The airy conference room in the new Center for Theoretical Physics (CTP) is named in honor of Dr. Serpil Ayasli, a former postdoctoral fellow in the Physics Department, and the wife of alumnus Dr. Yalcin Ayasli. “I thought it would make a very nice anniversary gift,” Yalcin said.
This year, Professor Hale Bradt established a Fund from his IRA to support the Department’s graduate students. The Fund, named in honor of Mrs. Barbara E. Thomas, undergraduate administrator in the physics education office from 1931–65, was established by Hale in appreciation of the physics department support staff: past, present and future.
“One day, I came home from work and found Martin lying at the top of the staircase in front of the cellar blowing smoke rings,” recounts Suzanne Deutsch, widow of former MIT Professor Martin Deutsch.
Jim and Sylvia Earl think it’s perfectly natural to support their alma maters. “We get a lot of satisfaction by doing so,”says Jim.
“Physics is beautiful,” according to George Elbaum, who holds an undergraduate and two masters degrees, as well as a PhD, all from MIT.
“One of the most important things I learned at MIT was from Bill Lobar, Lou’s [Professor of Physics Emeritus Louis S. Osborne] technician. I asked him one day to show me how the oscilloscope worked, since I’d forgotten whatever I’d learned in undergraduate labs. Bill said, ‘fiddle with the knobs, you’ll figure it out.’”
Tom Frank knew from a young age that he was destined for MIT and in high school a passionate teacher inspired his love of physics. Since arriving on campus, Tom devoted his life to research and discovery in the field of physics.
There’s a twinkle in his eye as Mort Goulder talks about his years at MIT and subsequent career. In fact, Mort will tell you that he has never learned anything that wasn’t useful.
Inspired by reading physics@mit and his appreciation of his MIT degrees in Physics and Chemistry, Ken established a fund to support graduate fellowships in the Physics Department.
Fascinated by astronomy throughout his childhood, Howard remembers, “I thought it would be great to use the computer on astronomy projects. Before I knew it, the second great intellectual passion of my life, computer science, was born.”
Mark Mueller ’78 makes a lead gift to endow a fellowship in honor of his undergraduate thesis advisor, Professor of Physics Emeritus Arthur Kerman. Additionally, an anonymous donor will match up to $250K to all new gifts in support of the fellowship. The department hopes to reach the $1M goal and fully endow the fellowship by December 2013.
Watch Neil Pappalardo as he questions junior faculty on the exact number of exoplanets, or how specifically gravitational waves can be measured, and you’ll see the passion and persistence behind the MEDITECH founder and father of four.
With the invention of two inexpensive optical devices and a free smartphone app that provides a DIY eye exam, John Serri thinks he may be one of the oldest startup entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. But as he told MIT students and others at a talk in April 2017, when you have what it takes to get an MIT PhD in atomic physics, you can do just about anything.
Majoring in physics was not a hard choice for Mark Siegel when he entered MIT as a freshman. As far as he’s concerned, the “amount of information I absorbed in those four years is probably equal to everything I have learned since.” He’ll also tell you he’s never been with a group of people as intellectually gifted as those students at MIT.
Juan Carlos Torres has had a long interest in physics, which started in his last two years of high school. He had a wonderful physics teacher who sparked his interest in finding out how things work.
Rainer Weiss ’55, PhD ’62 has established a fellowship in the Physics Department because he is eternally grateful to his advisor, the late Jerrold Zacharias, for all that he did for Rai, so he knows firsthand the importance of supporting graduate students.