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Physics Department News

Caitlin Dolt with Principia
Caitlin Dolt emerges from the rabbit hole to cry ‘Io triumphe!’

An intriguing set of mysteries has surrounded William & Mary's first-edition copy of Isaac Newton's masterwork. Caitlin Dolt ‘22 brought her knowledge of Latin and physics to the task. (And also persistence: At one point, she looked at the book and said "I am more stubborn than you.”)

Standard File
NSF CAREER: Mapping the 3D, 3-quark circus going on inside the proton

Protons and neutrons make up 95 percent of all visible matter. The interior of each proton and neutron is a wild land of particles and antiparticles popping in and out of existence. William & Mary physicist Christopher Monahan wants to map it out.

Illustration of an atom
In ‘Nature’: The need to update neutrino models

Neutrinos may be the key to finally solving a mystery of the origins of our matter-dominated universe, and preparations for two major, billion-dollar experiments are underway to reveal the particles’ secrets.

A logo that reads "iGEM"
W&M team returns from iGEM competition bearing honors

William & Mary’s undergraduate iGEM team won a Gold Medal and was nominated for a major award at the iGEM Giant Jamboree, the annual conference and award ceremony of the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation.

Portrait photograph of Daniel Kovner
DOE supports Ph.D. student Kovner’s continued QCD studies at JLab

Daniel Kovner, a doctoral student in the Department of Physics at William & Mary, will continue his investigation of quantum chromodynamics as one of 65 graduate students supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program.

physics student holding a fire extinguisher
W&M Society of Physics Students wins Outstanding Chapter Award

William & Mary’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students put together an impressive slate of fun and educational activities for 2019-2020, and when a pandemic hit, they went virtual, barely breaking stride.

Wenliang “Bill” Li
Physics postdoc wins JLab prize to further ‘backwards’ research

A postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics at William & Mary, Wenliang “Bill” Li is studying proton structure — just like many people who conduct their nuclear physics research at Jefferson Lab. But he’s studying a new aspect of it: the backward perspective.

Two cartoon characters stand on a beach
Postponed: W&M's Raft Debate

William & Mary's 2020 Raft Debate will be held in the Sadler Center's Commonwealth Auditorium March 19 at 6:30 p.m.

Jefferson Lab's experimental Hall B is full of equipment to study the strong force
In ‘Nature’: Researchers probe the space between protons and neutrons

In the first direct probes of the core of the nuclear interaction, researchers find that leading theories on interactions between protons and neutrons describe them well, even in conditions where the protons and neutrons strongly overlap, such as in neutron stars.

Joanna Schug
Meet this year's Faculty Fellowship awardees

Each year, the Alumni Association honors five professors in the early stages of their careers who exemplify teaching excellence at William & Mary.

William & Mary Ph.D. student Shuangli Du and staff scientist Dr. Doug Beringer working in front of computers inside William & Mary’s Ultracold AMO Physics Laboratory.
Using ultracold atoms to find WMDs

Seth Aubin, associate professor of physics at William & Mary, recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a new type of instrument capable of detecting hidden infrastructure for weapons of mass destruction.

A photo from June of 2018 shows the Newton Trees growing outside Small Hall doing well, even producing apples.
Sad news: The Newton Trees are gone

William & Mary’s Isaac Newton apple trees no longer stand outside Small Hall. The trees likely succumbed to a bacterial disease known as fire blight.