News & Events

The Department is delighted to host the following events:
We regret to announce the death of Emeritus Professor Phillips Russell Jones, who passed away Thursday, May 4, 2017. Born on August 25, 1930, in Troy, New York , Phil received a Bachelors degree in Physics from UMass, in 1951. He joined the UMass Physics Department as an Assistant Professor in 1958 and continued here until his retirement as Professor in 1993. Read further....

Ryan Boyden, a senior majoring in Physics and Astronomy, will be honored as a 21st Century Leader at Commencement. Ryan, who is the first author in a paper in Astrophysical Journal with Astronomy Professor Stella Offner, plans to go on to graduate studies at Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Congratulations, Ryan!

Liam O’Brian, a third year Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science major, and member of the Commonwealth Honors College, has received the William F. Field Alumni Scholar award, that recognizes juniors for their academic achievements. Congratulations, Liam!

Saba Karimeddiny, a senior Physics major and member of the Commonwealth Honors College, has received the Spring 2017 Rising Researcher award, recognising undergraduates who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity. Saba has been working with Prof Jon Machta on noisy, coupled oscillators, and drawing dynamical correspondences from those systems to the Ising model. Congratulations, Saba!

More News & Events


Professor Narayanan Menon is this year's recipient of the College of Natural Sciences Outstanding Faculty Award for Research. Congratulations, Narayanan!
The Amherst Center for Fundamental Interactions hosts a workshop this week on "Making the Electroweak Phase Transition (Theoretically) Strong", April 6 - 8, 2017, in LGRT 419B. For more details and the current schedule, click here.
The Physics Department is delighted to announce the visit of this year's Helen and Morton Sternheim Lecturer, Prof. Glennys Farrar of New York University. A distinguished theoretical physicist who has made path-breaking contributions to many areas of particle physics, Prof. Farrar will deliver two lectures that are open to the public: the Physics Department Colloquium on Wednesday April 12th at 4pm in Hasbrouck 124, and the Sternheim lecture on Thursday April 13th at 4 pm in ISB 135. Please join us!

On February 9th, a new generation of dark matter detector, the LZ experiment, cleared a Department of Energy approval process marking the the start of construction funding, with completion by early 2020. The research group of Assistant Professor Scott Hertel at UMass is contributing a set of calibration technologies central to the experiment's success. More

The Physics department extends a warm welcome to Assistant Professor Scott Hertel, an experimentalist working towards the direct detection of dark matter through interactions with ultra-sensitive detectors on earth. He is playing a significant role in the upcoming xenon-filled LZ experiment in South Dakota, and is working on R&D for a future experiment employing a superfluid helium target.

Professor Emeritus William J. Mullin has authored a new book on Quantum Mechanics titled "Quantum Weirdness", that begins with the fundamentals but quickly works its way to discussing issues of entanglement, teleportation and quantum computing. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon. Congratulations, Bill!

The US Department of Energy has renewed a three-year nuclear theory grant to Prof. Ramsey-Musolf for $1.1M, including an increase to support workshop and visitor activities of the Amherst Center for Fundamental Interactions. The supported research will focus on the cosmic matter-antimatter asymmetry and the interplay of fundamental symmetry tests and neutrino studies with searches for new physics at the high energy frontier. Congratulations, Michael!

If you are having difficulty registering for any of these Physics classes, please see the Physics Dept. Undergraduate Course/Scheduling Manager, Kris Reopell, in LGRT 1133.

Robert (Bobby) Johnston, a senior Physics and Engineering major, has been selected to receive the 2016-2017 Rising Researcher award, recognising undergraduates who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity. Bobby has previously won a Goldwater Scholarship, as well as the William F. Field Alumni Scholar Award. Congratulations, Bobby!

Prof. Chris Santangelo has been awarded the 2017 GSOFT Early Career Award from the American Physical Society's Topical Group on Soft Matter. He shares this award with MIT's Pedro Reis for their work in extreme mechanics. The citation reads "For seminal theoretical contributions exploiting geometry and topology to understand the elasticity of soft materials". Congratulations, Chris!

Stéphane Willocq has been named Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2016, nominated by the Division of Particles and Fields. Congratulations, Stéphane! The citation reads
For contributions to the physics of heavy flavor in electron-positron collisions; searches for new vector bosons in proton-proton collisions at the highest energies at the Large Hadron Collider; and for exceptional leadership of the exotic physics and technical groups during the first data-collection with the ATLAS experiment.

The Physics Department welcomes the new Fall 2016 class of 15 graduate students.

The Physics department is delighted to welcome three new faculty members:


Assistant Professor Chen Wang is a condensed matter experimentalist specialising in quantum phenomena in mesoscopic systems. Read more


Assistant Professor Tigran Sedrakyan is a condensed matter theorist and expert on new states of quantum matter. More


Assistant Professor Patrick Draper is a particle theorist focused on physics beyond the Standard Model. More

The new Massachusetts Center for Autonomous Materials (MassCAM) has been selected for funding by the UMass President’s Science and Technology Initiatives Fund. Co-directed by Professors Jenny Ross and Tony Dinsmore, the Center will focus on research and the development of technology in soft, biological and quantum materials. More