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Smith College - Physics
News & Events

Piotr Decowski Memorial Symposium

For an indepth look at and detailed timeline of the day please see:



The Memorial Symposium was held on Saturday, November 1st. There were about 80 attendees, including 18 alumnae, and Professor emeritus Dick White, coming from as far as the Northwest corner of the United States. The morning session had excellent talks about his field of research and his work. In the afternoon, the biographical talk 'The Life and Legacy of Piotr' by Professor Malgorzata Pfabe was followed by presentations in various physics fields from our visiting alumnae and ended with informal sharing by all participants.

We will make this an opportunity for current students to meet and connect with our alumnae with a special hour for this event after the symposium.

The foyer in McConnell will run a slideshow with Professor Decowski's pictures for the month of November.

A fitting memorial for our dear Professor Piotr Decowski.

Please visit our website for picutures and updates in the coming weeks.


Please also see the report on the Smith GATE News and the Gazette News article


Thank you to all of the friends, family, faculty, staff, alumnai, and students who participated in the symposium honoring our beloved professor Piotr Decowski










Meet Professor Will Williams!

Will received dual Bachelor of Science degrees, physics and mathematics, from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. After undergrad, Will went on fellowship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he got his PhD in experimental cold atomphysics. His dissertation was both theoretical, creating complex optical potentials for use in atomic lithography, and experimental, cold atom modulation instability, a nonlinear effect where atom/light interactions "grow" frequency compenents. After getting his PhD, Will became a postdoctoral researcher at Argonne National Laboratory, which is located outside Chicago and managed by the Department of Energy. There, he had two main projects: Trace analysis using cold atom techniques (also known as Atom Trap Trace Analysis) and a weak interaction study using radioactive helium-6 that tests teh validity of a nuclear theory known as The Standard Model. Next, he took a second postdoc position at Old Dominion University where his research shifted to a photoassociation spectroscopy (making molecules from cold atoms), Rydberg Physics, and underwater LIDAR.

Will is very excited about working at Smith College. His lab, which is in the basement of McConnell Hall, is just getting started. You can visit his website to see pictures and learn more about his research.

Discovery of Long-Sought "Higgs" Boson!

Experimental physicist Dr. Fabiola Gianott (leader of the ATLAS experimental team) and Peter Higgs celebrating her team's co-discovery of the Higgs boson.

At a seminar held 4 July 2012 in Geneva at CERN, the leaders of the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented their latest preliminary results in the search for the long sought Higgs particle. Both experiments observe a new particle in the mass region around 125-126 GeV, at a statistical significance level of 5 sigma. For additional details, read the full press release from CERN.

The Higgs Has Been Found! So...What is it and Who Cares?

In this very accessible YouTube presentation, Professor Gary Felder of Smith College describes particle physics, the standard model, and the Higgs Boson to an audience of high school students. 60 minute talk + 20 minutes of questions.
Only have 10 minutes? No Problem, try his Smith College Science at the Center talk on what the universe is made of.

Collaborations 2013

Collaborations is Smith College's annual showcase of student research, highlighting students' intellectual achievements with faculty in a variety of departmental, program, and interdisciplinary projects.