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

Sean Burke (’82)

Sapient Health Network
The scope of my technical education at Harvey Mudd made it possible for me to design products in physics, mathematics, chemistry, and electrical engineering. I felt confident enough to teach myself new subjects... My current team covers a lot of technical ground, and I think that the broad scientific training I received in physics at Harvey Mudd continues to contribute to my ability to successfully educate myself in new subjects and to understand the post-graduate-level work being done by the group.
Jan. 1, 1997

Jason Goldberg (’94)

IBM Almaden Research Center
I would say, using myself as an example, having a Physics background is a tremendous asset no matter what field one decides to go into. I really think that the problem solving skills I learned as a Physics major have helped me in my Engineering work. Also, since Physics is so fundamental to everything else (perhaps my view here is a little jaded?) there is no way to go wrong by learning Physics first and then moving up to other disciplines. ('Up' in the sense that 'C' is a higher level language than 'assembly'.) And now seems to be a great time for well-skilled scientists here in the Silicon Valley. The group I am in at IBM is concerned with magnetic disk media and most of the PhD's are from Physics/Material Science backgrounds.
Jan. 1, 1997

Justin Stege (’92)

UCSD
I'm currently finishing my PhD in Biology here at UCSD. This was a big change from physics and I am not directly doing much physics related research. However, I think my physics training was very important. I learned how to be a clear, critical, scientific thinker which has served me well here. Having a physics background in no way hindered my applications to biology graduate schools. I think most schools considered it an advantage. The field of biology is becoming much more analytical and the perspective I have with a physics background is quite useful. Now that I am looking for a job, I think having a background in both physics and biology will help a lot.
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