Brian Collett

Education and Experience

The facts

B.A., St. John's College, Cambridge, 1978
Physics-specialised in solid state theory

Ph. D., Princeton University, 1983
Physics-thesis on X-ray studies of stretched frog muscle

M. A., Cambridge, 1983

1982-1983 Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics, Mt. Holyoke College

1983-1986 Staff Fellow at National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.,
post-doctoral study of the X-ray ultra-structure of rabbit muscle

1986-1993 Assistant Professor of Physics, Hamilton College
1993-present Associate Professor of Physics, Hamilton College

Physics Interests

For most of this century I have been collaborating with Hamilton colleague Gordon Jones on projects in nuclear physics. The main focus of our research has been the aCORN experiment, a multi-institution experiment to measure one of the angular correlations in the decay of free neutrons. As this nears completion we are becoming involved in a new experiment to improve the precision of the neutron lifetime and are returning to work on spin-polarized 3He, concentrating on improving diagnostics.

Before turning to nuclear physics I worked on developing programs to help teach various aspects of physics, especially ones involving visualising things that are hard to show with print media--things such as time dependent wave functions and three-dimensional models of electromagnetic fields. I have also done some work with Hamilton colleagues using computers to solve problems that have arisen in their research.

Since 1997 I have taught our Electronics and Computers course using a book-in-progress that has been developed over the years. I am currently working on improving the coverage of programmable logic systems and especially on Verilog programming and the design of a very simple complete CPU to help students understand the guts of computers. You can find more about my experiments with Verilog here.

Other interests

When I am not pursuing physics in one way or another then I am most likely involved in music. I sing with the Hamilton College Masterworks Chorale and the small ensemble Tapestry and have also appeared in a number of musical productions in the area including Scrooge, Oliver, Nutcracker, Sweeney Todd, Ruddigore, Iolanthe, Patience, The Sorceror, and Pirates of Penzance. I amuse myself playing various instuments, chiefly the piano, organ, recorder, flute, and accordion (these practically never amuse anyone else!) Apart from playing music, I cook foods from around the world and work on renovating our 200 year old house.

Brian Collett