Current Physics Majors

Mina Khan ’15 remembers the time she spent working in Associate Professor of Physics Kathy Aidala’s lab at Mount Holyoke College as pivotal
in her academic career.bound! Learn more...

Shola Wylie '15 Wins Goldwater Scholarship!
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Xiaofan Xu '16

Xiaofan started her physics lab experience the summer after her first year at MHC in Professor Kathy Aidala's lab focusing on quantum dots and magnetism.  Xiaofan says, "This is when I learned how to experience physics". 

"We have learned how to operate the AFM [Atomic Force Microscopy] in our lab and did experiments on the topography and other surface properties of thin films.  Now we are ready to view the electrical properties of quantum dots using I-V measurements, Electrostatic Force Microscopy and Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy.  My lab partners and I are really excited about that!"

In the Fall semester of her sophomore year, Xiaofan is taking Introduction to Mathematical Methods for Scientists and Waves and Optics.

Amy Longstreth '17

Amy does research in Teresa Herd’s lab on a project named “Cell Ultrasound". She is responsible for cell culture, including feeding, freezing, and thawing ovarian cells of Chinese hamsters. By studying these cells and how they organize, her research group intends to figure out the factors that make benign cancer cells differ from malignant ones. By investigating the characteristics such as the speed of attenuation and sound, they intend to find a way to categorize tumors. Amy says, “I chose physics because I want to have a career as an engineer and majoring in physics provides me with an adequate base, so that I can pursue an engineering master’s degree in graduate school. I chose Teresa's lab because I am interested in becoming a bio-medical engineer, and the physics lab met my interests. One day I would like to engineer new prosthetics.” She is currently comparing programs at different universities to see which she likes the best.

Achaetey Kabal '17

Achaetey is working on research as a part of Professor Alexi Arango lab. She helps manufacture solar cells. She started working in the lab in summer 2015, and within the few months from the beginning of summer to fall, she has already designed a piece of equipment and wrote a standard working procedure for the Arango lab!

In order to make it easier to reach the evaporator, which sits inside the Nitrogen glove box in the lab she designed a 'grabber.' She says, "It is like large tweezers that open up and close by the push of a button on its handle so that we can grab materials with it to place them into and later remove them from the evaporator."

"The standard operating procedure I wrote is for the spraying quantum dots onto the transport layer of the solar cells," she continues. "We call it the spray gun, but the official name is the single feed siphon air brush. We use it to spray quantum dots onto the transport layer. I work on analyzing the characteristics and effects of the transport layer, which is deposited onto the substrate via evaporation, to figure a way to reach maximum efficiency of the solar cells."

Achaetey says she has decided to become a physicist when during a high school exam, she forgot that she was taking an exam and lost track of time only to realize afterwards that she had solved all the questions and had fun as if the test was a game!