Welcome, I am Alex Cassem, a graduate student at Tufts university studying theoretical physics. I obtained by bachelors of science in physics and mathematics from Winona State University in spring of 2022. Since my second year as an undergraduate, I have been a tutor for the majority of physics and math classes, and since my third year as an undergraduate, I have been a TA for the calculus based introduction to physics courses. As a TA as an undergraduate, I helped create labs and lab exams, and graded labs and lab exams. While at WSU, I conducted research in string theory's swampland plus Ricci flow, Brans-Dicke Cosmology, and on quantum cosmology. I worked with strings plus quantum cosmology, and two other people are worked on the BKL singularity. At the moment (as of June 2022), my main focus is research into quantum cosmology and understanding the thermodynamics that could underlie the theory. I also am studying mathematical physics since one of my other main focuses is in string theory. (Since I also really want to learn and conduct in topological QFT).
To see where my motivation for physics and research comes from, I decided to list some of my currently-favorite textbooks. I consider reading popular science texts necessary to help bridge how intense-mathematical topics are discussed. My favorites from popular science are: Cosmos by Sagan, 3-Minutes by Weinberg, & Mathematical Universe by Tegmark. Although recently, an old book called Superstrings by Peat has caught my attention with one single phrase, "the questions we were asking 20 years ago (~1960) about the nature of time and space still have yet to be answered after the 20 years of formulating superstring theory. It has been 40 years, and seemingly no progress on these questions!"
You may notice my mode of thought for physics is quite along the lines of a relativist, well, this has mainly been influenced by specific texts: Gravitation (of course), and Feynman's 6 Not so Easy Pieces. Although, I should mention that Gravitation has had the most influence on me overall (not only the content but the way it is given).
A few of my favorite non-fiction texts, or even borderline textbooks, the list is much more extensive. I go into these under my blog, but the main ones are: Road to Reality by Penrose, 12 Rules for Life by Peterson, God is Not Great by Hitchens, and many more.
Finally, I probably should mention something other then physics, since it may make me seem like a 1-sided die (an anomaly). My main hobbies are reading non-fiction texts mainly in psychology, or some fiction such as No Country for Old Men, camping (although I haven't been able to do this for awhile since the whole "growing up" and "life" can get in the way such as school, work, developing your professional self, and the miscellaneous items in-between), and admittedly playing video games like Jurassic World (build your own park), Cyberpunk 2077, and the Battlefield franchise.
First image is me at the Canadian border... during the pandemic, and the second is graduation with my mother.
Education & Research Positions
My friend Robert and I at graduation!
This is Lehigh University's library for the humanities!
REU: 2020 & 2021
Lehigh University, Bethlehem PA.
I have been awarded an REU position at Lehigh University for both the Summer of 2020 and 2021. During the 2020 Summer, since it was during the pandemic, it was distanced, but we worked and studied Holography and its applications to symmetry breaking SU(2) systems to compute the shear viscosity of the system. In the 2021 Summer, we worked on the string Swampland and Distance Conjecture. Currently this is in progress (7/20/21), but our work is being focused on where intrinsic-geometric flows fit into the picture.
Tufts University, Sommerville MA.
I am currently a graduate student in theoretical physics at Tufts' Institute of Cosmology studying theoretical physics. Specifically, I am studying quantum cosmology with a (possible) emphasis in string theory models.
Winona State University, Winona MN.
I graduated from WSU in spring of 2022 with a bachelor of science in physics and mathematics. While at WSU, I was the Master Tutor for physics and mathematics, TA for University physics courses, and conducted in Brans-Dicke cosmology with a fermionic field & Ricci flow with black holes. During my final year I conducted research with a small group of students and professors in quantum cosmology. The main goal was the study the overall dynamics of the methodology, and then separately broke off into separate areas of study. For example, I focused in string cosmology at the end of the semester and my friend and colleague focused on the BKL conjecture.
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN.
I transferred from Winona to University of Minnesota to study specifically cosmology and general relativity. However, I transferred back to Winona to study more independently, and get ahead of my studies since there was more freedom.