Commitees and Officers

Karsten Heeger

Bonnie Fleming (Director of Gradate Studies)
Rona Ramos (coordinator)
Stacey Watts (registrar)
Andy Szymkowiak (advisor)


Nikhil Padmanabhan (Director of Undergraduate Studies)
Daphne Klemme (registrar)

The Graduate Student Advisory Committee serves as a point of communication between the graduate students and the administration of the department. The committee advises the Chair, the DGS, and other faculty on matters related to graduate students and the graduate program, including (but not limited to) helping plan and organize annually scheduled departmental events.The committee members also advocate on behalf of graduate students with the Chair and DGS. Committee members are appointed for one calendar year. The composition of the committee includes at least one representative from each cohort, with a primary goal of representing inclusive and diverse sets of interests. Committee members meet with the Chair and DGS once a month. The committee also meets internally once a month while regularly soliciting feedback from other students in their cohorts.

Bonnie Fleming (DGS, co-chair)
Karsten Heeger (Chair, co-chair)
Rona Ramos (Faculty)
Stacey Watts (Graduate Registrar)

Emily Kuhn (Year 5)
Joseph Shomar (Year 2)
Sohan Vartak (Year 5)
Samantha Pagan (Year 2)
Arina Telles (Year 2)
Caitie Beattie (Year 3)
Hannah Bossi (Year 3)
Iris Ponce (Year 1)
Aniket Maiti (Year 3)
Sumita Ghosh (Year 5)

The Undergraduate Student Advisory Committee (UGSAC) serves as a point of communication between undergraduate students interested in the physics major and the leadership of the department. The student representatives work with the Chair, the DUS, and the undergraduate program team on matters related to the physics major. Committee members meet at least once semester.

Karsten Heeger (Chair, co-chair)
Nikhil Padmanabhan (DUS, co-chair)
Daphne Klemme (undergraduate registrar)
Amber Young (YC’2021)
Shoumik Chowdhury (YC’2021, SPS representative)
Jean Wang (YC’2021)
Tristan Weaver (YC’2023)
Barkotel Zemenu (YC’2024)
Agastya Rana (YC’2024)
Wyatt Kremer (YC’2024)
Matthew Bruning (YC’2024)
Ayelet Kalfus (YC’2024, WiP representative)

The Mission of the Climate and Diversity Committee is to support  the Department’s goals to provide a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment for every member of our community.  We are  committed to creating a work place whose core principles are based on diversity, equity, and inclusion for every staff member, student and faculty as we strive to obtain our goals of excellence in research, teaching, and mentoring.

Faculty contacts

Helen Caines (chair)
Meg Urry
Shelly Lesher
Rona Ramos

Keith Baker (chair)
Alison Sweeney
Eduardo da Silva Neto
Walter Goldberger

Facilities and space of the Physics Department are critical to its mission in research, teaching, and outreach. They also play a crucial role in building community and fostering interactions within the department and beyond.  This committee will advise the department and its chair on the coordination and planning of space and issues related to the facilities of the department. The committee and its members may also be asked to assist as department liaisons to university planning efforts.  

Sean Barrett (chair)
Andrew Szymkowiak
Sidney Cahn
James Nikkel
Bonnie Fleming
Simon Mochrie
Stephen Irons
Nikhil Padmanabhan
Hannah Carroll
Eduardo da Silva Neto

This task force will develop and articulate a strategic vision for biological physics in the Physics Department taking into account the landscape for biological physics and emerging initiatives (such as Qbio) on campus.

Simon Mochrie (chair)
Alison Sweeney
Ben Machta

This task force will develop and articulate a strategic vision for the role of the Physics Department in data science taking into account the landscape and initiative for data science on campus. 

Daisuke Nagai (chair)
Helen Caines
David Moore
Ben Machta
Sarah Demers

The Mossman Fellowship is a prize postdoctoral fellowship in the Physics Department. The committee will coordinate the annual competition for the Mossman fellowship, identify suitable candidates, and make a recommendation to the Chair and the department.  

Witold Skiba (chair)
Paul Tipton
Benjamin Machta
Laura Newburgh

The prize, fellowship, and nominations committee (PFNC) will regularly review the accomplishments of the Physics faculty and will work with the Chair to nominate candidates for fellowships, prizes, promotions, and other professional recognition. The committee will also identify outstanding alumni who qualify for university prizes and alumni awards including the Wilbur Cross Medal.

John Harris (chair)
Steve Girvin
Larry Gladney
Tom Applequist
Meg Urry (on leave in Spring 2020)

QuARK (Queer Affiliated fRiends of physiKs)  - Jack Harris
Yale Physics Department Happy Hour - Nicholas Read
Yale Society of Physics Students - Nikhil Padmanabhan
Yale Women in Physics + - Simon Mochrie
Yale Women in Physics: Undergraduate - Sarah Demers

Teaching assignments for the Physics Department are done by the Chair in consultation with the DUS and DGS.

Karsten Heeger (Chair, Physics Department)
Nikhil Padmanabhan (DUS) 
Bonnie Fleming (DGS)
Daphne Klemme (undergraduate registrar)
Stacey Watts (graduate registrar)


The formulation of the DEI action plan will be a department-wide activity. The  preparation of this document will be led by a writing group which will act as a point of contact for all stakeholders: students, postdocs, staff and faculty.

Helen Caines (Co-chair)
Karsten Heeger (Co-chair)
Rona Ramos (instructional faculty, Graduate Program Coordinator)
Geriana van Atta (staff)
Irem Altan (postdoc)
Ryan Petersburg (graduate student)
Amber Young (undergraduate student)


The vision of APS-IDEA is that, as a result of collective efforts, physics and related fields will become more inclusive of all social identities, with a diversity reflective of the nation, and with an equitable distribution of opportunities and resources.


Postdoctoral Associates

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students


The qualifying exam and graduate program review committee is asked to undertake a fresh look at the graduate program in the Physics Department and how we can best enable the success of current and future students. Specifically, the committee is charged with reviewing and formulating the learning goals of our graduate program and evaluating how course work, teaching, and research contribute to these goals. We ask the committee to critically evaluate what qualifying event would best serve these goals and whether different qualifying exams based on subfields should be considered. The committee is asked to pay special attention to and comment on how the structure of our program and choice of exam impact diversity, equity, and inclusion in our graduate program.

Given the unique situation due to COVID in AY 2020-2021 and considering the plans and boundary conditions for the spring semester we ask the committee to make a recommendation for the qualifying exam for this year as well as in the future.

The committee is expected to consult frequently with faculty and students.

Sarah Demers - chair
Rona Ramos - Graduate Program Coordinator
Daisuke Nagai - faculty  
Yoram Alhassid - faculty
Meng Cheng - faculty
Walter Goldberger - faculty
Sohan Vartak - graduate student
Hannah Bossi - graduate student
Bonnie Fleming, DGS, ex-officio
Karsten Heeger, Chair, ex officio

(potential observers from the Graduate School and the Office of Graduate Student Development and Diversity)


The Beatrice Tinsley Prize Lecture is given each year by a distinguished physicist in honor of Beatrice Muriel Hill Tinsley, the first female professor of astronomy at Yale, where she worked from 1974 until her death in 1981. Her work on disk galaxies has proven foundational in the decades following her passing. In 2016, the Yale Society of Physics Students inaugurated the Beatrice Tinsley Prize Lecture, which saw the invitation of Asimina Arvanitaki. This prized was started to honor Tinsley’s myriad contributions and to encourage collaboration and contact between distinguished physicists and the Yale undergraduate physics community. The speaker is jointly invited and hosted by the Society of Physics StudentsWomen in Physics, and Undergraduate students from Astronomy.

2 students from SPS
2 students from WiP
Erin Lippitt (Astronomy undergraduate)
Ryan Offman (Astronomy undergraduate)
Nikhil Padmanabhan (SPS faculty advisor, ex officio)
Sarah Demers (WiP faculty advisor, ex officio)

The Graduate Awards Committee solicits nominations and recommends candidates for University Fellowships and Prizes and the Physics Department Graduate Teaching Award.  Awards recognize academic, research and teaching achievements, as well as contributions to the department community and service.

In the academic year 2020-2021, the inaugural Graduate Awards Committee is charged to define the criteria, nomination process, timeline, and selection procedure for the graduate awards and make a recommendation to the chair and faculty by November 1, 2020.

Rona Ramos (chair)
Ben Machta
Daisuke Nagai
Laura Newburgh
Meng Cheng

Stacey Watts (ex-officio, graduate registrar)
Bonnie Fleming (ex-officio, DGS)