Spector gets NSF grant – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Spector gets NSF grant

Donald Spector, the Philip J. Moorad '28 and Margaret N. Moorad Professor of Science and a member of the HWS Physics faculty, has been awarded a three-year National Science Foundation grant to support his research in elementary particle physics.

Spector, a theoretical physicist, will study applications of supersymmetry to the area of physics known as quantum mechanics, which is used to explain the properties of subatomic particles.

Supersymmetry has been the dominant idea in particle physics for the past 30 years, and has been a significant theme in Spector's work for his entire professional career. He has repeatedly found novel ways to use supersymmetry as an analytical tool in studying physical and mathematical systems.

Spector has also been successful at communicating scientific ideas to non-scientists. His HWS course, “Physics through Star Trek” has been featured in publications including The Dallas Morning News and “Cosmo Girl!” magazine.

He is a regular visitor in elementary and secondary high schools classrooms, helping students understand things as varied as catapults and quarks. He has given presentations on “Waiting for Godot” and on weapons of mass destruction.

The grant Spector has just received is his fourth research award from the NSF Theoretical Physics division since he joined the HWS faculty in 1989. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard University, where he also earned his master's degree and doctorate.

He is currently a KITP Scholar of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, and was recently a visiting fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.