Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Bastiaan Driehuys, Ph.D., '90

Physics and Astronomy

"I look back fondly on my years at F&M from 1986 to 1990. As a freshman, I had just begun to realize how much I enjoyed my science classes, when chemistry professor Ronald Musselman invited me to join his group to conduct summer research. I told him I couldn’t because I had to get a summer job to earn some money. He informed that I would actually get paid as a Hackman summer research scholar, and convinced me to give it a try. I thoroughly enjoyed that first summer of research working on open-ended problems that nobody had ever solved before! (I didn’t solve them either, but I relished the quest.)

During my sophomore and junior years I developed a passion for physics and had the opportunity to work with Professor Linda Fritz and Ned Dixon on Mossbauer spectroscopy. This work culminated in a summer spent with them at Stanford University, which exposed me to a major research university and further solidified my desire to go to graduate school. I look back now with pleasure on the fantastic memories of working one-on-one with my professors, contributing to their research, and learning how to think independently and critically.

While the research experience had enormous impact on me personally, the formal courses I took at F&M in physics, math, and chemistry also prepared me exceptionally well for my graduate work at Princeton in atomic physics. I still refer back to my dog-eared copies of my undergraduate text books. My research career has taken me through start-up companies, big companies, and now back to academia, where I have transitioned to biomedical research in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at Duke University Department of Radiology.

It is this interdisciplinary environment that truly excites me and is making me realize that the other part of my F&M education, the humanities piece, has been equally critical to my ability to succeed. All those papers I had to write for sociology, philosophy, economics, even French literature, have given me a breadth that is unique amongst my scientific brethren. My experience at F&M provided me not just with a superb scientific foundation, but also the ability to write and express myself clearly, and to convince others of the merits of my ideas. In fact, my gratitude for the quality of my F&M experience continues to grow with each passing day. "

Bastiaan Driehuys, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Radiology, Medical Physics, and Biomedical Engineering
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC

  • Alumni Profile: Bastiaan Driehuys, Ph.D., '90