Hampshire professor Herb Bernstein is a co-founder of the Anacapa Society, a new national organization of theoretical and computational physicists who work in primarily undergraduate institutions.
A National Science Foundation grant to Bernstein and Hampshire College supported the first workshop of the Anacapa Society, held in summer 2009 in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Bernstein feels that Anacapa can play a significant role in shaping professional discussion around research:
“Although science is often thought of as value-free, what is produced is influenced by outside circumstances and the framing interests of society and scientists,” Bernstein says. “Undergraduate institutions, particularly liberal arts colleges such as Hampshire that encourage and facilitate work across fields, provide a setting for teaching and research that is tightly connected to other disciplines. The result is possibly more self-aware and responsible sciences, well worthy of exploration and development.”
The Five College area has a distinguished history of producing prominent physicists, among them Hampshire College graduates Lee Smolin and Mary James. Smolin is a founding member on the faculty of the Perimeter Institute of Physics in Ontario, Canada, and the author, most recently, of The Trouble with Physics. James, a physics professor at Reed College, was named by Rolling Stone magazine as “The Best Physics Teacher in America.”