The SMCM Physics Department has released a statement against racism and racial injustice.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s Arvind Srinivasan ’17 is one of only six students nationally to reach the finalist stage for the LeRoy Apker Award. This award is presented by the American Physical Society, and “recognizes outstanding achievements in physics by undergraduate students, and provides encouragement to young physicists who have demonstrated great potential for future scientific accomplishment.”
As the last step in the selection process, Srinivasan will present his research to the selection committee in late August. His research submission is centered around two projects. The first is the use of optical trapping to cool and trap atoms for use in magnetic gradiometry. According to Srinivasan, “By cooling the atoms down to just a few hundred micro-Kelvin, we get an enormous increase in sensitivity, which can then be leveraged for a variety of purposes. All of this works on the principle of interferometry, or the measurement of phase between two superimposed waves. We also worked on a technique called T-cubed interferometry to improve the scaling of our interferometer in general, which will allow us to maintain sensitivity while taking measurements more rapidly.”
The second project was a joint venture with the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, which focused on the generation and propagation of beams with orbital angular momentum (OAM) properties and their use in marine transmissometry work. “Here we were working to improve our transmissometer collection efficiency and reduce measurement uncertainty by separating photons based on whether they had been ‘tagged’ with our OAM mark or not,” said Srinivasan.
Srinivasan, with a double major in physics and mathematics and a minor in philosophy, completed his St. Mary’s Project under the guidance of Dr. Frank Narducci (Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division) and Professor of Physics Charles Adler, and finished the majority of his coursework by the end of his junior year at St. Mary’s College. This allowed him to spend the spring of his senior year completing a research internship at the University of Strathclyde. Srinivasan credits St. Mary’s College Associate Professor of Physics Joshua Grossman for assistance with the cold atom work during the Scotland internship, and also University of Strathclyde’s Dr. David McKee (lecturer) for “allowing me to be part of the research team, and for giving me free reign of a lab space and equipment.”
Previously, Srinivasan received the Myron G. Marlay St. Mary’s Project Award and the Physics Faculty Award for Undergraduate Research. He also received a Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship from the Department of Defense. He earned prizes for his research at conferences of the American Physical Society (APS) and the Society of Physics Students (SPS). He was a Nitze Scholar, an inductee into Sigma Pi Sigma and Omicron Delta Kappa, and president of the physics club. Srinivasan now works for NAWCAD atomic physics at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland.
Only two LeRoy Apker Awards are presented each year, one to a student from a Ph.D. granting institution, and one to a student from a non-Ph.D. granting institution. In 2014, St. Mary’s College student Jeremy Perrin ’13 was also a finalist for the award.
Erin Knutson ’15 (physics) was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) fellowship through its Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Knutson is currently studying atomic, molecular, and optical physics in the physics doctoral program at Tulane University.
“The fact that the NSF is willing to fund my research means they see a lot of promise in my career as a scientist,” Knutson said.
She said she was honored to be included among so many impressive fellows.
While at St. Mary’s College, Knutson participated in atomic physics research at Patuxent River Naval Air Station as part of a collaboration between the College and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD). At the time, she presented her research at a national conference — the Division of Atomic Molecular, and Optical Physics meeting of the American Physical Society. She also served as president of the Physics Club.
Knutson said she is “immensely” grateful to her physics professors at St. Mary’s College. She also gave a nod to her liberal arts education.
“Awardees were chosen based on their potential for broader impacts to society as well as their intellectual merit, and I believe my liberal arts education set me apart from other physics doctoral researchers.”
– See more at: https://www.smcm.edu/news/2017/03/erin-knutson-15-awarded-national-science-foundation-fellowship/#sthash.xIk3LEh2.dpuf
Erin De Pree, associate professor of physics, was recently elected to the chair-line of the Mid-Atlantic Section of the American Physical Society, the primary national organization of the physics field.
De Pree will serve a four-year term beginning as vice chair for 2017 followed by chair-elect, chair and then past-chair.
The Mid-Atlantic Section of the APS is the regional unit covering Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia.
Regional units are important to connecting physicists across many topical areas who live in the same region. They are especially essential to connecting students to physicists outside of academia.
“It’s an honor to be elected by the section members and I look forward serving the section over the next four years,” De Pree said.
– See more at: https://www.smcm.edu/news/2017/03/physics-professor-elected-chair-mid-atlantic-section-american-physical-society/#sthash.iuImfwZ5.dpuf
The St. Mary’s College of Maryland physics program is highlighted as a role model in the report, “Phys21: Preparing Physics Students for 21st Century Careers.” The report, published by the Joint Task Force on Undergraduate Physics Programs (J-TUPP) and convened by the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), selected the College as one of five case studies of successful, innovative physics programs. Some elements highlighted by the report include:
- the innovative introductory course sequence,
- the career-preparation curriculum,
- research-based teaching,
- the Emerging Scholars Program,
- alumni networking,
- experimentation and data gathering.
See more at the SMCM press release.
The full report is available for download.
Hannah Lewis, a physics major who graduates this year, has been awarded one of the most highly selective merit graduate fellowships in the nation. The Jefferson Scholars Foundation at the University of Virginia selected Hannah as one of 12 Jefferson Fellows to receive full funding to pursue graduate studies in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at U.Va. Starting in the fall of 2016, Hannah will be a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Astronomy at U.Va.
Jefferson Fellows undergo a rigorous selection process. First they must apply for admission to U.Va. Nominations are then submitted to the Jefferson Scholars Foundation by academic department chairs. Once nominated, candidates are invited to come to Charlottesville, Virginia to participate in the Jefferson Fellows Selection Weekend. This year, nearly 60 nominees for Arts & Sciences took part in a three-day competition, which included department visits, seminars, student symposia and in-depth interviews conducted by U.Va. alumni and faculty.
“Being nominated by a department is an honor in and of itself. It is an acknowledgment of the exceptional talent and potential Hannah has in her field,” said Benjamin Skipper, the foundation’s director of the graduate program.
The 12 selected recipients boast a number of significant achievements and Hannah is no exception. During her time at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, she was a recipient of the highly competitive Paul H. Nitze Scholarship, which is given to students who have demonstrated commitment to the liberal arts and sciences through outstanding academic success and a commitment to the improvement of society through leadership and service. Hannah was named Vice President of the Class of 2016 Executive Board and co-founded St. Mary’s Shop Hop, an organization that provides transportation to all students without other means of leaving campus. She was also a member of leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa and physics honor society Sigma Pi Sigma. Hannah worked as a teaching assistant in the physics laboratory and was a tutor for a variety of undergraduate physics courses.
In addition to receiving the full cost of attending U.Va., Hannah will be given space to work and conduct research at the Jefferson Fellows Center, a state-of-the-art, LEED-certified building located on University Grounds. This unique space is designed to foster interdisciplinary dialogue among the fellows, as well as give them a space to plan, lead and participate in enrichment programming.
“We look forward to welcoming Hannah to U.Va. in the fall and are eager to see the mark she makes not only on the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, but also on the University,” Skipper said
Arvind Srinivasan (Class of 2017) and Professor Chuck Adler have each won prizes recently for presentations they gave at physics conferences. Srinivasan spoke on “An Atom Interferometer Magnetic Gradiometer” at the 2015 meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Section of the American Physical Society in Blacksburg, VA. He described research that he is pursuing in the laboratory of Dr. Frank Narducci of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Arvind received the second place award for talks by students – a category that included both undergraduate and graduate students.
Adler presented “A Simple Inexpensive Time-of-Flight Speed of Light Measurement” at the Fall 2015 meeting of the Chesapeake Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers. The meeting was hosted by St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Adler received the award for best demonstration at the meeting.
On October 24, 2015, SMCM Physics hosts a conference of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Chesapeake Section in Schaefer Hall. The conference will gather physics teachers — from high school through university levels — from Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Participants will share presentations on physics pedagogy and demonstrations of instructional equipment. The conference will include a tour of St. Mary’s physics department.
The physics department at St. Mary’s College of Maryland hosts its second annual SMCM Physics Alumni + Students + Faculty Gathering on November 7. The event will bring together alumni, current students, and faculty to discuss the wide variety of career options available with a St. Mary’s physics degree. In honor of the year’s theme, the International Year of Light, alumni who work with light will give presentations on their jobs and their career paths. Other alumni will present brief “elevator speeches” on their current jobs and career paths. The event also provides networking and recruiting opportunities, along with the latest news from St. Mary’s Physics. Breakfast and refreshments are provided for all, and lunch is provided for alumni.
10:00 AM – Arrival: check in, name tags
10:15 AM – Welcome
10:45 AM – Alumni working with light
11:45 AM – lunch
12:45 PM – alumni elevator talks
1:15 PM – career discussion
1:45 PM – social time
2:30 PM – facilities tour (optional)
From the Newsroom
Grossman Published in Physics Today, Makes Case for Liberal Arts
St. Mary’s College Physics Students and Faculty Offer Science Activities at USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo