Physics Department Undergraduate Newsletter


posted March 16, 2020 (last updated on June 29, 2020)

(items added since the original posting date are marked in red)

(Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, G. Chottiner at , for more information about any of these postings or to submit additional items.)


Department News

Jobs - General Information

Alumni News
Course & Program Announcements Jobs -  academic year Standing News
Meetings, Conferences, Professional Societies, etc. Jobs - on campus, summer Old News
Awards, Prizes, Scholarships, Contests, etc.
Jobs - off campus, summer LINKS
Fellowships & Scholarships for life after CWRU Jobs - permanent HUMOR
Graduate School Information Jobs - co-op  


(posted June 23, 2020, updated June 29)
Emeritus Prof. Keith Robinson passed away yesterday.  You can learn more about Prof. Robinson's career and interest in teaching undergraduates at 
His obituary is available at KeithRobinsonObituary
(posted June 5, 2020) From today's The Daily:  Living in a COVID-free bubble at the bottom of the world: CWRU Physics PhD student Allen Foster on living at the South Pole during a global pandemic
When fourth-year PhD physics student Allen Foster arrived at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica in early January for a 10-month research assignment, he had no idea the rest of the world soon would be hit by a global pandemic. With no flights in or out since early February, the South Pole may be one of the only places on earth where you can't come into contact with COVID-19. Face masks, social distancing, frequent hand washing and food shortages are things that Foster and his colleagues have read about but don't experience firsthand. They try to imagine all the changes that await them months from now. Foster's been braving extreme conditions, including temperatures that may plunge to -100 degrees F before wind chill, for a research project in experimental cosmology as part of CWRU Physics Professor John Ruhl's laboratory. Foster's work involves the South Pole Telescope, a large (10-m diameter) telescope used by researchers to explore the origins and evolution of our universe by imaging the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, a remnant glow from the Big Bang. Ruhl was part of an international team that helped design and build the telescope.

(posted May 29, 2020)
From today's The Daily:  Undergraduate research and creative project award winners announced
Twenty projects were chosen as winners among the 197 presentations submitted by undergraduates who participated in Intersections.
First place in Physical Science and Mathematics went to physics majors Thomas Ugras and Jared May for "Vapor-Liquid-Solid Growth and Characterization of ZnGeGa2N4" mentored by Professor Kathleen Kash of our department.
(posted May 27, 2020)
From today's The Daily:  Dominic Oddo Named USTFCCCA All-American
Case Western Reserve University senior (physics major) Dominic Oddo was named a 2020 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division III Indoor Track & Field All-American.  Read more at 'Dom' is heading to the University of New Mexico for a PhD in the physics and astronomy dept.
(posted May 15, 2020)
From today's The Daily
 Graduating physics major Joshua Holmes is one of eight students featured in today;s issue of The Daily
.  You can
(posted May 14, 2020)
Congratulations to physics majors Thomas Ugras and Jared May (working with Prof. Kash) for their first place finish in Physical Science and Mathematics at the recent SOURCE Intersections event.  

(posted May 7, 2020)
Physics Instructor Diana Driscoll is one of this year's winners of the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching; see You can read more about this prestigious award, which recognizes the best instructors at CWRU, at . 

(posted April 17, 2020)
From today's The Daily
Four named winners of Faculty Distinguished Research Awards

Physics Professor Ken Singer is one of four CWRU faculty members recognized this year for outstanding research.

(posted March 16, 2020)
Theory Girls
Two graduate students in our department (Laura Johnson and Klaountia Pasmatsiou) are part of "a group of women that are passionate about physics. We are researchers and podcast hosts. On this site, we support a community-based blog that explores physics research at the frontier. You will also find topics that discuss life and culture in academia throughout our media."  You can see the site at
Theory Girls.
(posted March 11, 2020)
From today's The Daily
Senior physics major Dom
inic Oddo was named the University Athletic Association Athlete of the Week for men's field, following his performance at the 2020 Polar Bear Last Chance Meet, hosted by Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio this past weekend. You can read more at Oddo claims UAA Athlete of the Week honors.

(posted February 28, 2020)
The American Association of Physics Teachers, AAPT, has announced the 'Doc Brown Futures Award'. The message circulated to all members of the AAPT read as follows.
We are pleased to announce that nominations are now being accepted for the Doc Brown Futures Award. Dr. Robert Brown, a long-time AAPT member at Case Western Reserve, recently provided a generous donation to endow the award. This award recognizes early-career members who demonstrate excellence in their contributions to AAPT and physics education and exhibit the potential to serve in an AAPT leadership role. Candidates must be "early career" which is defined as an individual who has been full-time in the profession of physics education for no more than seven years at the time of nomination. Awardees receive a monetary prize of $1,000, a commemorative plaque, complimentary registration to an AAPT National Meeting, and two nights lodging and reimbursement for travel expenses.
Please nominate a qualified early career physics educator and AAPT member for this award! K-12 teachers, two-year college faculty, and four-year college and university faculty are eligible. In your nomination, please comment on the candidate's involvement and leadership in AAPT, how they advance AAPT's mission, and how they engage in leadership through research and scholarship. We anticipate celebrating our first awardee at the 2020 Summer Meeting in Grand Rapids, MI. Nominations for the first Doc Brown Award are due April 15, 2020.

(posted February 26, 2020)
We learned yesterday that Diana Driscoll has been nominated for the Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Dr. Driscoll has also been nominated for the  Jackson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring, as have our Profs. Kathleen Kash and Corbin Covault.

(posted February 19, 2020)
The Physics & Astronomy Club (PAC) officers this academic year are:
Jake Trookman (President)
William Christopherson (Treasurer)
Benjamin Goldberg (Secretary)
Adam Fisher (Risk Manager)
Yugan Sakthi (Astronomy Representative)

(posted February 19, 2020) From today's The Daily
School of Medicine student selected as a 2020 Gates Cambridge Scholar
Nikhil Krishnan describes his educational journey as a mix of math and medicine. After earning a bachelor's degree in physics from Case Western Reserve University, he went on to pursue a medical degree at the School of Medicine. "I've been fascinated with math since grade school," he said, "and was also very interested in conducting research that touches peoples' lives." Now, the fourth-year medical student has the chance to merge the fields again-this time as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Krishnan is the third student in Case Western Reserve history to earn the scholarship. One of 28 students from the U.S. and a total of 88 globally selected for the prestigious award, Krishnan will study as a PhD candidate in physics at the University of Cambridge beginning this fall, just months after earning his MD from the School of Medicine.

(posted February 16, 2020) From today's The Daily
From our campus to space: E-Week 2020
Astronaut and Northeast Ohio native (and former CWRU physics major) Don Thomas is coming home this week, back to the Case Western Reserve campus where he said his space career really took off. Thomas is a four-time Shuttle mission specialist who spent 44 days in space in the 1990s, completing nearly 700 orbits of the Earth and traveling 17.6 million miles. He became one among only four astronauts to fly aboard the Shuttle Columbia three times and was a member of the 1995 "All-Ohio Mission." "I had been dreaming about going to space since I was 6 years old, but my career as an astronaut really started at Case Western Reserve University," he said. "What I learned there - the discipline, the study habits, the connections I made - prepared me for everything else that was to come. I was ready for any challenge." His story of persistence will be a large part of his keynote address at a reception from 5 - 8 p.m. today (Monday) in Thwing Center Ballroom. His talk officially launches the Case School of Engineering's annual Engineers Week.


(posted February 10, 2020) Prof Kenneth Singer, Faculty Distinguished Research Award
President Snyder, Provost Vincent, Dean Russ and Vice President for Research Sue Rivera joined a department faculty meeting today to present our own Ken Singer with the Faculty Distinguished Research Award.  This award "was established in 2013 to recognize those who uphold and build upon Case Western Reserve's history as an innovative, research-driven institution, and established national and international reputations for their research or creative projects."

(posted January 31, 2020) From today's The Daily
Cleveland scientist wins half-marathon at the South Pole
The Plain Dealer: Allen Foster, a PhD student in physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, is profiled for winning a half-marathon in Antarctica while stationed at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, the southernmost habitation on Earth that serves as a research facility.


Adjunct Professor Claudia de Rham (formerly a full-time member of our department but now at Imperial College, London) is described in an article in The Guardian


(posted January 24, 2020)
Congratulations to senior physics major (with a concentration in biophysics) Gundeep Singh, for earning first prize in the Physical Science category at the December 2019 Source Intersections Poster session. The title of Gundeep's poster was "Intrapatient and Interpatient Heterogeneity Assessment of Adhesion Dynamics of Red Blood Cells in Patients with Sickle Cell Disease". This research was performed with Prof.    Michael  Hinczewski of our department.

 (posted January 17, 2020) From today's The Daily
Using physics to increase energy efficiency of LEDs
WKSU: Kathy Kash, the M. Roger Clapp University Professor in the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, discussed ongoing research into how to make lighting technology efficiently span the color spectrum.


(posted January 14, 2020
We mourn the passing of sophomore physics major Jonathan Arms.  You can read more about Jonathan at today's The Daily.

(posted January 9, 2020)

A list of publications with CWRU undergraduate physics majors as authors is posted at . The most recent addition is: Benthara Hewage Dinushi Jayatunga, Md Rezaul Karim, Rebecca A. Lalk*, Okey Ohanaka*, Walter R.L. Lambrecht, Hongping Zhao and Kathleen Kash, "Metal-Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition of ZnGeGa2N4",  Cryst. Growth Des. 20, 1, 189-196, Nov. 27, 2019.

(posted January 2, 2020) From today's The Daily, "Faculty researchers receive two National Science Foundation awards"
Burcu Gurkan also is the principal investigator on a second grant along with collaborators Umut Gurkan, the Warren E. Rupp Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (co-principal investigator); Giuseppe Strangi, professor of physics and the Ohio Research Scholar in Surfaces of Advanced Materials (co-principal investigator); and Michael Hinczewski, assistant professor of physics (co-principal investigator). The second grant is for work titled "Instrument Development: Multiplex Sensory Interfaces Between Photonic Nanostructures and Thin Film Ionic Liquids."The researchers received a grant for $450,000 for three years.


(posted October 2, 2019)
Prof. Harsh Mathur is quoted on the use of blackboards and chalk in an article in Physics World .


(posted September 11, 2019)
Members of department committees for the 2019-2020 AY have been announced. Department (co-)chairs are ex officio  members of all department committees. Committees of interest to undergraduate physics major are:

UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM COMMITTEE (renamed this year from Undergraduate Curriculum Committee): Gary Chottiner (chair), Bob Brown, Pino Strangi, Mike Martens, Harsh Mathur plus several students TBD.

ENGINEERING PHYSICS: Xuan Gao (incoming chair), Michael Martens (outgoing chair), Jesse Berezovsky, Pino Strangi, Gary Chottiner, Ken Singer, Ed Caner

INSTRUCTIONAL LABS: Ben Monreal (chair in fall), Kathleen Kash (chair in spring), John Ruhl, Xuan Gao, Ken Singer, Lydia Kisley, Diana Driscoll,  Bob Brown   

SENIOR PROJECT: Gary Chottiner (chair), Corbin Covault, Xuan Gao, Kathy Kash (Spring), Michael Martens, Harsh Mathur, Chuck Rosenblatt   

COLLOQUIUM: Phil Taylor, Harsh Mathur, Kurt Hinterbichler



(posted May 24, 2019 & updated July 3) From the May 23 The Daily: Phase transitions: the math behind the music
Next time you listen to a favorite tune or wonder at the beauty of a natural sound, you might also end up pondering the math behind the music. You will, anyway, if you spend any time talking with Jesse Berezovsky, an associate professor of physics at Case Western Reserve University. The longtime science researcher and a part-time viola player has become consumed with understanding and explaining the connective tissue between the two discipline - more specifically, how the ordered structure of music emerges from the general chaos of sound.

See also

and the actual paper:

From the June 28 The Daily: Statistical mechanics meets music theory

Physics Today: Jesse Berezovsky, associate professor of physics, conducted research explaining patterns found in music.



(posted March 19, 2020) New Fall 2020 Course - Experimental Methods in Biophysics
Pending approval from our department chairs, Professor Kisley will be offering a new course in Fall 2020 - PHYS 330/430 Experimental Methods in Biophysics. Learn about the physical phenomenon behind how the "black boxes" of biophysics instruments work. Stay updated on the cutting-edge techniques being developed around the world today. Pre-req of PHYS 122/124. More details can be found here and the posting with date/time should be added to the fall schedule of classes soon. Contact Prof. Kisley if you have any questions -


(posted January 3, 2019)

The department's collection of academic advising wisdom posted at was updated on December 16, 2019.

(posted August  20, 2019)

If you are interested in a combined bachelors/masters degree at CWRU, you should be aware that the state of Ohio is requiring changes in how those programs are handled.  The details are not yet settled but the good news is that all current CWRU students will be allowed to follow the policies currently in place; only students who matriculate in or after fall 2020 will have to follow the new policies.


(posted August  20, 2019)

The May study abroad course  "Science and Technology in France:  Yesterday and Today", taught by Prof. Rosenblatt and Prof. Cheryl Toman, now has a physics designation:  PHYS 333.  Students may register using this designation, or the FRCH, WLIT, or WGST designations.  Please contact Prof. Rosenblatt for details.


(posted May 7, 2019)

Effective for the entering class of fall 2019, the requirements for our BS degree in physics, including the mathematical physics and biophysics concentrations, have been reduced from 127 to 120 credits, the same as for our BA degree.  This change was motivated by a recommendation of the Provost's Commission on the Undergraduate Experience that departments reduce the academic requirements of our BS degrees.  A similar change for the BS in Mathematics and Physics is in process.  Students who matriculated at CWRU before fall 2019 can switch to a newer set of policies by changing the Requirement Term in the Major Declaration Form .  The reduction in credits comes at the expense of Open Electives that students were formerly required to take just so they could accumulate 127 total credits.  Physics BS majors are still welcome to take additional open elective courses of their choosing but this is no longer a degree requirement.


(posted July 7, 2011)

There's a new resource available to our majors. Syllabi for physics courses are now being archived at You can search for syllabi by course, instructor and/or semester. Links to this resource will be available via the course listing page.


Students often request changes in course schedules. The instructor is free to change the schedule as long as all the students enrolled in the course (or likely to enroll) agree to the new time; this time must also fit the official university course time slots, which you can view at . Since it is generally very difficult to find a time that works for all the parties; the instructor may ask the student(s) requesting the schedule change to do much of the work of finding a mutually acceptable time.


If you have questions about what physics courses are likely to be offered in the coming academic year, you can ask the Director of Undergraduate Studies, G. Chottiner, or the Director of Graduate Studies, C. Covault. Most courses that are required for a degree are offered every year during the same fall and/or spring semester. We try to offer other courses on a regular schedule but sometimes changes are necessary to accommodate the availability of faculty to teach those courses. You can review the normal schedule via the online schedule of classes, which shows whether each class was offered at some particular time.

Meetings, Conferences, Professional Societies, etc.

Watch this space for announcements of meetings and AIP/APS postings relevant to Case undergraduates.  Many meetings are still announced via paper.  Postings for these meetings can be found on bulletin boards throughout the department. Regular meetings of the American Physical Society, including its Ohio Chapter, and other professional societies may be accessed via their web sites (listed at the end of this newsletter ).
(posted August 26, 2019)
The annual Conferences for Women In Physics, CUWiP, conference dates and locations have been announced. See for more information. The closest conference is at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh from Friday, January 17 through Sunday afternoon, January 19, 2020.  Student applications open September 3 and some sites do fill up quickly so you should register early if you plan to attend. Our department typically provides support for travel and other expenses related to attending this conference. You should expect to hear more about these arrangements via email.
(posted April 9, 2019)
The AIP Statistical Research Center has released the 2019 Women in Physics and Astronomy Report, an update of the 2005 Women in Physics and Astronomy Report.   This report provides a comprehensive overview of the representation and participation of women in physics and astronomy fields.  It examines representation of women across multiple academic stages including high school physics enrollment, bachelor's and doctoral degree completions, and faculty employment.  In addition, the report identifies potential points of attrition between academic career stages, and provides updated data on the representation of minority women. For the first time, the report has included new analyses comparing employment outcomes between men and women in salary, job satisfaction, opportunities, family influences, and resources.  

(March 5, 2019)
The AIP Statistical Research Center recently published three Spring 2019 Physics Trends flyers: Who's hiring Physics Bachelors? ; Common Job titles of new physics bachelors ; What Physics PhDs are doing the year after they get their degree. You can view these flyers at,65RKJ,EMUF06,O8DR7,1

(October 29, 2018)
The AIP Statistical Research Center recently posted two new publications. Roster of Physics Departments with Enrollments and Degree Data, 2017  and 
Roster of Astronomy Departments with Enrollments and Degree Data, 2017 . These reports provide a detailed, department by department listing, with Fall 2017 enrollments and 2016-17 degree data for each degree-granting physics and astronomy department in the US.

(October 22, 2018)
Two faculty members and at least two physics majors plan to attend the 2018 National Society of Black Physicists Annual Meeting on November 4-7 in Columbus, OH. See  for more details.

Undergraduate physics majors are encouraged to join the Society of Physics Students; you can learn more about this organization at .

Some students will be interested in special groups of physic students and physicists, such as:
The Women in Physics program of the American Physical Society -
The National Society of Black Physicists -
The National Society of Hispanic Physicists -
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society -

The American Physical Society , part of the American Institute of Physics is should be of interest to everyone studying physics in the US but other countries and regions have their own physics organizations.  For example:
The Physical Society of Japan -
The Chinese Physical Society -
The European Physical Society -

(posted April 20, 2018) From the AIP
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) Statistical Research Center has recently produced another set of Physics Trend Flyers. They cover which employers have recently hired new Physics PhDs.,typical starting salaries for physics bachelors and the representation of African-Americans among physics bachelor's degree recipients. You can find these flyers at,5L6HG,EMUF06,LPED3,1.

(posted December 27, 2016)

The Journal of Young Investigators, an Undergraduate Research Journal, is soliciting students to serve in executive and non-executive positions.  You can yearn more at .


(posted November 8, 2016) From the AIP
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) Statistical Research Center has recently posted a new publication that may be of interest to you:  Physics Bachelors: One Year After Degree.

The year after receiving their degree, physics bachelors from the classes of 2013 and 2014 followed one of three main initial career paths:


(posted July 14, 2015) From the AIP

The AIP Statistical Research Center has recently posted a new publication, Physics Bachelor's Initial Employment

This report looks at the initial employment of physics bachelor's from the classes of 2011 and 2012. 

Over half (61%) of new physics bachelor's who entered the workforce accepted positions in the private sector.  The majority of these positions were in STEM fields and had a median starting salary of $51,000.  In addition to sector, field of employment and salary, this focus on also presents data on, skills used in the work place and job satisfaction.

(posted January 26, 2015) From the AIP

The AIP Statistical Research Center has recently posted two new reports on high school physics teachers:
  Who Teaches High School Physics?
  What High School Physics Teachers Teach

Approximately 27,000 teachers taught at least one physics class in US high schools during the 2012-13 school year. About one-third taught only physics courses; 40% taught a majority of their courses in a subject other than physics. 'Who Teaches High School Physics?' presents a closer look at the academic backgrounds of the teachers.

In 'What High School Physics Teachers Teach', we take a closer look at the types of physics classes and the classes in other subjects that high school physics teachers teach. We find that teachers with a degree in physics or physics education are likely to be teaching a majority of their classes in physics.

To read these reports, and others about high school physics in the US, please visit


(posted July 7, 2014)

From the Institute for Broadening Participation.

The Institute for Broadening Participation is a National Science Foundation and NASA grantee working to promote resources for students in STEM. Their website,, features a wealth of programs, resources and search tools to help students bridge to future STEM opportunities including:

  650+ Paid summer research experiences for undergraduates
  300+ Graduate fellowships, mentoring and professional development opportunities
  250+ Post-doctoral opportunities

Sign up online (at to automatically receive information customized to your interests about funding, research and professional development opportunities and upcoming deadlines.


(posted January 28, 2014)

From the Society of Physics Students:

Toni Sauncy, PhD, Director, Society of Physics Students & Sigma Pi Sigma, American Institute of Physics, Education Division, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD, 20740, Tel: 301-209-3013, Email:, Web:


(posted January 8, 2014)

The AIP Statistical Research Center has recently posted a new publication: focus on MCAT, LSAT and Physics Bachelor's.  You can find the report at . This report shows that, as a group physics, physics bachelor's achieve very high scores on the MCAT and LSAT exams. A physics degree can be an excellent entry point for a wide range of programs outside of physics.

(posted January 12, 2012 )

The Statistical Research Center of the American Institute of Physics collects and posts information about the profession that should be of great interest to physics majors. These postings are updated regularly. Check it out at and view the collection of flyers at ; this includes

Starting salaries for physics degree recipients in the private sector.

Broad interests of physics students, a look at common double majors.

Trends in first-year graduate student enrollments at PhD-granting physics departments.

Starting salaries for recent physics bachelor's in five different employment sectors.

What physics bachelor's said about whether they would still major in physics if they had the opportunity to be undergraduates again.

The starting salaries for recent physics PhD's employed in five types of positions.

The number of PhD's awarded recently in a dozen subfields of physics.


(posted November 5, 2008 ) from the APS

To: Members of the American Physical Society
Thousands of physicists have now signed up for weekly email alerts from Physics , the new, free, online publication from the APS, and many more get timely notice of new features via RSS feeds. Your colleagues and fellow APS members have discovered the brief, clear, original commentary on exceptional papers from Physical Review Letters and the Physical Review series that you'll find in Physics. Expert-written commentaries, called Viewpoints, place selected PRL/PR papers in context and add explanatory detail; Trends provide a concise overview of an area of research which is of high, topical interest; Synopses summarize important papers that merit wider attention.

Awards, Prizes, Scholarships, Contests, etc.

Physics majors are encouraged to apply for a variety of national and international awards and prizes. Many professional groups, such as the American Physical Society, have special awards for undergraduate physics majors for things like the best paper at a conference or the best thesis in some area.

The Office of Undergraduate Studies assists students in applying for prestigious national and international awards. You can learn more at  . The following physics majors have won such awards.


Megan Masterson, class of 2019, Gates Cambridge Scholarship
Megan Masterson, class of 2019, Goldwater Scholarship honorable mention in 2018
David Hathcock, class of 2017, NSF Fellowship.
Benjamin Kuznets-Spect, class of 2018, Goldwater Scholar.
Nathaniel Starkman, class of 2018, Goldwater Scholarship honorable mention in 2016 & 2017
Nikhil Krishnan, class of 2016, Gates Cambridge Scholarship, after completing a medical degree, too, at CWRU
Zaraah Mohamed, class of 2015, elected to Phi Beta Kappa
Todd Norton, class of 2014, Fulbright
Todd Norton, class 2014, Goldwater Scholarship
Jason Tabachnik, class 2013, Gates Cambridge Scholarship & Goldwater Scholarship
Bryan Weinstein, class 2012, DOE Graduate Scholarship
Stephen Fleming, class 2011, Churchill Scholarship
Gareth Kafka, class 2010, Goldwater Scholarship honorable mention
Michael Davidson, class 2008, Fulbright
Karen Vaughn, class 2008, NSF Fellowship & National Defense Fellowship
Amy Orsborn, class 2007, NSF Fellowship
Kristin Poinar, class 2007, NSF Fellowship
Stephanie Bush, class 2004, Goldwater Scholarship & Churchill Scholarship
Mark Winkler, class 2004, NSF Fellowship
Thomas Bing, class 2003, NSF Fellowship
David Hanneke, class 2001, DOD Graduate Fellowship
David Olson 2000 Goldwater Scholarship NSF Graduate Fellowship for Princeton
Dan Aubertine 1999 Goldwater Scholarship for Stanford (Mat. Sci.)
Neil Rubin, class 1997, Churchill Scholarship & NSF Graduate Fellowship for Stanford
Travis Brooks 1997 NSF Graduate Fellowship for Stanford
Erik Kangas 1995 NSF Graduate Fellowship for MIT
Darren Pierre 1994 NSF Graduate Fellowship for MIT
Erik Raines 1991 Churchill & NSF Graduate Fellowship for Harvard
Christopher Rella 1990 NSF Graduate Fellowship for Stanford


1995: Frederick Reines, professor and chair of physics.

1960: Donald Glaser (September 21, 1926 – February 28, 2013) was an American physicist, neurobiologist, and the winner of the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the bubble chamber used in subatomic particle physics. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Glaser completed his Bachelor of Science degree in physics and mathematics from Case School of Applied Science in 1946.

1955: Polkcarp Kusch, who earned a BS in physics in 1931.

1907: Albert Michelson (chair of the Department of Physics) is named first American scientist to win the Nobel Prize in physics.



2002 Richard Garwin, 1947 graduate of CIT,  "author of first hydrogen bomb design"


The Department of Physics awards various prizes to junior and senior majors. For a list of these awards dating back to 1994, see AwardsHistory.pdf. The following awards were given in the spring of 2020.

The Albert A. Michelson Prize awarded upon completion of the junior year to a physics major who has demonstrated superior performance to Ryan Buechele & Benjamin Cheung.

The Donald E. Schuele Award for an outstanding junior majoring in Engineering Physics to Skylar Dannhoff.

The Richard F. Sigal Physics Scholarship to a physics student who has demonstrated excellence in their studies and intends to pursue a career in physics to  Skylar Dannhoff.

The Leslie L. Foldy Award to the outstanding senior in physics to Rebecca Lalk, Joshua Holmes, Brendan O'Donnell & Gundeep Singh.

The Donald A. Glaser Award to an outstanding mathematics and physics students to Megan Masterson, Calvin Pozderac & Joshua Chiel.

The Elmer C. Stewart Memorial Award
to the outstanding senior in Engineering Physics to Shreyas Kamath.

The Polykarp Kusch Prize to an outstanding senior in physics for the best thesis to Joshua Holmes, Modeling Nature's Speed Demons: A General Theory of Myosin-V-Like Dynamics; Brendan O'Donnell, Magnetic Particle Studies and Magneto-Optical Detection of Kyme Disease Bacteria; William Schmid, Multifunctional Spatiotemporal Correlation Analysis to Efficiently Characterize Nanoscale Diffusion at Super-Resolution Levels & Thomas Ugras, Progress in HfSe2 Heterostructures for 2D Electronics.

The Richard L. Garwin Award for service and scholarship in physics to Julia Falcone, Rebecca Lalk & Thomas Ugras.

The James C. Wyant Award for research accomplishments outside the senior project to Joshua Chiel & Rebecca Lalk.


SOURCE   - The Office for Support of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors  is charged with supporting and promoting the research and creative efforts of our undergraduate students.  Dr. Sheila Pedigo   is the director. SOURCE offers various awards and prizes for activities they sponsor.

April 2020: First place in Physical Science and Mathematics went to physics majors Thomas Ugras and Jared May for "Vapor-Liquid-Solid Growth and Characterization of ZnGeGa2N4" mentored by Professor Kathleen Kash of our department.

April 2018:  Physical Sciences
1st Yuta Hozumi, Modeling the Dynamics of Motor Protein Myosin VI. Faculty Mentor: Michael Hinczewski, Physics.
2nd (tie) Bradley Schissel,  Stochastic Modeling of Cancer Metastasis. Faculty Mentor: Michael Hinczewski, Physics.

April 2016: Natural Sciences
2nd (tie) Mariel Tader, Variational Methods for the Prediction of Exciton Free Energy in Semi-Conductors. Faculty
Mentor: Harsh Mathur, Physics

April 2015: Natural Sciences
2nd (tie) Samir Shah, Physics, Model of Arm Movements by Estimation of Intended Equilibrium Posture and
Relationship to Electromyograms. Faculty Mentors: Matthew Williams and Robert Kirsch, Biomedical

Graduate School Information

(posted November 7, 2019)

You will likely need a CV (Curriculum Vitae, the academic community's equivalent of a resume) when you apply for jobs or graduate school.  If you haven't already done so, you should start compiling a CV immediately to help you keep track of the skills and experiences you are accumulating. The CWRU Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education office (formerly the Career Center) provides assistance with resume writing but our department (Prof. Brown with help from Profs. Berezovsky and Chottiner) has developed a sample CV that is designed specifically for physics majors. You can access the Word version here or the pdf version here.

(posted August 24, 2018)

The CWRU Department of Physics offers a Master of Science in Physics, Entrepreneurship Track. The curriculum can be tailored to your personal needs, and includes a core sequence in innovation, technology commercialization, and venture finance. You will also have many opportunities to tackle real-world projects along the way. The program will connect you with mentors, advisors, partners, funding sources and job opportunities, as well as help you build a network of peers and professors that will last a lifetime. For more information, contact Ed Caner @ or visit

(posted December 14, 2012)

Don't forget to get your free physics GRE flash cards - see for details.

You can see where our majors have gone to graduate school at . The Director of Undergraduate Studies, Prof. Chottiner, has a file that shows which of our majors were accepted or rejected from various graduate programs as a function of their GPA's and their GRE scores. Current majors may make an appointment with Prof. Chottiner to view this information in order to inform their decisions about where to apply. This file is not publicly available in order to protect the identies of students who contributed their personal information.

(posted October 20, 2014 ) From the AIP

The American Institute of Physics is pleased to announce that the 2015 edition of has been released online. The print directory 2015 Graduate Programs in Physics, Astronomy, and Related Fields will be shipped to your chapter in a couple of weeks. You can search, browse and view all the graduate program profiles at: . Othe useful information can be found at:

(posted April 14, 2014 )

If you would like more information about the physics GRE exams, check out the postings at

A faulty member at RPI has posted a presentation on GRE exams and graduate student admissions data at . This posting is similar to information presented in our PHYS 352 SAGES Department Seminar.

(posted April 15, 2014 )

Graduate School acceptance rates for almost 200 physics departments are posted at

(posted April 22, 2014 )

The AIP has recently posted a new report: focus on Graduate Physics Degrees: Largest Departments and Degree Distribution. This report examines the size of PhD and master's granting physics departments in the U.S. as measured by the number of graduate degrees awarded.  It also identifies the departments that recently awarded the most graduate degrees.  Physics PhD production has been increasing and there are now twice as many large departments (awarding 15 or more PhDs a year) than there were eight years earlier. 

You can access this report at

(posted August 25, 2010)

We were asked to post the following two links by someone who contacted the department by email. We don't know who is behind these web sites and whether they represent commercial interests, so approach these postings with the appropriate degree of caution.

Jobs  - School Year, Summer & 'Permanent'

General Information

Students looking for either summer or school-year jobs in the physics department can send a SHORT paragraph describing interests and experience to Be certain to mention if you are in the work/study program. As Director of Undergraduate Studies, I maintain a database of students interested in jobs and forward this information to faculty and staff who contact me looking for student help.  I keep submissions for about one year. Be aware, however, that most faculty members do NOT contact me when they have open positions; rather they fill those positions with students who have contacted them directly.  Students should feel free to approach faculty and staff with whom they'd like to work - in fact, this is how most jobs are filled.  A personal contact, i.e. a knock on the door, is probably better than an email.  You should however, follow up with an email that reviews your interests and experience.

(March 11, 2019)
Joseph Corrigan of 'Ziprecruiter' occasionally provides updates regarding their job search app.  This app might be of interest to our majors and is available at,OH


(December 3, 2018)
The American Institute of Physics Statistical Research Center recently updated their posting Who's Hiring Physics Bachelor's?This posting contains state by state lists of some of the employers who have recently hired new physics bachelor's.   The lists may be useful to job seekers in identifying the variety of companies that hire physics bachelor's and to physics departments wishing to strengthen contacts with local employers. You can find the state by state listing of employers at,5Z83A,EMUF06,NFC9Z,1 . Information about jobs for physics Ph.D.'s is available at,5Z83A,EMUF06,NFC9Z,1 .

(posted April 13, 2018)
The Society of Physics Students has announced a new "Careers Toolbox":  "The Careers Toolbox focuses on undergraduate physics students entering the workforce after graduation. But even students who choose to go to graduate school will eventually be looking for a job! Many of these tools can be applied to finding internships, research positions, or even entrance into graduate programs."  You can learn more at


(posted December 7, 2017)

The list-server we used in previous years to distribute job announcements sent to the department electronically has been replaced by a Goggle Group in which all current majors and minors are automatically enrolled.  If you are a graduate of our department and would like to have access to this group, contact G. Chottiner,

(posted December 7, 2017)


WHO'S HIRING!??!?!!? Of course physicists and other STEM professionals have a diverse range of talents, but WHERE can those skills be most appreciated? The Statistical Research Center (SRC) of the American Institute of Physics tracks employment trends at each degree level, compiling invaluable data by surveying hiring employers and recent degree recipients, among others.

Discover which employers recently hired physics bachelors, with detailed listings by state demonstrating exciting possibilities down the street, across the country, or somewhere in-between. If an advanced degree is your aim, or if you already have one, learn which employers recently hired new physics PhDs. This unique resource also includes information on job titles, sectors of employment, and skills frequently used by these scientists.

While earning an advanced degree may be years away, career planning is essential to career success! For a complete listing of available data on physics employment and careers, visit this section of the SRC website.


(posted April 26, 2017)

The AIP (American Institute of Physics) has published: Physics Bachelors: Initial Employment   This report looks at the initial employment of physics bachelors from the classes of 2013 and 2014. The private sector continues to hire the majority (65%) of new physics bachelors who enter the workforce.  The majority of these positions were in STEM fields and had a median starting salary of $55,000. In addition to sector, field of employment and salary, this report also presents data on, skills used in the work place and job satisfaction. 


(posted 12/8/2016)
See for a wide variety of career paths for physicists.


(posted November 30, 2016)

The AIP (American Institute of Physics) has a web page devoted to careers in physics; see .  This posting includes links to job postings, assistance in identifying positions in the workforce, profiles of physicists in various jobs and links to career advice from AIP member organizations in fields such as acoustics, medicine, astronomy and teaching.

(posted October 17, 2016) From today's The Washington Post

The article "Want college to pay off? These are the 50 majors with the highest earnings." lists physics as #16. Note, however, that most CWRU physics majors continue their studies and earn higher starting salaries.  See some of the postings below for details.

(posted January 6, 2016)

Undergraduate Intro Lab Helpers needed for the summer and following school year.  Responsibilities include setting up and tearing down the intro labs, fixing some broken equipment, making replacement parts, re-ghosting computers and keeping them running, troubleshooting equipment and computers.  A regular schedule and punctuality are a must. If you are interested, contact Diana Driscoll

You can see where our graduates have found jobs at

(updated September 14, 2015)

The Plain Dealer posted an article about the best and sorts majors for a lucrative career.  Physics was #6 or 128 majors. See .  The original article was a Kiplinger publication.  From :

Best College Majors for Your Career 2015-2016

6. Physics

slideshow image


Starting salary: $57,200

Mid-career salary: $105,100

Annual online job postings:72,732

Best related job: Physicist

Projected 10-year job growth:11.3%

It won't take much force to accelerate a physics major toward a lucrative career (regardless of his mass). While physicist may be the most obvious related occupation, you typically need to get an advanced degree to go that route. (Physicists do have a promising projected job growth rate and a generous median annual salary of more than $110,000.) Other jobs to consider with a bachelor's in physics include aerospace engineer, computer engineer or civil engineer - all of which offer above-average growth projections and pay.

Various physics classes -such as computational, modern and nuclear physics - obviously will fill your schedule. According to Payscale, other skills employees with bachelor's degrees in physics report using in their work include material science, strategic planning and C++ programming expertise.


(updated March 24, 2015)

The AIP's Statistical Research Center has posted a new report on its web site titled:  Fact Sheet - Connecting Physics Students to Career Opportunities.

This report is a guide created by the Career Pathways Project (CPP) and is designed to enhance the work being done by career services professionals with physics undergraduates and physics faculty members. This document provides tips on resume writing, identifies some of the skills developed during the typical undergraduate physics experience, lists common job titles held by recent physics bachelor's degree recipients, and offers suggestions for effective career advising of physics undergraduates.

The CPP was a collaboration of the Education Division and the Statistical Research Center, both of the American Institute of Physics.  The Career Pathways Project was supported by the National Science Foundation.

You can find this publication at:

Respectfully, Roman Czujko, Director, Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740


(posted February 24, 2015)

The Washington Post, on Feb. 23, published an article titled "These are the best college majors if you actually want a job after graduation". You can read it at


(posted October 21. 2014)

Physics Today has a jobs search resource Most of the listings are for faculty and postdoc positions but you can, for instance, search for summer jobs


(posted September 29. 2014)

The Washington Posted published an article today "Want proof college is worth it? Look at this list of the highest-paying majors". This article quotes a study that includes the chart shown below that shows the lifetime 'value' of a degree in physics. This chart only includes undergraduate degrees but most CWRU physics majors also earn a graduate degree in physics or some related field. This leads to an initial drop in lifetime earnings, which are relatively low while in graduate school, but also leads to a higher salary afterwards. You can compare the value of an advanced degree, which increases the (relative) earning power of most physicists, using the interactive app



(posted August 27, 2014) From The Washington Post, August 26, 2014

"The college majors most and least likely to lead to underemployment"



(posted July 9, 2012)

U.S. pushes for more scientists, but the jobs aren't there

The title of this Washington Post article (July 7, 2012) certainly seems discouraging at first glance, but the article's focus is on the life sciences. The following paragraph is quite encouraging for physics majors:

"Two groups seem to be doing better than other scientists: physicists and physicians. The unemployment rate among those two groups hovers around 1 to 2 percent, according to surveys from NSF and other groups. Physicists end up working in many technical fields and some go to Wall Street while the demand for doctors continues to climb as the U.S. population grows and ages."


(posted June 20, 2012)

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes some interesting data; see . The BLS tracks wages in 800 possible fields. Physics comes in at #19. Use your physics background as a stepping stone into science management and you'll rise to #11. Note that 7 of the professions listed higher are in the medical field.

Highest Paying Occupations

Highest paying occupations: 20 occupations (out of ~ 800) with the highest median annual pay in 2010.


Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Equal to or greater than $166,400 per year.

Physicians and Surgeons

Equal to or greater than $166,400 per year.


Equal to or greater than $166,400 per year.

Chief Executives

$165,080 per year.

Dentists, All Other Specialists

$161,020 per year.

Dentists, General

$141,040 per year.

Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates

$119,270 per year.

Architectural and Engineering Managers

$119,260 per year.


$118,400 per year.


$118,030 per year.

Natural Sciences Managers

$116,020 per year.

Computer and Information Systems Managers

$115,780 per year.

Petroleum Engineers

$114,080 per year.

Marketing Managers

$112,800 per year.


$112,760 per year.


$111,570 per year.

Air Traffic Controllers

$108,040 per year.

Political Scientists

$107,420 per year.


$106,370 per year.

Financial Managers

$103,910 per year.

Publish Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012


(posted October 21, 2011)

The New York Times published an article yesterday describing the growing importance of majoring in technical fields like physics. See Economix: The Rising Value of a Science Degree but note that the article ends by suggesting you combine a degree in physics with a degree in poetry!


(posted October 18, 2011)

John Notte,  CWRU Physics Class of '87, visited the department during homecoming and sent the following message concerning intern and summer job at his place of employment.

Professor Brown,

Thanks for everything last week.   It was a really nice visit for me.  And I do appreciate your taking the time and effort to make this so enjoyable.   I was amused to see all the young students and then think back the John Notte of 24 yeas ago.  This produced did a lot of smiling and chuckling during my visit.  Following my terrific day at the physics department, I met some nice folks over in the Mat'l Science Department,   including John McGervey's son.   A reminder of the steady march of time.   I came home with the much overdue CWRU sticker for my car window.  I want my kids and peers to see my pride in a quality education.  

I do want to restate that I would like to help out the physics department in some way.  (Yes, I'll make a cash donation before the end of this tax year.).   But please keep me in mind if you are looking for some other opportunities. Maybe an Boston-based intern to work here on the Field Ion Microscope or the ORION Helium Ion Microscope over the summer?  Maybe a student who wants to work on some commercially relevant electrostatic boundary value problems?  Maybe someone who wants to do some monte-carlo modeling of ion beam - sample interactions?  Maybe someone who wants to model the polarization and transport of gas atoms in a high field region?  In general, consider me as an available contact in the industrial physics arena.  

My Ph.D. Thesis, "The Effect of Asymmetries on Non-Neutral Plasmas" was not a best seller, and few are the people who I would suggest reading it.    But in any case, you might be interested in this excerpt from the acknowledgement section:  "I must thank the many teachers who have managed to teach a student who at times has been lazy and unmotivated. ....  Specifically, I thank Professor Eck who introduced me to Physics and set my mind in motion; and Professor Brown, who gave me his enthusiasm toward teaching..." A strong accolade - given that I never actually had you as an official instructor!

John Notte,  CWRU Physics Class of '87
Carl Zeiss NTS, LLC.
A Carl Zeiss SMT AG Company
ALIS Business Unit
Director of Research and Development
Phone: 978-826-1553
Mobile: 978-290-0763
Fax: 978-826-1593

One Corporation Way
Peabody, MA 01960 USA


(posted May 24, 2011)

You might find interesting an article in today's online New York Times 'Calculating the Potential Return on Your Major' .  It directs the reader to a defunct URL: "".  Physics  and related disciplines are reviewed starting at page 159/182 of the pdf file (page 160 of the hard copy). There are lots of tables and charts in this paper. Here's the text that precedes those graphics.

"Physical Sciences make up 2.8 percent of all majors. Median wages for those with only a Bachelor's degree who majored in Physical sciences are $59,000. There is a slight gender imbalance in these majors (men 58 percent and women 42 percent). However, women with these majors make, in the aggregate, $48,000, which is $17,000 less than men. The racial makeup of these majors, on average, is 74 percent White, 11 percent Asian, 8 percent African-American, 6 percent Hispanic, and 1 percent Other Races.2 Earnings for Asians ($52,000), African-Americans ($47,000) and Hispanics ($44,000) are significantly less than the $60,000 in median wages earned by Whites. There is also great variation in median pay for the majors within this group. The major with the lowest median earnings is Nuclear, Industrial Radiology, and Biological Technologies, while the highest are Physics and Oceanography. Earnings in Physical Sciences as a whole vary widely, with the 25th percentile earning $38,000 and the 75th percentile earning $87,000 - a difference of $49,000. About 48 percent of people with these majors obtain a graduate degree and, as a result, get an average earnings boost of 70 percent. Of people who majored in Physical Sciences, 18 percent work in Management, 11 percent in Sales, 10 percent in Life Science, and 10 percent in Health Practice occupations. By industry, 14 percent work in Professional Services, 14 percent in Health Services, 10 percent in Education, and 9 percent in Manufacturing. Of those with these majors who are in the labor force and employed, 86 percent work full-time. About 5 percent are unemployed."


The Case Career Center,, offers a variety of forms of assistance to students searching for career opportunities.

eCompass is the Case Career Center's online career management system. It enables users to search and apply for jobs and internships, schedule on-campus interviews, and post resumes for employer review. eCompass acts as a launch pad for connecting with alumni and researching companies and industries. A monthly calendar of Career Center events and deadlines is also included.

Career Center's Resources for Gaining Experience

  1. Internship Searches After College
  2. Adventure/Offbeat Jobs Cool Works

Researching Majors and Career

What Can I Do With a Major in ? Search by major, and find information on typical employers and strategies to start careers centered on the area of study. It includes links to related professional associations and Case's department home pages, including the following links

Case CareerLink for Employers! - Case Career Center

Case CareerLink for Students

Case CareerLink is the Case Career Center's online career management system. It serves as the clearing house for all practicum, internship, and full-time job positions, on-campus interviewing schedules, and employer information. You can access the Case CareerLink system using your Case network ID and password.

Occupational Outlook Handbook - Provides current job market information searchable by industry and occupation. It includes in-depth descriptions that feature sections on working conditions, responsibilities, earnings, necessary education/training, and job outlook. The section for physicists can be found at but remember that an undergraduate degree in physics will give you entree to a LOT of other types of jobs and post-graduate study opportunities.


(posted August 27, 2008, from Case Daily)

Case CareerLink, the Career Center's online career management system, connects students directly to employers hiring for full-time permanent positions, internships and practicum's. Features include resume upload, virtual resume books, online On-campus Interview (OCI) scheduling, and sign-up for career events and Info Sessions.


(posted August 20, 2010)

The following links were found via an article in Time magazine. I won't vouch for the methodology but you might find them interesting - Best Undergrad College Degrees By Salary, physics is #6

Common Jobs for Majors: - Best Engineering Colleges By Salary Potential, CWRU is #25 - Top US Colleges Graduate Salary Statistics

Dead Link: - "" Top Midwestern Colleges in the US By Salary Potential, CWRU is #7


The AIP also collects and distributes statistical information about the profession. This reports which you can view at describe the initial employment and educational paths pursued by physics and astronomy degree recipients at the bachelor's, master's, and PhD levels. The report includes starting salaries, primary work activities, ratings of professional challenge and other aspects of initial employment. The report also describes the fields of study and types of support for physics degree recipients who continued their education.


Jobs -  academic year

If you would like to apply for a GRADING JOB, contact the instructor(s) in charge of the course.

Jobs - on campus, summer

 SOURCE offers grants for on campus summer research. For details, see

Jobs - off campus, summer


Few institutions still send paper flyers; these are displayed on the bulletin board outside ROC 314. Email notifications of opportunities are forwarded to all physics majors and minors through the Google Group set up for this purpose. Note that many program deadlines are in February.  


There are many summer jobs available to physics majors through NSF- REU ( National Science Foundation - Research Experience for Undergraduates ) and other programs at various university and national laboratories.   You can access the REU web site at .


Call for Applications: DAAD RISE Programs 2019 (posted January 6, 2019)
RISE Germany undergrads have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge research projects at top research institutions (e.g. Max-Planck-Institutes) and universities in Germany. Students are paired with German PhD students in a unique mentoring partnership to ensure immediate integration into hands on lab work and built-in social network with an excellent opportunity to develop new technical skills. RISE Germany participants receive a scholarship to cover living expenses.

Learn more about RISE Germany . Online registration and the internship database for RISE Germany opened on November 1, 2019. The application deadline was December 16, 2019.


(posted March 14, 2018)

NASA offers paid undergraduate internships in a wide variety of disciplines.  There are academic year internships as well as summer internships available. Visit and to learn more.


The Department of Energy web site contains information about summer internships at DOE labs. Many of these present excellent opportunities to participate in exciting research at world-leading institutions.


For information about the summer programs at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, visit the web site


(posted Dec. 22, 2003)

SPS Members and Advisors: For a broad list of summer science opportunities check out the new physics student website---The Nucleus---at ; It has: 1) summer job listings, 2) a student lounge for chatting, humor, etc., 3) on-line physics polls and results of polls, 4) reviews of texts, 5) Einstein exhibits and more. It's personalizable and you get to contribute, if you like.

About the summer jobs - there are listings for summer jobs ranging from particle  physics in Switzerland to education policy in DC to biomechanics in Malibu to astronomy in Hawaii. Just put in your favorite physics key word and search to see what listings are related to your keyword. If you don't put in a keyword then all the summer opportunities will be listed.

The Nucleus is part of the national physics digital library, ComPADRE (Communities for Physics and Astronomy Digital Resources in Education). ComPADRE's vision is to create a network of collections that provides learning resources and interactive learning environments.

Gary White ; Director, Sigma Pi Sigma and Society of Physics Students Assistant Director of Education American Institute of Physics One Physics Ellipse College Park, MD 20740; 301-209-3007 ; FAX: 301-209-0839

Jobs - permanent


The American Physical Society has various programs dedicated to educating students about careers in physics.   You can learn more by visiting their web site at:


The American Institute of Physics - Career Services web site, the leading career site for science and engineering jobs has launched it's new web site.  Last month our web site received over 1,400,000 hits and over 13,000 Unique Visitors.  The new web site utilizes a tracking system to manage resume responses and store all resume agent matches, as well as search resume database, track job page views and number of applications submitted. This new high-performance system is easy to use and also includes a more powerful search engine for faster search results. To assist you in your job matches, we have collected nearly 700 resumes from some of the most talented individuals in the science and engineering industry. See

Jobs - co-op


Visit the following web sites for more information on co-op experiences: .

Fellowships & Scholarships for life after CWRU

Alumni News

This section was added to the newsletter on October 4, 2016.  Here you will find postings describing where our past graduates are now and what they are doing.

10/3/2016:  Michael Boss graduated in 2000. He currently works at the National Institute for Standards and Technology outside Washington, D.C.  He wrote to Prof. Kash today: "It's been about a year since our last emails.  How are things in Cleveland?  I am planning on coming back at least once, but probably towards late December. Unless the Indians make the World Series that is, Game 1 would be on my birthday.  At some point, I'd love to give a talk regarding our research at NIST setting standards for quantitative MRI.  I have given a few overview invited talks the last year, so I think I have the message fairly well-tuned.

Big news!  We had a little girl on September 13th!  Her name is Elvia Louisa, and she is doing very well.  My wife Melissa and I are a bit tired, but doing fine.
Last week I went to DC for an awards ceremony: my co-workers and I received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal from Secretary Pritzker.  At the end of the ceremony, she announced a new award, the Ron Brown Excellence in Innovation Award.  To our great surprise, she called us back on to the stage.  There is a little press release from the Department, I think there are links to photos and video.  Thought it would be interesting to share.


The CWRU Physics and Astronomy Club has a web page at .


The physics department operates a 'robot' to automatically distribute announcements of seminars and colloquia. All physics students should sign up for this robot service. Email with help as the Subject of your message to learn more about Physbot. If you are having problems w/ Physbot contact


If you are a physics major, you should consider joining the American Physical Society, APS.  Almost all professional physicists in the US belong to the APS and to one or more of its divisions, which specialize in various areas of physics.    You can visit their Web site at to learn more about the organization.  Student membership services are discussed at . APS student membership is normally $25 per year but is now FREE for the first year . You might also want to browse the Society of Physics Students pages



LINKS - American Physical Society - American Institute of Physics - American Association of Physics Teachers - Society of Physics students page  "Your guide to physics on the web." (added 12/8/2016) PhysicsWorld: physics news, jobs and resources

Physics provides original analysis and comment on selected exceptional papers within the extensive publications of Physical Review Letters and the Physical Review series. This web site is brought to you by the APS and is meant to serve as a resource for the general public. - NASA - Glenn Research Center on the west side of Cleveland - National Science Foundation - resources for physics and astronomy undergraduates - forum for discussion of physics at an undergraduate level - Union of Concerned Scientists; from their web site ' UCS is an independent nonprofit alliance of more than 100,000 concerned citizens and scientists. We augment rigorous scientific analysis with innovative thinking and committed citizen advocacy to build a cleaner, healthier environment and a safer world.'



(posted October 8, 2019)

The 2019 If Nobel prize ceremony is described at


(posted January 28, 2019)

It has been brought to my attention that Professor Covault was recognized by the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists in 2014; see .


(posted July 21, 2014)

Physicists as Rebels:

(posted March 13, 2013)

Supercalifragicsuperluminalneutrinos! Words by Prof. Philip Taylor, Case Western Reserve University, March 2012



(posted May 9, 2008)

The following is a parting shot from the class of 2008, a description of superlative faculty they have known.

Jie Shan - professor most likely to sneak into the lab and break your experiments so you learn more from the class

Gary Chottiner - best shoe selection

John Ruhl - professor most likely to "surprise!" the class and fall over laughing

Dan Akerib - most likely to say "okay" and/or trip over furniture

Kathy Kash - professor we'd want to go back in time and party with most while she was in college

Robert Brown - best apparel (no questions asked)

Harsh Mathur - most creative computer file namer

Corbin Covault - most sexy socks and sandals combo

Tanmay Vachaspati - most likely to believe in magnetic monopole unicorns

Pete Kernan - most likely to lecture about beer brewing

Lawrence Krauss - most likely to interrupt you to answer his iPhone

Glenn Starkman - most likely to be the only person in the room to comprehend an entire CERCA talk

Craig Copi - most likely to be an Old Navy spokesperson

Charles Rosenblatt - most consistent dresser

Ken Kowalski - most likely to make a joke so dry the British would be impressed

Ken Singer - quiet and quick problem fixer

Gavin Buxton - most likely to cover up what he just wrote on the board while lecturing

Phil Taylor - most delightful accent

Rolf Petschek - most likely to use his beard as a blackboard eraser (that would be so cool!)

Don Schuele - most likely to take your knees out in a game of baseball

Walter Lambrecht - most likely to lecture from memory because he can't read his own notes

Tom Shutt - most likely to empathize with malfunctioning equipment

Cyrus Taylor - professor we'd most like to see more in the department, dammit!

_____ - What's New by Bob Park (Ph.D. advisor for the keeper of this newsletter) - an educated and opinionated look at science in the news. - This web site is devoted to bad physics in movies. - physics trivia, with quizzes  is a dead link tat use to contain humor according to physics students, including a section on how to tell if you are a physics major is a dead link that used to contain several humorous articles listed below. You can probably find each of these postings directly with Google Physicists' Bill of Rights by Author Unknown where Ph.D. stand for piled higher and deeper Instead of doodling during class, try printing and coloring in the drawings of famous physicists provided by Physics Central


Rime of the Physics Student , By Yvette Cendes, a Case physics major

It's late at night, my mind is weary,
Eyes are bloodshot, vision's bleary,
I know not what I'm really thinking,
My sanity's surely winking.
Yet I stay up for I am not done,
With homework for P121.

My mind's back from temporary lull,
And contemplates a bouncing ball,
Then reason shouts out, with great diction,
"Idiot! You forgot friction!"
So I cross out all the numbers there
And hang my head in great despair.

I am at a loss and panicked too
Because I don't know what to do!
I factor out "t," I integrate,
But my mistakes do not abate.
I feel like a failure and a fool.
What's life like in the business school?

But I see through that confusing mist:
After all, I'm a physicist!
I know the movements of block and book
Using Laws from Newton and Hooke,
I know a bowling ball's energy
Based on its squared velocity.

I now see myself years down the line
Where physics glory is all mine,
The secret of dark matter I know
Having found the neutralino,
My proof is so clear and it's so bold
I win myself some Swedish gold! But as I start my acceptance speech,
I hear a harshly ringing screech.
A startling thought to my mind does creep:
Oh my God I've fallen asleep!
It's eight in the morn, not late at one
And my damned homework's still not done!

I stare at my paper with a frown
And jot some garbled numbers down,
And before I can think any more
It's in my bag; I'm out the door,
And as I'm running I pray my best
That problem won't be on the test!

The Ballad of the Electronics Student by Yvette Cendes

Leaves are crunching on the ground
And in the sky sheep-clouds abound,
The sun tosses warmth each way
While below students bask away,
But down there you won't find me
'Cause I'm in lab for 203.

I return from my pained woe
To my circuit's LED glow,
Then I quickly give a shout
Because the lights have shorted out!
I feel pangs of fear and grief
As my partner shows disbelief.

"What happened?" I, aghast, say,
"Why did the voltage go away?"
My partner shrugs, lost like me
In this odd world of circuitry.
No doubt we're stuck in this rut
Because we missed something- but what?

No doubt in the latest lecture
There were points where, I conjecture,
While I gave poor attention
The whole crux was given mention.
So I curse and give a sigh
That this did somehow pass me by.

To my circuit I now turn
Recalling scant facts I did learn,
I place wires all around
And add more power and some ground,
More resistors I add too
Until the circuit looks brand new.

Confident, I flip the switch
And it lights up without a hitch!
Then, at no doubt divine whim,
The LED's splutter and dim.
I howl, 'cause I can't ignore
How we're worse off now than before.

I strike the board with my fist
As there's no answer in our midst,
And I don't care what I'd hit
'Til my partner says, "look at it!"
I do, and receive a fright
'Cause all the LED's are burning bright.

I exalt and give a cheer
Grateful to know the end is near,
And before we do much more
We're done with lab and out the door,
Hoping that, come writeup night,
We'll find that we were partway right!


Song of the Physics Student by Yvette Cendes

I've always thought physics would be more fun
If once class let out we would be done,
Or just a few hours work, that would be fine
So's after midnight the hours were mine,
But it is late at night, well after one
And the physics homework's still not done,
So my wishes are naught, I heave a sigh
And give 250 another try.

I look on blankly at my MatLab code
That takes forever to run and load,
When after an era, to my terror,
The program reads a slew of error!
Something about mesh and a matricy
And the incorrect directory,
My pulse quickens up and my face turns green:
Something's gone wrong, but what does it mean?!?

I delete a for loop, and add an if,
But that gamble ends with a new quip.
A friend comes over to see what's the matter
But my small hope she soon does shatter:
"I have the same thing!" she exclaims, confused,
As Devil Program looks on, bemused,
"Your setup and loops are all the same
So I've no idea what's to blame."

"But what do I do?!" I shout in a panic,
Convinced this homework is truly satanic
But a problem with code she does not see
And leaves by consoling "it worked for me!"
With that comment all my hopes shatter
In dreaming I'll figure out what's the matter,
But I keep tweaking, here and there,
Praying for a miracle out of thin air.

I think I'd make a decent wager
That what you take from a physics major
Isn't about letting your knowledge grow
But learning, instead, how little you know
And learning how to land on your feet
While in the midst of crushing defeat
So I ignore the bad, write-up what's right,
Commence shutdown, and call it a night!


After Receiving an Invitation to a Physicists' Ball:
(courtesy of Yvette Cendes, March 15, 2007 )

Volta was electrified and Archimedes was buoyant at the thought.
Ampere was worried he wasn't up on current research.
Ohm resisted the idea at first.
Boyle said he was under too much pressure.
Hertz promised that in the future he will attend with greater frequency.
Pierre and Marie Curie were radiating enthusiasm.
Born thought the probability of enjoying himself was pretty high.
Einstein thought it would be relatively easy to attend.
Heisenberg was uncertain whether he could make it.
Schrodinger had to take his cat to the vet, or did he?
Hawking said he'd try to string enough time together to make a space in his schedule.

Fermi declined because of a splitting headache.

Hooke said he'd spring into action.
Fourier wavered in his decision periodically.
Maxwell just waved at the postal carrier.
Siemens said he would be happy to gain admittance.
Babbage and Von Neuman both calculated they could be there, but Ada Lovelace got stuck in a recursion of trying to find proper clothing.
Watt thought it would be a great way to let off steam.

Galileo thought people were much too inquisitive about the whole thing.

Nobel thought the idea was dynamite, and was asked to give out prizes.

Van Allen said he would wear his new belt for the occasion.

Pauli was worried that he would be excluded and would have to split early.
Joule was the life of the party, with such energy.
After a couple of hours it got so hot in the ball room that Tesla had to turn on the AC.
Faraday, as usual, was caging drinks off of everyone.
Kelvin was there, cold and aloof as ever.
Higgs was having a field day teasing Chandrasekhar because he had reached his alcohol limit.
Teller should have followed Chandrasekhar's example, because he sure got bombed.
Hubble and his wife were charming. He wore a double breasted suit and she wore a simple red shift.

Cavendish wasn't invited, but had the balls to show up anyway.
There was one fellow running about hogging all the conversations.  Everyone ignored him because he was such a Bohr.