Over the past few months, physics majors, like everyone else at Princeton, have had to make many adjustments. While the lecture-style teaching in many courses allowed for a relatively smooth transfer to zoom lectures, many other components of being part of the department are difficult to emulate remotely.
The collaboration that hanging around Jadwin hall allows is what’s missed the most. Although we might not readily admit it, many of us miss the last minute, late night pset sessions where we work through problems on the blackboard with friends. Remote collaboration in this way has been more difficult. Instead of being able to walk out of A07 after lecture right to the blackboards and couches in Jadwin’s A-level, we set up times to meet over zoom and hold up pieces of paper with scratch work to our 0.5 megapixel laptop cameras.
On the other hand, remote learning has also had a few surprising benefits and helped some of us gain new and useful skills. Senior Jon Kutasov says “that the studying remotely has allowed him to be more independent and resourceful in his thesis work”. And as senior Rohin McIntosh explains, due to the restrictions on lab work over the summer, he took the opportunity to work on computational projects involving machine learning - a topic he says he otherwise might not have looked into.
Even for those of us who spent time on campus for thesis research, the environment was not the same. A chance meeting with a fox is more common than running into other students when walking around.
Overall, we are all looking forward to a time when we might return to Jadwin and struggle together again.
By Sam Cohen - Class of 2021
In March, just as we were getting ready to welcome over 50 of our admitted students to campus for an Open House, COVID-19 hit, and we changed our plans and hosted our admitted students through a virtual open house. In August we welcomed 16 Ph.D. students to the class of 2020. Several of our international students are still remote due to visa issues and we are looking forward to welcoming these students when they arrive on campus.
Since March 19 students have successfully defended all through Zoom. We missed the in-person celebration and wish all the graduates well with their new ventures.
Graduates are: Yunqin Zheng, Jaan Altosaar, Christian Jepsen, Yale Fan, Sonia Zhang, Akshay Yelleshpur-Srikant, Sanjay Moudgalya, Luca Illiesiu, Jingjing Lin, Justin Ripley, Alexey Milekhin, Jiaqi Jiang, Zheng Ma, Tong Gao, JaeUk Kim, Kelvin Mei, Laura Chang, Yaqiong Li, Xiaowen Chen.
STUDENT FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENTS
Congratulations to Gillian Kopp and Diana Valverde Mendez as co-recipients of the "Joseph H. Taylor Graduate Student Fellowship." This fellowship was inaugurated in January 2013 and was made possible through a generous donation to the Princeton Physics Department from Joe Taylor. The Taylor fellows are nominated by the physics faculty.
Fedor Popov, has been selected as the recipient of the Frances Lane Fellowship for the spring semester.
The fellowship is based on a gift from Michael Bershadsky and his family. The gift is intended to be used for support of graduate students that have distinguished themselves by their research in Math and Physics.
The Physics Department has partnered with the Graduate School to offer a one-year fully funded fellowship that includes an offer of regular admission to the Physics Ph.D. program the following year. The Physics Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Program offers advanced undergraduate classes or graduate classes, participation in independent research with one of the research groups.
The Physics Graduate students below have been instrumental in the ongoing work of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiative, and including organizing events, participating in outreach, and recruiting efforts. The time and hard work they are putting in to help make Physics more inclusive will have a lasting impact on the department.
The Princeton University Department of Physics is committed to supporting diversity and inclusivity within our own community and to creating an environment where everyone, regardless of their identity, feels valued, safe and empowered to be successful.
Following a town hall event on June 10, the department created the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Initiative with the purpose of implementing immediate concrete actions and improvements towards attaining these goals. The initiative consists of an Advisory Board, as well as six different working groups tasked with creating programs and implementing concrete steps that support and address the needs of marginalized physicists and students.
- View the Action Plan summarizing the activities of the Advisory Board and the working groups here.
- Visit the EDI website for more resources.
- Attend the All-Hands Meetings, open to all Princeton community members (announced via department internal listserve and the EDI Slack -- see below for information on how to join, and posted on the online Physics Department events calendar)
- Make your voice heard by filling out the department climate survey (anticipated to be sent in Spring 2021).
- Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries and to join the EDI Slack. EDI has over 50 members including faculty, staff, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students. We are always looking for new members and there are many ways to get involved.
• EDI has over 50 members including faculty, staff, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students. We are always looking for new members and there are many ways to get involved. All are welcome to contact email@example.com for inquiries and to join the EDI Slack to stay up to date.
Biao joined the Department of Physics of Princeton University as an assistant professor in September 2020. Previously he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science during 2017-2020. He received his BS from Tsinghua University in 2012 and received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2017. Biao's research is focused on theoretical condensed matter physics. One direction he is working on is the exploration of novel topological states of quantum matter, which are a type of matter described by the theory of topology. He is currently studying the interacting topological states in the topological insulator materials, the quantum Hall systems, and the twisted bilayer/multilayer graphene. The other topic Biao is interested is the quantum dynamics and entanglement of many-body systems, which concerns the fundamental question of how entropy grows in quantum mechanics. He is most interested in understanding the dynamics of excitations in topological states, which may lead to quantum information applications of the topological matter.
Shinsei is a theoretical physicist, interested in quantum mechanical aspects of condensed matter systems. His past research highlights coherence, entanglement, and topology --- unique features in quantum systems. He received a BS in physics and an MS and Ph.D. in applied physics, all from the University of Tokyo. He completed two postdoctoral appointments, the first at the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the second at the University of California, Berkeley. He was an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a professor at the University of Chicago, before joining the faculty at Princeton University.
Lawrence was born in Hong Kong. He first came to the U.S. for high school in 2001 and subsequently attended Princeton as an undergraduate (Physics, ’10). Afterwards, he moved to MIT for graduate school, where he obtained his Ph.D. in atomic physics in 2017, working with ultracold quantum gases of interacting fermionic atoms. Staying in Cambridge, MA, he then did his postdoctoral research at Harvard, where he developed methods to directly laser-cool and trap molecules at ultracold temperatures. He joined Princeton Physics as an Assistant Professor in experimental atomic and molecular physics this past January.
His current research focuses on using ultracold molecules as a new platform for quantum science. His group is currently building a new apparatus based on molecules trapped in optical tweezer arrays. Compared to atoms, molecules have a much richer internal structure that offer additional features such as long-range electric dipolar interactions and a large reservoir of long-lived quantum states. These features, along with capabilities to detect and control individual molecules in optical tweezer arrays, could lead to new possibilities in measuring/controlling entanglement in quantum many-body systems and encoding/processing quantum information using molecular qubits.
Outside of lab, Lawrence's hobbies include skiing, playing the violin, and cooking.
The Princeton Women* in Physics group for graduate students, postdocs, and faculty seeks to provide support, mentorship, and career development opportunities.
We continued our G1 WIP mentorship program this fall, connecting first-year graduate students with G2+ graduate students.
This semester, we held our annual Fall Graduate School Application Workshop (Nov 15) with the Princeton Undergraduate Women in Physics (UWiP) group and graduate students from the Astrophysics department. Graduate student volunteers and undergraduates discussed graduate application components and common questions, and reviewed application materials, via GatherTown.
We had the amazing opportunity to host a Speaker Tea with Prof. Monika Schleier-Smith (Nov 5), who gave a department colloquium about her research in many-body quantum systems earlier that day. Graduate and undergraduate students in physics and electrical engineering connected to our informal Q&A and discussion.
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.
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.
For inquiries, contact the organizing board at firstname.lastname@example.org. Everyone is welcome to connect with us on Twitter @PrincetonWiP, and our website and events calendar can be found here:
* We use an inclusive definition of “women” and “female” and we welcome trans women, genderqueer women, and non-binary people.
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