Alumni Lectures

Alumni Lecture: Dr. Bridget Bertoni - October 19, 2018

Title: "From Dark Matter to Healthcare Data Science: Leaving Academia After a PhD in Physics"

Abstract: The majority of people with degrees in physics continue their careers outside of academia. I will discuss my experience transitoning from working as a physics postdoc studying dark matter theory to a position in healthcare data science. I will also discuss other options for non-academic careers and share what I’ve learned along the way about landing a job in data science.


About Dr. Bridget Bertoni

Title: Policy Associate at Acumen, LLC

Job Description: She analyzes data to help advise healthcare policy.  She has worked on a variety of projects, doing anything from projecting future payments to update payment rates for dialysis treatments and rethinking the structure of the End Stage Renal Disease payment model, to calculating disenrollment probabilities for participants in experimental healthcare plans and estimating demographics of populations that are eligible for but not enrolled in various Medicare programs.

Alumni Panel - March 21, 2018 

The Alumni Panel consisted of three alumni, Jesse Cohen, Armand Salimnejad, and IIya Yashin. 

The panel was able to expose our undergraduate students to a variety of different career options with a physics degree and gave them the chance to connect with actual alums who  may be able to help students plan their career paths after their graduation.


Alumni Lecture: Gabriel Haboubi - March 22, 2017

Title: "Parlaying Physics to Patents"

Alumnus Gabe Haboubi gave a lecture to our Undergraduate Seminar class about his path after college. Gabe spoke aboutthe patent process and the education requirements needed to take the Patent Bar exam, the various paths you can take from there (pass the patent bar to become a patent agent immediately, or go to law school to become a patent attorney), work for yourself, work for industry, work in a law firm, pros and cons of those options, etc. 


Alumni Lecture: Dr. Anna Quider - October 20, 2016

Title: "From Natural Laws to Writing Laws: A Physicist turned Policymaker" 


The federal government touches all aspects of our lives through its $4 trillion annual budget (less than 4% is for research and development), laws, regulations, rules, and policies.  Dr. Anna Quider will discuss her experience as a physicist-turned-policymaker working within the federal government at the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Department of State, and external to the federal government as a higher education and science advocate.  She will also briefly discuss some of the major science-related issues that are likely to arise in 2017 in relation to the outcome of the congressional and presidential elections. 

Dr. Anna Quider is the Director of Federal Relations for Northern Illinois University in Washington, DC. She earned BS (2007, Physics and Astronomy) and BA (2007, History and Philosophy of Science, Religious Studies) degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. She received the prestigious Marshall Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge in the UK, where she received her PhD degree (2011, Astronomy). As a scientist, she was Principal Investigator on a Hubble Space Telescope observing program and her scientific journal articles (many co-authored with Profs. Sandhya Rao and Dave Turnshek) have been cited over 500 times.  She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, and she has served as an APS Congressional Science Fellow in the US Congress, an Innovation Program Manager at the US Department of State, and as Ms. Frizzle at the USA Science and Engineering Festival.

Special Seminar: Edlyn Levine - April 15, 2016

Title: “Superheating and Homogeneous Vapor Bubble Nucleation in a Single Solid-State Nanopore”


The topic of my presentation is extreme superheating and homogeneous bubble nucleation in an electrolyte solution within a nanopore in a thin, insulating membrane. The solution within the pore is superheated to well above its boiling point by Joule heating from an ionic current focused through the pore by application of a voltage bias. Continued heating of the metastable liquid ultimately leads to nucleation of a vapor bubble in the pore followed by explosive growth.

I will present a mathematical model I have developed to describe the process of Joule heating of the electrolyte within the nanopore. The model couples the electrical and thermal dynamics responsible for rapid and extreme superheating. Implementation of the model via a finite element calculation yields a time and spatially resolved temperature distribution within the nanopore region. Temperatures near the thermodynamic limit of superheat are predicted to be attained just prior to the explosive nucleation of a vapor bubble. Knowledge of this temperature distribution enables the evaluation of related phenomena including build-up of localized charge densities, bubble nucleation kinetics, relaxation oscillation, and bubble dynamics.

Edlyn was inspired to become a physicist when, during her freshman year, she was introduced to electricity and magnetism by Prof. Robert Devaty. She has since had the opportunity to research a range of interesting and unanticipated topics. These include DNA overstretching (undergraduate research with Prof. Anna Vainchtein), superheating and explosive boiling of water in nanopores (PhD research with Prof. Jene Golovchenko, in Applied Physics at Harvard University), NMR sensor design (industry research), and the fluid mechanics of cementing oil wells (more industry research). After graduation this May, she will work in the defense industry researching next-generation radar systems. Edlyn has been awarded both the NSF-GRFP fellowship and the NDSEG fellowship for her academic research.