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Photo by Orin Zyvan ’04

Ryan Lau ’10


Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii

How Reed changed me: I came to Reed having never lived beyond the confines of a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. As opposed to high school, where the name of the game was passing exams and getting good grades, my “gradeless” experience at Reed taught me how to study and learn, and showed me what it meant to have a solid understanding of a particular subject. Reed helped me mature both personally and academically, and prepared me to take on my upcoming challenges.

Influential book: Professor David Griffiths’ trilogy, Introduction to ElectrodynamicsIntroduction to Elementary Particles, and Introduction to Quantum Mechanics.

Cool stuff I did: Learned to operate Reed’s 12" telescope and an internet-controlled telescope in New Mexico to take amazing images of celestial bodies many light years away. Learned fencing, which satisfied childhood dream of dueling in epic sword fights. Skated at some of Portland’s most awesome skate parks.

Adviser: Prof. Johnny Powell

Thesis: Exploration of Extra-Solar Planet Properties

What it’s about: Using transit photometry to examine tiny dips in stellar brightness that might indicate the existence of orbiting planets.

What it’s really about: Finding worlds beyond our solar system.

What’s next: Pursue PhD in astronomy at Cornell.