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Physics and a Way to View The World


After a summer of reflection, Joelle Baer ’16 started Hamilton knowing math and science were her deepest interests. Her love for physics was a surprise.

“That freshman mechanics course with Gordon Jones completely blew me away  – everything I had taken for granted about the world around me was being explained right before my very eyes. The class was enthralling, the problems exciting, the professor entertaining. I was completely sold on the major,” says Baer, who went on to do summer internships at the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s Center for Nuclear Research. Jones is the Litchfield Professor of Astronomy at Hamilton.

Baer is now in a doctoral program in physics at the University of Wisconsin, supported by a three-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

It was Jones who encouraged Baer to take that first internship at the National Institute. Before that experience, she would tell people that she was dead set against going to grad school for physics.

“I believe he secretly wanted me to change my mind about my future career, and it absolutely worked. Once I was surrounded by physicists I knew that is exactly what I needed to do,” she told the Hamilton Alumni Review.

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