Amherst's Clare Boothe Luce Program

Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Research Fellows at Amherst College

[clare boothe luce program Info] Amherst’s CBL program supports first- and second-year women students interested in mathematics, computer science, statistics, and the physical sciences (but not in biology or biomedical sciences). CBL Research Fellows will engage in a 10-week research experience during the summer following their first or second year at Amherst, with opportunities to present their work at professional conferences and to apply for senior thesis funding to continue their research. Please note that CBL Fellows must be U.S. citizens who identify as women.

Student-to-student mentoring program

Each year’s CBL Fellows will act as mentors to the next group of Fellows, sharing their experience and building a community of women scientists within the College. Expenses will be covered for lunch mentoring meetings during the academic year.

CBL Activities

Fellows will take part in social activities, such as hikes and picnics, and will be invited to an annual dinner following a talk by a CBL research scholar.


Possible CBL Research Faculty Participants

Burkett Professor Sandra Burkett’s research focuses on the construction of synthetic hybrid materials by manipulating the interactions between organic and inorganic components.  She and her research team create polymer clay nanodeposits that use synthetic layered hybrid materials as substrates for the controlled growth of end tethered polymer chains, or “brushes.” Burkett’s research team works to characterize the composition and structure of these nanodeposits, using instrumental techniques, including solution and solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Learn more about Professor Burkett's research here.

Carter Professor Ashley Carter's lab team studies the mechanical properties of biological molecules or cells. Her research tracks the Brownian motion of injected particles using laser optic techniques. Students in her lab examine the motion of small micron-sized polystyrene beads that are attached to a biological specimen of interest. By tracking the movement or binding of the bead researchers are able to infer the trajectory of the specimen.   Learn more about Professor Carter's research here

   Follette Professor Kate Follette’s research focuses on identification and characterization of planets in the process of forming around young stars. She and her team use high-resolution images taken with some of the world’s largest telescopes to search the environs of young stars. They search both for asymmetries in the disks of gas and dust that surround these stars (circumstellar disks) and for light directly emitted from young planets embedded in those disks. Learn more about Professor Follette’s research on her website.

[clare boothe luce program Info] Jonathan Friedman’s lab studies chemically synthesized magnetic materials to learn how their magnetic moments reverse direction and to explore their potential use as processing elements in quantum computers. His group also studies the properties of superconducting devices that exhibit macroscopic quantum phenomena and that can be made into “Schrödinger Cats.” Learn more about Friedman's research here.

[clare boothe luce program Info] David Hall and his research team experimentally study aspects of Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs). His lab focuses on experimental atomic physics, laser spectroscopy, laser trapping and cooling, and Bose Einstein Condensation. Students in Hall's lab may investigate the peculiar manifestations of superfluidity in BECs, including topological structures such as vortices and monopoles. Learn more about Hall's research here.

[clare boothe luce program Info] David Hanneke studies individual atoms, molecules, and sub-atomic particles to test fundamental physics principles and to develop detailed control techniques for quantum systems. His students use low-energy atomic-physics techniques for precision measurements and detailed control of quantum systems.Students have developed an atom trap, lasers, and radiofrequency electronics. Learn more about Hanneke's research here.

Horton Professor Nicholas Horton has two parallel research interests.  He develops and assesses methods for the analysis of incomplete (missing) data problems with applications in substance abuse research and psychiatric epidemiology.  In addition, he is working to develop ways to bridge statistical computing, data science, and statistical education and help improve the capacity to "think with data". Learn more about Professor Horton's research here.

[clare boothe luce program Info] Larry Hunter’s laboratory engages in precision experimental investigations that might reveal new physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics.  Current projects include 1) A searches for anomalous long-range interactions between spins, 2) an investigation of the viability of laser cooling of a molecule (Tl-F) to potentially improve the measurement of a nuclear electric-dipole moment, and 3) A search for time dependence in the decay of a nucleus.  Recent publications can be found here.

[clare boothe luce program Info] Tanya Leise studies biological clocks, particularly the mammalian circadian clock. She and her research team examine feedback loops related to core clock genes and the resulting behavioral rhythms by creating and analyzing differential equations models. They also study the oscillations recorded in experiments using wavelet-based time series analysis methods, with the goal of gaining insight about the underlying mechanisms that generate the oscillations.analyze biological oscillators like the mammalian circadian clock. Researchers perform time-frequency analysis involving Fourier and wavelet transforms. Learn more about Leise's research here.

[clare boothe luce program Info] Helen Leung and Mark Marshall study intermolecular interactions due to van der Waals forces between nonchemically bonded molecules. Their research employs  a high resolution, pulsed molecular beam, Fourier transform microwave spectrometer to obtain the rotational spectrum of a complex that can then be analyzed to yield molecular information. Learn more about Leung's research here and Marshall's research here.

Martini Professor Anna Martini research is focused on understanding biogeochemical processes in the environment. Current research projects include studying paleohydrogeology of western Ireland and examining early marine diagenesis in St. Lucia. Learn more about Professor Martini's research here.


[clare boothe luce program Info] Professor Loinaz’s research is in theoretical elementary particle physics and related topics.  He compares theoretical models of new physics beyond the Standard Model to data obtained from many types of experiments to see what sorts of new physics are favored or ruled out by experiments.  In addition, he performs Monte Carlo simulations of simple quantum field theories and equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical mechanical systems, and he looks at subtle and interesting mathematical features of very simple quantum mechanical systems. Learn more on Professor Loinaz's webpage.

Stage Professor Michael Stage is an astronomer whose research focuses on the X-ray astrophysics of supernova remnants. He is currently investigating non-thermal emission from accelerated electrons in the Cassiopeia A Supernova Remnant (SNR), using data from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the MIT Kavli Institute

About Clare Boothe Luce

[clare boothe luce program Info]

Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987) was a playwright, author, and diplomat who served a term as a US Representative for Connecticut, was US Ambassador to Italy, and received the 1983 Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her bequest created a program that is the single largest private source of funding for women in underrepresented fields of science, mathematics, and engineering.