Colleges professor studies and lectures on supersymmetric physics in Japan
(Sept. 29, 2004) GENEVA, N.Y.–World-class particle physicist Donald Spector, professor of physics at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, spent most of the summer in Japan as a fellow with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Selected in a two-stage process, Spector was first nominated for the fellowship by the U.S. National Science Foundation, and then selected by the JSPS.
The research Spector has conducted in theoretical physics has focused on the subject of supersymmetry, which is believed to be one of the keys to obtaining a unified theory of the forces of nature. Spector's work this summer focused on obtaining a deeper understanding of the role of supersymmetry in physics, by examining magnetic-like quantities called central charge, demonstrating that a property called “shape invariance” exists in some models related to string theory, and providing a clearer picture of why certain physical systems that appear to be distinct have the exact same set of possible energies.
Spector worked at some of Japan's leading scientific institutions. He was in residence at Kyoto University, where he split his time between the Physics Department and the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics; the Institute for Physical and Chemical Research, outside Tokyo; and KEK, the High Energy Physics Laboratory of Japan, in Tsukuba. In addition to working with scientists at these institutes, Spector gave seminars on his research in supersymmetric physics.
Spector has taught at the Colleges since 1989, serving as chair of the Physics Department from 2001-2004. He has spoken on supersymmetry and other topics on particle physics both nationally and internationally. He holds A.B., A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University, and resides in Ithaca, N.Y.