May 2014

Dear Alumni and Friends of W&M Physics,

As we prepare to send off a new crop of W&M physics graduates, we
wanted to take a moment and share with you some of the happenings of
the past year.  Commencement is May 11.   If the weather cooperates, we
will enjoy the departmental ceremony on the lawn outside of Small.
Professor Patricia Vahle will be giving this year's physics address.

Every year, we recognize those students who stand out as particularly
outstanding in their classes or their research.  This year, two
students from each of our sophomore, junior, and senior classes
received awards.  You can see all our graduates and award winners and
read about their future plans at:

Small Hall got a lot cooler this year, all the way down to 100
nanokelvin!  Prof. Aubin and his group now routinely cool rubidium-87
atoms to form a Bose-Einstein condensate.  Prof. Sher, on the other
hand, has been in hot demand by colleagues and the press since the
discovery of the Higgs Boson at the LHC.  He wrote his first paper on
the Higgs boson in 1978, and is now the natural candidate to provide
context for the results.  Articles on these items and other research
news can be found at: 

Both faculty and students host a number of educational outreach
activities.  Most recently, visitors to the Yorktown Elementary School
Science Night were treated to demonstrations of diffraction in thin
films, gravity on a spandex sheet, and microwave experiments.  The
Society of Physics Students organized the first "Demos in the Sun"
event in the Sunken Garden.  We are already beginning to prepare for
PhysicsFest on Homecoming Day, October 26, 2013. Details at:

We enjoyed seeing many of you at last year's PhysicsFest Homecoming
event and hearing about where your physics degree had taken you.  We'd
like to hear from even more of you!  If you have news to share, go to
"Send us your News" at:

We will post these updates on our web page (with your permission), so
that everyone can stay up to date on happenings in the W&M physics
community.  If you would like to contribute to the department to help
us continue to provide outstanding research and classroom
opportunities to our current students, the following link provides an
easy way to give directly to the physics department on-line:

or, please feel free to contact me if would like to explore ways
to support Physics. 


  David S. Armstrong
  Chair of Physics


(for the Physics Department)