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A Message From The Chair

From the Stanford Physics Department Annual Newsletter 2023/24

Dear Friends of the Physics Department,

Our annual newsletter is back, after a pandemic-inspired pause. I hope you will find the new format and the material interesting and, maybe, they will motivate you to dig a bit deeper into what is happening in our department.

I have lots of new and exciting topics to report on! Several new colleagues have joined us in recent times: Prof. Susan Clark studies magnetic fields in the interstellar medium, as you will discover reading her piece here. Prof. Ben Feldman is a condensed matter experimentalist, interested in studying emergent quantum electronic states in materials of reduced dimensionality. He also develops new tools to investigate them and managed to start a new laboratory at Stanford during the pandemic. Prof. Jonathan Simon was lured to Stanford (along with Prof. David Schuster in Applied Physics) from the University of Chicago and is setting up extensive laboratories in the Varian building to start an experimental program in quantum devices. Jon and his program are central components of the new Q-FARM initiative that was developed by the university to bolster activities in the area of quantum science and technology, across different departments and schools. Finally, the most recent addition to the faculty is Prof. Trithep Devakul, who is a condensed matter theorist, starting this quarter in our department.

We are also happy to have “back” from administration a number of senior colleagues: Prof. Peter Michelson is back full- time in the department after a stint as Sr. Associate Dean for the Sciences and Profs. Persis Drell and Kathryn Moler will also come back to research and teaching, after their times as Provost and Dean of Research, respectively. Recognizing the need for development in the area of teaching staff, the department recently hired Drs. Charles Blakemore as a Lecturer and Felicia Tam as Physics Education Specialist. Both are also alumni, as Charles received a PhD from our department in 2021 and Felicia was a Physics major here (class of 2002). These new members of the team come on board as George Yan and Rick Pam have retired, after helping teach physics to many generations of students.

There have also been several changes in the administrative staff of the department. Lancy Nazaroff started in March 2023 as our new DFO, replacing Rosenna Yau, who retired after many years of university service. Jenifer Conan-Tice and Cindy Mendel also retired and were replaced by Eldridge Thomas and Maria Frank, respectively. Maria’s move, in turn, resulted in the hire of Nick Swan to run student services. Eunice Han has also joined the student services team. Saira Shah is a new administrative associate, and Dorrene Ross has moved from HEPL to Physics as facilities manager.

It is also appropriate here to remember Prof. Stan Wojcicki who passed away in the spring. Stan had been a member of the physics faculty since 1966 and was twice department Chair. A memorial and a scientific symposium in his honor will be held on Nov. 9-10th.

I invite you to visit us, meet many colleagues leading the respective fields of physics and explore the many new exciting initiatives in the areas of research and instruction.

Giorgio Gratta, Department Chair