Melinda Andrews, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics

B.A and B.S., Bucknell University; Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Melinda Andrews received her B.S. in mathematics and physics from Bucknell University and Ph.D. in particle cosmology from the University of Pennsylvania. Melinda's research focuses on ways to modify Einstein's theory of gravity to explain various puzzling observations of the behavior of the universe on the largest scales. She has previously taught at Bucknell University.

Katherine Brown (Jones-Smith), Assistant Professor of Physics

B.S., University of New Mexico; M.S. and Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University
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Areas of expertise: fractal analysis of Jackson Pollock drip paintings

Kate Brown is a theoretical physicist who studies cosmology, fundamental physics and interdisciplinary science. Her first publication appeared in Nature and debunked claims that fractal analysis could be used to identify authentic drip paintings by Jackson Pollock. Since then Brown has published (under maiden name Jones-Smith) on diverse topics such as gravitational radiation arising from cosmological phase transitions, mathematical analogies between ordinary conducting materials and certain models of dark energy, and non-Hermitian theories of quantum mechanics. She earned her doctorate at Case Western Reserve University in 2010 and went on to a postdoctoral research position at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to joining Hamilton she held visiting appointments at Oberlin College and Reed College.

Don Bunk, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics

B.A. and B.S., State University of New York at New Paltz; Ph.D., Syracuse University
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Areas of expertise: quantum field theory and particle physics phenomenology

Don Bunk was born and raised in the Hudson Valley and began his academic pursuits at Dutchess Community College. In 2006 he earned his bachelor of arts degree at the State Univeristy of New York at New Paltz, where he studied physics and philosophy. Recently Bunk earned his doctorate in theoretical physics at nearby Syracuse University. His research is in particle physics, and he is interested in investigating Beyond-Standard Model physics such as the Strong CP problem, composite Higgs models and supersymmetry. Bunk is currently investigating Higgs decays at the LHC, in particular the Higgs decay to a photon and Z boson.

Brian Collett, Acting Chair, Associate Professor of Physics

B.A. and M.A., University of Cambridge; Ph.D., Princeton University
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Areas of expertise: computational and electronic projects, and the development of programs to help teach aspects of physics

Before coming to Hamilton in 1986, Brian Collett was a staff fellow at the National Institutes of Health and a visiting assistant professor of physics at Mt. Holyoke College. He received a doctorate from Princeton University. Since 2000 Collett has been collaborating with Gordon Jones on projects in nuclear physics. Their work has included the development of compact 3He neutron spin filters for use in neutron scattering, and they are participants in the aCORN experiment, studying neutron decay at the National Institutes of Standards and Technologies. They are responsible for the magnetic and electric fields in the experiment and have contributed extensively to the data collection and analysis.

Gordon Jones, Professor of Physics

B.A., Williams College; M.A., Princeton University; Ph.D., Princeton University
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Areas of expertise: neutron spin filters and angular correlations in neutron decay

Gordon Jones earned his doctorate in nuclear physics from Princeton University. His research interests include using neutrons to study fundamental symmetries and polarizing neutrons for use in materials science. On the fundamental side, Jones studies time reversal symmetry and weak interactions in nuclei. On the applied side, he builds devices used to understand magnetic materials such as the read heads in computer hard drives. He has published papers in journals such as the Physical Review C, Journal of Applied Crystalography and Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. Jones previously worked as a NRC post-doc, NIST and a visiting scientist at Indiana University.

Seth Major, Chair, Professor of Physics

B.A., Swarthmore College; M.S., Syracuse University; Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
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Areas of expertise: quantum gravity, quantum geometry, general relativity and quantum gravity phenomenology

Seth Major's research is in quantum gravity, a field of theoretical physics devoted to finding the deep structure of spacetime, and in the phenomenology of quantum geometry. Recently Major has focused on possible observable consequences of quantum gravity, particularly on how granular spatial geometry might be indirectly observed. He has worked on the quantum deformation of quantum gravity, causal sets, operators in quantum gravity and modified dispersion relations. Major was a Lise Meitner Fellow at the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of Vienna and taught at Swarthmore and Deep Springs colleges. He earned a doctorate in theoretical physics from Pennsylvania State University.

Ann Silversmith, the Litchfield Professor of Physics

B.A., Oberlin College; M.Sc., University of Wisconsin; Ph.D., Australian National University
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Areas of expertise: laser spectroscopy of rare earths in insulating solids and developing new laser materials useful in the solid state laser industry

Silversmith came to Hamilton College in 1989, after completing a doctorate at the Australian National University and doing post-doctoral work at the IBM Almaden Research Center. She introduced laser spectroscopy to the Hamilton Physics Department and has supervised more than 30 research students. Two of her student collaborators were named finalists for the national Apker Award of the American Physical Society. Silversmith specializes in developing new laser materials that would be useful in the solid state laser industry. She is investigating the spectroscopy of rare earth doped sol-gel glasses. Her research has been funded by the Research Corporation and National Science Foundation.