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Get to Know the Faculty: Dr. Brandon Kemp


An associate professor of electrical engineering, Brandon Kemp is a Jonesboro native who returned to his alma mater after his PhD from MIT. Let’s get to know him.

Dr. Brandon Kemp
Dr. Brandon Kemp

Place of birth?
Jonesboro -- I am a graduate of Jonesboro High School, and an alumnus of the Arkansas State University College of Engineering.
My wife, Nikki, and I live in Jonesboro with our children. Both of my parents live in Jonesboro. Nikki’s parents live in Northeast Arkansas. My brother and his wife live nearby in Memphis.
Why did you choose A-State?
After spending several years in other states, both as a graduate student and as a practicing engineer, I had an opportunity to return to my hometown and Arkansas State University to help implement a research based Master of Science in Engineering program and initiate research programs in engineering that go with it.
What does e3 mean to you?
e3 equals about 20.0855.
Your philosophy on education in seven words...
Knowledge is not everything. Learn to think.
What is the one thing you wish you could teach everyone about your field?
I wish I had the opportunity to show everyone how beautiful and strange nature can be. Electricity, magnetism, and light are all really manifestations of the same thing and the reality of how these phenomena behave is weirder than most people would imagine. We just have to pay attention and think about it a little bit.
What academic project are you working on right now?
I am currently director of the relatively new Master of Science in Engineering program. We graduate our first class in 2015. I am working to extend our theory describing the momentum of light in materials, a subject that has been debated by physicists as long as A-State – both starting in 1909.
We are using this theory to describe and make predictions about potential new technologies and phenomena, such as tractor beams, anomalous forces (oppositely charged particles repelling and like-charged particles attracting), and bending of light in novel ways such as for invisibility cloaking.
What music is playing in your car?
Right now, I am listening to Ed Sheeran and always Pink Floyd.
My favorite trip was...
Waikoloa Beach Hawaii with my wife, Nikki.
Four people I’d take to coffee at The Edge...
...Richard Feynman, James Clerk Maxwell, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison.
My hobby is...
I enjoy playing guitar. I used to play soccer and basketball, but not so much as I am getting older.
My passion is...
my wife Nikki.
Only my friends know I...
If I told you then it wouldn’t be such a secret would it?
My favorite saying is...
Feynman problem solving approach:
1. Write down the problem.
2. Think really hard.
3. Write down the answer.