Class of 2008 Graduates with Many Honors

May 18, 2008

Congratulations to the 2008 graduates of the Department of Physics and Astronomy! In the graduation ceremony held today:

  • Bachelor's Degrees
    15 students earned BS degrees in Physics
    5 students earned BA degrees in Physics
    8 student earned a BS degree in Physics and Astronomy
    1 student earned a BA degree in Physics and Astronomy
  • Master's Degrees
    7 students earned MA degrees in Physics
    20 students earned MA degrees in Physics
  • PhD Degrees
    18 students earned PhD degrees in Physics
    3 student earned a PhD degree in Physics and Optics

    Bachelor's Degrees

    Goldwater ScholarshipsFulbright Scholarship

    Of the 29 undergraduate students:

    • 9 with Highest Distinction (a GPA of 3.75+ in the courses required for the PAS major)
    • 4 with High Distinction (a GPA of 3.50+ in the courses required for the PAS major)
    • 5 graduated with Distinction (a GPA of 3.25+ in the courses required for the PAS major)
    • 4 students graduated with triple degrees
    • 14 students graduated with double degrees

    Based on their overall GPA:

    • 1 graduated Summa Cum Laude
    • 5 graduated Magna Cum Laude
    • 4 students graduated Cum Laude
    • 7 students were elected to Phi Beta Kappa
    • 20 students were elected to Sigma Pi Sigma
    • 6 students students (class of 2007 and 2008) are or will be in the Take Five Program of the University of Rochester

    In addition, 5 students from the class of 2007 are in the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year Program.

    The following table displays details about the undergraduates who received their Bachelor's degrees today. Notes about the awards follow the table.

    NameDegrees EarnedAdditional Awards
    Daniel B. AllanBS, Physics
    BS, Applied Mathematics
    BA, Music
    Undergraduate Teaching Award
    Sigma Pi Sigma
    Clyde M. Brown IIIBA, Physics and Astronomy
    BS, Applied Mathematics
    Adam W. BublitzBS, PhysicsUndergraduate Teaching Award
    Phi Beta Kappa
    Sigma Pi Sigma
    Peter A. FaberBS, Physics and Astronomy
    BS, Applied Mathematics
    Sigma Pi Sigma
    Nathan H. FarwellBS, Physics
    BA, Mathematics
    Chad J. ForrestBS PhysicsSigma Pi Sigma
    Andreas T. Gennis

    BS Physics
    BA Mathematics

    Jacob A. JohnstonBS, Physics and Astronomy
    BA, Mathematics

    Sigma Pi Sigma

    Shunsuke KatoBA Physics
    Jeffrey S. KleinBS Physics  Sigma Pi Sigma
    Sara G. LimBA PhysicsCertificate in Medical Physics
    Toughest Physicist of the Year
    Christopher D. McFarlandBS, Physics
    BS, Biochemistry
    Certificate in Biological Physics
    Phi Beta Kappa
    Sigma Pi Sigma
    Maxwell R. Mikel-StitesBS, Physics and Astronomy
    BS, Applied Mathematics
    Teresa L. OeinckBS, Physics and AstronomyTake 5 Scholars Award
    Christopher B. OsbornBS, Physics
    BS, Applied Mathematics
    Phi Beta Kappa
    Sigma Pi Sigma
    Ryan M. PettiboneBS, Physics
    BS Applied Mathematics
     John F. Flagg Award
    Fulbright Award
    Phi Beta Kappa
    Sigma Pi Sigma
    Elizabeth A. PollockBS PhysicsCertificate in Medical Physics
    Amelia D. PrasadBS, Physics and Astronomy
    Dylan T. PrendergastBS Physics  
    Daniel E. RichmanBS, Physics
    BA, Mathematics
    BA, Music
    Phi Beta Kappa
    Sigma Pi Sigma
    Jason C. RobinBS, Physics
    BA Mathematics
     Undergraduate Teaching Award
    Sigma Pi Sigma
    Benjamin L. SchmittBS, Physics and Astronomy
    BA, Mathematics
    BA, German
    J. William Fulbright Scholarship
    Sigma Pi Sigma
    John R. SerafiniBS, Physics
    BS, Biochemistry
    Stoddard Prize
    Certificate in Medical Physics
    Sigma Pi Sigma
    Simon O. StampeBA, Physics
    BS, Mathematics
    Certificate in Medical Physics
    Sigma Pi Sigma
    Cyprian B. TayrienBS  Physics and Astronomy
    Brian F. TurkettBS, Physics and Astronomy
    BA, Mathematics
    Take 5 Scholars Award
    Sigma Pi Sigma
    Emily S. VeitBA Physics
    Gennady VoronovBS, Physics
    BS, Applied Mathematics
    Sigma Pi Sigma
    Adam R. WilliamsonBA, Physics
    BS Applied Mathematics
    BS Electrical & Computer Engineering
    Take 5 Scholars Award
    Phi Beta Kappa
    Sigma Pi Sigma

    Undergraduate Awards

    The John F. Flagg Award, won this year by Ryan M. Pettibone, is an annual prize awarded to a graduating senior, majoring in Physics or in Physics and Astronomy, with the highest grade-point average as an undergraduate. It was created by the parents of Dr. John F. Flagg in honor of their son, an alumnus of our Department.

    The Fulbright Award, won this year by Ryan M. Pettibone, is awarded annually to the student who, by his or her performance in the Advanced Laboratory, manifests the greatest promise for developing into an experimental physicist in the tradition exemplified by Professor Harry Fulbright. The winner of the Fulbright prize is selected by the teacher of our advanced laboratory course.

    The Stoddard Prize, won this year by John R. Serafini, is an annual award for the best senior research thesis done by a graduating senior in our Department, reflecting the increasing importance of undergraduate research. John's thesis was "Molecular Dynamics of RNA Internal Loops," and his research was supervised by Professor Mathews. The selection each year is made by a faculty committee and based upon a review of the written thesis, together with an evaluation of the presentation given by the students at our Senior Symposium.

    The Undergraduate Teaching Award, won this year by Daniel B. Allan, Adam W. Bublitz, and Jason C. Robin, is an annual award given by the Department to honor the best undergraduate teaching interns of the graduating class.

    The programs leading to the Certificate in Medical Physics and the Certificate in Biological Physics are designed to provide students with the fundamentals necessary for applying physical principles to problems in medicine and biology. The programs are administered by the Biological and Medical Physics Committee within the Department of Physics and Astronomy. This year, Sara Lim, Elizabeth Pollack, John Serafini, and Simon Stampe each earned a Certificate in Medical Physics; and Christopher McFarland earned a Certificate in Biological Physics.

    This year, Professor Frank Wolfs created a special award, the Toughest Physicist of the Year, for Sara Lim, who was in a serious accident in November, 2007. During the graduation ceremony, Professor Wolfs commented that "during the first few weeks after her accident, we were not sure she would be sitting here today to enjoy her graduation. Our prayers for a full recovery were heard, and today Sara and her parents are here to celebrate her graduation. This award recognizes the determination of Sara G. Lim to complete the requirements of the BA in Physics despite the incredible challenges she faced in her senior year."

    The Take 5 Scholars Award, won by Teresa L. Oeinch ('07), Erik J. Tobiason ('07), Brian F. Turkett ('08), Eugene Vaynberg ('07), Adam R. Williamson ('08), and Joseph D. Yesselman ('07), grants an additional semester or year at the University, tuition-free, to explore in great depth a subject apart from one's major or main theme of study.

    The Kaufmann's Entrepreneurial Year, won by Mario F. Dal Col ('07), Zachary J. Kozick ('08), Patrick M. McLaughlin ('07), Jordan B. Parker ('08), and Jordan S. Webster ('08), is an award of an additional year at the University, tuition-free, to transform an idea into an enterprise that positively affects others.

    The Catherine Block Memorial Fund Prize, won by Kristi Beck ('09), is awarded annually by the University to a woman in the junior class in recognition of her outstanding ability and achievement in the field of science.

    The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, won by Samuel Harrold ('09), Kristi Beck ('09), and John Golden ('10), is a prestigious scholarship in science, math, and engineering, endowed by the U.S. Congress to honor the late Sen. Barry M. Goldwater.

    The J. William Fulbright Scholarship, won by Benjamin L. Schmitt, was established in 1946, based on the vision of U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, to "enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries."

    Elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and largest undergraduate honor society in the U.S. dedicated to fostering and recognizing excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, were: Adam W. Bublitz, Christopher D. McFarland, Christopher B. Osborn, Ryan M. Pettibone, Daniel E. Richman, Jordan S. Webster, and Adam R. Williamson.

    Elected to Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society affiliated with the American Institute of Physics, were: Daniel B. Allan, Adam W. Bublitz, Peter A. Faber, Chad J. Forrest, Jacob A. Johnston, Jeffrey S. Klein, Zachary J. Kozick, Christopher D. McFarland, Christopher B. Osborn, Jordan B. Parker, Ryan M. Pettibone, Daniel E. Richman, Jason C. Robin, Benjamin L. Schmitt, John R. Serafini, Simon O. Stampe, Brian F. Turkett, Gennady Voronov, Jordan S. Webster, and Adam R. Williamson. Sigma Pi Sigma exists to honor outstanding scholarship in physics; to encourage interest in physics among students at all levels; to promote an attitude of service of its members towards their fellow students, colleagues, and the public; to provide a fellowship of persons who have excelled in physics.

    Master's Degrees

    NameDegree Earned
    Steven M. BlochMS, Physics
    Fook Chin ChiangMS, Physics
    Yun Jin ChoiMS, Physics
    Chad J. ForrestMS, Physics
    Michael R. LaskiMS, Physics
    Joshua G. TroyerMS, Physics
    Mihirkant UpadhyayaMS, Physics
    Gregory L. ArmstrongMA, Physics
    Maria Alejandra Barrios GarciaMA, Physics
    Burton A. BetchartMA, Physics
    Matthew M. BisharaMA, Physics
    Po-Yu ChangMA, Physics
    Melanie A. DayMA, Physics
    P. Benjamin DixonMA, Physics
    Mayukh LahiriMA, Physics
    Hyup Woo LeeMA, Physics
    Douglas A. OrbakerMA, Physics
    Kiwan ParkMA, Physics
    Xiao-Feng QianMA, Physics
    Yang SongMA, Physics
    David J. StarlingMA, Physics
    Andrew R. StumpMA, Physics
    Yun-Tse TsaiMA, Physics
    Amrita UrdhwaresheMA, Physics
    Hui WangMA, Physics
    Xu WangMA, Physics
    Ran XinMA, Physics

    Graduate Teaching AwardAndrew R. Stump

    The American Association of Physics Teachers Award, won by Maria Alejandra Barrios Garcia and Justin Dressel, is an annual prize awarded by the Department for excellent performance as a workshop, recitation, or laboratory instructor.

    The Susumu Okubo Prize, won by Hui Wang, is a prize in honor Prof. Susumu Okubo, awarded annually by the Department for excellent performance in graduate course work and on the Preliminary Exam.

    PhD Degrees

    NameDegree EarnedDissertation TitleAdvisor
    John R. BoersmaPhD, PhysicsGuage Boson Phenomenology of Little Higgs Models

    Lynne Orr

    Ryan M. CamachoPhD, Physics

    Implementations of Slow Light Using Double-Resonances

    John Howell

    Hui ChenPhD, Physics

    Towards a Nanocrystalline Silicon Laser

    Philippe Fauchet and Yongli Gao

    B. David CladerPhD, Physics

    Ultra-Short Pulse Propagation in Multi-Level Media

     Joseph Eberly

    Carlos A. GarciaPhD, Physics

    Precision Measurement of the Mass of the Top Quark inCollisions

    Thomas Ferbel

    Phay J. HoPhD, Physics

    e-e Correlated Intense-Field Multiple Ionization as a Completely Classical Photo-electric Effect

    Joseph Eberly

    Michael E. HolmesPhD, Physics

    Trapping Ultracold Atoms Close to Surfaces and Molecule Chips

    Nicholas Bigelow

    Marat KhafizovPhD, Physics

    Photoresponse Mechanism of Superconducting MgB2

    Roman Sobolewski

    Jan KleinertPhD, Physics

    Electrostatic Trapping of Ultracold Polar Molecules

    Nicholas Bigelow

    Michael V. PackPhD, Physics

    Dynamics of Electromagnetically Induced Transparency Optical Kerr Nonlinearities

    John Howell

    Su-Jung ParkPhD, Physics

    Search for Admixture of Scalar Top in the  Lepton+Jets Final State at =1.96 TeV

    Regina Demina

    Rajdeep SahaPhD, Physics

    Semi-Classical Dynamics Using Initial Value Representations and Coherent State Path Integrals

    Misha Ovchinnikov and Yonathan Shapir

    Stephanie L. SublettPhD, Physics

     OMEGA Laser-Driven Hydrodynamic Plasma Jet Experiments with Relevance to Astrophysics

    David Meyerhofer and James Knauer

    Elizabeth Jane WeselyPhD, Physics

    Decay Pathways for Excitations in a Conjugated Oligofluorene

    Lewis Rothberg

    Jeremy D. WilsonPhD, Physics

    Measurements and Interpretations of Light Scattering From Intact Biological Cells

    Thomas Foster

    Chung Ki WongPhD, Physics

    Theoretical Studies of the Properties of Magnetic Resonance Signal Formed Under the Influence of Distant Dipolar Field

    Jianhui Zhong

    Shuai WuPhD, Physics

    Time-Resolved Characterization of Carrier and Phonon Dynamics in GaN Single Crystals

    Roman Sobolewski

    Sung-Yong Phil YoonPhD, Physics

    Error-Induced Beam Degradation in Fermilab's Accelerators

    Arie Bodek and Weiren Chou

    Andrew J. CunninghamPhD, Physics and Astronomy

    Star Formation Driven Mechanical Feedback in Molecular Clouds

    Adam Frank

    Jason T. NordhausPhD, Physics and Astronomy

    From Binaries to Asymmetric Outflows: The Influence of Low-Mass Companions Around AGB Stars

    Eric Blackman

    Robert I. SelkowitzPhD, Physics and Astronomy

    Stochastic Fermi Acceleration and the Dissipation of Astrophysical Magnetic Turbulence

    Eric Blackman

    The Frederick Lobkowicz Prize, won by Su-Jung Park, is a prize in honor of Prof. Frederick Lobkowicz, awarded annually by the Department to the student judged to have submitted the best PhD dissertation in high-energy nuclear or particle physics.

    The Agnes M. and George Messersmith Fellowship, won by Benjamin A. Sargent, is given annually by the University Dean of Graduate Studies, in support of a particularly promising doctoral thesis project.

    Faculty Awards

    This year's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching went to Eric G. Blackman, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and to Steven M. Manly, Professor of Physics. This is an annual prize that is awarded by a vote of the graduating seniors. This is the first time that Professor Blackman or Professor Manly has been nominated for the awarded.

    Professor Manly started teaching PHY 142 Honors Electricity and Magnetism in Fall 2004. Then in Fall 2007, he was named the Director of the Teaching Internship Program.

    Professor Blackman taught AST 232W - The Milky Way Galaxy and has done research with many of the Physics and Astronomy undergraduates.

    Jack Thomas, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Sciences and of Astronomy, was elected as a Fellow of the AAAS. Election is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. Fellows are recognized for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications.

    Ching Tang, Doris Johns Cherry Professor of Chemical Engineering, Professor of Physics and of Chemistry, won the Daniel E. Noble Award of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). This honor is awarded by the IEEE for outstanding contributions to emerging technologies recognized within recent years. Professor Tang is the inventor of organic light emitting diode (OLED) technology.

    Esther Conwell, Professor of Chemistry and of Physics, won the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award, which is awarded by the ACS for encouraging women into careers in the chemical sciences. Professor Conwell is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

    Judith L. Pipher, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame, which is awarded to honor in perpetuity women whose contributions to the arts, athletics, business, education, government, the humanities, philanthropy and science, have been the greatest value for the development of their country.