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Student Spotlight: Xingbo Yang

Graduate student pursuing Ph.D. in physics

Sep 17, 2014 | Article by: Sarah Scalese

Xingbo Yang


Xingbo Yang was born in Chengdu, China, but, for the past five years, he’s called Syracuse home. A Ph.D. candidate in physics, he majored in materials science and journalism at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Yang hopes to someday land a research job in academia, although he’s open to other opportunities where he can put his creativity into practice. Until then, Yang enjoys learning new things and taking in all Central New York has to offer. He recently joined a weekend swimming class and has spent what little free time he has playing music, watching movies at Destiny USA, and dining out with friends.

The College of Arts and Sciences’ Sarah Scalese recently caught up with Yang to learn more about what makes him tick.

1. Why did you choose Syracuse University?

Syracuse University gave me the opportunity to learn, to teach, and to do research without financial constraint.

2. Is there a member of the faculty that has had a significant influence on your academic trajectory?

Cristina Marchetti, my research advisor, gave me all the momentum I needed to start off my academic trajectory. I couldn’t thank her enough for nurturing a young mind like me with incredible care and kindness. She is the kind of professor who is very busy yet still manages to work with her students on every detail of their research projects. The education I received from her is well beyond the scope of the campus, extending to numerous conferences and academic programs she organized or contributed to, where I learned the true meaning of research at an international level.

3. What’s the best way to spend free time as a Syracuse student?

My favorite way to spend free time is playing music. Research can be intense and frustrating, so whenever I feel stressed, I reach out for my guitar or piano to play the stress away. Occasionally, some thoughts might find their way into an original composition, and the joy of creation always lifts my spirits.

4. Are you involved in any research projects or volunteer work?

I’ve been doing theoretical research on the topics of soft condensed matter physics. I’m using analytical and numerical tools to study the collective behaviors of cells, tissues and flocks, trying to uncover the governing dynamics behind seemingly distinct physical and biological systems. I’m also collaborating with the experimental biology group led by Anthony Garza here in Syracuse University through the IGERT program to study the response of Myxobacteria to mechanical cues in their environment.

Other than research, I’ve been doing quite a lot of teaching for the past four years. I have been a teaching assistant for several physics classes, including labs and recitations. I have also lectured independently a summer course on electromagnetism, which is a very valuable experience for me.

5. How is Syracuse University helping you to achieve your goals and aspirations?

By giving me the opportunity to study what I want and preparing me to be an independent and original thinker.

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Contact Information

Sarah Scalese
315-443-8085
sescales@syr.edu