Jonah Herzog-Arbeitman

Physics, Class of 2019

I’m a Physics major with a certificate in Applied and Computational Mathematics as well as Creative Poetry.

Role(s) held in the Humanistic Studies Program:

Behrman Society

Activities on campus:

I am a devoted member of Princeton’s oldest improv comedy group, Quipfire!, as well as a peer academic advisor in Rocky. I also tutor students of a variety of ages in the community and am involved in planning poetry readings on campus.


In the Physics department, I have been awarded the Kusaka Memorial Prize, Allen G. Shenstone Prize, and Pyka Memorial Prize. One of my published papers received special praise from Physical Review Letters, and in my sophomore year, I was recognized for my poetry by the Creative Writing department.

Why I decided to study the humanities:

I’m drawn to the humanities for its central understanding of how scholarship can impact community, both at a practical and epistemological level. As a physicist, poet, and performer, I am interested in multiply resonant modes of communication and self-expression.

What I have gained from the humanities:

Perhaps most importantly, my studies in the humanities have given me the opportunity for reflection. Academic work in general has the privilege of abstraction, and I’ve found the pressing concerns of humanistic studies a much needed reminder of the concrete.

Independent work:

My senior thesis in the physics department focuses on novel “topological” systems in condensed matter physics, theoretically viewing these exotic states of matter through a variety of lenses. My interest in formalism there carries over to my poetry thesis, where I work intimately with sound, structure, and natural imagery.

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