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CCC Honors 'God Particle' Team Member with Alumnus Award


F. Mitchell “Mitch” Newcomer, a member of the scientific team that discovered the Higgs boson or “God particle” last year, has received Camden County College’s 2013 Outstanding Alumnus Award.

The Voorhees resident – who “wasn’t good at math” when he came to CCC but now designs, develops and assembles some of the largest scientific instruments in the world – says that at the College, he was not only taught science but was educated about how to study science and how to pursue his own scientific interests and talents. After earning his associate degree in engineering from CCC in 1974, he completed a bachelor’s degree and some graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania before joining the Penn staff.

“Community college truly holds out the promise that if you work hard, you can expect to succeed,” Newcomer said. “For some, like me, it offers a ticket out of a world without much possibility, a new set of skills and certification of accomplishment.”

Today, Newcomer is senior instrumentation specialist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. He has worked to improve the quality of human life through greater understanding of nature as a member of Penn’s High Energy Physics Experimental Group for the last 35 years. He also has introduced the next generation to the world of high-energy physics through Penn’s QuarkNet research program for high school students and their teachers.

In 1989, he was a member of a team that received the Bruno Rossi Astronomical Prize. He received this prestigious honor for his contributions to the design of the electronics for the underground Kamiokande II detector in Japan.

As a lead systems designer, Newcomer is working on the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadronic Collider at CERN – the European Organization for Nuclear Research. His work contributed to the discovery of the Higgs boson or “God particle” that is believed to be the origin of all mass in the universe.

CCC’s Outstanding Alumna/Alumnus Award has been presented annually since 2008. Past recipients include Vietnam veteran Eugene J. Toni (Class of 1973); internationally recognized agronomist J. Mark Powell (Class of 1973); Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Trymaine Lee (Class of 2000); award-winning documentary filmmaker Robert A. Emmons Jr. (Class of 1996); and research scientist and writer Julie Feinstein (Class of 1980).

Published: June 26, 2013