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DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS SPRING 2021

to The Great Class of 2021!

I'm so happy to congratulate the class of '21 on all that you have accomplished during your tenure in the Physics Department. You will be the first graduating class to have borne the full brunt of Covid and the accompanying irreducible uncertainties - academic, personal, and otherwise - that derive from it. As if the study of physics weren't hard enough! What you have done is truly difficult, in a way that few have the pleasure to experience. Going forward, you should be proud, and confident of your potential. I regret that so much of your time with the department has necessarily been remote, but know that you are always welcome within Jadwin's doors!

Best wishes, stay in touch, and do good things,

Bill Jones '98

Before they were Tigers!

Nicholas (Nico) Cooper
Alexander Kaplan

What's next...

Nico will pursue a postbac in math at Northwestern, before going on to a PhD in physics at the University of Kentucky.
Alex is working in Boston at Cometeer, a specialty coffee startup.

GRADUATE NEWS

Several Graduate Students have been recognized by the Graduate School for their research and teaching. Erin Healy, (Advisor- Staggs) and Henry Lin (Advisor- Maldacena) were awarded the Graduate School’s prestigious Honorific Fellowship. These fellowships go to exceptional students displaying the highest scholarly excellence in graduate work. Bendeguz Offertaler (Advisor- Giombi) received a Graduate School Teaching Award that is given for exceptional work as an assistant in instruction.

Erin Healy
Henry Lin
Bendeguz Offertaler
Congratulations to the following Graduate Students that have recently received their PhD’s
  • Trithep Duvakul
  • Felix Borjans
  • Xinran Li
  • Wu Yantao

The Graduate Admission Committee, chaired by Professor Lyman Page, masterfully navigated a 39% increase in applications this year. One of the EDI initiatives was to include graduate student representation in the admissions process. Caroline Holmes (Advisor- Bialek) served on the Admissions Committee as a full member and did an outstanding job. We are pleased to confirm that the Admissions Committee will continue to include graduate student representation in the future.

The Graduate Open House Committee, chaired by Professor Josh Shaevitz, had graduate committee members Mengyang Zhang, Hichem Bouchamaoui, Sophie Dvali, Ben Spar, Emilie Storer and Ziming Ji who put together a virtual open house that focused on one-on-one meetings with faculty and several panels with current graduate students to help give the perspective students a good overview of the research and graduate life. Videos of labs and faculty were also used to help give admitted students a sense of all the research opportunities here at Princeton.

The Physics Department will welcome 29 new graduate students that will make up the class of 2021-2022.

Cool Cats

posters designed by Sarah Marie Bruno

The Physics EDI Initiative was created last summer with the goal of implementing concrete and immediate actions towards supporting diversity and inclusivity in our department community. The group consists of approximately fifty volunteers from all levels of the department—undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and researchers, staff and faculty. Over the last year, the EDI Initiative made notable contributions to undergraduate mentorship and summer research, graduate student recruitment, and broader outreach. We have also contributed to the new departmental webpage, organized a popular seminar series, deployed a Climate and Inclusion Survey, and helped establish the Future Faculty in Physical Sciences Fellowship.

These successes are the result of the dedication and commitment of many who care deeply about making physics— both at Princeton and beyond—a welcoming community for all. I continue to be awed and inspired by our EDI members, who have managed to successfully implement meaningful change despite the enormous challenges posed by this academic year. The group’s contributions over the last year make me very excited for what lies ahead!

JAMES E. PEEBLES *62'S GUIDED TOUR THROUGH COSMOLOGY

The story of how cosmology grew is fairly simple, compared to what people have been doing in other branches of science, but still complicated enough that sorting it out requires a better plan than the common practice in science. https://paw.princeton.edu/article/james-e-peebles-62s-guided-tour-through-cosmology

DARRYL JOHNSON: SHIPPING AND RECEIVING

Shipping March 2020

This has been one interesting year, and being here at work showed blessings and tested strengths on all of us. In a matter of a day, the scale of the workforce went from many to a skeleton crew with no one knowing where this would take us. Was it temporary? A few weeks? A month? No one could have imagined that over one year later things would be better but still the same.

For those few of us still on campus, the workload remained on a normal level. All of the packages ordered prior to the shutdown were still arriving on campus. The difference was that no one was here to pick up these packages and it was a challenge to find places to store all of the packages that were stacking up very quickly. Add to that organizing the food donations for all the food/snacks left in departments on-campus as well as being the hub for all PPE donations. We also made room for EHS to come in and sort masks and gloves for immediate donations to the first responders that needed protection.

As if we didn’t have quite enough excitement, Jadwin had a raccoon running around the ceilings and in the back area looking for food since the campus shut down there was none.

All of that being said, working at Physics has been a wonderful experience for me, meeting so many brilliant people and working with incredible minds from all over the world.

I am always asking myself what can I add to this mix to help make this place even better?

Received April 2021, The President's Achievement Award

The answer to Darry’s unspoken question was answered this past April when he won the Presidential Achievement Award. The department enthusiastically nominated Darryl and we are thrilled that he won! His efforts to help all of campus through COVID only reiterate the kind of employee he is at all times. Not only does everyone in the department know Darryl but half the University may as well. New to the department? See Darryl; he’ll know where to steer you and with whom you should be in touch. Not new to the department? See Darryl; he’ll ensure that your package is sent, delivered, followed up with or if you come with another issue, he’ll help to talk it through and find ways for full efficiency. His efforts are the same regardless of rank, title, position, or status.

Dedicated, excellent, efficient, positive, and integrity were words that consistently arose when over two dozen members of the department wrote in to support his nomination. We believe we captured the essence of who Darryl is: a helpful, dedicated, noble, friendly, and overall nice human.

Congratulations Darryl , well deserved!

Service recognition

Congratulations to the members of the Princeton Physics Department as they virtually celebrated their milestone years of service at Princeton University.

40 Years

  • David Stickland

20 Years

  • Martin Kicinski

15 Years

  • Kimberly Dawidowski
  • Andrea Ianni

10 Years

  • Nezih Dural
  • Aurelien Fraisse
  • Matthew Komor
  • Kathy Kulper
  • Steven Lowe

Reunions 2021

The Princeton Undergraduate Women in Physics (UWiP), graduate Women in Physics (WiP), and graduate Women in Plasma Physics (WiPP) groups hosted a Reunions 2021 "Alumnae in Physics" event on Friday, May 21 2021 over Zoom and it was a roaring success.

The event garnered enormous interest with a little over 100 people RSVP’ing! Of those 100, more than 60 people attended from all over the USA as well as from abroad, including Serbia, Turkey, and France. Among the attendees were students, doctors, professors, engineers, teachers, museum curators, elected officials, finance professionals, scientists, and more! There were graduate alumnae/i, undergraduate alumnae/i, and current students, with everyone’s collective years at Princeton spanning from 1962 to present day.

Following brief opening remarks from UWiP, WiP, and WiPP and a celebration of the groups' graduating undergraduate and graduate students, Dr. Emily Margolis (PHY '10) delivered a short keynote address about her path from physics into the history of science and the importance of highlighting women’s achievements in STEM. The recording of Dr. Emily Margolis’s talk can be found

During the second half, attendees congregated in breakout rooms to mingle and exchange experiences. As summed up by one alumnae, “[The Reunions 2021 Alumnae in Physics event] brought strangers and friends together in a safe space for challenging and meaningful conversations about our shared experiences at Princeton. A conversation that for me, at least, was long overdue.”

We hope that you will join us next year for an in-person reunions event!

Undergraduate Women in Physics (UWiP)

It has been yet another unusual but exciting semester for Undergraduate Women in Physics! In the past few months, we have inducted a new board, organized a mix of virtual and small in-person activities as more students have returned to campus, and provided academic, career, and community resources for our members. We look forward to continuing to work with everyone to build a stronger and more inclusive physics community in the fall!

We organized our 3rd annual JP Symposium in April, which is an opportunity for juniors to present their independent work to give underclassmen an idea of what physics JPs are like. We had five student presenters as well as nine graduate students who volunteered to give feedback.

This semester, we have continued to organize a variety of virtual (and slightly less virtual!) activities for the UWiP community. For example, we introduced our glows and grows feature in our weekly newsletter to highlight the ups and downs of life as a physics student. In March, we organized a game night where several members had a great time playing physics-themed Skribblio. With the warmer weather, we also had a sophomore major declaration picnic with boba! Finally, we are currently in the process of organizing UWiP Thesis Fairies to help support seniors through their final thesis push.

We are in the process of launching some awesome UWiP gear! If you'd like to purchase a t-shirt or receive a laptop sticker, please keep an eye on our listserv for more information.

Follow us on Facebook: @PrincetonUWIP or on Instagram: @uwip_princeton

Our newly elected 2021 UWiP Board!

Pictured: Tori Edington (Co-President, PHY '22), Rebecka Mähring (Secretary, PHY '23), Connie Miao (Wise Woman, PHY '21), Myra Norton (Design Chair, AST '23), Claire Lessler (Co-President, PHY '22), Maya Chande (Outreach/Activism Chair, MAT/PHY '24), Nancy Xu (Social Media Chair, MAT '24), Jessica Stikons (Treasurer, COS '23), Sonika Bagchi (Events Chair, PHY '23)

WOMEN IN PHYSICS (WIP)

Who we are:

The Princeton Women in Physics group for graduate students, postdocs, and faculty seeks to provide support, mentorship, and career development opportunities. We use an inclusive definition of “women” and “female” and we welcome trans women, genderqueer women, and non-binary people.

What we do:

To kick off the Spring term, we welcomed our first-year graduate students and postdocs at a lunchtime Gathertown/Zoom on February 26.

We continued our annual Spring “What is Grad School?” Q&A and Workshop on March 21 in collaboration with Princeton Undergraduate Women in Physics (UWiP). Over thirteen undergraduates consulted nine graduate students and postdocs from Physics, Astro, PPPL, and Electrical Engineering to get advice on all aspects relating to the graduate application process.

During the 2021 Physics Open House on March 26, WiP welcomed prospective women graduate students, with introductory remarks from Dean Vanessa Gonzalez-Perez (Assistant Dean for Diversity Initiatives in the Natural Sciences), an introduction to WiP, followed by informal Q&A and breakout rooms.

With the warmer weather, we have also hosted several outdoors informal hangouts with masks and social distancing.

Members of WiP are also active in the Advisory Board and Working Groups of the Department Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative established in Summer 2020.

Learn more and connect with us: Women-identifying students, researchers, and community members are welcome to join our WiP Slack, where we plan events, announce opportunities, and hang out! Contact us to be added.

Connect with us on Twitter @PrincetonWiP- For inquiries, contact the organizing board at wip-exec@princetowip-exec@princeton.edun.edu.

Congratulations to Angela as she leaves Physics for a new position in the department of Astrophysics. The newsletter won't be the same without her knowledge and creativity. The good news is she isn't going too far away!

Created By
Angela Lewis
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