Congratulations to three of the Department of Physics faculty who received a promotion this year.

Assistant Professor Hui Deng has been promoted to Associate Professor of Physics with tenure. Her interests include Experimental Quantum Optics; Quantum Information Processing; Many-body Physics; and Semiconductor Physics.

Professor Deng's group's research centers on the discovery, creation, control and applications of quantum states in single-, few-, and many-body systems with matter-light couplings. Current projects include: collective quantum states of matter and light in open cavity-QED systems, quantum photonics & plasmonics with wide bandgap materials, and optical vortices. In particular, they study dynamic condensation and lasing of semiconductor exciton-polaritons in novel structures and materials in single and coupled cavities, site-controlled single (In)GaN quantum dots for high temperature quantum photonic devices, few-emitter quantum plasmonics, and the generation, propagation, and high-fidelity detection of optical vortices.

Associate Professor Deng’s education: Tsinghua University, B.S. 1999; Stanford University, M.S. 2003 and Stanford University, Ph.D., 2006.


Assistant Professor Jeff McMahon has been promoted to Associate Professor of Physics with tenure. His interests include Cosmology, and the Cosmic Microwave Background.

Jeff McMahon is an experimentalist who studies cosmology and fundamental physics through measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Measurements of the CMB provide a unique window into the first instants after the big bang, a path toward observing a signature of quantum gravity, tight constraints on the sum of the neutrino masses, and potential for the discovery of unexpected new physics. Professor McMahon and his research group are leaders in instrumentation and collaborate with the Atacama Cosmology Telescope Polarization experiment (ACTPol) and other international teams to pursue these research topics. Their work spans instrumentation development, observations, and data analysis through to cosmological results. Please visit our group's webpage for a more detailed description.

Associate Professor McMahon’s education: University of California, Berkeley B.A., 1999 and Princeton University Ph.D., 2006.


Associate Professor Aaron Pierce has been promoted to Professor of Physics. His research interests include Theoretical Particle Physics.

Professor Pierce is a theorist who studies extensions of the Standard Model of particle physics. Among the questions he explores are: What makes up the dark matter? How do the observed particles get their masses? Why is gravity so weak when compared with the other forces? What explains the excess of matter over anti-matter in our universe?

There are numerous extensions of the Standard Model that attempt to answer these questions. Some solutions involve the addition of new forces. Others appear even more exotic, positing the existence of extra dimensions, or, as in the case of supersymmetry, a doubling of all known particles. To evaluate which of these possibilities gives the correct answer will require data. Professor Pierce is particularly interested in connecting models of new physics with their signatures at upcoming and on-going experiments. The Large Hadron Collider, which turned on in 2007, is currently providing a wealth of data relevant to physics beyond the Standard Model.

Professor Pierce’s education: Rice University B.A. 1998; Trinity College, Cambridge, Part III 1998 and University of California, Berkeley M.S., 2000; University of California, Berkeley Ph.D., 2002.