American Physical Society

Terence Hwa - Professor

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Job Info

University of California,  San Diego

Position Type:

Job skills:
Complex problem solving
Synthesizing information
Mathematical skills
Lab or instrumentation skills
Knowledge of physics principles
Modeling or simulation
Data analysis
Team work

Terence Hwa's Job:
Terence's research is in unconventional areas,  as he shuttles between statistical physics,  molecular biophysics and theoretical genomics. Of his work,  he says,  "I don't fit into any particular community." His efforts at creating an interdisciplinary field have been,  he believes,  a good success.

His recent research interest has been in molecular biophysics and genomics.  In particular he's working on ways of adapting concepts and methods developed in statistical physics to the study of genomics.

My Previous Jobs:
Terence earned his BS in Physics,  Electrical Engineering,  and Biology frmo Stanford university,  where he won the Apker for his research at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) for his conceptual design of an experiment measuring the electro-weak contribution to the muon's g-factor.

After spending a three year post-doc at Harvard and one year at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton,  Terence worked briefly as an assistant professor of physics at SUNY-Stonybrook in 1994-95.

In 1995,  he was hired as an associate professor of physics at the University of California- San Diego. He became a full professor in 1999,  and was a Guggenheim fellow visiting the Center for Study in Physics and Biology at the Rockefeller University that year.

Career Facts

Employer Type:

Current Location:
San Diego, CA

Physics Degree:

Educational Information

BS,  Physics,  Electrical Engineering,  and Biology,  Stanford
MS,  Physics,  MIT
PhD,  Physics,  MIT

More about Terence Hwa

Direct link to Terence Hwa's profile:

Terence Hwa


Born in China,  Terence first came to the United States in 1979 at the age of 15.  After completing his bachelor's degree in three majors at Stanford (where he won the prestgious Apker award for outstanding achievements in Physics by undergrads),  Terence went to grad school at MIT to study statistical mechanics and condensed matter Physics.  He earned his PhD in 1990,  working on pattern formation in complex systems.

Today,  Terence continues to teach and do interdisciplinary research on the connection between the pattern description capabilities of theoretical physics,  and genomic research.  Through such research,  Hwa says that physicists face nothing less than resolving the mysteries of life created by billions of years of natural evolution."

Terence has won several awards and grants that he believes have been essential to allowing him to carry on research in a subject matters that until recently "did not belong to any fields and had no official channel of support."  Terence said,  "The career path I am taking is an unusual one,  and these awards,  starting with the Apker Award,  are crucial in helping me to overcome the many unexpected difficulties associated with pursuing my kind of path."