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Focus on the Faculty: Yohannes Abate

Alan Flurry

A prolific researcher at the frontier of new developments in quantum optics and 2-D materials, associate professor of physics Yohannes Abate is also a dedicated teacher who inspires students with his fascination for discovery:

How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?

I deliberately aim to integrate my research activities into meaningful theoretical and practical exercises that introduce cutting-edge technologies in formal undergraduate and graduate courses. I often use examples and ideas from my current research to elaborate concepts in my teaching; hardly a class passes by that I do not talk about the research we are doing. I find this method of teaching to be an excellent and inspiring way to introduce students to modern research beyond textbook knowledge. This semester I am teaching thermodynamics to undergraduate senior physics majors. My research touches on several concepts covered in the course, such as discussions about phase change materials, how very low temperatures are achieved, and novel properties of matter at extremely low temperatures. It has been an exciting semester for that reason. The benefits are similarly mutual; I learn from the classes I teach and the interaction with our very talented students.

What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?

I want the students to learn the material deeply, whatever course I am teaching. I want students to be able to think physically (relate mathematical, abstract concepts to physical reality) and vice versa (express physical reality mathematically). That is really what physics is all about.

An extraordinary thinker in a fast-moving field, Dr. Abate is a wonderful presence on campus whose work is helping usher-in the next generation of devices, electronics and connectivity. #greatpeople

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