Joel Greenberg moved around the country as a child, but spent most of his teenage years in Downingtown, PA. He decided to attend Princeton University but, being unable to decide between the 'pragmatic' profession of engineering and the 'idealistic' discipline of physics, he decided to do both. After finishing up his degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Physics, Joel was again torn between attending graduate school for applied physics, medical physics, and physics physics. In the end, he decided to attend Duke for a variety of reasons (the most non-career-specific being the climate, low cost of living coupled with a sizeable stipend, and neatly reminiscint architecture...). Specifically, the interaction between the various engineering and basic science departments (as well as the hospital and medical school) as part of the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics (FIP) drew him to Duke - the capacity to work on basic science while still having direct contact with real-world science applications and the ability to earn a graduate certificate in photonics (again, still not quite making up his mind between engineering and physics) was the clincher.
Joel began working in Prof Gauthier's Quantum Electronics Lab in the area of atomic and optical physics the summer after his graduation from college, and has been involved with the group ever since. In particular, he is investigating slow light and nonlinear optics in a dense, anisotropic cloud of cold atoms. In addition to his research, Joel participates in the department's active Graduate Student Organization (GSO), intradepartamental mentoring program, the physics department's outreach program to local elementary schools, and Durham's Habitat for Humanity. Outside of 'activies', Joel spends his time relaxing and reading at his house with his wife (currently a 9th year medical student at Duke).