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Department of Physics

News & Events

NEW! Faculty Positions Available

September 5, 2014 -

The Department of Physics at Boston College invites applications from outstanding candidates to join a major expansion in experimental condensed matter, with emphases on nanoscale integrated science, energy and photonics. Please visit the Positions Available page for more information.


June 17, 2014 -

Inspired by "Digital Dubliners," Ferris Professor of Physics Michael Naughton illustrated the connection between library and laboratory by etching the text of Dubliners onto a 2.5-square-millimeter patch using a sophisticated nanolithography technique more commonly employed to build electronics than to print miniature editions of classic literature. Boston Globe

Near-field Nanophotonics Workshop - July 21-22, 2014

May 28, 2014 -

The Department of Physics is pleased to announce we will co-host a Near-Field NanoPhotonics Workshop and Multiprobe School. NSOM and MultiProbe NSOM have emerged as the premier tools in Photonics and Plasmonics characterization whether in silicon photonics, photonic band gap materials or plasmonic nanofocusing.

Visit for more information.

Rebecca Dally and Matthew Heine honored with Donald J. White Teaching Excellence Award

May 2, 2014 -

Congratulations to Rebecca Dally and Matthew Heine, graduate students in the Department of Physics who were awarded the Donald J. White Teaching Excellence Award. The Donald J. White Teaching Excellence Awards program was established to underscore and reinforce the importance of the pursuit of teaching excellence of graduate Teaching Fellows and Teaching Assistants. Awards are for students who have assisted in laboratories in the sciences, and for those students in other disciplines who assist in teaching by leading discussion groups.

Michelle Cunningham honored with George J. Goldsmith Award

May 2, 2014 -

Congratulations to Physics major and graduating senior Michelle Cunningham for her achievement in receiving the 2014 George J. Goldsmith award. Named in memory of longtime Physics Department faculty member George J. Goldsmith, who is remembered for both his scholarship and his selfless dedication to the students of Boston College, this award is given annually to a graduating physics major in recognition of excellence in academic achievement and research.

Thomas Mion awarded the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship

April 3, 2014 -

Congratulations to Thomas Mion, a graduate student in the Department of Physics, who was awarded the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions. As a NSF Graduate Research Fellow, Thomas will receive three years of support, a $32,000 annual stipend, a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for their institution, and international research and professional development opportunities.

Seventeen undergraduate Physics majors inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma

February 13, 2014 -

The Department of Physics is thrilled to announce the induction of seventeen undergraduate Physics majors into Sigma Pi Sigma, this Spring. Sigma Pi Sigma exists to honor outstanding scholarship in physics; to encourage interest in physics among students at all levels; to promote an attitude of service of its members towards their fellow students, colleagues, and the public; to provide a fellowship of persons who have excelled in physics. Sigma Pi Sigma’s mission is not completed in the induction ceremony with the recognition of academic accomplishment. In the four dimensions of Honor, Encouragement, Service, and Fellowship, the mission of Sigma Pi Sigma takes a longer view.Founded in 1921, Sigma Pi Sigma is a member honor society of the Association of College Honor Societies. The society has 75,000 historical members. Election to Sigma Pi Sigma is a lifetime membership.

The seventeen students are: Andrew Boyce ’16 (Major: Physics), James Brogan ’16 (Major: Chemistry/Physics), Michael Cambria ’15 (Major: Physics), Brian Choi ’14 (Major: Mathematics, Minor: Physics), Michelle Cunningham ’14 (Major: Physics, Minor: Hispanic Studies), Peter Czajka ’16 (Major: Physics), David DePalma ’14 (Major: Physics, Minor: Mathematics), William Flaherty ’16 (Major: Economics / Physics, Minor: Mathematics), Linden Hayes ’15 (Major: Physics / Hispanic Studies), Masrur Khan ’14 (Major: Physics), Joseph Liguori ’15 (Major: Mathematics / Physics), Abigail Kopec ’16 (Major: Physics), Nicholas Martis ’14 (Major: Physics / Philosophy), Ryan Polischuk ’15 (Major: Physics / Mathematics), Laura Simko ’15 (Major: Physics), Michelle Solomon ’15 (Major: Physics), Erin Sutton ’16 (Major: Physics, Minor: Computer Science / Mathematics)

Asst. Prof. Kenneth Burch joins BC Physics

January 28, 2014 -

Asst. Prof. Kenneth Burch joined the department in December 2013, coming from the Departments of Physics and Material Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto. Dr. Burch's research is in experimental condensed matter physics, with emphasis on superconductivity, topology, and energy, as well as devising new methods to create and explore novel states of matter. He is developing new techniques for exploring the nanoscale, where the physical properties of a material can be directly engineered. Professor Burch aims to better understand and manipulate the fundamental properties of materials so that they can be used for practical applications. Through a variety of spectroscopic probes (infrared, Raman and tunneling), he seeks to improve our understanding of the subtle interplay between physical mechanisms in materials. Before Toronto, Dr. Burch was a Director’s Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California - San Diego, during which time he received the 2006 Outstanding Dissertation in Magnetism Award from the American Physical Society (APS). More recently, his work on the fabrication and study of novel materials on the nanoscale using mechanical exfoliation resulted in his being awarded the 2012 Lee-Osheroff-Richardson Prize, named in honor of the recipients of the Nobel Prize for the discovery of superfluid 3He. His work has resulted in numerous publications and citations in top journals of the APS and Nature Publishing Group, among others.

Please join us in welcoming Ken to BC!

2013-2014 GMAG PhD Dissertation Research Award

December 4, 2013 -

Congratulations to Chetan Dhital, a Ph.D. student working with Professor Stephen Wilson, who was awarded the 2013-2014 GMAG PhD Dissertation Research Award from the American Physical Society (APS). This prestigious award is given annually to a maximum of two students who have conducted outstanding dissertation research in the field of magnetism. The award includes a $500 cash prize and an invited talk at the APS March Meeting, which is in Denver in 2014.

Chetan's dissertation work focused on studying magnetic behavior in two different classes of intermediate bandwidth quantum materials. The first is a series of iridium oxide compounds with novel electronic behavior driven by the interplay of spin-orbit coupling and electron-electron correlation effects, and the second class is the new class of iron-based high temperature superconductors. The results of Chetan's research have been published in the APS journals Physical Review Letters and Physical Review B

Discovery in a new class of materials called topological crystalline insulators.

August 30, 2013 -

An international team of scientists led by BC Physics Assoc. Prof. Vidya Madhavan and including Asst. Prof. Stephen Wilson have reported the discovery of coexisting massless and massive "Dirac Fermions" in a new class of materials called topological crystalline insulators. This work will be published in Science and was released in the Aug 29th edition of the advanced online publication 'Science Express' ( The findings are also described at Former post-doctoral associate Dr. Yoshinori Okada was the lead experimentalist in this work along with BC physics graduate students Daniel Walkup, Wenwen Zhou and Chetan Dhital.