Pomona College

Pomona College Mourns Death of Physics Professor Alfred Kwok

Students and faculty gathered to remember the late professor, who passed away while on a trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Students, faculty and staff at Pomona College are mourning the death of physics professor Alfred Kwok, who died recently while on a trip to Kings Canyon National Park. He was 50 years old.

According to the Tulare County Coroner’s Office, the cause of death for Professor Kwok was blunt force trauma. He fell from a great height, causing trauma to multiple parts of his body.

The school held a gathering for students and faculty to share memories of the late professor. Students also wrote their memories on whiteboards:

"Kwok always stayed in Millikan until 2-3 a.m. and would always help with whatever class you were working on – even philosophy."

"Professor Kwok single-handedly bridged the gap between profs and students."

"He always knew what each person was interested in, and always had advice and experience to share."

Courtesy of Pomona College
Students remember physics professor Alfred Kwok by writing their memories of him on a whiteboard.

According to the school, Kwok had been a faculty member at Pomona since 2000. He taught physics and astronomy. As a researcher, some of his interests included laser spectroscopy and nonlinear optics.


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Kwok had previously received the Becton Prize for Excellence in Engineering and Applied Science, according to the school. He had also been a finalist for the Optical Society of America’s Newport Research Award.

Aside from his research and teaching, he was an avid climber and loved being outdoors in the mountains, the college said.

"Anything he loved in life, he always wanted to share, whether it was physics or food or hiking," said one message on the whiteboard. "His joy in life always bubbled over."

The college has not yet released any memorial service information, but the school said they will provide information as details become available.

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