Paul Kassebaum, PhD Candidate

Hometown: New York City, NY
Degree: PhD Candidate, Physics

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
The Physics department at WPI is full of smart, diligent, and fun people.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, been beneficial to you during your time at WPI?
I enjoy the opportunity to apply theory to practice within a team. I work in a lab where everyone is running a separate research project, but we all lend a hand in each other's work. I have a lot of fun jumping between projects each day, keeping all of them feeling new and exciting.

What do you think are WPI’s greatest strengths?
Its culture: I'm proud to be at WPI because it is steeped in a scientific culture that's immensely intrigued by nature and technology.

How have the professors in your department impacted your studies and your life?
The professors take a personal interest in your success. I took my first physics graduate course with the head of the Physics department. With Professor Ianniacchione’s help, I was able to turn a routine homework assignment into a published research article.

What are your research projects?
I won first prize at Graduate Research Achievement Day 2012 for a PhD research project in science/mathematics. The paper is called "Application of Group Representation Theory to Derive Hermite Interpolation Polynomials on a Triangle," and I was advised by Professor L. R. Ram-Mohan.

I'm also working on projects entitled "The Adiabatic Bond Charge Model of Phonons," "Quantum Mechanical Scattering and Nanoscale Systems: Finite Domains and Boundary Conditions," and "A Novel Approach to Electromagnetic Modeling of 2D Waveguides and Photonic Crystals."

What do you hope to do when you graduate? What would be your ideal job?
I hope to use my training in physics to help improve the lives of the poor.

Groups or extracurricular activities you participate in at WPI:

  • I played trombone in the WPI orchestra for a couple of years.

Academic or professional awards you have received:

  • I received first prize at Graduate Research Achievement Day 2012 for a PhD research project in science/mathematics.

Additional comments:
My education at WPI has proven to be more mathematically rigorous than I was originally used to. This rigor opened my eyes to the creative side of mathematics, unlocking a great deal of potential I had never before realized in myself.

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