Biography - Summer 2013

My name is Melia Bonomo, and this summer I’ll be returning to the Laser Teaching Center as a mentor for the Simons/LTC Fellows. Last summer I was an REU Fellow and teamed up with Marissa to explore the intriguing properties of non-diffracting Bessel beams. My portion of the project dealt with creating Bessel beams using a 4-f spatial filtering method. Both during and after the REU program, I was fortunate enough to have several opportunities to give oral presentations on this research.

I recently graduated from Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA) magna cum laude with a B.S. in Physics and a minor in Italian. I received departmental honors for my senior research project, Analyzing the singularities of freezing sessile water droplets, and awards for both my major (the Kenneth L. Cashdollar prize in physics) and minor (The Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages award for Italian). Next year I’ll be interning as an English teaching assistant for a liceo scientifico (high school that specializes in science) in Lombardy, Italy. After this, I would like to attend graduate school to obtain at least a masters degree in physics, but quite possibly a doctorate as well. Either way, one career that I’ve considered is secondary school teaching; therefore the opportunities I have to work with high school students this summer in the LTC and during my internship next year will be especially valuable.

While packing for my stay out here on Long Island, I was looking through my old Bessel beam research notes and came across one particularly interesting annotation on a piece of scrap paper:

“Optical instruments can be used without more than a cursory knowledge of how they work, but a physicist should know more than this. He can then fully appreciate their limitations, can find the conditions under which they can be best used and, most important, may find ways of extending their use to problems that cannot be solved by conventional means.”

(Optical Physics, Lipson)

It’s a quote I had copied down while using that textbook last summer and then must have forgotten about, but I think it fits well with the philosophy and goals of the LTC. I’m very excited to be working here again and, furthermore, to be taking on this new mentoring role!

[Also see my original biography for information on how I got interested in physics.]

Written 11 June 2013