Office: 123A Small Hall
Phone 757-221-3527; FAX 757-221-3540
Mail: PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
Gene Tracy is Chancellor Professor of Physics at William & Mary. He was also a founding Fellow and Director of the Center for the Liberal Arts. He received his BS in physics in 1980 from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where he helped to design a novel ultraviolet spectrograph for fusion energy research, working in the plasma spectroscopy group of Professor Warren Moos. Upon graduation, he migrated forty-five minutes south to the University of Maryland, College Park, where he did his PhD research on soliton theory under the direction of Professor Hsing Hen Chen. He defended his thesis in early August 1984 then immediately headed south once more, this time to join the faculty at William & Mary. He has been there ever since.
A theoretical physicist, his research interests include alternative energy (from fusion machines to the sustainable production of algal biofuels), nonlinear dynamics, Hamiltonian methods in wave theory, and time series analysis for complex systems (including pattern recognition methods for cancer diagnostics). He has eighty publications and two patents. His book Ray tracing and beyond: phase space methods in plasma wave theory was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. (See the link to the left for a quick synopsis.)
He has taught throughout the physics curriculum, and believes that physics has a natural home in a liberal arts environment. In addition to courses for physics majors and graduate students, he has taught and designed many courses for non-scientists, such as: Great Ideas of Physics, Time in Science and Science Fiction, The Strategic Arms Race: a Scientific Viewpoint, Astronomy, and Cosmology and the History of Wonder. He is a winner of the William & Mary Alumni Prize, which recognizes excellence in teaching.
He believes in the importance of shared governance of the University, and has served in a wide variety of positions both as a member of the Administration, and in positions elected by the Faculty. Most recently he served as Interim Dean of Arts & Sciences, and before that President of the Faculty Assembly.