HMC Physics News

pic: Prof. Jack Waggoner passes away after a long illness

3 July 2016

Prof. Jack Waggoner passes away after a long illness

Retired Professor Jack Holmes Waggoner died on the morning of 2 July 2016, according to a nurse at Pilgrim Place, where Waggoner resided following the 2013 death of his beloved wife Anne. He is survived …

pic: Calvin Leung (’17) Wins an Astronaut Scholarship

18 May 2016

Calvin Leung (’17) Wins an Astronaut Scholarship

Rising senior physicist, Calvin Leung, has won a prestigious Astronaut Scholarship. The Astronaut Scholarship Program was created over 30 years ago by the six surviving Mercury 7 astronauts: Scott Carpenter, …

pic: Natasha Allen (’16) Wins a Watson Fellowship

7 April 2016

Natasha Allen (’16) Wins a Watson Fellowship

Congratulations to senior Natasha Allen who has won a Watson Fellowship to explore issues of access to energy in a range of Third-World countries. Her proposed project is titled Switching On: The Pursuit …

pic: Sharon Gerbode named a 2016 Cottrell Scholar

5 April 2016

Sharon Gerbode named a 2016 Cottrell Scholar

Congratulations to Sharon Gerbode for becoming one of the 24 2016 Cottrell scholars selected by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. The recognition comes with a $100,000 grant to support …

pic: Jim Wu (’16) Wins NSF Graduate Fellowship

29 March 2016

Jim Wu (’16) Wins NSF Graduate Fellowship

Congratulations to graduating senior Jim Wu on earning a NSF Graduate Fellowships in Physics. Jim is planning to study biophysics at Princeton starting in the fall.


5 June 2015

Letter from the Chair

Dear HMC Physics Alum, I write you with a short update on the department and to ask for your help on two matters. The first is your feedback on the physics program: a brief but crucial survey to inform …

pic: HMC Hosts ALPhA Workshop on Quantum Optics

4 June 2015

HMC Hosts ALPhA Workshop on Quantum Optics

Theresa Lynn and Richard Haskell hosted a three-day ALPhA Immersion workshop on quantum optics, using the setup in the Stoddard Laboratory used in the optics laboratory course. Besides rising senior Sid …


10 May 2015

Congratulations to Brett Berger and Aaron Rosenthal

Congratulations to Brett Berger for winning the Thomas B. Brown award and to Aaron Rosenthal for winning the Alfred B. Focke award. Brett’s thesis describes a new inverted Raman micrometer that he has …


21 April 2015

Seneca Harberger (’05) Named a 2014 Pisacano Scholar

HMC physics alumnus, Seneca Harberger (’05), received a $28,000 Pisacano Scholar Award for future leaders in family medicine. Seneca is finishing up his fourth year in medical school. After graduating …

pic: William H. (Sandy) Sandmann (1928–2014)

2 April 2015

William H. (Sandy) Sandmann (1928–2014)

William (Sandy) Sandmann, physics professor at Harvey Mudd for thirty years, passed away at his home in Port Townsend, Washington, on 21 March 2014, at age 86.Sandy graduated from Reed College and received …


20 March 2015

Matthew Reed (’07) Wins APS Prize

HMC Physics alumnus, Matthew D. Reed (’07), was honored with the 2015 Richard L. Greene Dissertation Award in Experimental Condensed Matter or Materials Physics by the American Physical Society. The citation …


10 January 2015

Daniel Strenge’s Untimely Demise

With sadness I report that Dan Strenge, HMC class of 2006, died on 17 December 2014. Dan “was a fantastic person —  kind, thoughtful, receptive — and was wonderfully talented,” said Prof. Richard Haskell, …


26 September 2014

Letter from the Chair

Dear HMC Physicists, Since last I wrote you two years ago we have had a couple of busy years in the department, added 37 freshly minted majors to your ranks, and shifted much of our teaching activity …

pic: Rojansky, Bell, and Townsend Awards Conferred

16 September 2014

Rojansky, Bell, and Townsend Awards Conferred

The Rojansky Writing Award, the Graydon and Louise Bell Prize, and the Townsend Award were conferred on this year’s winners at the first colloquium of the fall semester. Shifrah Aron-Dine won the Rojansky …

pic: Jaron Kent-Dobias named Apker finalist

23 July 2014

Jaron Kent-Dobias named Apker finalist

Jaron Kent-Dobias, who conducted research with Professor Andrew Bernoff on two-dimensional fluids with dipole interactions, has been selected as a finalist by the Apker Committee. Two LeRoy Apker Awards …

pic: Sahakian Lands NSF Grant

13 June 2014

Sahakian Lands NSF Grant

Vatche Sahakian, associate professor of physics at Harvey Mudd College, was recently awarded a continuing three-year, $90,000 grant by the National Science Foundation for his research titled “Quantum Information …


18 May 2014

Congratulations to the Class of 2014!

Congratulations to the class of 2014. You have kept the tradition alive: number one in bar trivia! Especial thanks to Peter Megson and Andrew Turner on that score. Best of luck as you head off to graduate …


1 April 2014

Sheena Patel (’14) and Brendan Folie (’11) Win NSF Fellowships

Congratulations to Sheena Patel (’14) and Brendan Folie (’11) on earning NSF Graduate Fellowships in Physics. Brendan is in his first year at U.C. Berkeley after spending two years in the Peace Corps in …


6 January 2014

REU Possibilities

Many REU program descriptions are sent to the office, usually in paper form, but also electronically. Here are some of them, in case you are interested (application deadlines in parentheses). NASA LARSS (Langley …


6 October 2013

Joseph Checkelsky (’04) Named Assistant Professor of Physics at MIT

HMC Physics graduate, Joe Checkelsky, has accepted an assistant professorship in the physics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, starting in January of 2014. After graduating from …


11 September 2013

Fire Consumes Part of Bernard Field Station

A fire broke out this afternoon (9/11/13) at the Bernard Field Station, consuming roughly 17 acres, and briefly threatening homes to the north of the BFS on Radcliffe. Fire engines, helicopters, and small …


3 September 2013

Tom Donnelly Secures NSF Grant

The current budget sequester has wrecked havoc with NSF funding schedules and budgets, but we’re happy to report that Tom Donnelly and his UT Austin collaborator, Todd Ditmire, have secured a grant of …


23 August 2013

David Coats (’08) and Vedika Khemani (’10) Marry

HMC Physics graduates David Coats (’08) and Vedika Khemani (’10) were married today. Vedika is pursuing a PhD in theoretical physics at Princeton. Following his graduation from HMC, David earned a master’s …


19 May 2013

Congratulations to the Class of 2013!

Congratulations to the class of 2013, who graduated today and heads off to summers in Europe, riding a train up the west coast, Japan, Arizona, northern Minnesota, Jefferson Lab in Virginia, and in many …


30 April 2013

Henry Kapteyn (’82) Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

HMC Physics grad, Henry Kapteyn (’82), was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences. According to a JILA press release, Kapteyn adds this recognition to a host of prizes, including the Ahmed …


8 April 2013

Congratulations to Audy Sederberg and Colin Parker

Stephen Fox Parker was born 8 April 2013 to physicists Audy Sederberg and Colin Parker, both of the class of 2006. Congratulations!


29 March 2013

Sheena Patel wins a Goldwater Scholarship

Junior physics major, Sheena Patel, was one of 271 winners of Goldwater Scholarships announced today. Double physics and math major, Andrew Turner, earned Honorable Mention. Congratulations to both Sheena …


17 February 2013

Nate Stern (’03) wins a Sloan Foundation Fellowship

HMC physics grad Nathaniel Stern (’03) has won an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship. Stern earned his Ph.D. in physics in David Awschalom’s group at UCSB, then did a post-doc with Jeff Kimble at Caltech …


26 November 2012

Update on the Teaching and Learning Building

Construction of the new Teaching and Learning Building (TLB) continues apace; the siding will go on starting towards the end of December, and the exterior walls and windows should be completed in early …


15 November 2012

HMC group led by Gregory Lyzenga sees solar eclipse in Cairns, Australia

HMC eclipse expedition on the beach in Cairns, Australia, waiting for (a) skies to clear and (b) the eclipse. A group of HMC alumni led by Professor Greg Lyzenga (’75) traveled to Cairns, Australia, to …


25 September 2012

Bell Prize and Townsend Award Presented

Prior to a wonderful colloquium by Caltech astronomer Philip Muirhead, the Townsend Award for outstanding performance in Physics 116 (Quantum Mechanics) was presented to senior Jake Fish and the Graydon …


14 September 2012

HMC Team Wins $5000 Edmund Scientific Award

A project to develop a system for the remote detection of microbial life in space has garnered Prof. Gregory Lyzenga and collaborators a prize of $5,000 in Edmund Optics products. The device uses laser-induced …


3 September 2012

Sharon Gerbode’s work on cucumber tendrils makes a huge splash

Read “How the Cucumber Tendril Coils and Overwinds” in Science Watch the AAAS videos narrated by Sharon Gerbode and Joshua Puzey: “How Cucumber Tendrils Hoist Their Payload Sunwards” , “Chasing Sunlight: …


30 August 2012

Sharon Gerbode interviewed by the BBC

Professor Sharon Gerbode is being interviewed on the James Coomarasamy program on the BBC, about her work on coiling of plant tendrils. She will also appear tomorrow on NPR's Science Friday with Ira Flatow. …


30 August 2012

Letter from the Chair

Dear HMC Physicists: In 1989 an enthusiastic young full professor in the Department of Physics succeeded Tom Helliwell as department chair. Since he had already served a year as chair during Tom’s sabbatical, …


1 July 2012

Alex Himmel (’06) wins Fermilab’s URA Thesis Award

HMC Physics graduate, Alexander Himmel (’06), has received Fermilab’s URA Thesis award for the outstanding doctoral thesis of the year. Alex recently earned his PhD from Caltech, where he worked with …


30 March 2012

Lucas Brady wins a Goldwater Scholarship

Awarded to outstanding students pursuing careers in science, mathematics or engineering, the scholarship will provide up to $7,500 to help cover costs such as tuition, fees, books, and room and board. …


29 March 2012

Matthew Carey (’85) Appointed to HHS Committee

Matthew Carey (’85) has been appointed one of 15 public members on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. According to the Health and Human Services press release  Dr. Matthew Carey is the father …


20 March 2012

Julien Devin wins an NSF Fellowship; Kali Allison Earns Honorable Mention

Senior physics major Julien Devin has been awarded a prestigious NSF graduate fellowship to study quantum optics, which he will take with him to Stanford University in the fall. Senior physics major Kali …


27 February 2012

Eric Fullerton (’84) wins AIP Prize

HMC physics alumnus, Eric Fullerton (’84), has won the 2012 AIP Prize for Industrial Applications of Physics. He is being honored for his work enhancing the density of magnetic recording media. Professor …


4 October 2011

Paul Riggins (’12) awarded Astronaut Scholarship

Astronaut Bruce McCandless II, the first person to perform an untethered spacewalk, presented the Astronaut Scholarship to Paul Riggins (’12). Riggins is one of only 26 students nationwide this year to …


1 June 2011

Neal Pisenti is Apker Finalist

Neal Pisenti, who conducted research with Professor Theresa Lynn on quantum optics, has been selected as a finalist by the Apker Committee. Two LeRoy Apker Awards are given annually by the American Physical …


23 February 2011

Donnelly Group Paper Goes Viral!

According to the editors of the American Institute of Physics’s Review of Scientific Instruments, the Donnelly group 2009 paper “Generation of Mie size microdroplet aerosols with applications in laser-driven …


9 February 2011

Sharon Gerbode joins Physics Department

The Department of Physics completed a successful search for a tenure-track assistant professor by hiring Sharon Gerbode, currently a post-doc at Harvard. Sharon was pursuing a creative writing major …


22 July 2010

Physics Department loses its first member

Graydon D. Bell, first member of the HMC Department of Physics, died at his home in Claremont on 20 July 2010. Gray came to Harvey Mudd College from Caltech in 1957, having previously taught at Robert …


17 July 2009

Andrew Higginbotham (’09) is Apker finalist

Senior physics major Andrew Higginbotham has won a prestigious Winston Churchill Foundation Scholarship to study next year at Churchill College, the University of Cambridge. Andrew is the third HMC physics …


9 July 2009

Donnelly-Group Paper Highlighted

The American Institute of Physics featured a paper published by Prof. Tom Donnelly, his students, and his coworkers in Prof. Todd Ditmire's group at the University of Texas at Austin as the research highlight …


2 July 2009

Letter from the Chair

PDF version July 2009 Dear HMC Physicists: It has been fours years since I last wrote to many of you, so I want to bring you up to date on what has happened in the Department of Physics in the intervening …


10 March 2009

Andrew Higginbotham (’09) wins a Churchill Fellowship

Senior physics major Andrew Higginbotham has won a prestigious Winston Churchill Foundation Scholarship to study next year at Churchill College, the University of Cambridge. Andrew is the third HMC physics …


22 September 2008

Jim Eckert wins APS Prize to a Faculty Member for Research in an Undergraduate Institution

Professor James C. Eckert was named this year’s winner of the American Physical Society’s Prize to a Faculty Member for Research in an Undergraduate Institution. “The Prize was established to honor a physicist …


4 September 2008

Stan Love (’87) Delivers Convocation Address

HMC physics major and NASA astronaut Stan Love returned to Galileo Hall to address the question “Where should we go?” as part of Convocation on 4 September 2008. Dr. Love, who flew on a Shuttle mission earlier …


18 July 2008

Greg Minton is Apker Finalist

Gregory Minton, who conducted research with Professor Vatche Sahakian on a new approach to understanding inhomogeneities in the cosmic microwave background using string theory, has been selected as a finalist …


1 March 2008

Adam Edwards Joins Physics Department

Experimental high-energy physicist Adam Edwards will join the Harvey Mudd College Department of Physics starting in the summer of 2008. Prof. Edwards is currently a post-doctoral teaching fellow at Pomona …


20 November 2007

Dessertfest 2007

Concerned that students were approaching the Thanksgiving holiday without sufficient training in overeating, the Physics Department staged its annual Dessertfest on the Tuesday before the festival of tryptophan. …


9 October 2007

Tenure-track position

The Department of Physics invites applications for a tenure-track appointment at the assistant professor level, beginning September 2008. In exceptional circumstances a more senior appointment may be considered. …


3 October 2006

Stephanie Moyerman wins the Apker Award!

Stephanie Moyerman is the third Harvey Mudd physics student to win the American Physical Society’s Apker Award. The award honors the outstanding physics students in the country. Two awards are made each …


11 September 2006

Stephanie Moyerman is Apker finalist

Stephanie Moyerman is one of three finalists for the American Physical Society’s Apker Award for the outstanding undergraduate in physics at a non-PhD-granting institution. Because Stephanie is currently …


15 March 2006

Theresa Lynn Joins the Physics Department

The Department of Physics is delighted to report the successful completion of our search in the fields of quantum optics, atmospheric physics, and soft condensed matter physics with the hiring of Theresa …


12 September 2005

Letter from the Department Chair

September 2005 Dear HMC Physics Alum: It has been two years since I last wrote to many of you, so I want to bring you up to date on what has happened recently in the Department of Physics. As you may recall, …


31 May 2005

Adam Pivonka one of 15 Hertz Fellows for 2005

Senior physicist Adam Pivonka (’05) was one of only 15 winners nationwide of the prestigious Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellowship this year. The Fellowship is awarded for outstanding academic …


12 May 2005

Teraist attack!!!

Thanks, folks! You made our day.


23 March 2005

Prof. Eckert celebrates pie day!

The IHTP club’s annual pie day celebration was particularly memorable for the physics department this year, as our very own Jim Eckert was the “winner” in a very competitive bidding process. Despite the …


15 February 2005

Senior physicists take the faculty out to Bombay Bistro

Senior physics majors organized a dinner outing for the department to Bombay Bistro in appreciation for our efforts, and particularly advice and letters of recommendation. In a delightful twist and surprise …


14 September 2004

HMC Alum Dies in Small Plane Crash

HMC physics graduate Christina Blake (’99) and three others were killed on July 18 when the small plane in which she was flying went down north of Anchorage, Alaska. The plane was piloted by her boyfriend, …


1 August 2004

Joe Checkelsky (’04) is Apker finalist

Joe Checkelsky (’04) was selected as one of four finalist for the American Physical Society’s Apker Award for the outstanding undergraduate in physics of 2004.


17 December 1996

Bercovici (’82) Wins Macelwane Medal

Congratulations to HMC physics alumnus David Bercovici (’82), who was awarded the James B. Macelwane Medal for significant contributions to the geophysical sciences by a young scientist of outstanding …