Robert Berg

Professor Emeritus of Physics

Laser based studies of new electronic materials.

I have a long-standing interest in laser spectroscopy. My latest project involves optical studies of new materials that hold great promise for creating new kinds of electronic devices. For example, I am studying a particular type of atom-sized defect in diamond called an "NV center" that is of interest because it is possible to optically monitor and manipulate the quantum state of a single center. I have also worked with a number of students and other Wellesley faculty (Glenn Stark and Tom Bauer) in a project that uses lasers to trap and cool rubidium atoms.

Learning Through Designing

Since 1996 I have collaborated on a series of projects with the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. We develop new technologies that, in the spirit of the blocks and fingerpaint of kindergarten, expand the range of what people design and create—and what they learn in the process. For example, I helped design a new generation of "programmable bricks" called Crickets that enable kids to build all kinds of robotic inventions.

Optical Measurements of Chloroplast Movement

With Martina Koniger and Gary Harris (Biological Sciences) and a number of Wellesley students we have developed an optical technique for monitoring light-induced chloroplast movements in leaves. To make these measurements we have developed a new instrument based on the LogoChip, an easy to program microcontroller that I have helped develop.

Teaching Interests

I have enjoyed teaching a wide range of courses—17 at last count—in Wellesley's Physics Department. I am particularly interested in expanding the range of engineering experiences available to Wellesley students so that they can take full advantage of our cross-registration programs with MIT and Olin College.

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  • A.B., Princeton University
  • M.A., University of California (Berkeley)
  • Ph.D., University of California (Berkeley)