The NYU Physics Department has embarked upon major efforts in what promise to be some of the most exciting areas in physics of the twenty-first century.
Two examples: In confirmation of the general idea of understanding complicated systems from their basic building blocks, the development of the universe as a whole can now be understood with the help of the physics of the very large, the general theory of relativity, and the physics of the very small, field theory, which describes the elementary particles of which the universe is composed. Gregory Gabadaze, a young particle theorist currently at CERN, will in the fall be joining our department and in the research effort along these lines of the department's Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics. Soft condensed matter physics studies the properties of solid non-rigid forms of matter. As the systems it studies includes those found in living organisms, in addition to the pure physics problems it deals with, this area also has strong connections with biology, mathematics, and medicine. New York University has committed to providing the resources necessary to build a major effort in this field at our physics department. We have just taken our first step in this direction: David Grier, currently a professor at the University of Chicago and someone who has contributed significantly to this area, will be joining our department at the beginning of the spring semester.
Although institutional and funding agency support go a long way, support by alumni can be critical in the success of both experimental and theoretical work. Please feel free to contact me or Henry Stroke, the Chair of our Alumni and External Relations Committee, if you would like to know how you could help us with these efforts.
Allen I. Mincer
Alumnus Stephen Federman came back to give us an exciting Atomic Physics seminar on Atomic and Molecular Data for Interstellar Studies. He showed how interstellar atomic and molecular sources of radiation can provide a laboratory for studying transition probabilities of species for which down to earth laboratory techniques would not be easily applicable. In turn, such data are of importance to astrophysical studies. Stephen is now a professor at the University of Toledo where he has a large theoretical and experimental program for which he also uses the Hubble Space Telescope and various synchrotron radiation sources.
The year came to an end with a great holiday party organized by our Alumni Coordinator, Lorelei DeMesa. We are by now totally spoiled by the level of perfection that she brings to our departmental affairs and all expressed gratitude for her efforts. As an unusual entertainment, Allen Mincer invited a renowned poet, Samuel Menashe, who read some of his works to the delight of those present. His poetry has been published widely, including the New Yorker magazine. Menashe was also written up a while ago in the New York Times.
We are happy when alumni participate in these events, and we are looking forward to seeing many of you next year. In the meantime, best wishes from all in the Physics Department for a good new year and happy holidays.
Henry Stroke, Henry Stroke, Chair of the Alumni and External Relations Committee