Significant Changes Over the Past Year

The Physics Department Business manager, Gloria Stickney retired on February 28, 2021 after being here for over twelve years.  In 2020 Gloria won the Physics Department Outstanding Service Award.  She has been replaced by Heather Chapman who was previously an administrative assistant working in the Physics Department Main Office.  We wish Gloria a happy and fulfilling retirement.

Very recently we found out that one of our faculty members, Ilaria Bargigia, is resigning as of January 1, 2022.  Ilaria joined the Department in January of 2020.  We are sorry to lose her but wish her well.

In the spring of 2019, we hired Ajay Srimath Kandada.  Unfortunately, Ajay, who planned to come in January of 2020, is still held up by ongoing travel restrictions related to the corona virus.  

We are very sorry to report that Richard Williams passed away on July 5, 2021 after a short bout with AML leukima.

Professor Williams earned a BS in physics at Wake Forest in 1968 and was the first Speas Award recipient for distinguished work in physics (the highest undergraduate award). He then earned an MA in 1971 and a PhD in physics in 1974 at Princeton.

After a successful early career at the Naval Research Laboratory, he was recruited back to Wake Forest as the Reynolds Professor of Physics. Professor Williams increased the reputation and visibility of the Wake Forest physics department by helping to establish its PhD program in the 1980s. He mentored the first physics PhD graduate and was the first endowed professor within the Department.  After formally retiring from the University in 2017, Professor Williams remained active in research at the Wake Forest Nanotech Center.A complete memorial and obituary can be found at

Changes due to the pandemic

Of course, there have been some significant changes in the classroom due to the pandemic.  Last year classes began for the fall semester in late August with a delay of just a couple of days.  Faculty were given the option of teaching face to face classes, blended classes with some students physically present and some attending online, and completely online classes.  At all times and in all classrooms, everyone was required to wear a mask and observe social distancing.  As a result, many fewer students were allowed into a classroom than normal.  Therefore, those physics faculty who preferred to teach with students present taught blended classes.  

This year the University has reinstated face to face classes.  Shortly before classes began in August the University implemented a mask rule stating that everyone interacting with others indoors on campus must wear a mask except for people giving lectures if they can stay at least 10 feet away from the audience members at all times.  The mayor of Winston-Salem followed the next week with a similar rule for the city.  However, there is no social distancing requirement, so we are having face to face classes as planned.