The Best of 2013, Amherst Edition

January 2, 2014

Now that 2014 is upon us, the members of the college’s Public Affairs staff decided to take a page from many newspapers, magazines and websites and look back at the year that was at Amherst. Here are some of our favorite stories from 2013.

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.

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).


  • The college has green-lighted the renovation of the Lord Jeffery Inn, which has been closed for more than a year. While reduced in scope from the plan initially proposed in 2008, the project will involve renovating the 49 guest rooms and adding event space and an expanded restaurant. The plan is to begin construction this spring and reopen in spring 2011.

Physics Department Lands NSF Grant to Buy New Electron-Beam Evaporation System

January 20, 2010
Peter Rooney
Director of Public Affairs

AMHERST, Mass.—The Physics Department at AmherstCollege will be the beneficiary of federal stimulus money, thanks to a $350,000 National Science Foundation grant received by Professors Jonathan Friedman, David Hall and Larry Hunter and UMass physicist Mark Tuominen. 


Amherst College Physics Prof Larry Hunter Receives Three-Year, $360K NSF Grant to Test the “Symmetries of Nature”

November 3, 2009                                             

AMHERST, Mass. – Larry Hunter, professor of physics at AmherstCollege, has received a three-year, $359,733 grant from the National Science Foundation to test for violations of two major physical theories: Local Lorentz Invariance (LLI) and time-reversal invariance. The findings of his experiments may one day have profound implications on particle theory and could drastically change scientists’ thinking about what Hunter describes as “the fundamental underlying symmetries of nature.”


Amherst College Physicists, Led by Professor Larry Hunter, To Publish in Physical Review Letters

December 12, 2005 Director of Media Relations (413) 542-8417
AMHERST, Mass.—Larry Hunter, the Stone Professor of Natural Science (Physics) at Amherst College, recently had an article on “Measurement of the Electron Dipole Moment Using GdIG” accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters, the journal of the American Physical Society, on Dec. 16.