Professor David Hanneke Wins NSF CAREER Grant for Physics Research with Amherst College Students

Submitted on Monday, 7/1/2013, at 4:58 PM

By Katherine Duke ’05

The research that takes place in David Hanneke’s lab in Merrill Science Center involves a lot of cool stuff: lasers, crystals, electromagnetic traps, the fundamental constants of the universe and Amherst College students. Now Hanneke, an assistant professor of physics, has a five-year, $600,000 CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support his team’s ongoing investigations into the properties of charged particles.  

A Meeting of the Mindful to introduce compassion, kindness in schools worldwide

Submitted on Tuesday, 5/28/2013, at 4:46 PM

May 28, 2013 • By Peter Rooney

AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College campus is forging ever stronger links with the burgeoning mindfulness movement, in academia and beyond.

The most recent example is an initiative—funded with a $1 million grant from the Dalai Lama and spearheaded by a renowned physicist from Amherst College and a group of 30 leading minds in fields such as education, neuroscience and childhood development—to integrate the core principles of compassion and kindness into a secular ethics curriculum that can be taught worldwide, to people of all ages.

Amherst Prof Devises First Head-to-Head Speed Test with Conventional Computing, and the Quantum Computer Wins

May 7, 2013 • By Peter Rooney

Catherine McGeoch

AMHERST, Mass.A computer science professor at Amherst College who recently devised and conducted experiments to test the speed of a quantum computing system against conventional computing methods will soon be presenting a paper with her verdict: quantum computing is, “in some cases, really, really fast.”

Physicist’s Work Sheds New Light on Possible “Fifth Force of Nature”

February 21, 2013 • Article by Caroline Hanna

This picture depicts the long-range spin-spin interaction (blue wavy lines) in which the spin-sensitive detector on Earth’s surface interacts with geoelectrons (red dots) deep in Earth’s mantle. The arrows on the geoelectrons indicate their spin orientations, opposite that of Earth’s magnetic field lines (white arcs). Illustration: Marc Airhart (University of Texas at Austin) and Steve Jacobsen (Northwestern University).

In a breakthrough for the field of particle physics, Larry Hunter, the Stone Professor of Natural Sciences (Physics), and colleagues at Amherst and The University of Texas at Austin have established new limits on what scientists call “long-range spin-spin interactions” between atomic particles. These interactions have been proposed by theoretical physicists but have not yet been seen. Their observation would constitute the discovery of a “fifth force of nature” (in addition to the four known fundamental forces: gravity, weak, strong and electromagnetic) and would suggest the existence of new particles, beyond those presently described by the Standard Model of particle physics.

Ilan Stavans Pens Lyrics for Immigration-Themed “Tres Colores” Choir Concert at Amherst College

April 12, 2013

AMHERST, Mass. — Ilan Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College, has chronicled aspects of his own immigrant experience from Mexico City to the United States in memoirs, poetry, books and graphic novels.

For the last several months, he’s been collaborating with a children’s chorus, renowned composers and the Amherst College Concert Choir to add music to his creative repertoire, while bringing talented children and college students together to address the theme that’s consumed much of his creative energy.

The end result will appear onstage in Buckley Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 12, when the college and the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation sponsor the world premiere of Tres Colores,a musical journey of immigration and hope in America. The event is free and open to the public.

Kevin Sweeney: Guns, Militias, and the Second Amendment

Kevin SweeneyFebruary 5, 2013

Interview by William Sweet • Photo by Rob Mattson

The citizen soldier, ready to defend his family, property and liberty, is a powerful and cherished image, and one often invoked in debates around the Second Amendment and gun violence.

But that image just isn’t accurate. According to Kevin M. Sweeney, professor of American studies and history, the militia man isn’t who we think he is, and the Second Amendment doesn’t do what we think it does. In short, he says, the NRA and the Supreme Court need a history lesson.

The BBC recently interviewed Sweeney about guns in American culture, and he has co-authored a piece in the current Chronicle of Higher Education with Saul Cornell ’82, professor of history at Fordham University. Sweeney is at work on a book about guns in rural America.

Professors Awarded NSF, NIH Grants

November 9, 2012

Benzodiazepines. Arithmetic dynamics. Matter at the coldest temperatures of the universe. The fundamental underlying symmetries of nature. And parasites that live on tsetse flies.

What do all of these have in common? They all are faculty research topics that have recently received significant grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) or National Institutes of Health (NIH).

421 Years of Teaching English at Amherst

Submitted on Thursday, 11/8/2012, at 12:23 PM

By Katherine Duke ’05

One of Amherst College’s biggest departments is undergoing a big change. In the past four years, nine out of the 10 most senior faculty members in the Department of English have retired or entered phased retirement. On Oct. 25 in Pruyne Lecture Hall, the department held a panel discussion in honor of these professors’ combined “421 Years of Teaching English at Amherst.”


Professor’s new book explores race and class at Amherst College

Submitted on Sunday, 10/14/2012, at 10:00 PM

With a student body that’s close to 50 percent non-white, and with more than 60 percent of its students receiving financial aid, Amherst College is an ideal environment to explore whether  people of different races and economic backgrounds—who live, study and socialize together—will learn about each other and therefore become less prejudiced over time.