Stories of the Class of 2016: Alex Lidiak, A Philosophical Physicist

Alex Lidiak

When people ask Alex Lidiak about his double major in Physics and Philosophy, two seemingly disparate disciplines, he doesn't hesitate.

"Physics and philosophy are both very fundamental," Lidiak said. "I've always been curious about not only the ‘how' -- and physics and science address the how -- but also the ‘why.' Why we're here; if there's purpose; that kind of stuff. I think they complement each other beautifully."

It seems to work for Lidiak, who's also completing a math minor, is in UNC's Honors Program, is a perennial member of the Dean's List of Distinction and did peer tutoring in physics, algebra, calculus and statistics. He estimates he'll leave UNC with a 3.97 GPA. That's what a handful of A-minuses will do to a perfect 4.0.

He completed six research projects, including one in philosophy that took second place in the humanities category during UNC's 2016 Research Excellence Awards competition, and a physics-related one in conjunction with a master's degree student during a summer 2015 internship at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan, a prestigious public university in Paris.

France wasn't Lidiak's only experience traveling abroad while he was a UNC student. He spent the 2013 fall semester at the University of Salzburg in Austria, then spent the next nine months taking a break from his studies (but not his education) by visiting 30 different countries in Europe. His two favorite countries were Greece and Montenegro.

"Traveling gave me a lot of perspective," he said. "It was really nice to experience other cultures and other people's views, and see some beautiful stuff too."

Lidiak, who was born and raised in Greeley, has been accepted into the applied physics program at Colorado School of Mines this fall, receiving a teaching assistantship stipend and a $23,000 scholarhip.