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Smith College - Physics
News & Events


The Piotr decowski memorial symposium


Please join us! Fill out this alumnae RSVP form and send it to Nalini Easwar and Emily Kaplan (link to form above)

In memory of Prof. Piotr Decowski, a daylong event is being planned on Saturday, Nov 1, 2014. Invited speakers will talk about Piotr’s contributions to physics, followed by presentations from our alums traveling back to Smith to pay tribute to the memory of Piotr.

Piotr was a brilliant physicist, a wonderful teacher, and a warm friend and colleague. He played a huge role in making the department what it is today. His commitment to the department and its students and the larger Smith College community over his 24 years of service will be cherished forever.

Invited Speakers

  • Dr. Patrick Decowski, University of Amsterdam and the Dutch Institute for Subatomic Physics
  • Dr. Krishna Kumar, Stonybrook University
  • Dr. Barbara Badelek, University of Warsaw


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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.