Wesleyan portrait of Fred M. Ellis

Fred M. Ellis

Professor of Physics, Emeritus


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BS University of Massachusetts at Amherst
MAA Wesleyan University
PHD University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Fred M. Ellis

My research revolves around experimental investigation of exotic wave systems, macroscopic quantum phenomena, thermodynamics, acoustics, and electronics. Of particular interest is the study of superfluid 4He films, where all of these categories overlap. Using acoustic waves known as "third sound" supported by the film as a probe, I study the properties of quantized vortices and their relation to wave-induced persistent currents. These experiments are performed at very low temperatures where I am also exploring a related process of Bose condensation of particles into the film flow as a mechanism for conversion of disordered thermal energy into ordered kinetic energy.

Similar experimental techniques used have also lead to recent advances in using simple electronic or electromechanical systems to demonstrate novel physics associated with more complex wave and optical phenomena. In these systems, dynamics related to either inherent or radiative loss can be exploited for some of their unique features rather than treated as imperfections to be eliminated.


Influenced by dedicated and talented teachers in my own upbringing, my passion for scientific inquiry was always coupled to a responsibility to close the loop. The unique combination of graduate research and a liberal arts philosophy attracted me to Wesleyan University after studying physics at UMass, Amherst, and a postdoc at the University of Washington.

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