Photo by Matt D’Annunzio
Cole Perkinson 13
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Who I was when I got to Reed: I have always been told to do what I love and to follow my passions where they take me. My passion for mathematics, science, and the humanities (as well as the great outdoors) landed me at Reed College. I knew I loved chemistry and physics, but part of the reason I chose Reed was its strength across the humanities and sciences, and I loved the serious (yet fun!) learning atmosphere here.
How Reed changed me: Even though I ended up focusing on science, all of my interests have been developed in a positive way. People here are serious about what they’re learning. We talk about our classes and what we do out of class all the time.
Something I would tell prospies: This is an incredibly active and intellectual environment, characterized by exceptional teaching, intimate class size, close student-faculty relationships, and a collaborative, intellectual atmosphere. Reed is like none other!
Influential books: Introduction to Electrodynamics by Prof. David Griffiths [physics 1978–2009]; Workshopkins, a blog by my friend Sam Hopkins. On the nonacademic side: On the Nature of Things by Lucretius and The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot.
Favorite spot: The thesis tower. Being surrounded by the work of every past Reedie is an inspiring sensation.
Random thoughts: You don’t get lost in the crowd here. Reed professors genuinely care about your interests and success and are amazing at helping students thrive.
Cool stuff I did: Sang in Collegium Musicum. Played marimba. Joined the Association of Reed Gamers—I am passionate about board games. Versus the abstraction and isolation of video games, with board games you’re sitting face to face, enjoying the pieces and the strategy. Juggling—there are an immense number of jugglers here. You can do juggling for PE credit, and Reed hosts one of the biggest juggling festivals in the nation.
Scholarships, awards, or financial aid: Goldwater scholarship, NOAA Hollings Scholarship, Watson Fellowship.
Adviser: Prof. John Essick [physics 1993–] and Prof. Maggie Geselbracht [chemistry 1993–]
Thesis: “Real-Time Tunable-Emission CdSe/Mn2+:ZnSe Nanocrystal Films”
What it’s about: My thesis is an electrochemical investigation of the possibility of achieving tunable photoluminescence in heterogeneous II-VI quantum dot devices through the application of an external bias potential. These techniques could be applied to improve the efficiency of lighting devices and create color-changing quantum dot LED bulbs.
What it’s really about: Altering the luminescent properties of nanoscale crystals.
What’s next: I’m heading to Africa for a year to study music and improvisation on a Watson Fellowship. After that I plan to pursue a master's degree or PhD in physics at Cambridge. I would also like to publish "Battle Dice Chess," a board game I've been designing.