Mark Somerville

Provost; Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics


Mark Somerville, Provost; Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics


Campus Center 261




  • Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, MIT
  • M.S., Electrical Engineering, MIT
  • B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Texas, Austin


  • High Electron Mobility Transistors
  • Artificial Muscles

Dr. Mark Somerville joined Olin College from Vassar College, where he had been an Assistant Professor of Physics since 1998. He holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from MIT, as well as an M.A. (first class honors) in physics from Oxford University. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a bachelor of science (highest honors) in electrical engineering as well as a bachelor of arts (special honors) in liberal arts (English concentration). His academic honors include the Joint Services Electronics Program Doctoral and Post Doctoral Fellowship, the Office of Naval Research Graduate Fellowship, and the Rhodes Scholarship. Dr. Somerville's technical research focuses on the physics of semiconductor devices, with particular emphasis development of novel measurement techniques to provide insight into failure mechanisms in devices ranging from III-V high electron mobility transistors to strained silicon-on-insulator transistors to germanium-based LED's. Dr. Somerville has also collaborated extensively with other institutions, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, TU-Delft, and others, to spread change in engineering education, particularly through to application of collaborative design techniques to curriculum revision processes. He has also worked closely with other Olin faculty members to develop the Olin Collaboratory's Summer Institute, which draws engineering educators from around the world.