Kevin M. Jones

As an undergraduate in the mid-1970s, and later, as a postdoc studying physics here, you saw firsthand that complex research was under-funded. Nevertheless, you excelled in your field—experimental physics—conducting research for much of your career alongside a Nobel Laureate as part of the Laser Cooling and Trapping Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland. Although you didn’t require a fancy lab here on campus, you knew that junior faculty would benefit from better-equipped ones. So you worked as part of the Science Executive Committee to increase funding in the laboratory sciences. As physics department chair, you were key to recruiting scholar-researchers who might otherwise have been lured to big universities. In short, your efforts helped the sciences to flourish at Williams. A true technician in the classroom, you have taught every physics course we offer. In fact, it has been said that you preferred being the last to add your name to the course schedule. That way, your younger colleagues had a chance to broaden their own teaching experiences. Even for the courses you frequently taught, you always practiced your lectures beforehand, writing out equations on the chalkboard in your office. You led tutorials whenever possible, because—as you have said—it is gratifying to watch students become more sophisticated thinkers before your eyes. You even brought several students to Maryland with you to conduct research at NIST. It’s no surprise that you were elected to the prestigious American Physical Society, whose stated purpose is “advancing and diffusing the knowledge of physics.” That work won’t stop when you retire from Williams, since you are staying on at the National Science Foundation as a program director in the Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics program. While your widely published work on the interactions of atoms and light might suggest otherwise, you have never sought (or much liked) the spotlight. But we need to shine it on you for just this moment, to give our thanks for all of your contributions to Williams and beyond.  

I hereby declare you the William Edward McElfresh Professor of Physics, Emeritus, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.

May 31, 2021