014