June 20, 2016 – Promotion awarded to Professor Gallagher

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 4.12.29 PMWe are delighted to announce that the Trustees have approved the award of promotion to full Professor this year of Professor Hugh Gallagher.  Please join us in congratulating him on this much-deserved recognition of his excellent work and contributions to the field of physics, the department, and the University.


June 15, 2016 – Goodbye to Friend and Colleague Allen Everett

allenThe Department of Physics and Astronomy notes with sorrow the passing of our esteemed friend and colleague Allen Everett.

Allen joined the Tufts Physics Department faculty in 1960, just after he completed a PhD in theoretical physics at Harvard. His early research was in the areas of nuclear and high energy physics, including the structure of the deuteron and the S-matrix approach to fundamental interactions. He was chair of the department between 1977 and 1980, and during this time recruited two theoretical physicists with interests in general relativity and theoretical cosmology, Alex Vilenkin and Larry Ford. Allen soon switched his attention to these areas, and the three of them founded the Tufts Institute of Cosmology, the first center in the United States devoted to theoretical cosmology. The Center has since achieved international prominence.

Allen and his colleagues sought to apply fundamental principles of particle physics to understand the processes in the early universe that gave rise to the universe that we see around us today. Allen researched the effects of phase transitions earlier in the history of the universe in forming topological defects, like cosmic strings and domain walls. The search for such defects still continues, and their detection would provide information about particle physics at the highest energies and about the early universe. Later he turned his attention to the deep question of the limits which the laws of physics place on faster than light travel and time travel. He did not seriously expect that these exotic effects actually occur in nature, but did believe that we can learn a great deal by probing the limits of physics and understanding why time travel is difficult or impossible.

Allen was also a dedicated teacher who cared deeply about the success of his students, and sought to give them an understanding of the key principles of physics. For several years, he taught an introductory calculus based physics course taken by all science and engineering majors at Tufts. He developed a course on time travel which appealed to a broad range of students, including those majoring in non-science areas. This course combined science fiction and a study of the basics of relativity theory. After his retirement in 2004, he built on that experience and his research to coauthor with Thomas Roman a book, “Time Travel and Warp Drives: A Scientific Guide to Shortcuts through Time and Space,” which explains to non-experts what the laws of physics do say about faster than light travel and time travel. In recent years all graduating seniors in physics and astronomy have received a copy as a gift from the department.

Allen’s generosity to Tufts, Tufts students, and the Physics-Astronomy Department did not end with his retirement. In the past few years he made substantial financial donations to secure the future of the Institute of Cosmology and endow a room in the department’s new home at 574 Boston Ave. With characteristic humility, Allen insisted that both of these contributions be in the name of his late colleague Allan Cormack.

May 12, 2016 – Mitchell Black Receives Prestigious NCAA Award

03/02/2016 - Medford/Somerville, Mass. - Men's track and field sportraits on March 2, 2016. (Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

Senior astrophysics major Mitchell Black was one of only two students in the country to be honored with the NCAA’s 2016 Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship, which recognizes student-athletes for outstanding academic achievement and the potential for success in postgraduate study. He is a a three-time national track champion in the 800 meters and a double major at Tufts in mechanical engineering and astrophysics. Please join us in congratulating him on  this honor. Read more about Mitchell and his award here.



May 5, 2016 – Sigma Pi Sigma Honor Society Induction

On May 5, 2016, we welcomed the following new inductees into Sigma Pi Sigma, the Physics Honor 2016SigmaPiSigmaSociety:

Mitchell Black
Tyler Chen
Erin Fong
Daniel Garfield
Mukesh Ghimire
Jake Hellman
Anastasia Korolov
Andrew Mascioli
Zachary Pagel
Freddy Saia

We were joined by some of last year’s Sigma Pi Sigma inductees and department faculty. Please join us in congratulating this year’s inductees on their academic accomplishments!


April 29, 2016 – Meg Urry’s McCarthy Lecture on Supermassive Black Holes Featured in Tufts Daily

Professor Meg Urry gave the McCarthy Lecture on April 28, 2016. Her talk on “Supermassive Black Hole Growth Over the Past 12 Billion Years” was featured in the Tufts Daily. Read more about it here:


April 11, 2016 – Physics & Astronomy Undergraduates Receive Honors

We are pleased to announce that the following undergraduate students have received physics and astronomy related awards and honors this commencement season:

Mitchell Black: Frederick Melvin Ellis Prize

Julia Fowler: Pride On The Hill Award

Mukseh Ghimire: Class of 1942 Prize Scholarship

Erin Kado-Fong: Class of 1947 Victor Prather Prize

Matthew Peterson: Benjamin G. Brown Scholarship

Jackson Burzynski: The Amos Emerson Dolbear Scholarship

Daniel Norman: The N. Hobbs Knight Prize Scholarship in Physics

Ian Hunter: The N. Hobbs Knight Prize Scholarship in Physics

In addition, the following students are this year’s recipients of the Howard Sample Prize Scholarship in Physics:

Richard Preston

Ipek Emekli

Kevin Halliday

Robert Hrabchak

Lukas Mathison

Amit Patel

Adam Rayfield

Danielle Skufca

Joshua White

Kevin Halliday

Samuel Nave

Please join us in congratulating all of our award winners!

March 31, 2016 – Chris Burke Receives Graduate Student Award

We are pleased to announce that graduate student Chris Burke has been selected to receive the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences “Outstanding Contribution to Undergraduate Education” Award. This award recognizes Chris’ excellence in teaching and mentoring undergraduates.

Please join us in congratulating Chris on this well-deserved honor.

March 24, 2016 – Peggy Cebe Receives Distinguished Scholar Award

We are delighted to announce that Professor Peggy Cebe has been selected as this year’s winner of the Tufts Distinguished Scholar Award. This award is the University’s highest award for accomplishments in research. She joins previous department recipients Alex Vilenkin, Gary Goldstein, Tony Mann and Jack Schneps.

Please join us in congratulating Peggy on this well-deserved honor.



December 8, 2015 – Goodbye to friend and colleague Richard H. Milburn

Milburn 1979It is with sadness and heavy hearts that we relate the death of Professor Richard H. Milburn who passed away on Sunday evening, December 6, 2015.    Professor Milburn — ‘Rick’ to his many friends and colleagues – was well-known at Tufts as an enthusiastic teacher and a scholar/researcher with a deep, working knowledge of natural phenomena at the interface of physics, astronomy, and engineering.   His reputation in experimental high energy physics was sealed early-on with his invention (in parallel with a Soviet scientist) of the back-scattered laser beam, wherein laser light of low energy is back-scattered from a billion electron-volt electron beam to produce a gamma ray beam retaining the polarization of the original laser light.   This technique opened up a completely new program of photon-nucleon scattering experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Laboratory.   Rick and his Tufts colleagues participated in several of these, including one that yielded the first bubble chamber images of mesons containing charmed quarks.   The back-scattered laser beam was just one of a number of fundamental experiments and techniques that Rick pioneered over a four-decades research career that included such gems as deeply-inelastic Compton scattering, holographic imaging in large bubble chambers, manifold designs for extruded proportional tubes, and geodesy as it relates to long-baseline neutrino oscillation experiments.

To his younger colleagues in the Physics and Astronomy department and in the Tufts high energy physics group, Rick was a father figure and a mentor whose breadth of knowledge and intellectual boldness was a constant inspiration.   “A Professor” Rick once quipped, “should profess” – and that he did with aplomb in such diverse areas as electronics, mechanical design, optics, and electrodynamics.    His style was in the tradition of ‘experimentalist as Renaissance Man’ and he showed by example how to live it.    To his students and co-workers he embodied the kind of scientist that one dreams he/she could be.    Richard Milburn is survived by Nancy Milburn, his wife of 65 years and Professor (retired) of the Biology Department and their two daughters.    Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to them.    Rick – we miss you and we will never forget who you were and how you approached teaching and life.


November 13, 2015 – Members of department see local play “Copenhagen”


IMG_0863Several members of the department recently ventured to the Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA to see a production of the play “Copenhagen,” a play by Michael Frayn, based around a 1941 meeting between the physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenbergin in Copenhagen.  Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate members of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) attended. This outing was made possible by the generous support of the Altschuler Fund, established this year by Tufts physics alum Dr. Edward E. Altshuler and his wife, Dr. Ruth Liberfarb.

October 5, 2015 – Erin Fong awarded prestigious Astronaut Scholarship


Please join us in congratulating astrophysics major Erin Fong (A17) on being selected for an Astronaut Scholarship–the largest monetary award given in the United States to science and engineering undergraduate students based solely on merit. The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a non-profit organization established by the Mercury astronauts in 1984. Its goal is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for exceptional college students pursuing degrees in these fields. Today, more than 80 Astronauts from the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs have joined in this educational endeavor.

September 1, 2015 – Physics & Astronomy welcomes Mark Hertzberg and Peter Love


Two distinguished scholars have joined our vibrant department this summer–Assistant Professor Mark Hertzberg and Associate Professor Peter Love. Prof. Hertzberg’s areas of interest are cosmology, particle physics, and astrophysics. Prof. Love’s main area of interest is quantum computing. Both will be teaching courses this fall, and we are very pleased to welcome them to our team!

August 19, 2015 – Ian Hunter and Andrew DeBenedictis named Summer Scholars

andrewandianThis summer, graduate student Andrew DeBenedictis and undergraduate student Ian Hunter were selected to be part of the Tufts Summer Scholars program, which supports undergraduate research. Ian is working with the Soft Matter Theory group in the Physics & Astronomy department; his project is entitled “Active nematics on deformable surfaces.” Andrew is the first graduate summer scholar and is serving as Ian’s mentor. Andrew’s experience this summer will serve as a model for the Graduate Summer Scholars program as it expands in future years.

Andrew and Ian have worked closely all summer and shared their work at the Gordon Liquid Crystal Conference this past June and the Summer Scholars poster session at Tufts at the end of July. This summer collaboration will culminate in a poster session presented by the pair at the Undergraduate Research Scholarship Symposium and at the Graduate Students Research Symposium in the spring of 2016.

August 17, 2015 – Tenure and promotion awarded to Professor Marchesini and Professor Staii

daniloStaiiWe are delighted to announce that the Trustees have approved the award of tenure and promotion to Associate Professor this year of Professors Danilo Marchesini and Cristian Staii.  Please join us in congratulating each of them on this much-deserved recognition of their excellent work and contributions to physics and astronomy, the department, and the University.



August 13, 2015 – Professor Allan M. Cormack Fund Established with Generous Donation

allenFormer Tufts physics professor Allen Everett has very generously established the Professor Allan M. Cormack Fund to honor former Tufts physics professor Allan Cormack, who died in 1998. We have Professor Cormack to thank for his work that contributed to fine-tuning Xray images that help heal millions of people each year. In 1979 he won the Nobel Prize in medicine with Godfrey Hounsfield for the invention of the CAT scan. Cormack and Everett began their nearly 40-year friendship at Harvard and continued in the physics department at Tufts. Each served as chair of the Department of Physics, Cormack from 1968 to 1976 and Everett from 1977 to 1980. Everett taught a popular class on time travel and was a founding member of the Tufts Institute of Cosmology He retired from teaching in 2004, but remained interested in the physics of time travel and co-authored a book, Time Travel and Warp Drives, based on the courses he taught at Tufts. The fund will continue Cormack’s groundbreaking legacy by supporting graduate work and faculty members.


August 13, 2015 – Prof. Peggy Cebe Named ACS Fellow

Please join us in congratulating Professor Peggy Cebe, who was recently named as an American Chemical Society (ACS) Fellow for 2015! The fellows program recognizes and honors ACS members for outstanding achievements in and contributions to science, the profession, and ACS. Professor Cebe is one of a select few chosen for this designation. The induction ceremony for the 2015 fellows will be held at the 250th ACS National Meeting in Boston on Monday, August 17, 2015. 


April 3, 2015 – Erin Fong named 2015 Goldwater Scholar

FongPlease join us in congratulating Erin Fong, A17, who was just named as a Goldwater Scholar! The Goldwater is the most prestigious national award for undergraduate STEM research, and Erin’s winning as a sophomore is quite a coup! She is a double major in Astrophysics and Quantitative Economics who plans to go on to a PhD program in Astrophysics.

March 31, 2015 – Tufts Students Attend Conference for Undergraduate

Women in PhysicsCUWiP Group

Four Tufts students (Erin Fong, Julia Fowler, Julia Rowe, and Isabel Yannatos) attended this year’s Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP). This annual conference sponsored by the American Physical Society aims to promote awareness of the issues that women face while pursuing a career in physics, as well as to encourage undergraduate majors to continue on in the study of physics. This year’s talks ranged from high energy physics to issues facing female physicists, with an emphasis placed on the path from undergraduate studies to a career in research throughout all of the talks. The conference lasted three days, culminating in a poster session.



March 30, 2015 – Professor Larry Ford Named Outstanding Referee


Prof. Larry Ford recently was named Outstanding Referee by the American Physical Society (APS). The referees for 2015 that have been exceptionally helpful in assessing manuscripts for publication in the Physical Review journals. The 2015 honorees come from 27 different countries, with large contingents from the U.S., Germany, U.K., Canada, and France. The Outstanding Referees are to be congratulated and thanked for their outstanding service to the physics community.

The Outstanding Referee program annually recognizes approximately 150 of the currently active referees.  Like Fellowship in the APS and other organizations, this is a lifetime award.  In initiating the program, APS expresses appreciation to all referees, whose efforts in peer review not only keep the standards of the journals at a high level, but in many cases also help authors to improve the quality and readability of their articles—even those that are not published by APS.



February 24, 2015 – Professor Tim Atherton Receives Prestigious Cottrell Scholar Award

Prof. Tim Atherton recently received the prestigious Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, one of 15 physics and chemistry early-career faculty from across the nation to be so honored. The award is presented to faculty committed to excel at both research and teaching as RCSA interim president Jack Pladziewicz, notes: “It may well be that not all research faculty can do this simultaneously and early in their careers, but the very best can.” The 2015 Cottrell Scholar award recognizes Prof. Atherton’s promising research on “Predicting the Stability of Pickering Emulsions through Computer Simulations” and his innovative undergraduate teaching efforts on Computational Physics.




January 16, 2015 – Tufts Physics Alum Donates Generously to Department

Dr. Edward E. Altshuler and his wife, Dr. Ruth Liberfarb, have generously created an endowed fund for the support of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Altshuler received his M.S. in Physics from Tufts in 1954, and then went on to Harvard University to earn his Ph.D. He worked for nearly 50 years as a scientist at the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories at Hanscom Field, working on microwave and millimeter waves, retiring in 2011.

The department is honored to have contributed to his successful career and is grateful for his generosity.




Smr 2014 Cebe Group Picture

September 15 2014 – Congratulations to the 2014 Summer Research Interns

Congratulations to the students who completed the 2014 Internship Program for Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Students!

The internship program, offered by Prof. Peggy Cebe and her team, comprises both classroom learning and laboratory exercises, which offer enriching experiences that will strengthen the students’ confidence to perform in a scientific and engineering environment. Studying Polymers for Advanced Technologies, in the classroom portion students learn: 1. chemistry, physics, and engineering aspects of polymers and blends; 2. scientific methods and how to conduct research; 3. communication skills, including scientific writing and making group presentations. In the laboratory portion, working in small teams, the students gain hands-on experience in making, characterizing, and analyzing materials and learn to operate an X-ray diffractometer, thermal calorimeter, infrared spectrometer, scanning electron microscope, and electro-spinning apparatus. Then, interns design experiments, collect data, and analyze their results.

Professional interpreters are provided during the classroom sessions.

First Row, L-R: Matt Baer, Milina Cuffy, Anna Thelen, Brian McPartland

Second Row, L-R: Elise Spedden, Prof. Ayse Asatekin, Marc Simon

Third Row L-R: Profs: Cristian Staii, Roger Tobin, Peggy Cebe; ASL Interpreters Mark Riley, Kelly McQuillin

For more information:
Cebe program website

September 9, 2014 – Professor Timothy Atherton Honored with GLBT Educator Award

We are proud to announce that Professor Timothy Atherton has been awarded the 2014 NOGLSTP GLBT Educator Award.   Awarded by the NOGLSTP (National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals), this award is reserved for GLBT Educators who have enabled significant growth for GLBT students in science or technology – through teaching, counseling, advocacy, role modeling, or other educational roles. Professor Atherton was chosen to acknowledge his outstanding achievements in growing the GLBT physicist’s organization and applying diversity theory to educating students in science. He will be honored at the organization’s November Out to Innovate ceremony.

For more information, please visit:  http://www.noglstp.org/

September 5, 2014 – Tufts Professors and Students Participate in International Physics Experiment

Assistant Professor of Physics Hugo Beauchemin and members of the Tufts ATLAS Group—part of an international collaboration comprising thousands of physicists and students—spent the past summer at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. A scientific laboratory, CERN currently houses the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. Read more

August 1, 2014 – Graduate Student Cemile Marsan’s Presentation at 224th AAS Meeting Results in Science News Magazine Article

Congratulations to graduate student Cemile Marsan, who’s abstract supporting her recent submission to The Astrophysical Journal, “Spectroscopic Confirmation of an Ultra Massive and Compact Galaxy at z=3.35: A Detailed Look at an Early Progenitor of Local Most Massive Ellipticals” (currently under review), drew attention from the AAS’ Press Officer.  She was invited her to speak at a Wednesday morning Press Conference entitled: “An Astronomical Assortment”.  One of only 4 speakers, Ms. Marsan’s work managed to successfully garner journalist interest and was featured in a brief article which can be found at Science News Magazine.

June 4, 2014 – 2014-2015 Tufts Collaborates Grant awarded to Professor Atherton’s Condensed Matter Team

Professor Timothy Atherton has been awarded a 2014-2015 Tufts Collaborates grant in collaboration with Professors James Adler, Jeffrey Guasto and David Emerson, along with graduate Chris Burke, for  his project entitled: Fast by Design: Better Liquid Crystal Devices through Theory, Simulation and Experiment. Combining physical modeling, advanced numerical algorithms and high-speed microscopy imaging, this project aims to develop new design strategies for high performance liquid crystal devices. Congratulations all!

June 3, 2014 – Undergraduate Lesya Horyn named 2014 Eliopoulos Summer Scholar

The Department is delighted to congratulate Lesya Horyn, ’15, the receipt of a 2014 Steven J. Eliopoulos and Joyce J. Eliopoulos Summer Scholar award. The Eliopoulos summer scholarships are awarded to undergraduate students who have shown promise in the field of physics. Horyn was picked from among her peers for her research in High Energy Physics.

The Steven J. Eliopoulos and Joyce J. Eliopoulos Summer Scholar Endowed Fund for Undergraduate Research in Physics and Astronomy was established by the Eliopoulos’ to encourage more students to become involved in research projects and do senior theses.

Elio2014June 1, 2014 – Undergraduate Lesya Horyn named 2014 Eliopoulos Summer Scholar

The Department is delighted to congratulate Lesya Horyn, ’15, the receipt of a 2014 Steven J. Eliopoulos and Joyce J. Eliopoulos Summer Scholar award. The Eliopoulos summer scholarships are awarded to undergraduate students who have shown promise in the field of physics. Horyn was picked from among her peers for her research in High Energy Physics.

The Steven J. Eliopoulos and Joyce J. Eliopoulos Summer Scholar Endowed Fund for Undergraduate Research in Physics and Astronomy was established by the Eliopoulos’ to encourage more students to become involved in research projects and do senior theses.


May 21, 2014 – Paul Wagoner awarded 2014 Tufts “Unsung Hero” Distinction Award

The Department is delighted that Paul Wagoner is one of this year’s recipients of a Tufts University “Unsung Hero” Distinction Award. Paul, our Laboratory and Demonstration Coordinator, joined Tufts in June of 2012 and has been  accomplishing the extraordinary every day since managing the academic labs for the department. Distinction Awards candidates are nominated by their peers, and winners chosen by a selection committee of staff and faculty from across the university.

May 9 , 2014 – Students selected for teaching awards

Congratulations to graduate student Catherine Weigel, who has been selected for this year’s Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers, and also to undergraduate Sara Sun, who has been selected for the Outstanding Learning Assistant Award, also sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers, in recognition of excellent work in support of undergraduate physics education at Tufts.

April 30, 2014 – Department mourns the loss of Larry McMaster

We sadly say goodbye to Laurence (Larry) McMaster, who passed away in April. Larry joined Tufts Physics-Astronomy in 1965 as a staff technician. Over time, encouraged by Profs Milburn and Schneps, Larry developed an appetite for innovation and the facilities to enable it. Having seen outstanding shop facilities at other universities and national labs, Larry was ready for the opportunity to create the University Shop at the Science & Technology Center, which he managed from its creation in the 1980s until his retirement in 2011. Faculty and students knew Larry as the ‘go-to guy’ for designing, fabricating, renovating, or salvaging scientific instruments of all kinds, from manufacturing projects for large-scale high-energy physics experiments at international facilities, to smaller projects in support of the condensed matter physics group and researchers from other departments. Larry’s pragmatic approach to problem-solving was backed up by the quiet conviction that creativity can surmount many obstacles. He communicated both that pragmatism and that conviction to students, faculty, and co-workers. In 2011 his Machine Shop Team was recognized for their outstanding service with a Tufts Distinction Award. Larry will be fondly remembered by past and present citizens of Physics-Astronomy as a fine teacher of lessons that cannot be found in any course catalog. He is survived by his wife, Karin, two sons and a daughter and their families.

April 22, 2014 – Undergraduate awards 2014-2015 announced

The Department is excited to congratulate the winners of the 2014-2015 student awards. For more information, click here.

April 15, 2014 – Physics team awarded a 2014-2015 Tufts Innovates! Seed Grant

Professor Timothy Atherton and graduate student Christopher Burke have been awarded a Tufts Innovates! seed grant for the 2014-2015 academic year for their efforts toward development and implementation of a student-centered, interdisciplinary, and project-based course in computational physics. The course will aim to equip students with the skills to identify a range of computational approaches to solve a problem, design and implement functional computational solutions, and interpret output using statistical methods.

The Tufts Innovates! seed grant program seeks to spark imaginative ideas to enhance learning and teaching, including interdisciplinary approaches that integrate research. Supported projects are expected to catalyze sustainable initiatives across schools and programs and may lead to further opportunities for internal and external funding.

Congratulations Tim and Chris!

April 11, 2014 – Tufts faculty and students receive grant for summer research at CERN

A Physics Department faculty-student research team has been awarded an International Research Program grant by the School of Arts & Sciences. The award of $26,100 will allow Profs. Krzysztof Sliwa and Hugo Beauchemin,  graduate student Hyungsuk Son, three undergraduates, Lesya Horyn, Noah Kurinsky and Raphael Osorio, and postdoc Evelin Meoni to carry out particle physics research this summer at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the European Centre for Particle Physics in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Tufts Group has been a member of ATLAS Collaboration since 1994. By studying collisions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the highest energies achievable in the world, physicists are probing the structure of matter and space-time at the deepest level currently achievable. In the summer of 2012, a new particle has been discovered, it is most likely the Higgs boson, a particle in some sense responsible for the fact that most of elementary particles have mass.

The joint stay at CERN is an unparalleled opportunity for the students to interact with scientists from all over the world at the world’s foremost particle physics facility. It will benefit all research projects currently underway in the group and may lead to new projects, which will continue at Tufts, after the participants return to Medford. For Ms. Horyn and Mr. Osorio, it will launch efforts that will culminate in senior thesis projects during the coming academic year, and it will represent the beginning of research ultimately leading to a dissertation for Mr. Son. Many of the tools and methods (programming, statistics) that students will use are also used in numerous fields outside of particle physics, making their experiences and knowledge broadly applicable to their future careers, whatever they may be.

March 31, 2014 – Professor Peggy Cebe awarded the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Faculty Mentoring Award

We are proud to announce that Professor Peggy Cebe has received the Tufts University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Faculty Mentoring Award which recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding support of graduate students from course completion through research and post-degree placement.

We are very proud to have such dedicated colleagues supporting out students and programs!

January 15, 2014 – Professor Peggy Cebe awarded NATAS highest award; elected Vice-President for 2014

Professor Peggy Cebe has received the North American Thermal Analysis Society’s highest award in 2013, for Outstanding Achievement in Thermal Analysis, sponsored by Mettler-Toledo.  She gave the Plenary lecture at the society’s national meeting in Bowling Green, KY.

Professor Cebe is also a fellow of NATAS and has been just been elected as Vice-President for 2014.

August 28, 2013 – Thirty-five years of looking back may have been for “nothing”, says Tufts Physicist

Thirty-five years of looking back may have been for “nothing”, according to Tufts Professor Alex Vilenkin. Though he is confident the universe has a distinct beginning – though he can’t pinpoint the time – Professor Vilenkin, using the concept of “cosmic inflation”, says he has found that before our universe there was nothing, nothing at all, not even time itself.

To read more, see the attached article

July 19, 2013 – Soft Matter Theory group awarded grant to travel to Australia

The Tufts Physics Soft Matter Theory Group was recently awarded a Sandler International Research Grant. These prestigious grants, funded by an anonymous donor, are intended to provide sufficient resources to enable research teams in the sciences to carry out research at a laboratory outside the USA. The SMT group is visiting Patrick Spicer’s group in the school of Chemical Engineering at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

Spicer’s, an experimentalist, research portfolio includes understanding how the microscopic details of emulsions, oil-water mixtures encountered in consumer products like shampoo and ice cream, affects their performance, e.g. how well the shampoo is absorbed onto hair. As theoretical physicists, the SMT Group’s task is to develop models of how these properties are determined by the processes at work in the emulsion. By working with an experimentalist like Spicer, they will be able to test their models and also to provide guidance on likely strategies to make better materials.

Read more about their visit…


June 17, 2013 – Physics professor and new graduate’s work featured online

Measurements taken from Kelvin probe microscopy (KPM) and electrical transport are the focus of a Nanotechweb.org article featuring the work of Tufts researchers Christopher Kehayias (’13) and Prof. Cristian Staii. Based on a recently published article in the Nanotechnology (and Kehayias’ senior honors thesis), “transport measurements show that chemical sensors display highly selective and reversible responses to the measured analytes, as well as fast response and recovery times on the order of tens of seconds”.

Full details can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.

May 30, 2013 – Professor Roger Tobin named Fellow of the AVS

The Department would like to congratulate Professor Roger Tobin on being named a Fellow of the AVS.  The AVS, formerly known as the American Vacuum Society, is a member organization of the American Physical Society and is the leading international organization dedicated to the basic science and applications of vacuum science and technology, including the physical and chemical properties of surfaces and interfaces. Professor Tobin was recognized “For outstanding contributions to understanding the dynamics of energy transfer between adsorbates and metal substrates, and chemical reactions and electronic effects on stepped surfaces”. Professor Tobin’s award will be presented at the 2013 AVS International Symposium in October.

April 7, 2013 – Physics Professor honored by American Chemical Society

Congratulations to Prof. Peggy Cebe, who is being honored at the American Chemical Society Meeting in New Orleans this week with a special symposium in her honor.  The symposium, titled “Providing Opportunities for Under-Represented Students in Polymer Science: Symposium in Honor of Professor Peggy Cebe” is sponsored by the ACS Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering.  Prof. Cebe was Chair of the PMSE Division in 2001.

The special symposium recognizes Prof. Cebe for her summer internship program for deaf and hard of hearing undergraduates.  Prof. Cebe was honored by President Obama in 2012 as an individual recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, our Nation’s highest award for mentoring.  At the ACS meeting, Prof. Cebe will present a lecture on “Providing research opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing interns.”

Two Physics and Astronomy Department graduate students serve as Teaching Assistants in the internship program, and will also attend the ACS meeting.  Dr. Wenwen Huang (Ph.D. 01/2013) was TA in the summers of 2008 and 2011.  Mr. Bin Mao (Ph.D. expected 12/2013) will be the TA for summer of 2013.

April 3, 2013 – Undergraduate wins premier science scholarship

The Department would like to congratulate undergraduate Noah A. Kurinsky, (’14) for receiving one of only 271 2013-14 scholarships from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering, the Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields. 2013-14 winners were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide

February 19, 2013 – Professor Danilo Marchesini named Cottrell Scholar for 2013

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is thrilled to congratulate Professor Danilo Marchesini on being named a 2013 Cottrell Scholar.

Outstanding early-career teacher-scholars in Ph.D. granting universities are accepted into the Cottrell Scholar Program via a rigorous peer-review process. In addition to presenting innovative research proposals, the Cottrell Scholars are expected to be innovative teachers of undergraduate science students. Successful awardees become members of the CS Collaborative, now 250 strong and growing. This group is working to better American undergraduate education in the nation’s Ph.D. granting institutions. They attend an annual conference of like-minded individuals and engage in constructive dialog with leading experts in learning and science. Collaborative team awards are given for new concepts to improve undergraduate teaching.

February 6, 2013 – Astronomer Kenneth Lang looks to the stars for insights into our life on earth

Professor Ken Lang’s latest book, The Life and Death of Stars, has just been published by Cambridge University Press.  Geared toward the educated layperson who is curious about the universe, the book focuses on the formation of stars and their life cycles, among other astronomical subjects.  Stars change, explains Lang, “There is a perpetual process of birth, growth, decay and rebirth.”

Lang’s book will serve as the foundation for a course offered next year called Written in the Stars, in which he will explore not only astronomy, but religion, faith and the human condition.

Read More…

July 23, 2012 – Alumna Mayly Sanchez Honored with Prestigious Presidential Award

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is very proud to announce that Mayly C. Sanchez, G’03, was named one of only 96 researchers receiving the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

The Presidential early career awards embody the high priority placed on producing outstanding scientists and engineers to advance the Nation’s goals, tackle grand challenges, and contribute to the American economy. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.

Dr. Sanchez currently works with Iowa State University and Argonne National Laboratory

To read the official White house Announcement, click here.

Argonne National Laboratory press release.

Iowa State University press release.

Photo by George Joch, courtesy Argonne National Laboratory.

July 9, 2012 – Tufts’ Physicists Part of Team “On the Trail of the Higgs boson”

Several Tufts physicists were part of the large, international team which recently made the discovery of a new elementary subatomic particle that has properties consistent with the hypothesized Higgs boson, which supposedly gives mass to all other particles. The finding also appears to validate the Standard Model of particle physics, the overarching theory describing the dynamics of subatomic particles that has underpinned the field for a half-century.

Tufts scientists include professors Krzysztof Sliwa, Austin Napier and Hugo Beauchemin, who specialize in experimental high-energy physics, and their postdoctoral researchers Sarka Todorova-Nova and Evelin Meoni, both based at CERN; as well as graduate students Samuel Hamilton and Jeffrey Wetter.

“Discovering the Higgs particle is like finding the Holy Grail of physics—it has taken 45 years. One of the primary goals of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN was to discover the Higgs boson, the only particle in the Standard Model of particle physics that has remained undetected since its prediction back in 1964.” ~Austin Napier

Read more at Tufts Now…

May 30, 2012 – Cosmologist’s Work Featured in TuftsNow

Check out this month’s TuftsNow to read more about the recent work of Tufts Physics and Astronomy Professor Alexander Vilenkin and graduate student Audrey Mithani.  In this month’s featured article, In the Beginning Was the Beginning, Professor Vilenkin discusses his recent paper which addresses theories of an emergent universe.  A static universe that sits forever and then somehow bursts open and starts expanding.

To read more, click here

Photo by Jodi Hilton, courtesy of TuftsNow.

Physics & Astronomy Summer 2012 Newsletter

We invite you to read our summer 2012 department newsletter, just click here

May 23, 2012 – Tufts’ Physics Professors In The News

In the Spring 2012 Tufts Blueprint, you can now read about how assistant professor of physics Cristian Staii is using his junior faculty professorship, funded by a generous gift from the Knez Family Charitable Foundation, to support research that may one day help prevent disease, help a paralyzed person again use his or her limbs, or lead to a deeper understanding of the wiring of the nervous system.  To view the article entitled “Fund to help, recruit, retain, and develop scholars, educators” (page 2), visit: http://issuu.com/tuadvcomm/docs/blu.spring.2012.717256?mode=window&backgroundColor=%236699cc.

This spring several of Professor’s Staii’s students presented their research at the American Physics Society conference in Boston, MA.  In addition, students from the lab of Professor Peggy Cebe also presented research. You can read more about Professor Cebe’s collaborative work with Bio-medical Engineering’s Professor David Kaplan in a May 2012 APS News – May vol. 21 No. 8 article entitled “The Physics of Creepy Crawlies and Ravenous Plants” in the (page 5). To view, visit: http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/201205/upload/May-2012.pdf

May 21, 2012 – Tenure and promotion awarded to Professor Jose J. Blanco-Pillado

We are delighted to announce that the Trustees have approved the award of tenure, and promotion to Associate Professor, of José Blanco-Pillado.  Please join us in congratulating José on this much-deserved recognition of his excellent work and contributions to physics, the department and the University.

May 8, 2012 – John F. Burlingame Graduate Fellowships in Physics Named

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to announce the selection of two 2012-2013 recipients of the John T. Burlingame Graduate Fellowships in Physics. Eleni-Alexandra Kontou and Victor Parkinson are being recognized with this prestigious award, which recognizes outstanding achievement by graduate students in physics.  The award enables the winners to forgo teaching duties for the academic year enabling them to focus their efforts solely on research leading to a doctoral degree.

This award was endowed by and named for John T. Burlingame, a graduate of the Tufts Department of Physics and Astronomy who went on to a distinguished career at the General Electric Company.

Congratulations Eleni and Victor!

May 7, 2012 – Summer 2012 Recipient of the Steven J. Eliopoulos and Joyce J. Eliopoulos Endowed Fund is announced

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is excited to announce the selection of the first undergraduate physics Summer Scholar for the Steven J. Eliopoulos and Joyce J. Eliopoulos Endowed Fund. Summer 2012’s recipient is Noah Kurinsky.  Noah, an Engineering/Physics class member of 2014, plans to be focus his research efforts on the “Software-Based Approach to Improving Models of Galactic Evolution”.  Congratulations Noah!

April 5, 2012 – Graduate Student Recognized for Contributions to Undergraduate Education

Each year, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering honor their graduate students through the Graduate Student Awards. The awards celebrate outstanding graduate student achievement in areas such as academic performance, research, student leadership, community service and citizenship, and contributions to undergraduate education.

This year, graduate student Spencer A. Smith is being recognized for his exceptional teaching efforts with the Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education award.  This award recognizes excellence as a teaching assistant or in other roles such as mentoring undergraduates for students in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, or social sciences. Spencer will receive his award at the Annual Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and School of Engineering Graduate Student Awards Ceremony on Friday, April 27, 2012.

We congratulate Spencer for this recognition!

March 26, 2012 – Professor Cebe and Kaplan’s collaborative work spotlighted in this month’s Chemical and Engineering News

Spiders have been spinning webs for thousands of years, but only recently have these webs sparked interest in the research community.  Due to their strength and pliability, researchers are finally attempting to determine what makes spiders webs so special.  And, as is often the case, Tufts is at the forefront.

The March issue of Chemical and Engineering News, spotlights the research of Physics & Astronomy’s professor Peggy Cebe and Bio-medical Engineering’s professor David Kaplan, which focuses on a new family of copolymers in which the blocks are composed of amino acid sequences related to two key regions of spider silk fibers.They have used these copolymers to make new materials which may ultimately be able to be used in human disease therapies.

To read more…

C&E News Article

March 7, 2012 – Professor Cebe is awarded NSF funds to continue summer research program for deaf students

The National Science Foundation continues to recognize and support innovative and exciting granting opportunities.

Tufts Department of Physics & Astronomy is happy to announce the NSF has awarded Professor Peggy Cebe a three-year grant of $550,000 to continue her unique summer internship program. The innovative program provides the opportunity for a small group of DHH science majors (deaf or hard of hearing) to participate in a six-week, highly integrated classroom and laboratory experience focused on investigation of polymeric materials. During this six-week program, approximately four DHH students attend classes and work intensively in a research laboratory obtaining valuable research experience that strengthens their future careers in science. The program, which has run since summer of 2003, is taking a brief hiatus during summer 2011 and will recommence in summer 2013.

For more information:

Cebe program website

Watch us on YouTube

February 21, 2012 – Department Receives Generous Gift to Support Undergraduate Scholarship

The Department of Physics & Astronomy is proud and grateful to announce a generous gift to establish The Steven J. Eliopoulos and Joyce J. Eliopoulos Endowed Fund for Undergraduate Research in Physics and Astronomy.  The gift, which will support a Summer Scholar opportunity for undergraduate physics students, “[will hopefully] encourage even more of our students to become involved in research projects and hopefully do senior theses,” says Professor William Oliver, “because we know that’s one of the most important experiences that the students can have here at Tufts.”

Mr. Eliopoulos, a 1989 alumni of the department, was one of just four physics majors in his year bouncing cold fusion theories around in Bacon Hall. His own senior thesis, under Prof. Oliver’s supervision, was an apparatus to measure the muon lifetime, which is still in use in the undergraduate advanced laboratory course. The owner and director of Gravity Inc., a Medford-based media production company, likens Tufts University to “home”. He and his wife Joyce know their personal connection to the fund will afford the chance to keep them connected to the future of physics—the students.   “The reason we’re giving now as opposed to 20 years from now is that we want to enjoy getting to know these students,” says Joyce. “We want to hear updates from them and see their projects. The best part of doing it now is that we’ll be able to enjoy this for a long time.”

To Read More…

February 15, 2012 – Physics & Astronomy joins Facebook

The Department is excited to announce that we have gone live on Facebook!  You can visit us or  join our network and receive updates at:

Join Us on Facebook!

February 2, 2012 – Physics Professors praise Tufts’ recently upgraded High Performance Computing Cluster (HPC)

“It makes…sense to have this facility available as a university-wide resource…” says physics department Research Professor Ken Olum, who uses the HPC Cluster to produce large-scale simulations of cosmic strings for the Tufts Institute of Cosmology.  He points out “To get the data presented in our last paper, we used about 27 years of CPU time. To do that in a reasonable period of time, you need a large cluster of processors.”

Professor Austin Napier, a member of the Tufts’ High Energy Physics group, which utilizes the Cluster to analyze particle interactions from the ATLAS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, says, “Good network performance is crucial for the analysis to proceed in a timely fashion and the new Tufts cluster provides 10 GB interconnectivity. Tufts is a Tier 3 site and we are able to access large datasets stored [elsewhere] and process the data on the HPC Cluster at Tufts.”

UIT recently announced the completion of its upgrade project of the High Performance Computing Cluster (HPC), which connects a set of computers together via a high-speed network to provide a single, shared resource.  Clearly, it is an invaluable tools for Tufts researchers and students alike.

To read more…

January 30, 2012 – Professor Leon Gunther publishes new book

Professor Leon Gunther is proud of the release of his new book entitled The Physics of Music and Color this past fall.  Based upon a course on the physics of music and color that has been taught at Tufts University since 1973, the book discusses “…the basic underlying physical principles of [how] the two subjects overlap greatly: both music and color are manifestations of wave phenomena, and commonalities exist as to the production, transmission, and detection of sound and light.

This book aids readers in studying both subjects, which involve nearly the entire gamut of the fundamental laws of classical as well as modern physics.

The Physics of Music and Color

Hardcover, ISBN 978-1-4614-0556-6

For more information, or to purchase, click here

January 30, 2012 – Professor Emeritus Allen Everett stays active by writing

Professor Emeritus Allen Everett is not one to sit around during retirement. Along with his colleague Thomas A. Roman, he is the co-author of a new book entitled Time Travel and Warp Drives: A Scientific Guide to Shortcuts through Time and Space, released this fall.  A “delightful discovery for any science buff…written with a light touch and an irrepressible love of the fun of sci-fi scenarios-but firmly routed in the most up-to-date sience”, the authors take readers on a clear, concise tour of our current understanding of the nature of time and space – and whether or not we might be able to bend them to our will.” (University of Chicago Press)

Time Travel and Warp Drives

Hardcover, ISBN-10: 0226224988

For more information, or to purchase, click here

January 4, 2012 – Research Professor Tomas Kafka Retires after 30 years of service

After thirty years of service to Tufts, University Research Professor Tomas Kafka will retire at the end of January 2012.   Tomas has been a stalwart participant in all phases of experiments conducted by the High Energy Physics group at Tufts.   In particular he has played a major role in all of our neutrino physics experiments. His colleagues know him to be a careful, thorough researcher whose passion for verity with measurements and analysis has provided guidance and inspiration to us on many occasions.

For more information click here

January 1, 2012 – Physics Professor Peggy Cebe honored by the White House…

The White House today announced the recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Engineering Mentoring for 2010 and 2011.  The Department of Physics and Astronomy is proud that Professor Peggy Cebe is one of the 17 recipients, and one of only nine individuals honored.

For more information…

Physics & Astronomy Summer 2011 Newsletter

We invite you to read our spring/summer 2010 department newsletter, just click here

June 1, 2011 – Professor Ken Lang re-releases classic reference guide

Tufts University Professor Kenneth R. Lang is proud to announce the release of his second edition of his classic reference The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System. This comprehensive and updated text includes fascinating new discoveries from twelve recent solar system missions. Enhanced with hundreds of striking new images, the Guide is currently available via the Cambridge University Press.

The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System

Hardcover, ISBN:9780521813068

For more information, or to purchase, click here

May 31, 2011 – Professor Jack Schneps Retires after 55 Years of Service

After fifty-five years at Tufts, Vannevar Bush Professor Jacob (Jack) Schneps is retiring from teaching and his long-standing role as project co-director of the experimental High Energy Physics Group. Since his original appointment as assistant professor in 1956, Jack has made innumerable notable contributions to the department. Besides carrying out pioneering work in high energy physics, Jack served a pivotal nine-year term as department chair, during which he was crucial to developing the Department’s graduate program, securing the Burlingame Fellowships, and establishing the Tufts Institute of Cosmology, at that time the only research center in the U.S. devoted to theoretical cosmology. Jack will continue to participate in neutrino physics research.

Professor Jacob Schneps’ Retirement Resolution, click here

May 1, 2011 – Fiorenzo Omenetto Awarded Prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Award

Fiorenzo Omenetto, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Physics, is the recipient of the only fellowship in engineering from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and one of just 180 fellowships awarded to scholars, artists, and scientists chosen from approximately 3,000 applicants in the United States and Canada. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, Guggenheim Fellows, who are typically at the mid-point of their careers, have gone on to earn scores of Nobel, Pulitzer, and other prizes.

April 29, 2011 – Ken Olum Recognized for Visualizing Research at Tufts Illustration

Research Professor Ken Olum was awarded second place in this year’s Visualizing Research at Tufts Awards Program for his illustration entitled Loop emission from a cosmic string, which shows the shape of a cosmic string taken from a simulation, at a particular moment in time. Additional information can be viewed at: http://sites.tufts.edu/vrta/2011-winners/illustrations/

November 24, 2010 – New Findings Regarding Existing Galaxies Disagree with Current Models

Some of the universe’s most massive galaxies may have formed billions of years earlier than current scientific models predict, according to surprising new research by Tufts University Astronomer Danilo Marchesini, in collaboration with researchers from Yale University, Carnegie Observatories, Leiden University, Princeton University, the University of Kansas and the University of California-Santa Cruz.

“We have found a relatively large number of very massive, highly luminous galaxies that existed almost 12 billion years ago when the universe was still very young, about 1.5 billion years old. These results appear to disagree with the latest predictions from models of galaxy formation and evolution,” said Tufts astrophysicist Danilo Marchesini, lead author on the paper and assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the Tufts School of Arts and Sciences. “Current understanding of the physical processes responsible in forming such massive galaxies has difficulty reproducing these observations.”

The findings appear in the Astrophysical Journal online Nov. 24 and in print Dec. 10, 2010.

To read more, see the Press Release.

April 30, 2013 – Larry McMaster Retires after 44 Years with Tufts University

Laurence (Larry) McMaster is retiring after 44 years at Tufts University. Hired in 1965, McMaster served originally as a Staff Machinist and Instrument Maker for innumerable research projects, eventually working his way up to Shop Supervisor. Under his steady leadership the Shop facility evolved from a modest operation with a couple of lathes, some hand tools and a bandsaw, located in Bacon Hall, into its current state-of-art fabrication site located in the Science and Technology Center at 4 Colby Street in Medford.

Larry’s pragmatic approach to novel instrumentation was crucial to the development of experimental research at Tufts.  This was particularly the case for the High Energy Physics group which, over time and with Larry’s tutelage, gradually “McMaster-ed” the art of designing and deploying large detector systems.  With the HEP group he served crucially in detector deployments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Laboratory, at Fermi National Laboratory, and at the Soudan mine in northern Minnesota.  Many of the adventures for which he designed, supervised, or provided key guidance, took place at Tufts, including a cold fusion experiment,  a faculty-and-staff TIG welding team, fabrications of Monitored Drift Tubes for ATLAS, multichannel fiber guides for MINOS, and design and fabrication of the optical box array of MINERvA.

Often Larry was called upon to advise and mentor “students” who were involved in these assorted ventures – undergraduates, grad students, and faculty alike; this he always did Very Well.  The shop – the fabrication workplace – was his classroom, and the door was mostly always open.   For those – many – of us who have benefited, Larry’s work and guidance rank among the terrific benefits of a Tufts education.

We wish Larry the very best!
For more information about the STC Machine Shop, click here

October 1, 2010 – “Gary-Fest:  Transverse Spin Phenomena and Their Impact on QCD” – a Workshop in Honor of Gary Goldstein’s 70th Birthday


In celebration of the 70th birthday of Gary Goldstein, Tufts University Professor of Physics, colleagues from the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Lab in Newport News, Virginia planned a workshop-celebration on October 28 & 29th.  The workshop focused on and highlighted many of Prof. Goldstein’s theoretical and experimental contributions to science, particularly his work on spin-polarization phenomena in particle physics. Many scientists and friends of Prof. Goldstein’s, who have both impacted and been impacted by his career participated, presented papers, and paid tribute to the depth and breadth of his scientific accomplishments, including his role as an educator-mentor.


October 1, 2010 – NOYCE/NSF Scholarship Program

The Physics & Astronomy Department, in conjunction with the Mathematics and Education Departments at Tufts, are proud to have received $2.1 million from the Noyce/NSF Scholarship Program to support students to teach middle and high school math and science. We are now recruiting math and science majors to receive a full scholarship to the Tufts Master of Arts in Teaching program, in addition to a stipend and special mentoring while they teach in urban schools.

More information about the Program and the application process can be found here.

September 1, 2010 – Physicists Team with Math and Education Faculty to Launch Poincaré Institute for Mathematics Education

The Physics & Astronomy department is proud to be one of several groups within Tufts School of Arts and Sciences to team up to strengthen mathematics education for middle school children in school districts in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.  A generous $9.5 million award from the National Science Foundation will launch the Poincaré Institute: A Partnership for Mathematics Education. The five-year grant will enable collaboration between public school teachers and mathematicians, physicists and educational researchers from Tufts’ Arts and Sciences faculty under a single umbrella. Tufts is working closely with TERC, a nonprofit research organization dedicated to improving mathematics, science and technology teaching and learning.
To view the official Press Release, click here.

Physics & Astronomy Summer 2010 Newsletter

We invite you to read our spring/summer 2010 department newsletter, just click here

June 16, 2010 – P&A senior, Lauren Wielgus, wins elite Astronaut Foundation scholarship

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) has awarded its 2010-2011 scholarship awards. Proudly, Physics and Astronomy student, senior Lauren Weilgus, was chosen as this year’s Tufts honoree. The $10,000 scholarship awards are given to top engineering and science students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in their field of study. This is the highest monetary award given in the United States to science and engineering students at the undergraduate level based solely on merit.

In order to be eligible, students must be a U.S. citizen, attend one of the 19 institutions the Foundation supports, entering their junior or senior year (or pursuing a Masters degree), and be nominated by a professor. An on-campus committee reviews the applicants and then nominates the top two students to present to the ASF Scholarship Committee for consideration. The committee then selects one student from each institution (when applicable) to receive the prestigious award.

We are very proud to have Lauren as part of our department and congratulate her on this honor.


June 1, 2010 – Summer brings hot days, warm nights and baseball season…

“…The pitcher varies the ball’s vertical motion largely by controlling its spin….” according to Roger Tobin, Professor of Physics at Tufts University.

Read More in the May 26, 2010 Tufts Journal

May 17, 2010 – STC Machine Shop Team honored with “Extra Mile Award”

Science and Technology Machine Shop staff members Denis R. Dupuis, Scott J. MacCorkle and Laurence P. McMaster have been awarded the Tufts University Extra Mile Award for all the “extra miles” they go to serve the Tufts community. The Extra Mile award is awarded to Tufts employees who have gone that extra mile to provide exceptional customer service, and this certainly describes the machine shop team.  Dupuis, MacCorkle and McMaster, along with the other distinction award winners who make Tufts University an extraordinary place to work and learn, will be honored June 9th, 2010 at the third annual Tufts Distinction Awards ceremony.  Congratulations on a job well done!

For more information, click here

April 15, 2010 – Department gears up for 8th year of unique summer research program for students with disabilities


Summer 2010 looks bright! Summer promises hot days, warm nights and another crop of students anxious to learn and explore the joys of research. This group, however, is not your typical class. Since 2003 Professor Peggy Cebe, with the support of the National Science Foundation, has offered a unique, summer internship program which provides opportunities for a small group of DHH (deaf or hard of hearing) science majors to participate in a six-week, highly integrated classroom and laboratory experience focused on investigation of polymeric materials. As Tufts summer students, these students earn course credit and live together in Tufts dormitory housing. They attend classes and work intensively in a research laboratory. Ultimately, they bond with peers, learn to contribute to a team effort, and  obtain valuable research experience that strengthens their future careers in science…

To read more about this program:

MRS-Interfaces Article (MRS Bulletin, Vol. 35, April 2010)

September 2009 article

Cebe program website

Watch Us on YouTube

April 1, 2010 – Kathryn A. McCarthy Lectureship Announced

The Tufts University Physics & Astronomy Department and Professor Lawrence H. Ford proudly announce this year’s Kathryn A. McCarthy Lectureship in Physics. Established to highlight the contributions made by women scientists in their fields, the Kathryn A. McCarthy Lectureship honors one noted scientist every three years. This year’s award is being presented to Deborah S. Jin. A JILA and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Fellow and Adjoint Professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Professor Jin has been recognized for her research on ultra cold atoms, and is currently the leader of a very active research group at JILA/NIST.   More…


April 1, 2010 – Professor Gary Goldstein recognized as a Distinguished Scholar

Tufts University physics professor Gary Goldstein has been recognized with a Tufts University Distinguished Scholar Award in the Natural Sciences and Engineering field.  Rotated annually among different groups of departments throughout the University, this award recognizes Tufts University faculty for distinguished research and scholarship in their specific disciplines over the past five years.

Professor Goldstein’s field is Elementary Particle Physics, including theoretical studies of quark dynamics, applications and tests of Quantum ChromoDynamics, and the spin structure of nucleons and hadrons. He also focuses on Physics Education Research, specifically how elementary school students learn and use their experiential resources to understand many basic elements of physics.

We congratulate Professor Goldstein on this receipt prestigious award.

March 17, 2010 – Roger Tobin recognized for teaching excellence with Lillian and Joseph Leibner Award

Roger Tobin, professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, is this year’s winner of the Lillian and Joseph Leibner Award for Distinguished Teaching and Advising, recognizing his success in student service. Given annually, the Lillian and Joseph Leibner Award is presented to a faculty member who is recommended by both colleagues and students for their outstanding instruction and guidance of Tufts University students. Tobin teaches a number of undergraduate courses at Tufts, ranging from introductory level classes like Introduction to Physics II to more advanced classes in quantum physics, and serves as an undergraduate advisor.  His research specializes in condensed matter physics and experimental surface science.

We are proud to have such a dedicated and student focused colleague in our department.
Press Release

Photo courtesy of Dilys Ong/Tufts Daily.

January 21, 2010 – 8-week mini-course: Using the Library for Thesis and Capstone Projects


Tisch Library offers Research for Success: Using the Library for Thesis and Capstone Projects (EXP 19), an 8-week mini-course to assist senior thesis writers with the research process. You will learn the major research tools and techniques specific to your subject area, develop a working bibliography of resources and a plan for continuing your research.

The class begins Tuesday, February 2, 6-8:30pm. It is pass/fail, 1/2 credit. For more information, see http://www.library.tufts.edu/tisch/ra/undergraduateTheses.html.

Register at SIS Online.

October 28, 2009 – Mayly Sanchez receives HENAAC STEM Award

Congratulations to Dr. Mayly Sanchez (Tufts Ph.D ’03), who received HENAAC’S 21st Annual STEM Award in Outstanding Technical Achievement at the 2009 HENAAC Conference. The winners were selected based on their achievements in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Mayly received the award for her work as co-leader of the electron neutrino appearance analysis in the MINOS experiment. Mayly is currently an Assistant Professor of Physics at Iowa State University, where she works on the NoVA and MINOS neutrino experiments, in addition to participating in the design of future long-baseline neutrino experiments.

Press Release

Photo courtesy of the 2009 HENAAC Awards Show Gala, October 9.

October 20, 2009 – Professor Ronald Thornton receives APS Excellence in Physics Education Award

Professor Ronald Thornton, together with collaborators David Sokoloff and Priscilla Laws, are the recipients of the American Physical Society’s 2010 “Excellence in Physics Education” award, for twenty-three years of national and international leadership in the design, testing, validation, and dissemination of research-based introductory physics curricula, computer tools and apparatus that engage students in active learning based on the observation and analysis of real phenomena. Congratulations, Ron.

September 15, 2009 – Freeman Dyson to Deliver Fall 2009 Snyder Lecture

Freeman Dyson is professor emeritus of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He was born in England and worked as a civilian scientist for the Royal Air Force in World War 2. A graduate of Cambridge University in 1945 with a B.A. in mathematics, he came to Cornell University as a graduate student in 1947 and worked with Hans Bethe and Richard Feynman. His most useful contribution to science was the unification of the three versions of quantum electrodynamics invented by Feynman, Schwinger and Tomonaga. Cornell University made him a professor without bothering about his lack of a Ph.D. He subsequently worked on nuclear reactors, solid-state physics, ferromagnetism, astrophysics and biology, looking for problems where elegant mathematics could be usefully applied.

Dyson has written a number of books about science for the general public, including Disturbing the Universe (1979), a portrait-gallery of people he has known during his career as a scientist, Weapons and Hope (1984), a study of the ethical problems of war and peace, Origins of Life(1986), a study of one of the major unsolved problems of science, and The Sun, the Genome and the Internet (1999), an inquiry into whether modern technology could be used to narrow the gap between rich and poor rather than to widen it. Dyson is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the Royal Society of London. In 2000 he was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.

A Celebration of the Life of Professor Robert P. Guertin

The Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences invite you to join us on Tuesday, Sept. 22 to celebrate the life of our dear friend and colleague Professor Robert Guertin, who passed away on June 12, 2009. Granoff Music Center, Distler Performance Hall, 5 p.m.

September 9, 2009 – Scientific Boot Camp Completes Seventh Year

A program created by Prof. Peggy Cebe to provide deaf and hard-of-hearing students an opportunity to participate in research in fuel cell technology graduated its seventh group of students this past summer. The Scientific Boot Camp was recently profiled in the Tufts Journal.

August 24, 2009 – Mechanics Placement Exam

The Mechanics Placement Exam is scheduled for Thursday Sept 3 8:30 – 9:30 am in Robinson 153. The results of the exam will be posted on this news page within 12 hours of the completion of the exam.

June 12, 2009 – The Department Mourns the Loss of Professor Robert Guertin

It is with great sadness that the Department of Physics and Astronomy mourns the loss of Professor Robert Guertin, who passed away June 12, 2009. Bob was a member of the Tufts Faculty for 41 years and made many contributions to the Department, the University, and the world of physics. Bob’s life will be celebrated at a Memorial Service on campus on Tuesday Sept. 22, 2009.