The physics department was delighted to welcome NIST physicist and Nobel Laureate William Phillips to campus during graduation weekend. At the commencement exercises of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Professor Phillips was awarded an honorary degree in recognition of his "rigorous devotion to the pursuit of knowledge" and his "willing embrace of the ethical obligation to judiciously apply knowledge." After a dynamic presentation about cooling atoms to ultra-low temperatures, complete with liquid nitrogen demonstrations, Professor Phillips told the graduates:
Maybe you were expecting something more profound (. . .) [like how] the great education you have gotten from this university empowers you to live a life dedicated to truth and inspired to serve others. But as Georgetown folks (. . .) you know that already. What you might have forgotten is that you can do all that while having fun!
Graduating physics students and their families had a chance to meet Professor Phillips at the department's reception, where he spoke about another one of his passions, World Metrology Day.
Departmental awards were presented to undergraduate physics majors. Thomas Kiely received the Kidwell Medal for outstanding academic achievement in physics, Caitlin Beattie and Max Waxman received the Treado Medal for excellence in physics coursework, research, and service to the department, and Thomas Kiely and Max Waxman received the Undergraduate Research Award.