Physics major enjoys research, challenges


When Max Eve '12, of Amherst, Mass., went to look for a college physics program to fulfill his goal of becoming a physicist, he wanted a campus that featured limited class sizes and professors who would get to know him as an individual. He found MCLA is just that school.

"MCLA was a smaller school," Eve said. "I wasn't a big fan of large classes. I love the fact that the courses we are taught are catered to the group. I feel like I have a voice here. I can talk to my professor. I can ask her if I'm interested in something. We can go into something a little more. There's a little more wiggle room in the courses. Also, it's nice to have a physics class of seven kids. You get to know your peers. It's very nice to see the same faces and be able to work with the same people."

Having extra one-on-one time with the professors is helpful, especially when dealing with difficult physics concepts, according to Eve.

"Being in a small class, the professor has the ability to push you much harder, because they know you as a person and they can expect more from you," he said.

This summer, Eve traveled with his physics professor, Dr. Emily Maher, to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Illinois to be part of the MINERvA (Main Injector Neutrino ExperRiment v-A), where hundreds of scientists and researchers from colleges and universities across the county and around the globe are studying the neutrino, a fundamental particle.

"I've been pushed out of my comfort zone, but it's nothing I can't handle," Eve said. "MCLA being a small school, it's really given me the opportunity to shine in the physics program and to get exposed to something like Fermilab. I don't know if I would have had this opportunity if I'd gone elsewhere."

Back on campus, Maher and Eve are busy sorting and analyzing the massive amount of data they collected at Fermilab.

"Being in a smaller class setting, with a professor who knows you - they know what you're capable of as a person and they push you to become the best you can. They expect more from you and they push you to what you're capable of, instead of just letting you get by. I feel that, in a big class, you lose that connection with the professor," he explained.

Next summer, Eve expects to participate in an astrophysics internship in Madison, Wis.

"That also has to do with particles," he explained. "It's just with different aspects, different use. There's tons of different roads I could take, but Fermilab was my first exposure to what it means to be a physicist and what I have to look forward to."

Eve is not only active in the lab, he's an athlete. In addition to his physics studies, Eve is a cross-country runner for the College, the president of MCLA's outdoors club and serves as the vice president of the ski club.

"I have a lot of interests. I love physics. I love the outdoors. I love running. I guess I kind of do my own thing. I have friends who are as interested in all sorts of things as I am," he said.