The Physics Department welcomed approximately 70 new students to the Ph.D. and Master’s programs at new-student orientations held on August 31 and September 1, 2023.

The Ph.D. Program Orientation, managed by Student Affairs Manager Jessica Bello and presided over by Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) James Valles, had an agenda packed with tours, introductions and advising. Professors Savvas Koushiappas, Ian Dell’Antonio and Kemp Plumb were on hand to greet the incoming students.

Professors Valles and Antal Jevicki welcomed the group of 27 Ph.D. students to Brown in a keynote speech that informed and excited the new students about their studies and research opportunities. Prof. Valles remarked, “Our newest class of PhD students have interests that span the spectrum of our research areas and, thus, physics.  Their enthusiasm and drive are inspiring.  It was fun to hear them share physics principles or tenets they find sacred.  They span our discipline, like quantum uncertainty and the limit of the speed of light, and also include humility!  I look forward to watching their coming successes.”

Professor Jay Tang led the Master’s Orientation on September 1, expertly organized by Student Affairs Manager Elyse Souliere. Together with Professors Sean Ling, Matthias Kuehne and Kemp Plumb, they greeted students and guided students on a whirlwind tour of Barus & Holley that included tours of labs on the fifth and seventh floors, among others.

Incoming Master's student Shidas Kalappadan is excited to focus on astrophysics, given her previous experience in the field. In the meantime, she is looking forward to meeting Professor Savvas Koushiappas. Shidas said she also looks forward to delving into condensed matter physics and exploring more here at Brown!

While on a tour of the fifth floor, Prof. Ling explained that Brown researchers must travel all over the globe to pursue their research due to the land-mass paucity in Rhode Island, which does not allow for constructing the large-scale instruments our researchers require. For example, he noted that “for Astro-cosmology, one must travel to Chile.”

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Physics department manager Douglas Wilkie explained that the department recently expanded the student affairs office to manage the increase in master’s students. Since 2015, the master’s program has grown from one student to over 90 students. The department realized that each program required a student affairs manager to provide the highest caliber of service to the growing student population. With a combined almost 20 years of experience between student affairs managers Jessica Bello and Elyse Souliere, Douglas said the department “was lucky to find two such highly experienced administrators with deep student affairs knowledge who could hit the ground running.” And they did. Both orientations went off flawlessly!