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Symmetry in Nature and in the Laws of Nature
Faculty Biographies

Jonathan%20FriedmanJonathan Friedman, associate professor of physics, received his bachelor’s degree from Vassar College in 1987 and his Ph.D. from the City University of New York in 1996. His research interests focus on exploring systems at or near the quantum/classical frontier. In particular, he studies the quantum properties of “macroscopic” quantum systems like molecules that have a large magnetic moment and superconducting rings in which the electric current can be in a superposition of clockwise and counterclockwise flow. He teaches all sorts of courses in physics, from introductory mechanics to advanced electives, and enjoys them all. As a former journalist, he is particularly interested in teaching his students how to write.

Susan Goldstine ’93 received her Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University in 1998.  She joined the faculty of St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2004, where she is currently associate professor of mathematics and chair of the department of mathematics and computer science.  She is also a member of the editorial board of the College Mathematics Journal.

While her original research specialty is number theory and algebraic dynamics, Professor Goldstine has become increasingly focused on the intersection of mathematics and the arts.  She has constructed numerous tactile and visual mathematical models employing such diverse media as yarn, fabric, thread, beads, paper, steel wire, copper tubes, pinecones and pottery, though not all at once.  Her own artwork, as well as joint artwork with Alison Frane ’94, Ellie Baker, and Sophie Sommer, has been presented in papers in Math Horizons and the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts and displayed in the juried art exhibitions at the national Joint Mathematics Meetings and the international Bridges Conference.  Professor Goldstine is also an avid cook, and while she usually pursues non-mathematical cookery, she hopes one day to reproduce the interlocking Escher swan cookies she made for a lark as an undergraduate.  In her current department, she strives to maintain her reputation for having the office with the most toys.

David Hanneke, assistant professor of physics at Amherst, received his B.S. from Case Western Reserve University in 2001, his A.M. from Harvard University in 2003, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2008. As a graduate student, he precisely measured fundamental constants by use of quantum control of a single trapped electron. As a postdoc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo., he trapped individual atomic ions and built the first programmable two-quantum-bit quantum information processor. At Amherst, he is preparing to use quantum information techniques to probe whether the fundamental “constants” change in time.

Larry R. Hunter, the Stone Professor of Natural Sciences (Physics) received his B.A. from Columbia University in 1974 and his Ph.D. in physics from UC Berkeley in 1981. The primary focus of his research has been the experimental investigation of the fundamental symmetries of nature. His experiments have included tests of parity non-conservation in atomic systems, searches for the permanent electric dipole moment of the electron, and tests of local Lorentz invariance. He won the APS prize for research at an undergraduate institution in 1990. In his 30 years at Amherst he has supervised 38 honors thesis projects and co-authored papers with 27 different students.


Kannan "Jagu" Jagannathan, the Bruce B. Benson ’43 and Lucy Wilson Benson Professor of Physics, received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Rochester in 1981 and has been on the faculty at Amherst since that time.  His primary area of research is high energy theory.  He has worked on the weak interactions of heavy quarks in the Standard Model.  He has also been interested in other areas of theoretical physics such as general relativity and foundations of quantum mechanics, and has supervised undergraduate thesis projects in these areas.  He served a term as the assistant editor of the American Journal of Physics, and has been interested in expository writing on physics. 

Carolyn Johnson ’02 is the lead science writer at The Boston Globe. She also has covered telecommunications and tech culture for the Business section. Johnson was a physics and English major at Amherst College and earned her master’s degree in science writing from MIT.


William A. Loinaz, associate professor of physics, received his BSE from Princeton University in 1989 and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Michigan in 1995.  His primary area of research is in theoretical elementary particle physics.  He has worked on various aspects of Standard Model and beyond the Standard Model physics, with particular attention to neutrino physics, electroweak symmetry breaking, and QCD.  He uses experimental data to constrain candidates for physics beyond the Standard Model, and lately he has been collaborating with experimentalists to design new neutrino physics experiments.

Elizabeth Petrik ’08 received her master’s degree from Harvard University in 2011, and is currently working on her PhD. The experiment she is working on is being performed by the ACME Collaboration. Her research adviser is Prof. John Doyle at Harvard, and the other PIs of the collaboration are Prof. Gerald Gabrielse at Harvard and Prof. David DeMille at Yale.