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Smith College - Physics



News & Events

Smith College Physics Department Seminar Series
Spring 2015

February 20 Dr.Protik Majumder, Professor of Physics, Williams College
Title: Heavy metal, cheap lasers, and tests of fundamental physics

March 6 Dr. David Hall, Professor of Physics, Amherst College
"Dirac Monopoles in Spinor Bose-Einstein Condensates"

Dirac's groundbreaking 1931 theory of magnetic monopoles made it possible to consider such elementary particles within the contexts of classical electrodynamics and quantum mechanics. Despite years of searching, no magnetic monopole has been convincingly identified experimentally. Nevertheless, one can perform experiments in systems
that permit the existence of close analogues of these elusive
particles. One such analogue is the Dirac monopole that we recently created and observed in the synthetic magnetic field generated by a spinor Bose-Einstein condensate. The response of the condensate to the presence of a monopole reveals the characteristic features of the system envisioned by Dirac.

April 3 Dr.Madalina Furis,Materials Science Program Director at the University of Vermont
Title: TBA

April 10 Amy Raudenbush ’95
Title: Laser Communications

April 17 Dr. Kathy Aidala

April 24 Senior Theses presentations



Women account for less than 20% of the Bachelor's degrees in Physics, which is why we are proud to support so many women everyday in this field, along with other STEM fields where women are underepresented such as Engineering.

Please watch this amazing video that shares stories and encouragement from many women in physics from around the world, without sugarcoating! HERStories




Piotr Decowski Memorial Symposium

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.

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.