Dr. Adam Holley is a new tenure-track faculty member in the Department of Physics at TTU. Come by and welcome him to our university! I asked him to introduce himself below:
What really excites me (besides being a new faculty member at TTU)? Pretty much any opportunity to understand something new, especially when that something is truly new, and most definitely when I encounter it in some experiential way. I’m equally keen on getting others addicted to the enjoyment that comes from seeing and doing things which have never been seen or done before, and I want to give students a sense of how exciting that can be– especially in the context of science!
For me it would be particularly thrilling to uncover new information about how the world functions at its most basic level, which is why I do research in experimental fundamental physics. Since I prefer to work with smaller-scale apparatus I use a low-energy approach, which facilitates very precise measurements designed to look for deviations from what is predicted by the current theoretical state of the art, called the Standard Model. Currently I perform a number of these experiments using neutrons, especially “ultracold” neutrons which are perhaps the most tangible form of a fundamental particle that you’ll ever encounter. In these experiments neutrons can serve both as an object of study, as when used to make a precise measurement of the neutron lifetime, as well as a probe, for example to detect the presence of new forces beyond the four that we already know.
Since the nature of physics is figuring out how to do things that have never been done before, one requires strategies for getting the mind unstuck from its ruts. Mine involve practicing Aikido, horseback riding (although finding horses to ride has been challenging of late), playing the guitar, and most definitely long runs. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll also confess to having a well-developed sweet tooth and actually liking hot, humid weather.