Back to Faculty Directory

I grew up in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, where I attended public school. My undergraduate studies were in Physics at Johns Hopkins University; from there I went to University of Massachusetts for my Masters and Rice University for my PhD. My thesis work in Particle Physics was done at Brookhaven National Laboratory, where I searched for particles known as hybrids and glueballs, predicted by the Standard Model, but unobserved. After getting my PhD, I was a post-doctoral fellow, and subsequently a research assistant professor, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I came to Siena in 2008, and am currently studying neutrino oscillations and the mixing matrix which describes them.

Degree Program University
Ph.D. Physics Rice University
M.A. Physics Southeastern Massachusetts University
B.A. Physics Johns Hopkins

My Siena Experience

My Teaching Philosophy

Richard Feynman relates an amusing story in his book, "Surely you're Joking, Mr. Feynman" that describes some fellow students amazed by his "discovery" that the lowest point of a french curve has a tangent that is horizontal. None of them realized this was the definition of the lowest point! He then says:

I don't know what's the matter with people; they don't learn by understanding; they learn by some other way---by rote, or something. Their knowledge is so fragile.

Nothing is the matter with people, they have just been trained that rote memorization of facts and recipes is the easiest way to perform well in an academic setting. As an instructor my goal is to set up a classroom environment that encourages and rewards true understanding, while discouraging rote memorization. I want to harden fragile knowledge and make it robust.

I try to create in the course an atmosphere in which it is safe, even encouraged, to admit when you do not understand. I believe that admitting ignorance is the first step to gaining understanding. This can be difficult for many reasons: fear of ridicule, ego, even worry that it will affect a grade in the course. Modeling this behavior is an important, if humbling, step. Even after teaching several years of introductory physics, my students can still ask me questions that point to the limits of my understanding. Letting them know, by example, that it is all right to say, "I don't know," and then demonstrating how to find the answer is an invaluable lesson for them.

What I Love About Siena

Siena students are the most engaged students in the classroom that I have seen. Selfishly, this make classes much more fun to teach, but this also produces a dynamic classroom environment that help students learn.

My Favorite Courses to Teach

Modern Physics
Electromagnetic Theory
Quantum Mechanics

My Professional Experience

Year Title University
2016 - Now Dean, School of Science Siena College
2015 - 2016 Interim Dean, School of Science Siena College
2008 - Now Assistant Professor of Physics Siena College
2001 - 2008 Assistant Research Professor Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
1997 - 2001 Postdoctoral Research Associate Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
1995 - 1997 Postdoctoral Research Associate University of Massachusetts--Dartmouth

Current Research

I am interested in particle physics in general, and have done research in strong interaction physics, particularly meson spectroscopy. Currently I am studying neutrinos, investigating the phenomenon known as "oscillation," an understanding of which may help us explain why the universe seems to be made of matter, with so little anti-matter.

The problem of dark matter and the possibility of detecting it in the laboratory also interest me. Strong evidence for dark matter is seen in astronomical observations, yet so far there has been no laboratory detection of any dark matter.

Articles & Book Reviews

  • A Precise Measurement of the Neutron Magnetic Form Factor G M in the Few-GeV2 Region
    Phys. Rev. Lett
    2009
  • Beam Spin Asymmetries in DVCS with CLAS at 4 .8 GeV
    Phys. Rev.
    2009
  • Electroproduction of pÀ+À off protons at 0.2 < 0.6 GeV2 and 1.3 < 1.57 GeV with CLAS
    Phys. Rev
    2009
  • First measurement of direct f0(980) photoproduction on the proton
    Phys. Rev. Lett.
    2009
  • Improved Measurement of Branching Fractions forÀÀ Transitions among ¥(nS) States
    Phys. Rev. D
    2009
  • J/4' and 4'(2S) Radiative Transitions to ·c
    Phys. Rev. Lett
    2009
  • Measurement of Charm Production Cross Sections in e+e Annihilation at Energies between 3.97 and 4.26 GeV
    Phys. Rev.
    2009
  • Measurement of unpolarized semi-inclusive À+ electroproduction off the proton
    Phys. Rev. D
    2009
  • Observation of D+ , ·e+½e
    Phys. Rev. Lett.
    2009
  • Search for the photo-excitation of exotic mesons in theÀ+À+À system
    Phys. Rev. Lett.
    2009
  • Measurement of the eta'-meson mass using J/4' -* ³·'
    Phys. Rev. Lett.
    2008
  • Observation of J/4' -* 3³
    Phys. Rev. Lett
    2008
  • Observation of ¥(2S) -* ·¥(1S) and search for related transitions
    Phys. Rev. Lett
    2008
  • Precision Measurement of the Mass of the hc(1P1) State of Charmonium
    Phys. Rev. Lett
    2008
  • Search for Lepton Flavor Violation in Upsilon Decays
    Phys. Rev. Lett.
    2008
  • Search for Very Light CP-Odd Higgs Boson in Radiative Decays of ¥(1S
    Phys. Rev. Lett
    2008

Awards & Distinctions

  • Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics
    Category: Research
    Breakthrough Prize Board, 2016