Stephon Alexander

E.E. Just Symposium 2014: Exploring Creativity in STEM

The third annual E.E. Just Symposium at Dartmouth is set to emerge on Halloween. “From the Higgs Boson to the Music of Physics: Exploring Creativity in STEM” is the title of the 2014 conclave. The symposium kicks off on Friday, Oct. 31, with theoretical physicist and television personality Sylvester James “Jim” Gates delivering the keynote address at 6 p.m. in the Arvo Oopik Auditorium in the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center. All the symposium sessions will be held in Oopik, and are free and open to the public. President Phil Hanlon ’77 opens Saturday, Nov. 1, with a 9 a.m. welcome followed by the day’s presentations, concluding at 5 p.m. Read the full article in Dartmouth Now.

 

E.E. Just Scholars Delve Into Science, History at Woods Hole

Four of Dartmouth’s E.E. Just Scholars spent July 14 immersed in the science and history of Woods Hole’s Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), where pioneering cellular biologist Ernest Everett Just, Class of 1907, spent 20 summers conducting research. Just was one of Dartmouth’s earliest African American graduates.

“The Dartmouth program that bears his name provides a community of undergraduate, graduate student, and postdoctoral mentors that can offer strategies for academic and research success,” says Stephon Alexander, theoretical physicist and director of the E.E. Just Program. “The goals of this undertaking focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, primarily targeting Dartmouth undergraduate students of color.”

Robert Cueva ’17, Kirby Spivey ’16, Jared Boyce ’16, and Stephanie Emenyonu ’16 made the trip to the Massachusetts’ research facility, led by Salvador Almagro-Moreno, the E.E. Just Postdoctoral Fellow. The trip was envisaged by Almagro-Moreno, a microbiologist at the Geisel School of Medicine.

The New E.E. Just Program: Two Years Old and Still Growing

Before he had even set foot on the Dartmouth campus, theoretical physicist Stephon Alexander looked upon the E.E. Just Program as a priority. In March 2012, the newly hired faculty member said, “I regard the E.E. Just Program as a big mission of mine and it figured prominently in my decision to come here.”

Alexander is the Ernest Everett Just 1907 Professor, a faculty chair that honors the pioneering cellular biologist and one of Dartmouth’s earliest African American graduates.

A Trinidadian by birth, Alexander appeared on scene as a human dynamo, channeling his seemingly limitless energy into the E.E. Just Program. The goals of this undertaking focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, primarily targeting Dartmouth undergraduate students of color. In addition to the support he offers to undergraduates, Alexander also mentors graduate and postdoctoral fellows for professional success.

Stephon Alexander, Dartmouth College

Topic: "Why Might Primordial Gravitational Waves be Necessary?"  (Video)

ABSTRACT: The recent breakthrough detection of primordial gravitational waves by the BICEP2 telescope confirms a longstanding prediction from the cosmic inflationary paradigm. It is interesting the theories beyond the standard model of particle interactions, such as string theory generically predict modifications to Einsteins theory of general relativity that are left-right asymmetric (parity violating). In this colloquium I provide a pedagogical discussion of the possiblity that parity violating primordial gravitational waves can generate the observed matter anti-matter asymmetry and play a second crucial role in actually ending the epoch of cosmic inflation. I discuss the potential for detecting this form of parity violating gravitional waves in future CMB missions.

E.E. Just Symposium to Highlight Science of the Future

The 2013 E.E. Just Symposium is set to be a reprise of last year’s star-studded premiere event, though not precisely a repeat performance. “This year it takes a new tack evident in its theme, ‘Exploring the Future of STEM’,” says symposium organizer and Dartmouth theoretical physicist Stephon Alexander, the E.E. Just 1907 Professor of Natural Sciences.

“The symposium is a Dartmouth initiative to bolster student interest in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, addressing some of the shortcomings in the American educational portfolio,” says Alexander.

A 2012 report published by Harvard University on the performance of students worldwide ranked the U.S. at 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading. Given these statistics, policy makers and educators are seeking new ways to increase the proficiency of American students with an emphasis on STEM education.

A Responsibility to the Next Generation (The New York Times)

In an opinion piece, Stephon Alexander, the Ernest Everett Just 1907 Professor of Natural Sciences and director of Dartmouth’s E.E. Just Program, talks about his responsibility toward younger generations of aspiring scientists who are members of minority groups.

“I feel a deep responsibility to speak and act; I would not be a theoretical physicist today if both black and white scholars had not spoken and acted on my behalf,” Alexander writes.

“All physicists should be on the lookout for talented students who might not have had the best preparation, or whose imaginations might not follow well-trodden paths,” he says. “Many of the greatest minds might not reach their potential without some help from those who have gone before.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 2/4/13 in The New York Times.