Vinod Saranathan '05 (above), Senior Research Fellow at Yale-NUS College at the National University of Singapore, majored in physics at OWU, completed a capstone project under the guidance of Physics & Astronomy Professor Bob Harmon, and developed a lifelong interest in ornithology through his work with legendary OWU Zoology Professor Jed Burtt. He holds a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Yale University. Vinod is particularly interested in evolutionary photonics, a holistic understanding of the structures that underlie the color of organisms. In his recent research, he discovered how certain birds use complex nanostructures to produce their brilliant blue color.

A Few Physics & Astronomy Alumni

Ohio Wesleyan graduates in Physics and Astrophysics are conducting research at some of the world's leading universities and are enjoying successful careers in the public and private sectors.

Alexandra Cook '16, Physics, Biochemistry

Senior Research Engineer at Celgene, Summit, NJ
Alexandra Cook received her M.S. in chemical engineering from Columbia University. At OWU, she completed a 3-month internship at the Mayo Clinic, then returned the following year for a graduate research program, where she managed her own projects and conducted experiments on genetic mutations. She said, "I was very fortunate and very lucky to have great mentors every step of the way - at the Mayo Clinic, and at Ohio Wesleyan."

Read about Alexandra's Mayo Clinic Internship

William Kenney '09, Physics

Environmental Supervisor, Ohio EPA Division of Air Pollution Control, Columbus, OH
William Kenney received his Ph.D. in environmental science at The Ohio State University. At the Ohio EPA, he supervises and performs data collection and analysis work with ambient air monitoring and emissions inventory programs.


Rachael Roettenbacher '08, Astrophysics and Mathematics

Postdoctoral Fellow at the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, New Haven, CT
Speaking at OWU in 2014, she said, "My time at OWU was fundamental to getting me to where I am now. The opportunities available here, with the research opportunities and the support from the faculty, are just a huge asset to getting me to where I am. I still actively collaborate with Dr. Harmon, who was my science research adviser here." She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and in 2021 she received a prestigious fellowship from the Heising-Simons Foundation, providing $375,000 for research over three years. She studies stellar activity, and her work is creating better methods for discovering other Earthlike planets.

Read about Rachael's 2016 Return to OWU

Claire Ryu '07, Biophysics, Microbiology, Chemistry, Genetics

Hematology Oncology Fellow at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York
With a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and her M.D. from Columbia, Claire Ryu returned to OWU in 2015 to present "How Nuclear Physics Research Led Me on a Path to Become a Physician Scientist." While she was a student at OWU, she was one of three students nationwide to receive the 2007 Outstanding Student Award for Undergraduate Research from the Society of Physics Students.

Department Contact Info


Schimmel/Conrades Science Center
Delaware, OH
P 740-368-3907
F 740-368-3999

Department Contact

Chair: Robert Harmon
Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Schimmel/Conrades Science Center 131

Academic Assistant: Judy Arlington
Schimmel/Conrades Science Center 201