News & Events


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  • February 6, 2014:  Distinguished physicist Dr. Alan Lightman to present Rhodes College physics lecture on “Science and Religion.”  Free and open to the public, the lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in the McCallum Ballroom of the Bryan Campus Life Center (BCLC). The lecture will be preceded by a reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the BCLC Crain Reception Hall.  Lightman’s presentation is part of the Peyton Rhodes Lecture Series at Rhodes, which was endowed by former college president and physics professor Dr. Peyton Rhodes. “Science and Religion,” will first review some of the landmark discoveries in science that bear upon philosophical and theological issues, and then Lightman will discuss the differences in the kinds of knowledge that science and religion seek and the different methods of attaining that knowledge. He also will discuss the kinds of religious views that are compatible with science. Born in Memphis and a graduate of White Station High School, Lightman was educated at Princeton and at the California Institute of Technology, where he received a Ph.D. in theoretical physics. He has served on the faculties of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was the first person at MIT to receive dual faculty appointments in science and in the humanities. Lightman currently is professor of the practice of the humanities at MIT. His essays, articles, and stories have appeared in the Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, and Salon, among others. His novel Einstein’s Dreams was an international bestseller, and his novel The Diagnosis was a finalist for the National Book Award.  Lightman is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has won numerous awards including the Gemant Award of the American Institute of Physics for linking science to the humanities. Lightman also is the founding director of the Harpswell Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to empower a new generation of women leaders in Cambodia.” Those with specific inquiries about the lecture can contact Eva Owens of the Rhodes Department of Physics at or (901) 843-3918.


  • Dr. Harry L. Swinney ’61, who teaches physics at the University of Texas, Austin and is a pioneer in the study of chaos theory, received the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award on Oct. 26 during Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. Swinney majored in physics at Rhodes and was mentored by Dr. Jack Taylor ’44. In 2000, he established a scholarship in honor of Taylor to support students majoring in the physical sciences. Highly regarded by his colleagues, Swinney is an expert in nonlinear dynamics and was considered for the Nobel Prize for his work on the exploration of Jupiter’s Red Spot. He also is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. “But it’s not only his professional accomplishments that have distinguished him and earned him alumnus recognition,” says Director of Alumni Relations Tracy Patterson ’84. “It’s also his humble, gracious nature and selfless service to others.” Swinney has led community service efforts of the Austin Chapter of Rhodes and is a willing mentor to Rhodes students and alumni considering careers in physics and biological sciences. In addition, he has served homeless individuals through his church’s soup kitchen and travelled to poor villages in Africa to teach math and science to children there.

  • April 11, 2013: Knocking on Heaven′s Door - An Evening with Dr. Lisa Randall - Location McCallum Ballroom beginning at 7:30 p.m.  Reception from 6:30 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. Crain Reception area. 
    The bestselling author of Warped Passages, one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” and one of Esquire’s “75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century,” Dr Randall gives us an exhilarating overview of the latest ideas in physics and offers a rousing defense of the role of science in our lives. Featuring fascinating insights into our scientific future born from the author’s provocative conversations with Nate Silver, David Chang, and Scott Derrickson, Knocking on Heaven’s Door is eminently readable, one of the most important popular science books of this or any year. It is a necessary volume for all who admire the work of Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Brian Greene, Simon Singh, and Carl Sagan; for anyone curious about the workings and aims of the Large Hadron Collider, the biggest and most expensive machine ever built by mankind; for those who firmly believe in the importance of science and rational thought; and for anyone interested in how the Universe began…and how it might ultimately end.


  • Physics major and Taylor Fellow Josh Fuchs ′11 has won the 2009 Society of Physics Students Outstanding Student Award for Undergraduate Research. He will present his work at the 2009 International Conference of Physics Students in Split, Croatia. Read more . . .


Recent Publications (Physics faculty in italics, Rhodes students in bold)

  • S. Banerjee, B. Taylor, and A. Banerjee, ``On the stability of electrostatic orbits", American Journal of Physics 77, 396-400 (2009)
  • B.M. Chesnutt, A.M. Viano, Y. Yuan, Y. Yang, J.L. Ong, W.O. Haggard, and J.D. Bumgardner, “Design and Characterization of a Novel Chitosan/ Nanocrystalline Calcium Phosphate Composite Scaffold for Bone Regeneration”, J. Biomedical Materials Research A, 88a (2), 491-502 (2009)
  • Shubho Banerjee, Kevin Andring, Desmond Campbell, John Janeski, Daniel Keedy, Sean Quinn, and Brent Hoffmeister, "Orbital Motion of Electrically Charged Spheres in Microgravity", The Physics Teacher, 46, 460-464 (2008)
  • B.K. Hoffmeister, D.P. Johnson, J.A. Janeski, D.A. Keedy, B.W. Steinert, A.M. Viano and S.C. Kaste, “Ultrasonic Characterization of Human Cancellous Bone In Vitro Using Three Different Apparent Backscatter Parameters in the Frequency Range 0.6-15.0 MHz,” IEEE Transactions UFFC, 55 (7), 1442-1452 (2008)