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Alumni Reports '20-'21

Alumni Reports

Numerous APAM Alumni participated in APAM Career Services Events in Fall 2020.

Congratulations to APAM alum, Dr. Ethan Coon (PhD '06, Applied Mathematics)! Ethan, who is a computational hydrologist in the Climate Change Science Institute at ORNL, is part of the Amanzi–ATS team that was named one of the R&D 100 Award winners in the Mechanical/Materials category.

Jingjing Ling (MS '14, Materials Science and Engineering), a former student of Prof. I.C. Noyan who worked in his X-ray Diffraction Group for 3 years, is currently a machine learning scientist in Apple, Cupertino, CA, working on AI automation.

Jia Wan (B.S. Applied Mathematics '18, Columbia College; M.S. Computer Science '20, SEAS) has been named a Rhodes China Scholar.

The following Alumni Reports were originally published in Columbia Engineering Magazine

Sri Aradhya (PhD ’13, Applied Physics) writes: “After graduating with a PhD from the Venkataraman Lab in 2013, I moved upstate to Cornell as a postdoc. I now work as a technologist at Western Digital Corp., where I work on pushing the boundaries of process technologies to make the next generation of enterprise storage products. Our family has now relocated to the Bay Area with two boys added to our family that are keeping everyone busy.”

Jack B. Freeman (BS ‘55, Materials Science) writes: “I’m still working as a material scientist. Accumet is the fourth successful start-up company I’ve formed. We provide several specialized products, including metal single crystals other than silicon. After many years of study, crystals of gold, aluminum, and tungsten are being used commercially.”

Dan Gant (BS ‘07, Applied Mathematics) married Stephanie Hao in June of 2019. In January, they’ll be celebrating five years since their first date. Dan is working as an engineer at Facebook AI Research on reinforcement learning and natural language processing.”

Charles Henager (BS ‘76) writes: “I will be retiring from my materials scientist position at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, WA after 40 years. Although I had many activities at PNNL over the years, my major research was in the field of nuclear materials and computational materials science, where I explored both metals and ceramics for nuclear applications, including SiC/SiC composites and tungsten for fusion energy applications. I helped develop solid-state displacement reactions to produce novel radiation-resistant joints for SiC-based materials that are still being tested in-reactor. I am a member of the Advisory Editorial Board for the Journal of Nuclear Materials and a past recipient of the Roland B. Snow Award from the American Ceramics Society. My most recent activity was as the technical co-chair for the 19th International Conference on Fusion Reactor Materials (ICFRM-19) held in La Jolla, CA in 2019. I will return as Emeritus Scientist at PNNL with some traveling and volunteer work.”

Shawn Kolitch (BS ‘89, Applied Mathematics) writes: “On October 1, 2019, I celebrated the one-year anniversary of my new intellectual property law firm, Kolitch Romano LLP, based in Portland, OR. My partner TJ Romano and I launched the firm after spending many years as partners with another Portland firm. We work with small and large companies around the world to obtain and enforce their IP rights and have a reputation for providing extremely high-quality service while educating our clients about complex issues in a clear and approachable way. Shortly after the firm’s anniversary, I spent 10 days in China, where I was invited to give presentations about US intellectual property law to the Hangzhou IP Bureau, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and an audience of in-house attorneys at Alibaba headquarters. Although it’s been a long time, studying Chinese as a Columbia undergraduate was extremely helpful!”

June Lau (MS’02, PhD’06 Materials Science) writes: “Our invention, the laser-free GHz stroboscopic TEM, won the R&D 100 award in 2019.” The full announcement is available at https://bit.ly/33XzJu0

Anna Liveris (BS ‘07, Materials Science) writes: “2019 was a special year. I married my long-time partner, Georgios Mol ‘07 (IEOR), and we welcomed our first child in September, a beautiful baby girl, Stavroula. Professionally, I have taken a position as a trauma surgeon and intensivist in the Bronx, NY.”

Stefano Migliuolo (BS ‘73) writes: “On July 6th, 2019, I completed my Atlantic-to-Pacific journey on a bicycle. Traveling at roughly 10 miles per hour across eleven states gave me an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy this magnificent country, from the lilacs of Massachusetts to the wild sage and oregano of the Western states! Miraculously, I pedaled 3,320 miles in 60 days without a single puncture, ending on the Oregon coast. Every person I met had his/her story, and every conversation gave me a lift. My night camps in Wyoming and Idaho allowed me to see the glory of the Milky Way, unspoiled by city lights. As I enter the waning years of my professional career (which I still enjoy immensely), I appear to have stumbled on a new path to adventures: bicycle touring. Next summer, it will probably be the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota.”

Bruce Terris (BS ‘79, Applied Physics) was named an IEEE fellow for “contributions to high density magnetic recording and spintronic materials.” He had previously been named a fellow of the American Physical Society and is currently director of non-volatile memory materials research at Western Digital in San Jose, CA.

Shelly Weinig (MS’53, EngScD’55, Metallurgy) writes: “I taught for two years as an assistant professor, but decided that the bureaucracy of academia was not for me and became an entrepreneur and started Materials Research Corp. (The story of that entrepreneurial adventure is in my book Rule Breaker.) 30 years later, the company went public and global and we were acquired by Sony Corporation. I spent five years with them as vice-chair of engineering and manufacturing and accepted adjunct professorships from Columbia University and SUNY Stonybrook. I taught for 25 years pro bono at both universities until the summer of 2019, when I resigned both professorships at the age of 91 so that I could write another book called Breakfast with Shelly. My contributions to electronic materials resulted in my induction into the National Academy of Engineering in 1984, and the French government awarded me in 1988 the rank of Chevalier of the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur.”

Aaron Wininger (BS ‘94, Applied Physics) writes: “After 13 years in China, I’ve returned to the US, where I am now the director of the China intellectual property law practice at Schwegman, Lundberg and Woessner PA in their San Jose office. I help US companies protect their intellectual property (mainly patents and trademarks) in the US and China by drafting and prosecuting their US and China patent applications and coordinating their worldwide trademark strategies.

Alumni Reports '19-'20

Photo: Dr. Thomas Caulfield (PhD '86, Materials Science and Engineering) is the CEO of Globalfoundries. Prior to being named CEO, he was the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the company’s leading-edge 300 mm semiconductor wafer manufacturing facility (Fab 8), located in Saratoga County, NY. Caulfield, who joined the company in May 2014, led the operations, expansion and ramp of semiconductor manufacturing production at Fab 8. He recently connected with Prof. Siu-Wai Chan when she visited to present a talk at Globalfoundries.

Sean Blanton (BS '91, Applied Physics) is moving to Citadel, LLC, after four years at proprietary trading startup Radix Trading, LLC. Both firms are in Chicago. Originally published by Columbia Engineering Magazine

Xinpei Geng (MS '19, Materials Science & Engineering) writes: "After graduating from Columbia, I joined Huawei as a chip engineer—it’s a critical time because the company’s facing a lot of pressure from the US government. I’m now working on the development of a CPU chip for servers, and traveling is a part of my life. I do believe what I learned from Columbia can help me go through all these difficulties." Originally published by Columbia Engineering Magazine

Ed Gerstenhaber (BS '68, Nuclear Engineering) writes: "I recently finished my first season working as an AARP volunteer doing tax returns for seniors and low income people. I am in my ninth year as a ‘standardized patient’ (definition on Google if you’re curious) for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. And then there’s biking!" Originally published by Columbia Engineering Magazine

Anthony Gong (BS '15, Applied Mathematics) is enrolled in a master of science program. Originally published by Columbia Engineering Magazine

Siyang Liu (MS '19, Materials Science & Engineering) wrote: "After graduation, I joined Huawei Corporation as a Product Manager and now I'm working on marketing and solution selling of telecom product in North Africa. Our mission is to provide African people with a better connected world and bring customers business success. Life in Columbia and APAM offered me global vision as well as sense of mission, which fully correspond to the slogan of Huawei: To build a fully connected intelligent world."

Manju Prakash (PhD '85, Applied Physics) writes: "I was invited to participate in the 2019 summer research program on turbulent life of cosmic baryons at the Aspen Center for Physics in Aspen, Colorado. This provided me an opportunity to investigate the history of the early universe using primordial gravitational wave signals generated by the hydro-magnetic turbulence excited in the early universe, potentially carrying imprints of the processes that took place microseconds or less after the universe was born. The meetings took place in the scenic mountains where participants focused on exploring new ideas and forging collaborations for future research in plasma turbulence." Originally published by Columbia Engineering Magazine

William Quirk (BS '67, Applied Physics) was elected in 2018 to his fourth two-year term in the California State Assembly. He represents Southern Alameda County in the East San Francisco Bay Areas. He is running again in 2020. Originally published by Columbia Engineering Magazine

Andrew Salthouse (BS '69, Nuclear Engineering) retired in 2016 after 40 years as a lab assistant and junior analyst. Originally published by Columbia Engineering Magazine

Changmin Shi (MS '19, Materials Science & Engineering) writes: "Since graduating from Columbia, I have been a PhD student at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. Columbia Engineering indeed cultivated in me the critical thinking and problem solving skills that I need to pursue my PhD and future career goals. I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks to materials science and engineering professors at Columbia for giving me such excellent skills and igniting my passion for my research in the future." Originally published by Columbia Engineering Magazine

Robert Siegfried (MS '78, Metallurgy) writes: "I’m still a full professor at Adelphi teaching computer science. My son, Jason, is graduating from Adelphi in computer science (of course) this January. My wife, Kathy, Jason, and I continue to live in Oceanside on the south shore of Long Island after weathering Superstorm Sandy." Originally published by Columbia Engineering Magazine

Jingyi Zhuang (MS '19, Materials Science & Engineering) entered the Columbia Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Originally published by Columbia Engineering Magazine

Photo: Prof. Siu-Wai Chan visited with alumni Geng-Wei (Jason) Lin (MS '09, Materials Science & Engineering) and En-Yu Pan (MS '07, Chemical Engineering) at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, on Jan 11, 2020 - Taiwan's election day.

Geng-Wei and En-Yu, who were both advised by Prof. Chan during their graduate studies at Columbia Engineering, have been working in Taiwan for 10 years. En-Yu currently works at Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), a government research lab, and Geng-Wei works at Enerage, Inc., a graphene manufacturing company, in Yilan, Taiwan.

Alumni Reports '18-'19

Yurij Baransky (PhD '87, Applied Physics, concentration in Applied Mathematics) donated hundreds of physics and mathematics books from his personal collection to the APAM graduate student library. The APAM Department warmly thanks Dr. Baransky for his generously contribution which will inspire and instruct generations of APAM students.

Justin Calamari (BS '18, Applied Physics) who was a member of Prof. Simon Billinge's Group, was selected to be part of the prestigious and selective Google Summer of Code program. The program funds students to work on open source software projects over the summer.

Xin Chen (MS’17, Materials Science & Engineering) writes: “After graduating, I went back to my country and started my career as a research analyst in the finance field. Though in finance field, my work is still related to engineering research.”*

Seth Davidovits (BS '10, Applied Physics), a 2017 graduate of the Program in Plasma Physics in the Princeton University Department of Astrophysical Sciences, has won the 2018 Marshall N. Rosenbluth Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award presented by the American Physical Society (APS). The award recognizes “exceptional young scientists who have performed original thesis work of outstanding scientific quality and achievement in the area of plasma physics.” Davidovits is now a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton, where he holds a DOE Fusion Energy Sciences postdoctoral fellowship. He is a member of the American Physical Society and was chosen as a 2018 Howes Scholar. Dr. Davidovits continues to pursue the compression of turbulent plasma, with applications in inertial-confinement-fusion experiments, Z-pinch experiments, and astrophysical plasmas.

Xuan Gao (PhD '03, Applied Physics), a former student of Prof. Aron Pinczuk and Prof. Andrew Millis, is now a full professor in the Physics Department at Case Western Reserve University. Prof. Gao's research centers on nanostructures or materials (quantum wells, nanoplates, nanowires etc) in which the quantum nature of particles (electrons, phonons etc) plays a fundamental role in their electrical, thermal, optical and magnetic properties. He seeks to understand and exploit the quantum physics in these nanostructures for novel device applications.

Rosario A. Gerhardt (MS ’79, EngScD ’83, Materials Science & Engineering / Earth & Environmental Science) attended the recent alumni reunion and enjoyed being on the Columbia campus after so many years. She especially enjoyed Professor Helfand’s lecture, walking around the campus, and seeing all of the changes that have taken place in the interim years. She has been a faculty member at the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology since 1991, received tenure in 1997 and got promoted to full professor in 2001. Gerhardt recently received the 2017 ACerS Friedberg Award and lecture at the MS&T conference held in Pittsburgh in October 2017. She was named Goizueta Foundation Faculty Chair at Georgia Tech in 2015. In addition to conducting research in the materials field, she is also committed to helping younger generations become solid researchers to emulate her former thesis advisor, Professor A.S. Nowick.*

Sarah Goler (BS '07, Applied Physics) was one of five featured panelists at the Columbia Engineering Alumni Association (CEAA) dinner on April 17, 2019 on "How to get hired from a multi-disciplinary, multifunctional perspective." She earned her PhD in Condensed Matter Physics at Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy, in 2014, and currently owns a restaurant and natural wine bar, Tannat Wine & Cheese LLC, with her husband.

Yuan He (PhD ‘10, Applied Mathematics) joins the APAM Department as an Adjunct Associate Professor and will be teaching APMA E2101 Introduction to Applied Mathematics in Spring 2019. Previously, she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) and a Postdoctoral Instructor in Mathematics at the University of Texas, Austin; was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Pure and Applied Matematics at UCLA; and returned to UT-Austin as a Lecturer in Mathematics.

Julio Herrera Estrada (BS ‘12, Applied Mathematics) writes: “I graduated from Princeton University with a PhD in civil and environmental engineering. My thesis was about how droughts develop in North America, how they may be affected by climate change, and how they impact the electricity sector (e.g. through hydropower). I am now a Postdoctoral Scholar at Stanford University in the Department of Earth System Science, continuing my work on the impact of weather and climate extremes on the electricity sector. I am looking forward to connecting with other alumni in the Bay Area!”*

Monika Kopacz (BS '03, Applied Mathematics) stopped by to visit the APAM Department during the SEAS Alumni Reunion weekend in May 2018. Kopacz, who earned her PhD in applied mathematics and atmospheric chemistry at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, currently works as program manager in NOAA’s Atmospheric Chemistry, Carbon Cycle, and Climate (AC4) Competitive Research Program. For more information, please see: "Program manager in NOAA’s Climate Office helps research projects take flight"

Larry Lagin (BS '73, Applied Physics) retired four years ago as deputy program manager in charge of the engineering team for the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Since graduating Columbia, Larry spent over a 40-year career as a scientist and engineer, more than 32 years of which devoted towards fusion energy research at Princeton University and Livermore. While an undergraduate applied physics major at Columbia, he also took many courses liberal arts courses including painting and sculpting. Since retiring, Larry continued his art studies at UC Berkeley Extension, and has recently completed a graduate certificate program in visual arts specializing in painting there. He now is a resident artist and has a small art studio at the Bothwell Arts Center in Livermore, and has begun selling his art at local art fairs.*

Hening Liu (MS '18, Materials Science & Engineering) writes: “After graduation, I mainly worked under Professor Chan's research group. I just got a job offer from the company ASML in San Jose, California. I am excited!”*

Hande Özturk (PhD '15, Materials Science and Engineering), a former student of Prof. I.C. Noyan,  is now a tenure-track assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Özyeğin University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Manju Prakash (PhD ’85, Plasma Physics) writes: “My graduate studies at Columbia University prepared me for a career in academia both as an innovative researcher and an innovative educator. Currently, I am teaching physics courses at Hofstra University, New York and involved in outreach activities in nanoscience at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). As a researcher, I am investigating the nonlinear dynamics and turbulence effects in gravitational- wave forms within the framework of Einstein’s General Relativity. These gravitational waves were observed by LIGO and led to the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. I am also associated with Fermi National laboratory in the g-2 experiment designed to resolve the experimental and theoretical discrepancy between the values of the anomalous magnetic moment of a muon.”*

Edl Schamiloglu (BS ’79, MS’81, Applied Physics) Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been selected as associate dean for research and innovation at the University of New Mexico School of Engineering where he has been a faculty since 1988. He has also been appointed Special Assistant to the Provost for Laboratory Relations.*

Akihisa "Aki" Sekiguchi (PhD '91, Applied Physics - Plasma Physics) recently visited the APAM Department to see Prof. Michael Mauel and the Plasma Lab. Aki is the Deputy Division General Manager of the Corporate Innovation Division at Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL). He is also the Corporate Marketing GM in charge of device technology at TEL. Prior to joining TEL 11 years ago, he worked at IBM Semiconductor Research and Development Center (IBM SRDC) in East Fishkill, New York, for 17 years. At IBM, he worked on process technology development (DRAM, logic) mostly on unit process and module process development (FEOL to BEOL including lithography). During his last three years at IBM, he was the Process Technology Transfer Manager for the "Cell" project (Sony, IBM, Play Station 3) working on all aspects of semiconductor process technology from substrate to final shipped product quality control. He earned BS and MEng in Applied & Engineering Physics from Cornell University, MS and PhD in Applied Physics from Columbia University, and an MBA in Finance from the Stern School of Business, New York University. His past notable speeches include key notes at SPIE, EUVL Symposium and SEMICON CHINA among others. He is also a member of SEMI Board of Industry Leaders as well as the SEMI CTO Forum representing Tokyo Electron.

Francesca Terenzi (PhD '09, Applied Mathematics) stopped by the APAM Department this fall to visit with faculty. She is currently a Senior Principal Catastrophe Risk Modeler at Risk Management Solutions, Inc. in London.

Yutian Wu (PhD '12, Applied Mathematics) is an atmospheric scientist and Lamont Associate Research Professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who studies the general circulation of the atmosphere, including jet streams, storm tracks, and monsoon circulation, using observations and numerical model simulations. She was featured in the article, "Yutian Wu: Assessing the Impact of Declining Arctic Sea Ice on Extreme Weather" by the Center for Climate and Life.

John Wright, (BS '91, Applied Physics) is a recipient of a 2018 Landau-Spitzer Award from the American Physical Society (APS) "for experimental verification, through collaborative experiments, of a novel and highly efficient ion cyclotron resonance heating scenario for plasma heating and generation of energetic ions in magnetic fusion devices." "Dr. Wright is a principal scientist at MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center. He received his BS in applied physics from Columbia University in 1991 and his PhD in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University in 1998. His research is in developing and applying new capabilities in radio frequency simulations that contribute to improved understanding of the theory and experiments in wave-particle interactions in plasmas. These physics advances have been accompanied by contributions in computer science, including advanced parallel linear algebra algorithms, integrated multi-physics simulation frameworks, and a Web-based approach to workflow, data, and provenance tracking. He is active in several international and multi-institutional domestic collaborations focused on improving the understanding of radio frequency actuators in tokamaks and stellarators." (APS)

Mutian Zhang (MS '03 and PhD '08, Medical Physics - Dissertation with Distinction), is a Chief Medical Physicist of Radiation Therapy at the Summa Health Cancer Institute in Akron, OH, where he leads a medical physics and radiation dosimetry team. He has worked in the fields of radiation oncology, nuclear medicine, and health physics for more than twenty years and gained invaluable research experience at the Institute of High Energy Physics, Columbia University, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Before joining the Summa Health Cancer Institute, Dr. Zhang was an Associate Professor with the Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, as well as the director of Radiation Oncology Residency Program. Dr. Zhang is certified by the American Board of Radiology in therapeutic medical physics and was elected the 2020 President of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Penn-Ohio Chapter.

Yuxiang Zhu (MS '18, Materials Science & Engineering) is purusing a PhD in Materials Science at the University of Houston.*

* Originally published by Columbia Engineering Magazine

Alumni Reports '17-'18

Prof. Siu Wai Chan ran into Eliot Dresselhaus (PhD '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 Cavetocellar.com based in San Francisco.

Sicen Du (MS '17, Materials Science & Engineering) writes: “I will join the University of Michigan to pursue my PhD 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 (PhD '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 (PhD '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 (PhD '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 (PhD '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 (BS '14, Applied Mathematics), earned a Master of Engineering Management in 2015 at Duke University and continued on into Duke's Robotics PhD program. In 2017, she became the first PhD 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 (MS '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 (PhD '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 (PhD '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

Alumni Reports '16-'17

Dylan Brennan (MS '97, Applied Physics), physicist with the U.S. DOE and Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), is the co-lead principal investigator on a project, called “Simulation Center for Runaway Electron Avoidance and Mitigation.” The project will "combine simulations and data from worldwide experiments to explore the causes and solutions for runaway electrons" (Newswise, Article ID: 659503)

Michael Jenkinson (PhD '15, Applied Mathematics, Weinstein Group) presented a talk at the Applied Mathematics Colloquium on "High-Order Finite-Difference Time-Domain Simulation of Electromagnetic Waves at Complex Interfaces Between Dispersive Media". Dr. Jenkinson is currently an RTG Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

Reina Maruyama (BS '95, Applied Physics) presented a talk on "The Search for WIMP Dark Matter" at a colloquium hosted by the Columbia Physics Department on March 27, 2017. She is currently an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Yale University and explores new physics in nuclear and particle astrophysics, in particular, in dark matter and neutrinos. Her group carries out direct detection of dark matter experiments in terrestrial-based detectors and searches for neutrinoless double beta decay. Current experiments include COSINE-100, located at the Yangyang Underground Laboratory in South Korea; DM-Ice and IceCube, located at the South Pole; and CUORE, located at Gran Sasso, Italy.

Seth Olsen (BS '16, Applied Physics) "received a highly prized graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation. From some 13,000 applicants, the NSF made awards to just 2,000 young researchers across the country emerging as leaders in enhancing the nation’s infrastructure, security, and prosperity." (Columbia Engineering News)

David D. Ordinario (BS '11, Materials Science) has received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. This highly competitive fellowship selected only 120 researchers from a pool of 1,265 applicants. In an article written by Anna Lynn Spitzer, from the University of California, Irvine, Ordinario "will work for two years at the University of Tokyo with Takao Someya, a world-renowned expert on flexible electronics. Ordinario seeks to develop a new type of electronic skin – a material that can mimic the functionality of human skin for use in healthcare, robotics and prosthetics – that can communicate directly with biological systems. Currently, this is not possible because available e-skins use electrons to carry charges, while living systems rely on ions and protons, necessitating a complex system of indirect detection and communication." "This ionic e-skin can facilitate direct communication between ionic/protonic conduction-based biological systems and traditional electronics," Ordinario says. "The material also will be sensitive to both physical and chemical stimuli, and more biocompatible with living tissue and organs."

Francois Monard (PhD '12, Applied Mathematics) is now an Assistant Professor at the University of California Santa Cruz.

Veronica Reynolds (BS '14, Materials Science) "received a highly prized graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation. From some 13,000 applicants, the NSF made awards to just 2,000 young researchers across the country emerging as leaders in enhancing the nation’s infrastructure, security, and prosperity." (Columbia Engineering News)

Jonathan E. Spanier (PhD '01, Applied Physics, Herman Group) has been elected Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) by the APS Council of Representatives at its September 2016 meeting upon the recommendation of the Division of Materials Physics. Dr. Spanier is currently a professors in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Drexel University.

Matt Steiner (BS '08, Applied Physics) started as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Cincinnati in 2017.  He received his PhD in Engineering Physics at the University of Virginia in 2014.

Alumni Reports '15-'16

Hubert Hugh Burke (PhD '95, Applied Physics) has a limited term appointment (August 1 2015 to April 30 2016) to the faculty in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Trent University (Peterborough Campus) at the rank of Assistant Professor. He continues to look for a permanent appoint to the faculty at a Canadian University and to seek financing for 'A Very Canadian Film' a story told in six independent feature length films by Hubert Hugh Burke.

Ruth Griswold Abrams (BS '05, Applied Mathematics) and John Klinger (BS '70, Applied Physics) attended the Alumni Department Luncheon during the SEAS Reunion Weekend in May 2015.

Gabriel Ganot (PhD '12, Materials Science and Engineering), a consultant at Exponent Engineering and Scientific Consulting, appears in the official NFL Deflategate report mentioned in The New York Times article, "Tom Brady Probably Knew Footballs Were Doctored, N.F.L. Finds." "Exponent analyzed pressure data collected at halftime on the day of the AFC Championship Game, and conducted a series of experiments designed to evaluate the impact of environmental and other conditions on the air pressure levels of footballs to determine whether the reduction in air pressure levels recorded during the AFC Championship Game was more likely the result of environmental and natural factors as opposed to human intervention." Please see page 35 of the official report for more references to Exponent and Dr. Ganot.

Ralph Izzo (PhD '81, Plasma Physics) received the Samuel Johnson Medal for "distinguished achievement in a field other than engineering" at the 2016 Columbia Engineering Alumni Awards dinner on June 3 in Low Library.  Dr. Izzo is chairman, president, and CEO of Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc. (PSEG).

Paul Koch writes, "I finished my degree in plasma physics fifty years ago, and am long retired. However my scientific curiosity is unabated." Please see "Cortical Activity Waves are the Physical Carriers of Memory and Thought," which he presented at the IEEE conference on neural engineering in Montpelier France in Spring 2015. "I believe this work opens many possibilities for future research in a field that will be increasingly funded, and is quite suitable for APAM students," says Koch.

Shantikumar Nair (MS '78, PhD '83 Materials Science and Earth & Environmental Engineering) writes, “I am now the dean of research at Amrita University, the highest-ranked private university in India by Times Higher Education. I moved to Amrita University in 2006, before which I was an associate professor at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, MA. I am also director of the Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine at the University’s Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences. Recently I was invited to give a talk at the UNAI-START (United Nations Academic Impact–Science and Technology Accelerating Rapid Transformation) conference, on the role of nanotechnology in developing new solutions for energy, water, and health care—problems reaching crisis proportion in our world and requiring urgent action across all levels. I was also recently awarded the prestigious Professor C. N. R. Rao Award for outstanding contributions in the field of nanotechnology.”

Richard Robinson (PhD '04, Applied Physics, under Prof. Irving Herman) has been promoted to Associate Professor with indefinite tenure, effective July 1, 2015, in the Materials Science Department at Cornell University. Richard’s lab works on nanomaterials synthesis and device integration. His group is researching the fundamental science of how to program and process nanoscale building blocks into functional architectures, and the structure-property relationships of the resulting nanostructured materials.

Steve Sabbagh's (PhD '90, Plasma Physics) and Jack Berkery's paper, “Benchmarking kinetic calculations of resistive wall mode stability,” Phys. Plasmas 21, 052505, 2014, appeared on the top 20 list of most cited Physics of Plasmas papers in 2014. The paper summarizes a multi-year benchmarking effort of leading kinetic resistive wall mode computational analyses, and includes calculations for the ITER tokamak.

Alumni Reports '13-'14

Ryan Bonaparte (MS '10, Materials Science & Engineering) released his first book, Crazy Enough to Try, in hopes of helping young people find what they are passionate about pursuing in life. (Fall 2013 Engineering News)

Lisa Chen (BS '08, Materials Science) presented a special MSE Colloquium this spring in the APAM Department. She is currently a PhD student in the Department of Materials Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

John Doorish, (MS '85, Applied Physics) president and founder of Doorish Ophthalmic Technologies, has recently opened the Doorish Research in Science and Technology Institute and the Annunciata Doorish Foundation for Animal Welfare. Doorish Ophthalmic Technologies uses the Artificial Retinal epiProsthesis to restore sight to blind humans and animals. The Research Institute aims to investigate different applications of this technology, both in medical and nonmedical fields. The Annunciata Foundation is being established as a private, nonprofit animal welfare organization dedicated to the health and well-being of all animals, especially the millions of homeless pets that have been lost or abandoned. The foundation seeks to provide rescue, adoption, medical care, and population control services, as well as stand as a leader and supporter for other organizations developing similar animal rescue programs. In the long term, Annunciata would like to create education programs that will help people take better care of the animals in their lives.

Teresa Fazio (PhD '12, Materials Science & Engineering) was featured in the Engineering News article, "Las Vegas’ International CES Will Feature SEAS Startups."

Brian Grierson (PhD '09, Plasma Physics) of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has won a highly competitive Early Career Research Program award sponsored by the DOE’s Office of Science.

Michael Hahn (PhD '09, Plasma Physics) was featured in the Columbia News article, "Astrophysicists Tackle the Sun and One of Physics’ Biggest Unsolved Problems."

Ky Harlin (BS '08, Applied Mathematics), BuzzFeed’s director of data science, was profiled in American Journalism Review.

Ralph Izzo (PhD '81, Plasma Physics) was awarded an honorary degree from Rutgers University. (Fall 2013 Engineering News)

Katerina Kaouri (MS '99, Applied Physics) writes, “After leaving Columbia, I pursued a DPhil in applied mathematics at the University of Oxford, UK (graduated in 2005). Three years ago I returned to Cyprus, my home country, and I have been working as an academic there, teaching mathematics to students from various disciplines while continuing to do my own research in applied math. During my PhD years, I discovered a passion for communicating science to the public, and since then I have been giving public lectures about the role mathematics plays in our lives. In March 2013 I delivered a talk at TEDxNicosia on rethinking mathematics. I talked about how math is everywhere around us. We find it in unexpected places, from the destruction caused by meteorites and the way we make decisions, to how we fall in love and what we find beautiful! It was received very well. (Columbia Engineering News)

Suzanne Keilson (MS '87, PhD ‘91, Applied Physics) writes, “It is hard to believe how the years have flown. Three children are almost grown and 10 years in administration at Loyola University Maryland as well. I am in the Engineering Department and enjoy STEM outreach, teaching in a program for first-year students. Some of my areas of interest continue to be materials science and education, biomedical signal processing, the auditory system and sound, speech, and music processing, as well as design education and universal design or design for persons with disabilities. Baltimore has become home for us, though I guess my heart will always be in New York. I am very involved with the American Society for Engineering Education and am on the national board for the next two years. I am also chair of the board at my synagogue and had the wonderful opportunity last year to go on an Ignatian Pilgrimage to learn about St. Ignatius Loyola, who founded the Jesuits, who run Loyola University and 27 other Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. Would love to hear from other alums at Skeilson5@gmail.com."

Feryal Ozel (BS '96, Applied Physics) received the 2013 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award “for contributions to neutron star astrophysics, including the theoretical interpretation of X-ray emission from magnetars and determination of accurate masses and radii that yield constraints on the equation of state; and for her outstanding contributions to the public understanding of science.”

Steve Sabbagh's (PhD '90, Plasma Physics) paper, “Overview of physics results from the conclusive operation of the National Spherical Torus Experiment,"  by S.A. Sabbagh, J.-W. Ahn, J. Allain, et al., Nuclear Fusion 53 (2013) 104007 was recently featured among papers of other top authors in the 2013 Nuclear Fusion Highlights collection.

William T. Sha’s (EngScD ‘64, Nuclear Engineering) book, Novel Porous Media Formulation for Multiphase Flow Conservation Equations, was published by Cambridge University Press in September 2011 and a paper on “Recent Improvements of Novel Porous Media Formulation of Multiphase Flow Conservation Equations” was recently submitted for publication. “My intention is that after the paper is published, I will merge my book and the paper to issue a new edition of my book. As far as I know, there is no multiphase flow conservation equations that for both laminar and turbulent flows have been derived based on the first principle.“

Gideon Simpson (PhD '08, Applied Mathematics and Simon Prize Winner) is a tenure-track professor at Drexel University in the Mathematics Department.

Emily Slutsky (MS '09, Medical Physics) recently graduated from University College Cork School of Medicine in Ireland. (Fall 2013 Engineering News)

Yutian Wu (PhD '12, Applied Mathematics) presented a talk at the SEAS Colloquium in Climate Science this past spring. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University.

Alumni Reports '12-'13

Gabriel Ganot (PhD '12, Materials Science & Engineering) recieved the SEAS 2013 Student Life Award. The APAM Department nominated Dr. Ganot for his overall academic achievement, but most importantly, for his commitment and dedication to the SEAS community. He greatly contributed to the development of student life, recruitment, and departmental activities. The award will be presented during the SEAS Class Day Ceremony on Monday, May 20th, at 5:00 PM, on the South Lawn, Morningside Campus. Dr. Ganot is currently an Associate in Exponent’s Materials and Corrosion Engineering practice Menlo Park, CA. His areas of expertise include failure analysis, materials science, and semiconductor processing with an emphasis on thin film technologies, particularly laser crystallization and defect formation in thin films.

Isaac Greenbaum (BS '06, Applied Mathematics) was featured in the article, "Data-Driven Alumni: The Faces behind Data Sciences," by Nicole Dyer, originally published in the Spring 2013 Columbia Engineering Newsletter.

Numerous Plasma Physics alumni, researchers, faculty and friends attended the Plasma Physics Lab 50th Anniversary Celebration on April 26, 2012.

Xuan Gao (PhD '03, Materials Science and Engineering and ‘04 Simon Prize Winner) is currently an assistant professor of Physics at Case Western Reserve University. He writes, “At the beginning of this year, I received a CAREER Award from NSF. I was also awarded the Outstanding Young Researcher Award from the International Organization of Chinese Physicists and Astronomers, a prestigious recognition given to a young physicist/astronomer of Chinese ethnicity working in North America, Europe, or any other region outside Asia.”

Michael Hahn (PhD '09, Plasma Physics) was selected as one of the postdoctoral winners of the New York Academy of Sciences’s 2012 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists Competition. He received the award for his work using spectroscopy to constrain the mechanisms by which energy is carried into the solar corona, heating it to over a million degrees and driving the solar wind. Michael is currently an associate research scientist in the Columbia’s Astrophysics Laboratory. (Fall 2012 Columbia Engineering Newsletter)

Tracy Hammond (BS '97, Applied Mathematics) received tenure last May and is now an associate professor at Texas A&M University. She was also recently awarded the 2011-2012 College of Engineering Faculty Fellow Award; specifically, she is the Charles H. Barclay, Jr. ‘45 Faculty Fellow. (Fall 2012 Columbia Engineering Newsletter)

In 2010, Irina Kalish (MS/CVN '07, Materials Science and Engineering) and her family moved from Michigan to Washington, DC, following her husband’s enrollment at Georgetown’s law school. She left General Motors and is now a patent examiner with the US Patent and Trademark office, where she reviews patent applications in the area of single crystal growth. (Fall 2012 Columbia Engineering Newsletter)

Steve Sabbagh (PhD '90, Plasma Physics) received Princeton University's 2013 Kaul Foundation Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research and Technology Development. In the same academic year, he ran the KSTAR tokamak experiment MP2013-05-03-003 for two sessions at the National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI) in Daejeon, South Korea, and presented the NSTX Physics Overview talk at the 2012 International Atomic Energy Agency Fusion Energy Conference.

In 1988, Edl Schamiloglu (MS '81, Plasma Physics) received his PhD from Cornell University. This year, he is celebrating his 25th year anniversary as a professor of electrical engineering at the University of New Mexico. He was just awarded his third MURI grant and his sixth DURIP (Defense University Research Infrastructure Program) grant. Edl’s daughter, Selin is currently a sophomore at Columbia College. (Fall 2012 Columbia Engineering Newsletter)

After graduating, Di-Shi (Darren) Su (MS '00, Materials Science and Engineering) joined TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) as the process integration engineering in wafer process development. He successfully qualified the first copper line in 0.13um poly/gate process. Since 2006, Darren has been a manager of foundry execution at LSI Corporation. He now has more than 12 years of experience in the semiconductor field and water fabrication with an emphasis in wafer process/yield improvement, reliability and SPICE evaluations, product-based performance optimization, and customer quality solutions. He was married in 2006 and currently lives in HsinChu with his wife, Kris Chen, and their 2 children. (Fall 2012 Columbia Engineering Newsletter)

Michael Stamatelatos (EngScD '70, Nuclear Engineering), a student of Prof. Leon Lidofsky, has been the director of the Safety and Assurance Requirements Division in the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance at NASA Headquarters since October 2003. Michael is a recognized expert in risk and reliability assessment. He joined NASA in 2000 as manager of risk assessment in the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. In that position, he was responsible for the development and application of probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) policy as well as for coordinating, overseeing, and integrating PRA programs and activities across the agency. He has developed, organized, and taught courses on quantitative risk assessment and risk-informed decision for managers and practitioners. He has lectured throughout NASA and to universities and government and industrial organizations. Michael is author or coauthor of more than 100 technical papers and reports. He is coauthor of “NASA Procedures Guide for Probabilistic Risk Assessment,” “NASA Fault Tree Handbook,” “NASA Risk Management Handbook,” and “NASA Accident Precursor Analysis Handbook.” He is also coauthor of two book chapters on probabilistic risk assessment. (Spring 2013 Columbia Engineering Newsletter)

While completing his MS degree, Kyle Teamey (MS/CVN '12, Materials Science & Engineering) was also running a start-up, Liquid Light. His company is developing a technology for converting carbon dioxide to industrial chemicals. (Fall 2012 Columbia Engineering Newsletter)

Alfredo Tognoni (MS/CVN ‘10 Materials Science & Engineering) lives in Zurich and is a senior consultant/manager at Holcim, a world’s leading supplier of cement, concrete, and aggregates. (Fall 2012 Columbia Engineering Newsletter)


In Memoriam: Stephen F. Paul (1953-2012)
Stephen F. Paul, a PPPL Physicist for 30 Years, Dies at Age 58
By Jeanne Jackson DeVoe

Stephen F. Paul, a principal research physicist at PPPL who worked on many projects over a 30-year career, from the Poloidal Divertor Experiment (PDX) in the early 1980s to, most recently, the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX), died on Saturday, Sept. 15, of pancreatic cancer. He was 58.

Philip Efthimion, Head, Plasma Science and Technology Department, said Paul would be remembered for bringing “enormous energy and enthusiasm to whatever he did.” He noted that Paul was collaborating with Columbia University while he was getting chemotherapy treatments. “The illness couldn’t diminish his spirit or his passion for his research and work,” Efthimion said.

Paul grew up in Cranford, N.J. and lived in Princeton for 20 years before moving to West Orange about a decade ago.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in applied physics from Cornell University, he went on to earn his PhD in plasma physics (under the supervision of Prof. Bob Gross) from Columbia University in 1981, the year that he joined PPPL. He worked on the S1 Spheromak and later worked on the PDX, the PBXM (the Princeton Beta Experiment Modification) and the TFTR (Tokamak Test Fusion Reactor). He worked on a diagnostic to measure the velocity of the plasma on the NSTX and was working on plasma spectroscopy and radiated power measurements before NSTX shut down for an upgrade in November of 2011.

“He was fully involved in fusion and very passionate about what we do here,” said Brent Stratton, head, Diagnostic Development Division, who worked with Paul since the late 1980s.

Paul’s specialty was plasma spectroscopy, which involved looking at the radiation emitted by ions in the plasma to find impurities that could interfere with the plasma’s performance in fusion experiments.

“He was one of the brightest, best informed and thoughtful persons about a vast area of knowledge in the Lab,” said Lewis Meixler, head, Technology Transfer and Applications Research.

While working at PPPL, Paul spent his time off developing an alternative motor fuel made from organic material found in municipal and agricultural waste, such as food waste, paper, leaves and grass clippings. He named it P-Fuel to accentuate his link with Princeton University. The material was patented in 1997 by Princeton University. Paul established a company, The Trenton Fuel Works, based in an abandoned municipal waste processing plant in Trenton, N.J., to produce the fuel. The company is still in operation and is being run by Paul’s partner.

Despite being ill for the past two years, Paul managed to collaborate with Columbia University’s High-beta Tokamak program on optical diagnostics as part of PPPL’s Off- Site University Research Program.“Steve was an outstanding scientist and very much loved by everyone in the plasma lab,” said Michael Mauel, Professor of Applied Physics at Columbia University, and co-head Columbia’s tokamak program. “Steve patiently guided our graduate students and helped several design and install a new plasma diagnostics.”

"Steve was a close personal friend for over 15 years," said Michael Weinstein, Professor of Applied Mathematics at Columbia University. "I feel lucky to have known him. He was a kind, generous, warm and caring individual. In addition to being a superb scientist, he had a vast and deep knowledge of diverse fields. Steve so enjoyed engaging in discussion over important issues and I've never met anyone more intellectually honest."

Paul was also very active in his synagogue, B’Nai Shalom, in West Orange. He was devoted to his family and is survived by his wife Gilda, of West Orange, who works in Princeton University’s Office of the Dean of the Faculty, and three grown children: Jordana Paul, Aaron Paul and Rachel Paul Yogev, along with her husband, Dean.

Alumni Reports '11-'12

Jie Gao (PhD '12, Applied Physics) is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Stacey Hirsch (BS '06, Applied Physics) is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, Australia. She was awarded the Ken Doolan Memorial Prize ($1,000) by the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP). Stacey received the prize for her research demonstrating the use of a novel, linker-free covalent immobilization method for the controlled immobilization of protein mixtures. Adsorption from protein mixtures is difficult to control because competitive protein exchange results in undesired layer instabilities both in the structure and composition of the surface adsorbed protein layer. Overcoming this problem, she demonstrated that rapid linker-free covalent binding provided with surface activation from plasma treatment enables the control of the attached protein composition through a combination of parameters, including the manipulation of the protein flux to surface and the covalent binding time. The proteins are also attached in their native conformation, which preserves their function when immobilized on the surface. She also showed industrial applications of controlled protein mixture immobilization, including bioreactors for ethanol fuel production from cellulose waste resources (cardboard and agricultural waste) and medical devices with improved biocompatibility. This work has been published in Langmuir and the Journal of Materials Chemistry.

Timothy M. Merlis (BS '06, Applied Mathematics) presented a talk at the SEAS Colloquium in Climate Science on January 26 on the “Response of Tropical Climate to Greenhouse Gas Changes and Orbital Forcing”. He completed his PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering at the California Institute of Technology and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

William T. Sha’s (EngScD '64, Nuclear Engineering) book, Novel Porous Media Formulation for Multiphase Flow Conservation Equations, was published by Cambridge University Press in September 2011. Dr. Sha was a senior scientist at the Argonne National Laboratory and the former Director of the Analytic Thermal Hydraulic Research Program and the Multiphase Flow Research Institute. He has published over 290 papers, primarily in the field of thermal hydraulics. He is the recipient of many awards, including the 2005 Technical Achievement Award from the Thermal Hydraulic Division (THD) of the American Nuclear Society (ANS), the 2006 Glenn T. Seaborg Medal, the 2007 Samuel Untermyer II Medal and the 2008 Reactor Technology Award, all from the ANS.

Gideon Simpon (PhD '09, Applied Mathematics) presented a talk at the Applied Mathematics Colloquium on February 21 on the “Analysis of Parallel Replica Dynamics”. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Toronto and is currently a PIRE/DOE Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Mathematics in the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota.

Ramon Verastegui (PhD '06, Applied Mathematics) spoke about his experience as a student and alumnus at a special reception for doctoral degree students, alumni, and postsdocs on October 3, hosted by Columbia Engineering as part of the “Graduate Engineers Connect” initiatives.

Alumni Reports '10-'11

Tulika Bose (PhD '06, Applied Physics) is an Assistant Professor in the Physics Department at Boston University.

SEAS Alumni from all class years visited the Columbia campus for the Alumni Reunion and Dean’s Days Weekend from June 3-4, 2011. As part of the festivities, the Dean sponsored departmental luncheons. APAM alumni in attendance included: Yuri Baransky (PhD 1987 Applied Mathematics), Nora Dolatabadi (BS 2006 Applied Mathematics), Danielle Scott (BS 2001 Applied Mathematics), and Jiatao Wang (BS 2006 Applied Mathematics).

Nicholas C. M. Fuller (PhD '02, Solid State Physics) recently received the Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) for Outstanding Contribution in Industry from the Career Communications Group at the Annual Awards Convention held in Baltimore, MD, in February 2010. Dr. Fuller, who is a research staff member and manager at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, received this award for his technical contributions in the field of plasma science technology entailing: (i) enablement of 90 nm and beyond CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) chip technologies; (ii) determination of plasma interactions with low dielectric constant, patterning, and other technologically relevant materials; (iii) 24 patents; and (iv) more than 50 publications. (Spring 2011 Columbia Engineering Magazine)

David Gates (PhD '94, Plasma Physics) was featured in the article “From tokamaks to stellarators” in R&D Magazine. Gates, the Stellarator Physics Leader at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), was offered a visiting professorship last summer at the National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS) in Japan, where he spent three months working on the Large Helical Device (LHD).

Jeremy Goren (BS '07, Applied Physics) “I have lived in Shanghai, China since September 2007. In January 2009, I finished the courses at Shanghai Jiaotong University and reached fluency in Mandarin Chinese. Since then I have tutored students in Math, Physics, and Mandarin Chinese. I was the Head Consultant of Undergraduate Studies at The Princeton Review Shanghai from August 2009-July 2010. I recently founded a company called Elite College Link (ECL), aimed at assisting Chinese high school students in applying to universities in the United States. Recently, I formed a partnership with ONLY Education group, with 57 locations in Shanghai, over 10,000 students, 800+ employees, and 16 years of experience to assist Chinese students with their college applications. We expect to make a minimum of 200,000 USD profit in the 2011 calendar year, with minimum 100% growth year on year for 3 years. I am currently applying to business schools, and my top choices are MIT, Stanford, Wharton, Harvard, Chicago and Columbia. Ideally I would like to defer admission until September 2012 so I can help my new partnership achieve a moderate success. Upon completing my MBA, I intend on returning to China to help grow the ONLY-ECL partnership into a multi-million dollar a year venture. After a couple years, I intend to hire a manager to run my end of the partnership while I maintain a small role share some of the profits, while focused on other ventures. I currently have a couple internet startups in mind that I would like to start within the next couple of years.”

David Graff (MS '06, Medical Physics) completed a postdoctoral fellowship in medical imaging physics at Johns Hopkins, performing research in small animal SPECT camera design, artifacts associated with truncated tomography, and the clinical effectiveness of cone-beam CT in interventional radiological procedures. He now works as a research scientist at Quantason LLC in Philadelphia, developing novel types of ultrasound to screen for breast cancer. He lives in Reading, PA, with his wife, Vicky, and their three kids. Their third child, Abraham Spinoza Graff, was born on January 6. (Spring 2011 Columbia Engineering Magazine)

Brian Grierson (PhD '09, Plasma Physics) took a position as an associate research physicist at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. His research is performed in San Diego, CA, at General Atomics on the DIII-Tokamak. (Spring 2011 Columbia Engineering Magazine)

Ralph Izzo (PhD '81, Plasma Physics) was the keynote speaker for Columbia Engineering’s Class Day Ceremony on Monday, May 16, 2011. Izzo is currently Chairman, President, and CEO of Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) in New Jersey. Dr. Izzo, who earned his BS and MS in mechanical engineering and his PhD in applied physics from Columbia Engineering, has held the top post at PSEG, an energy and energy services company, since April 2007. Prior to that, he served as president and chief operating officer of PSEG from October 2006, when he was also elected to the Board of Directors. He joined PSEG in 1992. He is a well-known leader within the utility industry, as well as the public policy arena. His public policy experience includes service as an American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Bill Bradley. He also served four years as a senior policy advisor in the Office of New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean, specializing in energy, science, and technology. “Ralph Izzo is a national leader in the fields of energy, nuclear policy, and climate change, all areas that greatly impact the world today,” said Dean Peña-Mora. “He exemplifies how engineers are making a difference across the globe, helping to solve complex problems that we all are facing and making the world a better place in which to live. I know his message will inspire the class of 2011 to go out and be socially responsible leaders in engineering and applied science.” In addition to his degrees from Columbia Engineering, Dr. Izzo also earned an MBA from Rutgers University Graduate School of Management. He began his career as a research scientist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, performing numerical simulations of fusion energy experiments. He has published or presented more than 35 papers on magnetohydrodynamic modeling. Dr. Izzo was elected chair of Rutgers University Board of Governors in June 2010. In 2009, he was inducted into Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni. He is also a member of the board of directors for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, the New Jersey Utilities Association, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and the Center for Energy Workforce Development. (Originally published on the Columbia Engineering web site).

Bahram Jalali-Farahani (PhD '89, Applied Physics) was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and has also been appointed the Northrop Grumman Endowed Chair in Optoelectronics at UCLA.

Matthew Lanctot (PhD '10, Plasma Physics) was invited to lecture on his research results conducted on the DIII-D tokamak at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics.

Chrysanthe Spyropoulos Munn (PhD '99, Applied Mathematics) is married to Tobin Munn and has two children, Gabriella and Axel. As a geophysicist, she works for British Petroleum in Houston as executive assistant to Ian Cavanagh, the senior vice president in technology. (Spring 2011 Columbia Engineering Magazine)

Steve Sabbagh (PhD '90, Plasma Physics) was named Fellow of the American Physical Society. Professor Sabbagh's award was presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics for leadership in advancing the understanding of magnetohydrodynamics equilibrium, stability, rotation damping, and active feedback control of high-beta tokamak and low-aspect ratio tokamak plasmas.

Andrew J. Salthouse (BS '69, Applied Physics) “I’ve been married 29 years; one daughter is married, the other is getting married very soon. I am an analyst at Sprint Nextel company.

APAM alumni presented their latest results at the 23rd International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Fusion Energy Conference in Daejeon, Korea from October 11-16, 2010. Steve Sabbagh (PhD '90, Plasma Physics), presented a talk entitled “Resistive Wall Mode Stabilization and Plasma Rotation Damping Considerations for Maintaining High Beta Plasma Discharges in NSTX”. Chris Hegna (PhD. '89, Plasma Physics), now at the University of Wisconsin, reported on “High-beta physics of magnetic islands in 3-D equilibria”, and MS Chu (PhD '71, Plasma Physics), now at General Atomics, presented a report entitled, “Response of a Resistive and Rotating Tokamak to External Magnetic Perturbations Below the Alfvénic Frequency”.

Alumni Reports '09-'10

Michael Bykhovsky (BA '83, Applied Physics) and Bahram Jalali (PhD ‘89 Solid State Physics) visited APAM on April 14 as representatives of the Dean’s Board of Visitors. Board members meet yearly with current students and faculty in order to advise and assist the Trustees, the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Dean in the development of the School. Michael is the President and CEO of Applied Financial Technology and Bahram is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at UCLA.

Ming S. Chu (PhD '71, Plasma Physics) was featured as a co-author with APAM Adjunct Professor, Steve Sabbagh (PhD '90 Plasma Physics), in a recent Nuclear Fusion news item on a paper first-authored by K. C. Shain “Broken toroidal symmetry in tokamaks enhances particle, energy and momentum transport”. Dr. Chu is a theorist in the Theory and Computational Sciences division at General Atomics, San Diego California. His main interest is the development and application of ideal and resistive MHD theories to fusion devices. Phenomena studied include the kink ballooning mode, the tearing mode and the resistive wall mode at high plasma beta. His recent interest is on the dependence of the plasma response to external perturbations on various plasma models. He has authored or co-authored more than 150 papers on plasma equilibrium and stability. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. (Spring 2010 Columbia Engineering Magazine)

Bob Gottschall (EngScD '75, Materials Science & Engineering) “After earning my EngScD, I accepted a 2-year postdoctoral appointment at the Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where one of my activities was electron microscopy studies of dislocation structures in tungsten carbide. I then accepted a position in program management in the Materials Sciences Program office under the Office of Basic Energy Sciences at the newly formed U.S. Department of Energy in 1977. I remained with that organization in various capacities through the rest of my career. My program management responsibilities were for the coordination, funding, management, and oversight of fundamental research in materials science that was carried out almost entirely under contracted Department of Energy national laboratories and university research grants. I was actively engaged in an originating and leadership role for 21 workshops that identified and publicized research needs and opportunities for fundamental research in materials science, for which the proceedings were published in archival scientific journals. I was a co-organizer for 4 major scientific symposia under professional societies, a member of advisory and organization committees for numerous domestic and international scientific symposia, and co-editor of the published proceedings for 2 major international research symposia. During the course of my career I was elected to the rank of Fellow by both the American Ceramic Society and ASM International (formerly known as the American Society of Metals) and awarded the 2004 Burgess Memorial Award by ASM International for leadership in fundamental research in materials science and advancements of electron beam microcharacterization facilities in the U.S. My career at the Department of Energy progressed into several management positions from 1986 until my retirement in 2005. Since retirement, my wife, Yukiko Tani, and I have trekked, climbed, and done photography in Patagonia, the European Alps, and the Himalaya. We also engage ourselves in local hiking and photography, and via attendance at operatic, symphonic, and classical ballet programs.” (Spring 2010 Columbia Engineering Magazine)

Sam Gralnick (PhD '72, Plasma Physics) is currently VP and senior applications architect for the Global Risk Management organization of JP Morgan Chase & Co. and is a member of the recruiting team for the Risk Organization, which seeks to attract talented graduates seeking careers in financial services risk management. Columbia students and graduates at all levels should feel free to contact him to discuss these opportunities at samuel.gralnick@jpmchase.com. (Spring 2010 Columbia Engineering Magazine)

Isaac Greenbaum (BS '06, Applied Mathematics) and Adrian Haimovich (BS '10, Applied Mathematics) were featured in the article “Math Professor Works to Keep Students Off ‘The Street’” in The Record.

Adrian Haimovich (BS '10, Applied Mathematics) was featured in the article "Predicting Diseases" in the Spring 2010 Leaders Making an Impact Issue of Columbia Engineering News.

Jay Kesner (PhD '70, Plasma Physics), M.I.T.’s physics research group leader for the Levitated Dipole Experiment, and Stewart Prager (PhD '75, Plasma Physics ), director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, were featured in the Columbia News article: "Levitating Magnet May Yield New Approach to Clean Energy."

The International Atomic Energy Agency awarded the 2009 Nuclear Fusion Award to Adjunct Professor and Research Scientist, Steve Sabbagh (PhD '90, Plasma Physics) , et al. for their landmark paper "Resistive wall stabilized operation in rotating high beta NSTX plasmas."

Wendy Siman (MS '10, Medical Physics) was offered a two-year imaging physics residency at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Plasma Physics alumni attened the 2009 Plasma Physics Reunion Dinner during the 51st Annual Meeting of the Division of Plasma Physics (DPP) at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta from November 2-6, 2009. Alumni in attendance were Dennis Boyle (BS '08), Dylan Brennan (MS '97), Jennifer Ellsworth (BS '02),  Andrea Garofalo (PhD '97), David Gates (PhD '94), Brian Grierson (PhD '09), Jeremy Hanson (PhD '09), Chris Hegna (PhD '89), Ilon Joseph (PhD '05), Elliot Kaplan (BS '06), Oksana Katsuro-Hopkins (PhD '07), Mark Kendall (BS '05), Jay Kesner (PhD '70), David Maurer (PhD '00), Ron Schmitt (PhD '08), Katherine Velas (BS '05), Jeff Waksman (BS '06), and John Wright (BS '91).

Sarah Angelini (BS '05, Applied Physics) earned her MS in Nuclear Science & Engineering at M.I.T. and was employed at Schlumberger. She returned to APAM this fall to start her PhD in Applied Physics.

Ruth Griswold (BS '05, Applied Mathematics) is currently working on a PhD at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Rui He (PhD '06, Solid State Physics) is a postdoc working in the Columbia Center for Integrated Science and Engineering (CISE).

John Klinger (BS '70, Applied Physics) earned his PhD in Physics from Cornell University in 1978. He is currently a Staff Engineer working on software for unmanned air vehicles at Proxy Aviation Systems in Germantown, MD.

William Lupatkin, MD (PhD '70, Plasma Physics) is currently a pediatrician in Morristown, NJ.


Photo: APAM Alumni attended a special luncheon in the APAM Department with the Dean, APAM professors, and current students. The luncheon was part of the 2010 SEAS Reunion and Dean's Days which took place June 4-5, 2010. Other events included the Saturday Dean's Day luncheon, Magill Lecture and afternoon receptions. APAM alumni in attendance included:

Alumni Reports '08-'09

Hubert Burke (PhD '95, Solid State Physics) is embarking upon on a second career. He is working on his first movie that he is writing, composing the sound track for, acting in, and directing.

Alex Casti (PhD '99, Applied Mathematics) is an Assistant Research Professor in the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers and an APAM Adjunct Associate Professor.

James Coromilas (BS '69, Applied Physics) is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Cardiology Department at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Robert Hartman (BS '59, Applied Physics) and his wife attended the departmental luncheon during the SEAS Alumni Reunion and Dean’s Days Weekend from Wednesday, June 3, through Sunday, June 7, 2009. He is currently the Vice President of Device Development at CyOptics Inc. in Pennsylvania.

Bahram Jalali (PhD '89, Applied Physics) was a featured speaker at the Columbia Symposium on Pure and Applied Science: Honoring Richard M. Osgood Jr.

Steffen Kaldor (PhD '02, Materials Science & Engineering) works at IBM’s advanced 300mm semiconductor fabricator in East Fishkill, NY, as the manager of manufacturing process integration and yield improvement. He and his wife LuAnn, have two sons, Sebastian and Alexander.

Irina Kalish (MS/CVN '07, Materials Science & Engineering) welcomed daughter, Abigal Lydia Kalish, born on April 15, 2009.

Kenneth Kin (MS, DES. '75, Nuclear Engineering) has been elected to the Board of Directors of SMSC, subject to reelection at the 2009 Annual Meeting of stockholders. Dr. Kin recently retired from his role as Senior Vice President, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd. (TSMC), where he had responsibility for global sales, services and marketing. He was formerly Vice President, Worldside Sales and Services at IBM Microlectronics, Vice President and Director of Operations for the Computer Group at Motorla Inc. and served in various sales and marketing roles for several other Asia Pacific companies in the computing and telecommunications markets. Dr. Kin received a BS degree from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and worked with Prof. Herbert Goldstein to earned his MS and DES in Nuclear Engineering at Columbia.

Quinn Marksteiner (PhD '08, Plasma Physics) was an invited speaker at the American Physical Society’s 50th Annual Meeting of the Division of Plasma Physics from November 17–21, 2008 in Dallas, Texas.

Timothy Merlis (BS '06, Applied Mathematics) attended the Plumbfest Symposium at Columbia University. He is currently a graduate student in Environmental Science and Engineering at the California Institute of Technology.

Theodore Moustakas (PhD '74, Solid State Physics) presented a talk at an Optics Seminar this fall at Columbia. He has been a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering since '87, a Professor of Physics since '91, and a Faculty Member of the Center for Photonics Research since '94 at Boston University. He is currently the director of the Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Lab. He held research and visiting faculty positions at Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Aristotle University, IBM Watson Research Lab, and Exxon Corporate Research Lab. His research contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics in opto-electronic materials and devices, including nitride semiconductors, amorphous semiconductors and diamond thin films. He is the co-editor of 8 books and the author of more than 300 publications. He has been granted 25 U.S. patents and several are pending. Intellectual property that resulted from his work has been licensed to a number of companies, including major manufactures of blue LEDs and lasers (Cree and Philips LumiLeds in the U.S. and Nichia in Japan). He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in '94 and of the Electrochemical Society in '97. He was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Aristotle University in '03 and the MBE Innovator Award in '10.

Manju Prakash (PhD '85, Plasma Physics) writes "My PhD in theoretical plasma physics provided me an opportunity to make an impact on unexplored territories of science, both as a scientist and an educator. At SUNY Stony Brook, I produced scholarly research papers in quark-gluon plasmas based on the observational data available at Brookhaven National Lab. I also explored the role of plasma processes in the realms of accreting matter in binary stars. I advanced my career in nano-devices and nanofluids while at Cornell. After gaining some experience in technology/ nanotechnology at Intel, I decided to teach advanced placement physics courses at the Maine School of Science and Math and the Wilbraham & Monson Academy. Currently, I am a physics faculty member at Linden Hall in PA."

Aaron Wininger (BS '94, Applied Physics) writes "2009 marks my third year in Shanghai. I have a beautiful 3-year old daughter who is now fluent in bolth children’s English and Mandarin. She has recently started attending Dulwich, a British school out here, and is developing a British accent. I have recently joined the law firm Nixon Peabody LLP as partner, where I do intellectual property and corporate finance law including private investments in public equity (PIPEs) for Chinese companies listeing overseas. In my spare time, I love to go to KTV (karaoke) with my friends here."

Matthew Witten (PhD '04, Medical Physics) has been appointed as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the APAM Department. He will be overseeing a graduate student this year. Witten was featured in the December 2008 New York Times article "Geography Has Role in Medicare Cancer Coverage." Witten currently runs the CyberKnife program at the Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola and is an advocate for the new radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

Plasma Physics alumni made presentations at the biannual IAEA Meeting on Controlled Fusion Energy in Geneva from October 13-18, 2008. Dave Maurer (PhD '00), Adjunct Assistant Professor and Associate Research Scientist, representing the HBT-EP tokamak research project, spoke on "Control of Kink Modes Near the Ideal Wall Limit Using Kalman Filtering and Optimal Control Techniques." David Gates, (PhD '94), presented "Overview of Results from the National Spherical Torus Experiment". Steve Sabbagh (PhD '90), Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Scientist, spoke on "Advances in Global MHD Stabilization Research on NSTX".

Alumni Updates '07-'08

Netta Cohen (BS '92, Applied Physics) completed her PhD in biophysics at Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) and now heads the BioSystems group at the School of Computing at the Univ. of Leeds in England. She is married to Sam Braunstein and they have a daughter, Yael.

Jennifer Ellsworth (BS '02, Applied Mathematics) is a PhD student, studying Applied Plasma Physics at MIT. She recently married Michael Hohensee in Nashua, N.H.

Andrea Garofalo (PhD '97, Applied Physics) shared the 2007 APS Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics with Prof. Gerald Navratil of Columbia University, Dr. Edward J. Strait of General Atomics and Dr. Michio Okabayashi of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Yi Gu (PhD '04, Applied Physics) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Washington State University.

Ralph Izzo (MS '79, PhD '81, Plasma Physics) has been chairman, president and CEO of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG) since April, 2007. He had served as president and chief operating officer of PSEG since October, 2006 when he was also elected to the Board of Directors. Earlier, he was president and chief operating officer of Public Service Electric and Gas Company. Since joining PSE&G in 1992, Izzo was elected to several executive positions within PSEG’s family of companies, including PSE&G senior vice president (utility operations), PSE&G vice president (appliance service), PSEG vice president (corporate planning), Energis Incorporated senior vice president (finance and information services), and PSE&G vice president (electric ventures). In these capacities, he broadened his experience in the areas of general management, strategic planning and finance. Izzo is a well-known leader within the utility industry, as well as the public policy arena. His public policy experience includes service as an American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellow, in the office of U.S. Senator Bill Bradley. He also served 4 years as a senior policy advisor in the Office of New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean, specializing in energy, science and technology. His career began as a research scientist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, performing numerical simulations of fusion energy experiments. He has published or presented over 35 papers on magnetohydrodynamic modeling. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in mechanical engineering and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in applied physics (plasma physics) from Columbia. He also completed the requirements for a Master of Business Administration degree, with a concentration in finance from the Rutgers Graduate School of Management. He is listed in numerous editions of Who’s Who and  has been the recipient of national fellowships and awards.  Izzo serves on the board of directors for the Electric Power Research Institute, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, the American Gas Association, the New Jersey Utilities Association, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). He is chairman of New Jersey After 3 Inc., the Drumthwacket Foundation, and the Capital Campaign for the PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital.  Izzo also serves as electric utility sector chairman of the Infrastructure Advisory Committee in the Attorney General’s Office of Counter-terrorism, and is on the board of trustees for the New Jersey Network Foundation and Rutgers Business School.

Bahram Jalali (PhD '89, Applied Physics) is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at UCLA. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and the Optical Society of America, and the Chair of the Los Angeles Chapter of the IEEE Lasers and Electro Optics Society (LEOS). His research interests include silicon photonics and techniques for ultra fast data generation and capture. He has published over 200 scientific papers and holds 6 US patents. He is the recipient of the 2007 R.W. Wood Prize from the Optical Society of America. In 2005, he was chosen by the Scientific American Magazine as one of the 50 Leaders Shaping the Future of Technology. His work in demonstration of the first silicon laser was cited by the MIT Technology Review magazine as one of the top 10 technology trends in 2005. While on leave from UCLA from '99-'01, he founded Cognet Microsystems, a Los Angeles based fiber optic component company. He served as the company’s CEO, President and Chairman, from its inception through acquisition by Intel Corporation in '01. From '01-'04, he was a consultant for Intel Corporation. Dr. Jalali serves on the Board of Trustees of the California Science Center. He has received the BridgeGate 20 Award for his contributions to the southern California economy.

Steffen Kaldor (MS '98, PhD '02, Materials Science & Engineering) is currently a process engineering manager at IBM’s 300mm semiconductor development and manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, NY. He and his wife, Lu Ann, have a two and a half year old son, Sebastian, and are expecting their second child.

Stephen L. Ostrow (MS '70, EngScD '78, Nuclear Engineering) received his doctorate in Applied Physics & Nuclear Engineering and an MBA from Columbia and joined the nuclear industry performing radiation analyses for nuclear reactors and other facilities in an architect-engineering firm where he was Manager of Applied Physics and Chief Engineer of Nuclear Engineering. He later became Manager of Advanced Technology, specializing in energy and superconductivity projects.  The past few years he  has been working for SC&A, Inc., a Vienna, VA, engineering consulting firm, where he (working out of New York) is Senior Vice President of Advanced Technology. His primary focus is developing technologies for homeland security and defense to detect explosives and toxic chemicals from a distance. He is also an Adjunct Professor in APAM where he is teaching APPH E4010: Nuclear Physics, the same course he took in the same department many years ago. He is married to Arlette, who graduated from the Sorbonne and Teachers College and teaches French in a local private school. They live on the upper east side of Manhattan and have 3 children.

Artem Ponomarev (PhD '98, Applied Physics) is currently a Senior Research Scientist at the NASA Johnson Space Center. He specializes in radiation protection for astronauts and is working on developing biophysical models of DNA damage from space radiation. He is a consultant for the spacecraft design for the new Lunar and Mars Mission Projects. Additionally, he works with astronaut-physicist Franklin Chang-Diaz’s Plasma Rocket group on radiation issues and astronaut-physicist Jeffrey Hoffman's group on the magnetic shielding of a spacecraft.

In Memoriam: Elizabeth Selcow-Stein (PhD '84, Plasma Physics) died September 19, 2007 in Los Alamos, NM, after a long illness. She received her bachelor, master of science, master of philosophy, and doctor of philosophy degrees in nuclear engineering from Columbia SEAS. While at SEAS, her advisors were Dean Robert Gross and Prof. Leon Lidofsky. Dr. Selcow began her career as an engineer with the Grumman Corporation, where she was responsible for nuclear analysis for space propulsion, plasma physics and fusion compact ignition Tokamak designs. In 1989, she joined Brookhaven National Laboratory, where she performed Monte Carlo analyses for boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT), space propulsion systems and spallation target testing for the BNL synchrotron. She served as a visiting research scientist at M.I.T., working on BNCT treatment planning. In 1998, she joined Westinghouse Savannah River Co., where she collaborated with Los Alamos National Laboratory as part of the Accelerator Production of Tritium Spallation Physics design team. In 1999, she joined Los Alamos National Laboratory to work with the Monte Carlo code development team, providing user support, teaching MCNP classes at LANL, and international training conferences with NEA OECD. She also worked with the LANL Shavano Project, part of the Advanced Scientific Computing Initiative (ASCI) program, intended to address the need for high-fidelity weapons computer codes in the absence of nuclear testing. She was the author of numerous published technical reports, journal articles, and conference papers on MCNP transport methods for weapons testing simulations, neutron and particle transport, medical physics and BNCT applications.

Jonathan Spanier (PhD '01, Solid State Physics) was among 58 researchers from across the nation who received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The PECASE is the nation’s highest honor for professionals at the outset of their independent research careers.

According to John H. Marburger III, director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy, "Selection for this award is based on the combination of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and community service demonstrated through scientific leadership and community outreach." Nominated by the Department of Defense, Spanier is cited for "innovative research in materials science and engineering to improve synthesis strategies to produce novel and advanced hybrid nanostructures with specific properties and multifunctional capabilities," Spanier is also cited “for his exceptional teaching of graduate and undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds." Nine federal departments and agencies annually nominate beginning scientists and engineers whose work shows exceptional promise for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge. PECASE awardees receive funding for up to 5 years to further their research in support of critical government missions.

Spanier is an assistant professor of materials science and engineering (MSE) at Drexel University. In addition to his faculty appointment, he serves as the associate department head of MSE, and is an affiliated faculty member in Drexel’s department of electrical and computer engineering. He is the first assistant professor at Drexel to be selected for this recognition since the inception of the program in 1996.

Bonnie Wilensky (BS '97, Applied Mathematics) attended the 10-year Columbia reunion with her husband, David Silvera (Law and Business School, 1996). They have a 9-month old daughter, Bianca.

Alumni Reports '06-'07

Lili Cheng (PhD '05, Materials Science & Engineering) is working at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico.

James Cho (PhD '96, Applied Mathematics) was recently appointed as a Lecturer in Astrophysics and Planetary Science at Queen Mary College (University of London). He is currently working on understanding the flow and temperature structure of atmospheres on extrasolar planets, via computer simulations and analytical calculations. He also studied turbulence, vortex, and mixing issues, arising from giant impacts and dynamics in protoplanetary disks related to planet formation.

Jae Beom Choi (PhD '06, Materials Science & Engineering) is working in Korea at Samsung Electronics

Chieh (Joseph) Chu (MS '04, Materials Science & Engineering) is working in Taiwan at DuPont.

Irene Dujovne (PhD '05, Solid State Physics & 2005 Simon Prize Winner): After graduating from Columbia two years ago, she took a postodoctoral position in the Molecular biophysics group, headed by Cees Dekker at TU Delft. She is focusing on developing a new optical set-up designed to probe sub-nanometer scale processes with fast temporal resolution. This will enable her group to explore in great accuracy fundamental molecular processes, such as protein-DNA interactions and movement of motor proteins along filaments. She is currently looking for faculty position, and hopes to continue this line of biologically-inspired research in the future.

Pearl Flath (BS '05, Applied Mathematics) is currently in the Computational and Applied Mathematics PhD program at the University of Texas at Austin and works with Omar Ghattas. She is the founder and current president of their SIAM Chapter and recently helped to organize Texas Applied Mathematics Meeting for Students (TAMMS), which met this past February. The conference provided students the opportunity to present research and build synergy among participants from universities throughout the region.

Eli Furhang (PhD '96, Medical Physics): After thesis research and subsequent employment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Furhang accepted the position of Director of Radiation Oncology Physics at the Beth Israel Hospital Center in NYC. He is responsible for the oversight of Departments of Radiation Oncology at Beth Israel and St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospitals. Graduates of the MS Program in Medical Physics working for Dr. Furhang include James Dolan (MS '05), Robert Masino (MS '05), and Manuel Orlanzino (MS '06).

Tracy Hammond (BS '97, Applied Mathematics) received her PhD in Computer Science from M.I.T. and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on sketch recognition, artificial intelligence, concept learning, and human-computer interaction.

Ajay Kapur (MS '94, Medical Physics) has been appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology. In 1999, he earned his PhD in Biophysics from Stanford University. Before returning to Columbia, he worked for six years as a physicist at the GE Global Imaging Technology Center. His research at Columbia focuses on Monte Carlo radiation transport simulation, digital imaging systems, and image guided radiation therapy. Prof. Kapur co-teaches Diagnostic Radiological Physics, a course required for the
MS in Medical Physics.

Feryal Ozel (BS '96, Applied Physics & Applied Mathematics) is an Assistant Professor in both Physics and Astronomy at the University of Arizona. Her research interests include the physics of compact objects, high energy astrophysics, neutron stars, magnetars, black holes and accretion disks and gravitational lensing.