Alumni Updates '17-'18

Prof. Siu Wai Chan recently ran into Eliot Dresselhaus (Ph.D. ’91 Applied Physics) and his family in Boston. Eliot, who is the son of the late Mildred Dresselhaus (the first female Institute Professor and professor emerita of physics and electrical engineering at MIT), fondly remembers chatting about course choices with Prof. Irving Herman. Eliot is currently President of based in San Francisco.

Sicen Du (M.S. '17, Materials Science & Engineering) writes: “I will join the University of Michigan to pursue my Ph.D. in their Materials Science and Engineering Department. I’ve decided that my future career will be in the field of energy storage and conversion, developing new energy-saving technologies to ameliorate and restore polluted land.”*

David Gates (Ph.D. '94, Plasma Physics), a principal research physicist & Division Head at PPPL, has been named editor-in-chief of Plasma, a new online open access journal. (PPPL News)

Brian Grierson (Ph.D. ‘09, Plasma Physics), a Staff Research Physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), received the Kaul Foundation Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research and Technology Development for his groundbreaking measurements of the flow of the main atomic nuclei, or ions, in the DIII-D tokamak.  (PPPL News)

Phil Efthimion (Ph.D. '77, Plasma Physics) was one of "three scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) to win an Edison Patent Award from the Research and Development Council of New Jersey for their invention of an imaging apparatus that could be used to produce the next generation of integrated circuits. " For more details, see: PPPL physicists win Edison Award for X-ray imaging invention (PPPL News)*

Masha Kamenetska (Ph.D. '11, Solid State Physics & APAM Simon Prize Winner) is now an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Physics at Boston University. The Kamenetska research group develops and uses novel single molecule nano-manipulation, detection and spectroscopy techniques to understand and control how the structure of the intermolecular interface affects function in biological and man-made devices.

Victoria Chibuogu Nneji (B.S. '14, Applied Mathematics), earned a Master of Engineering Management in 2015 at Duke University and continued on into Duke's Robotics Ph.D. program. In 2017, she became the first Ph.D. candidate to model distributed human supervisory control of autonomous vehicle networks in rail, air, and surface transportation systems. Victoria hopes to make a positive difference in mobility and logistics design by considering human factors when artificial intelligence is embedded in operations.

Jay Shah (M.S. ’09, Medical Physics) has founded Dynamic Medical Physics Inc., a medical physics consulting company. While planning the company’s future endeavors, he continues to practice clinically in Therapeutic Medical Physics, where his chief interest lies in stereotactic radiosurgery, a form of brain surgery for cancer treatment. Instead of using sharp instruments to cut into the brain, this procedure employs highly focused radiation beams to destroy tumors. Jay collaborates with a radiation oncologist and a neurosurgeon to create a custom treatment plan for patients that deposits radiation within a wellconstrained volume. Recently, Hollywood has come calling for his consultant services, looking for assistance in helping to create more realistic story lines in television and film. He has collaborated with writers from CBS’s Madam Secretary as well as Phantom Four Films (responsible for the Batman and Superman franchises).*

Xiaochuan Tian (Ph.D '17, Applied Mathematics) was selected as a winner of the AWM Dissertation Prize awarded by the Association for Woman in Mathematics. She will be presented with the prize at the 2018 Joint Mathematics Meeting in San Diego, the largest annual meeting of mathematicians in the world hosted by the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). Dr. Tian also received the Outstanding Students Abroad award from the Chinese government. This highly competitive award,  given annually by the China Scholarship Council (CSC), honors overseas Chinese students with outstanding academic accomplishments.

Ramon Verastegui (Ph.D. '06, Applied Physics) presented a talk about the applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence applications to finance: options and volatility strategies at the CBOE Risk Management Conference. Ramon Verastegui is a managing director at Societe Generale.

* Originally published by Columbia Engineering Magazine


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