Cosmology represents a bridge between fundamental physics and particle phenomenology. The goal of the contemporary cosmologist is to search for models of the early universe that satisfy the current observational tests and to search for new ways to discriminate between these models. Tom Giblin is interested in how gravity and quantum field theory can lead to natural models of the early universe and specifically how these models might emerge from various extensions of the standard Model. He is also very interested in how observations of both electromagnetic and gravitational radiation can identify viable cosmological scenarios.

Cosmology is at a stage in which precise calculations and predictions are necessary to discern between different models. Tom tackles those questions that can be answered by numerical analysis or computer simulation. The particular computational tools he employs vary from project to project and include lattice simulations (including spectral methods), finite-element…

Read MoreCosmology represents a bridge between fundamental physics and particle phenomenology. The goal of the contemporary cosmologist is to search for models of the early universe that satisfy the current observational tests and to search for new ways to discriminate between these models. Tom Giblin is interested in how gravity and quantum field theory can lead to natural models of the early universe and specifically how these models might emerge from various extensions of the standard Model. He is also very interested in how observations of both electromagnetic and gravitational radiation can identify viable cosmological scenarios.

Cosmology is at a stage in which precise calculations and predictions are necessary to discern between different models. Tom tackles those questions that can be answered by numerical analysis or computer simulation. The particular computational tools he employs vary from project to project and include lattice simulations (including spectral methods), finite-element analysis, Monte-Carlo parameter estimation and multi-processor computing.

Tom also really likes cheese, cheese-related products and the process of melting cheese on other foods to improve them.

Cosmology and astrophysics, gravitational waves, computational physics.

2008 — Doctor of Philosophy from Yale University

2004 — Master of Science from Brown University

— Bachelor of Arts from Holy Cross College, magna cum laude

INDS 191

PHYS 103

In this course, students will learn to use motors, relays, microcontrollers and electronic components to design and build computer-controlled devices, small robots and interactive gizmos increasingly employed in projects by artists, designers and scientists. The primary tool will be the Arduino open source microcontroller environment. Developed for use by designers, artists and hobbyists, the Arduino environment provides a wide array of options for implementing automation and interaction between a physical device and its environment. It is used in applications ranging from interactive installation art to smart home technologies and hardware control in scientific applications. The course will combine laboratory exercises, homework assignments, individual and group project work, and a culminating public presentation. No prerequisite.

PHYS 105

Gravity is at once the most familiar and most mysterious of the basic forces of nature. It shapes the formation, structure and motion of stars, galaxies and the cosmos itself. Also, because gravity affects everything, it enables us to investigate parts of the universe that are otherwise invisible to us. This course will explore the role of gravity in a few vibrant areas of contemporary astrophysics: the search for planets beyond our solar system, the discovery of giant black holes in the nuclei of galaxies, the generation and detection of gravitational waves and the evidence for dark matter and dark energy in our universe. In addition to the scheduled class lectures and discussions, students will be required to meet a few times during the semester for evening laboratories. No prerequisite.

PHYS 109

Around us we see a vast, expanding universe of galaxies. The galaxies are composed of stars, some of which planets orbit. At least one of these planets in the universe is inhabited by an astoundingly complex set of living things. Where did all this come from? This course presents an overview of the formation and evolution of the universe, the solar system, planet Earth, and life on our planet. Astronomical observations, computer simulations and laboratory experiments will supplement lectures and readings. No prerequisite.

PHYS 110

The goal of this seminar is to explore a specific topic in physics that is of current significance as well as challenging to first-year students. Generally, the topics will vary from year to year; in the past, the seminar has explored topics such as material science, nanoscience, astrophysics, particle physics, biological physics, and gravitation. In addition to introducing the fundamental physics related to these topics, the course will expose students to recent developments, as the topics are often closely related to the research area of faculty teaching the seminar. The seminar meets one evening a week for lectures, discussions, laboratory experiments, and computer exercises. This course fulfills the concurrent laboratory requirement of PHYS 140 and serves as a solid preparation for PHYS 146. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students who are concurrently enrolled in or have placed out of PHYS 140. Offered every fall semester.

PHYS 135

This course focuses on a wide variety of physics topics relevant to students in the life sciences. Topics include wave phenomena, geometrical and physical optics, elementary quantum theory, atomic physics, X-rays, radioactivity, nuclear physics and thermodynamics. When possible, examples will relate to life-science contexts. The course will be taught using a combination of lectures, in-class exercises, homework assignments and examinations. Prerequisite: PHYS 130. Corequisite: PHYS 146. Offered every spring semester.

PHYS 140

This lecture course is the first in a three-semester, calculus-based introduction to physics. Topics include the kinematics and dynamics of particles and solid objects; work and energy; linear and angular momentum; and gravitational, electrostatic and magnetic forces. PHYS 140, 145, and 240 are recommended for students who might major in physics, and they also are appropriate for students majoring in other sciences and mathematics, particularly those who are considering careers in engineering. The course will be taught using a combination of lectures, in-class exercises, homework assignments and examinations. Corequisite: MATH 111, if not previously taken, and PHYS 141 (first-year students) or PHYS 131 (upperclass students). Open only to first-year and sophomore students. Offered every fall semester.

PHYS 141

This seminar will explore a significant current topic in physics that will challenge first-year students. The topic varies from year to year; in the past, the seminar has explored such topics such nanoscience, astrophysics, particle physics, biological physics and gravitation. In addition to introducing the fundamental physics connected with these topics, the course will expose students to recent developments, as the topics are often closely related to the research area of faculty teaching the seminar. The seminar meets one evening a week for lectures, discussions, laboratory experiments and computer exercises. This course fulfills the concurrent laboratory requirement of PHYS 140 and serves as solid preparation for PHYS 146. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students who are concurrently enrolled in or have placed out of PHYS 140, including those first-years who enroll in PHYS 240. Offered every fall semester.

PHYS 146

This laboratory course is a corequisite for all students enrolled in PHYS 135 or 145. The course meets one afternoon each week and is organized around weekly experiments demonstrating the phenomena of waves, optics, X-rays, and atomic and nuclear physics. Lectures cover the theory and instrumentation required to understand each experiment. Experimental techniques include the use of lasers, X-ray diffraction and fluorescence, optical spectroscopy, and nuclear counting and spectroscopy. Students are introduced to computer-assisted graphical and statistical analysis of data, as well as the analysis of experimental uncertainty. Prerequisite: PHYS 131 or 141. Corequisite: PHYS 135 or 145. Offered every spring semester.

PHYS 218

The advent of widespread computing power has led to a revolution in our understanding of the natural world. Using computer models, scientists in all disciplines have been able to explore systems that are mathematically intractable. Surprising commonalities among systems have been discovered, leading to new ways of classifying phenomena and to a strong interdisciplinary perspective. In this class, students will get hands-on experience in numerical exploration using new techniques applied to many areas of science. Students will write programs to solve ordinary differential equations and to model electrical circuits, orbital motion and chemical reaction rates. In every case, students will implement these techniques in a programming language and build their programming skills. Prerequisite: SCMP 118, PHYS 270 or permission of instructor.

PHYS 240

This lecture course is the third semester of the calculus-based introductory sequence in physics, which begins with PHYS 140 and PHYS 145. Topics include electric charge, electric and magnetic fields, electrostatic potentials, electromagnetic induction, Maxwell's equations in integral form, electromagnetic waves, the postulates of the special theory of relativity, relativistic kinematics and dynamics, and the connections between special relativity and electromagnetism. This course may be an appropriate first course for particularly strong students with advanced placement in physics; such students must be interviewed by and obtain permission from the chair of the Physics Department. Prerequisite: PHYS 140 or equivalent. Corequisite: PHYS 241 (upperclass students) or PHYS 141 (first-years) and MATH 213 or equivalent. Offered every fall semester.

PHYS 241

This laboratory course is a corequisite for all upperclass students enrolled in PHYS 240. The course is organized around experiments demonstrating various phenomena associated with the special theory of relativity and electric and magnetic fields. Lectures cover the theory and instrumentation required to understand each experiment. Laboratory work emphasizes computerized acquisition and analysis of data, the use of a wide variety of modern instrumentation, and the analysis of experimental uncertainty. Prerequisite: PHYS 140 and 141 or equivalent. Corequisite: PHYS 240. Offered every fall semester.

PHYS 245

The topics of oscillations and waves serve to unify many subfields of physics. This course begins with a discussion of damped and undamped, free and driven, and mechanical and electrical oscillations. Oscillations of coupled bodies and normal modes of oscillations are studied along with the techniques of Fourier analysis and synthesis. We then consider waves and wave equations in continuous and discontinuous media, both bounded and unbounded. The course may also treat properties of the special mathematical functions that are the solutions to wave equations in non-Cartesian coordinate systems. Prerequisite: PHYS 240. Offered every spring semester.

PHYS 270

As modern computers become more capable, a new mode of investigation is emerging in all science disciplines using computers to model the natural world and solving model equations numerically rather than analytically. Thus, computational physics is assuming co-equal status with theoretical and experimental physics as a way to explore physical systems. This course will introduce students to the methods of computational physics, numerical integration, numerical solutions of differential equations, Monte Carlo techniques and others. Students will learn to implement these techniques in the computer language C, a widely used high-level programming language in computational physics. In addition, the course will expand students' capabilities in using a symbolic algebra program (Mathematica) to aid in theoretical analysis and in scientific visualization. Prerequisite: PHYS 240 and MATH 112 or permission of instructor. Offered every spring semester.

PHYS 345

From particle accelerators to galaxies and stars to the big bang, high-energy particle physics and astrophysics address the sciences' most fundamental questions. This course will cover topics of contemporary relevance from the combined fields of cosmology, astrophysics, phenomenological particle physics, relativity and field theory. Topics may include the big bang, cosmic inflation, the standard model of particle physics, an introduction to general relativity, and the structure and evolution of stars and galaxiesâ€™ stellar structure and galactic evolution. Prerequisite: PHYS 350 or permission of instructor. Offered every other year.

PHYS 350

In this course we develop further the basic concepts of electricity and magnetism previously discussed in PHYS 240 and introduce mathematical techniques for analyzing and calculating static fields from source distributions. These techniques include vector calculus, Laplace's equation, the method of images, separation of variables, and multipole expansions. We will revisit Maxwell's equations and consider the physics of time-dependent fields and the origin of electromagnetic radiation. Other topics to be discussed include the electric and magnetic properties of matter. This course provides a solid introduction to electrodynamics and is a must for students who plan to study physics in graduate school. Prerequisite: PHYS 245 and MATH 213. Offered every other year.

PHYS 360

This course presents an introduction to theoretical quantum mechanics. Topics include wave mechanics, the Schrödinger equation, angular momentum, the hydrogen atom and spin. Prerequisite: PHYS 245 and MATH 213. Offered every other year.

PHYS 493

Individual studies may involve various types of inquiry: reading, problem solving, experimentation, computation, etc. To enroll in individual study, a student must identify a physics faculty member willing to guide the course and work with that professor to develop a description. The description should include topics and content areas, learning goals, prior coursework qualifying the student to pursue the study, resources to be used (e.g., specific texts, instrumentation), a list of assignments and the weight of each in the final grade, and a detailed schedule of meetings and assignments. The student must submit this description to the Physics Department chair. In the case of a small-group individual study, a single description may be submitted, and all students must follow that plan. The amount of work in an individual study should approximate the work typically required in other physics courses of similar types at similar levels, adjusted for the amount of credit to be awarded. An individual study course in physics is designed for .25 unit of credit. Individual study courses should supplement, not replace, courses regularly offered by the department. Only in unusual circumstances will the department approve an individual study in which the content substantially overlaps that of a regularly offered course. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study preferably the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval before the registrar's deadline. Individual studies do not count towards the QR (quantitative reasoning) requirement. If a student wishes to satisfy the QR requirement through an individual study in physics, they must receive approval through the college petition process.

PHYS 497Y

This course offers guided experimental or theoretical research for senior honors candidates. Prerequisite: permission of department chair.

PHYS 498Y

This course offers guided experimental or theoretical research for senior honors candidates. Prerequisite: permission of department chair.

SCMP 401

This capstone course is intended to provide an in-depth experience in computational approaches to science. Students will work on individual computational projects in various scientific disciplines. Each student will give several presentation to the class throughout the semester. Prerequisite: SCMP 118 or PHYS 270, completion of at least .5 unit of an "intermediate" course and at least .5 unit of a contributory course, senior standing, and permission of the instructor and the program director.

SCMP 493

The Individual Study is to enable students to explore a pedagogically valuable topic in computing applied to the sciences that is not part of a regularly offered SCMP course. A student who wishes to propose an individual study course must first find a SCMP faculty member willing to supervise the course. The student and faculty member then craft a course syllabus that describes in detail the expected coursework and how a grade will be assigned. The amount of credit to be assigned to the IS course should be determined with respect to the amount of effort expected in a regular Kenyon class. The syllabus must be approved by the director of the SCMP program. In the case of a small group IS, a single syllabus may be submitted and all students must follow the same syllabus. Permission of the instructor and the program director are required. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study preferably the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval before the registrarâ€™s deadline. No prerequisite. \n