What do some our alumni say about their education at HMC?

Brian Baxley (’72)

I see physics as a "liberal" education in technology. It prepares one to understand much of modern technology, and in the sense that a liberal education prepares one for life but not for a specific role in life, physics gives one access to the world (should I say the universe?) in a general way that goes beyond preparation for research or an academic or industrial career. The physics curriculum develops curiosity, observation, reasoning, mathematical analysis, verbal and written discourse, etc., and these can be applied to writing, teaching, business, engineering, research, diplomacy - to any endeavor.
Jan. 1, 1997

Ben Melhuish (’94)

I've felt for quite some time that an HMC physics major can do anything he or she wants. The mere fact of making it through the program attests to a certain amount of natural ability, but at least as important is the fact that much of what we learn is many methods of approaching problems. The flexibility and open-mindedness which results is of great value in (I believe) any career option, from physics to software engineering to investment banking. So, though physics doesn't apply directly to writing software, the training I got has helped indirectly in a great many ways, most of which I don't realize until I stop and think about it for a bit.
Jan. 1, 1997

Greg Hassold (’79)

I was in fact fortunate enough to land an academic position... especially a relatively enjoyable one. Tenure is nice, too! My education at Mudd was a thorough preparation for graduate study... that was no problem.
Jan. 1, 1997

Ken Lorell (’65)

Hine design
So what do I think about a physics education some 30+ years after graduation? Would I do it all over again? There's absolutely no question in my mind. For anyone entering virtually any of the engineering or science disciplines, with maybe the exception of organic chemistry, an undergraduate physics education is invaluable. I went on to the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Stanford School of Engineering for my Ph.D., and my HMC physics degree was a major advantage in practically every class I took and in my thesis research. In addition, in my years as a technical contributor, having the breadth and depth that a physics degree provides made me much more versatile than my colleagues who studied some branch of engineering. I was able to apply basic concepts from E and M, dynamics, optics, and even basic nuclear physics / relativity theory / quantum mechanics to solving problems and inventing new techniques. The ability to understand physical phenomena and apply basic principals to analysis and problem solving is directly related to the solid foundation that I got as a physics major. The colleague with whom I had my most successful collaboration, by the way, has a Ph.D. in physics (with engineering subjects, from the Sorbonne) and my former boss has a degree in Engineering Physics from Cornell---just indications of how a physics degree is a key building block to a successful technical career.
Jan. 1, 1997