Fall 2023 Edition

Message from the Chair

Jim Olsen

As the semester winds down and the holidays approach, I wish every member of our department a restful and joyous break with family and friends. I am excited to be part of a vibrant and growing community with new faculty and postdocs, a record number of undergraduate and graduate students, and an amazing staff – Physics is thriving! I look forward to working with everyone in the new year to continue our progress toward making the department a welcoming space for all as we anticipate exciting scientific discoveries, engaging classroom discussions, and enjoyable downtime at our many Physics social events.

Best wishes to all and see you in 2024!

Achievement Spotlight

Highlighting prestigious award achievements for groundbreaking research and discoveries in the field.

Prof. Igor Klebanov received the 2023 Dirac Medal for innovative contributions to string theory.

Former Post Doc Zoe Yan received the 2023 Blavatnik Regional Award for Young Scientist for pioneering the development of the first quantum gas microscope focused on single, ultracold molecules.

Fall in Review

This fall, the Department of Physics had some notable achievements, amazing news, and some stellar events.

Photos from Fall 2023 events and research.
Sept. 2023

Physics welcomed its largest class of PH.D (36) and undergraduate students (53).

We hosted the 2023-24 Food Truck Friday welcome event.

The EDI Initiative hosted its first EDI meet and greet.

Oct. 2023

Fall's Hamiliton Colloquium Speaker Series kicked off with Prof. Andrew Leifer.

Watch the worm's neural circuits video associated with Prof. Andrew Leifer and his team, postdoctoral researcher Francesco Randi, graduate student Sophie Dvali, and laboratory manager Anuj Sharma.

Nov. 2023

Jim Olsen hosted his first Chair's Cocktail Party.

Prospective Physics PH.D Preview Program (P4) application opened Nov. 15.

Dec. 2023

Tranquil Tuesday - Reading week event

Graduate Application and P4 application close Dec. 15

Physics' Annual Holiday party Dec. 15

Spring Calendar

Save the Date: Thursday, March 28, 2024 Open House with admitted graduate students.

Graduate Student Prelims in January

The 47th Donald Ross Hamilton Memorial Lecture will be held on April 18, 2024.

Congrats Graduates

Pictured from left to right: Aaron Hillman - Postdoc at CalTech; Alex Pandya - Postdoc at Cornell; Artem Denisov - Postdoc at ETH Zurich; Diana Valverde Mendez - Postdoc at PU LSI; Gelareh Farahi - at Apple; Pranay Gorantla - Postdoc at Univ. of Chicago; Yuwen Hu - Postdoc at Stanford; Gage DeZoort - Teaching and Postdoc at PU; Kevin Nuckolls - Postdoc at MIT; Lysander Christakis - Postdoc at Harvard; Nikolay Sukhov - Postdoc at Univ. of Chicago; Sara Sussman - Postdoc at Fermilab; Susanne Zhang; Yiming Chen - Postdoc at Stanford; Zhaoqi Leng - in Industry; Caroline Holmes - Postdoc at Harvard; Jim Wu

New Faculty Corner

From left to Right: Gautam Reddy (Assistant Professor), Saptarshi Chaudhuri (Assistant Professor), Grace Bosse (Senior Lecturer), Kati Moran (Lecturer), Peter Schiffer (Professor and Dean for Research), Dima Abanin (Professor)

Student Updates

Flamingos at the Chilean Site

photo credit: Grad Student - Yuhan Wang

Grad Student - Connor Holland

Congrats to Connor, the 2023 recipient of the Joseph H. Taylor Graduate Student Fellowship. Each Taylor Fellow is carefully selected by the Physics faculty for their outstanding contributions to research.

Grad Student - Ashling Quinn

Ashling strides with pride at the 2023 Tiger Trot, alongside the Physics "Relativity Roadsters" team.

Physics Undergrads

Class of 2025

Physics Undergrads

Class of 2024

Physics Grad Students - G1

The Latest in Student Groups

Graduate Ambassadors

The fall semester kicked off with their insightful webinars to assist students globally in gearing up for the application season. As they wrap up the semester, they are concluding by carefully choosing students from across the country to participate in the P4 Scholars program (Prospective Physics PhD Preview) scheduled for February.

WIP (Women in Physics)

This autumn, WIP initiated the season by extending a warm welcome to new graduate students during their signature meet and greet event. Additionally, they enjoyed insightful breakfast sessions with women-identifying speakers visiting the Physics department for various speaker series. Currently, WIP is actively organizing upcoming events slated for next spring.


TiCuP has had a great semester so far! Highlights of the semester include their Meet Your Major event for students in broader physics-related disciplines and their semesterly collaboration with WiP for the Grad Apps Workshop. They would love to see you at the weekly tea breaks (Sunday at 2pm in the Jadwin Lounge), or at the final social event of the semester (details to come)!

If you'd like to hear more, fill out the form below.

EDI Highlights

The Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is collaborating with the department chair, Jim Olsen, to ensure that the EDI Initiative and department planning are complementary with each other. Additionally, both Grad and Broader Outreach committees are working diligently behind the scenes.

If you would like to volunteer click below!!!

Events Committee

Kicked off the academic year with the EDI Speaker Series and working to bring two more enticing events this spring.

Undergrad Committee
  • Actively enhancing and strengthening the Mentorship Program.
Postdoc Committee
  • Hosted a panel discussion to kick off the term.
  • New episodes of the "Postdoc Path Podcast" are now available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Staff Spotlight

Fred Carl works as a Project Controls Specialist in the Department of Physics as one of over 200 scientists deploying a series of telescopes in Chile to gather data about the Cosmic Microwave Background. This project is sponsored by the Simons Observatory.

Fred was born and raised in Monmouth County. He received his B.S. in Science Education and an M.S. in Computer Science from Monmouth University. He has teaching certificates in Comprehensive Science and Computer Science.

Fred taught high school science before joining the computer industry.

As a volunteer, Fred began an effort to save Camp Evans, former Navy/RCS communications lab during World War I, by transforming it into a Science Education Center in March of 1993. The National Park Service approved his application to create a 37-acre Camp Evans historic district and its listing on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2012, the site was declared a National Historic Landmark. Today, the InfoAge Science and History Museums has seven museums, an archive, and a library.

Fred has been honored with several awards including, the Russel Berie Award for “Making a Difference,” the M. Claire French Award for Leadership in Historic Preservation (2016), and the Preservation NJ Sarah B. Fiske Legacy Award (2018), which is a lifetime achievement award recognizing important and sustained contributions to the understanding and promotion of historic preservation and history.

This Edition's Pearl of Wisdom

“Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don’t.” - Pete Seeger

Special thanks to Rick Soden for his visual contributions to this newsletter and for serving as our digital historian within the department.

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