Steve Eliopoulos, A'89

Steve Eliopoulos

"Every day, I'm confronted with decisions that involve [Tufts] training." (Steve Eliopoulos)

Current occupation:
Director/cameraman who shoots and produces broadcast TV ads (e.g. Honey Dew Donuts), as well as corporate video and online web content. I also occasionally do additional shooting for feature film and television productions like Ben Affleck's "Town" and TV's "Boston Legal."

How do you use your physics background in your line of work?
Nearly everything I do on a daily basis with cameras, or with light, color, exposure, lenses and particularly in today's digitally-driven world has some connection to my physics background if nothing else just in terms of understanding the nature of the equipment and processes. As an adjunct professor in the Boston University cinematography department, I teach students about refraction of lenses, the law of reflection, and the basic mathematics of exposure. Every day in my work, there's something I'll do that harkens back to my physics training.

I also do time lapse photography. That is all math-based: figuring out integrals and the right exposure for capturing things over different time periods. I'm the go-to guy in the area because I approach it differently than others might: I approach it without any fear factor because of a basic understanding of how cameras, lenses, films and light all work. There's no intimidation about a new camera system.

Did the Tufts physics department prepare you for your current career?
Most definitely! Not only academically in terms of actual content knowledge of light, color, electronics systems, etc., but perhaps more importantly in the aspect of analytical training that is only learned in the lab. Every day, I'm confronted with decisions that involve this training, for example a decision on set that requires me to evaluate technical parameters prior to shooting something. Even at home where I have taken on many a home renovation project over the years, much of being able to do that is attributable to the experience working at Soudan 2 back in the late '80s. Tufts was involved in an international collaboration attempting to detect proton decay events. I helped build a component of the experiment, which was located in an underground mine in Minnesota so that the iron in the ground would protect the experiment from cosmic ray interference.

What was the most rewarding experience you had in the Tufts physics department?
Most of my favorite memories revolve around my time in Bacon Hall (the department headquarters prior to Colby Street) and out in Minnesota underground at the Soudan 2 site. I spent many days and months in the Bacon Hall machine shop on work related to either the Soudan 2 experiment, or on my Senior Thesis measuring the muon particle lifetime. Those were all great memories. Professors Bill Oliver (my advisor), Tony Mann, Austin Napier, among others, were all formative figures during my time in the department.

Do you continue to pursue your interest in physics?
Oh, yes! My bookshelves can't possibly be any more rammed full with publications ranging from Kip Thorne's book on Black Holes & Warped Space, to Tufts' own Allan Everett's new book that just came out. Space and Time are particular nexus points of interest for me. Dark Energy and Dark Matter are just beginning to peak my interest as well! My wife and I have also created the Steven J. Eliopoulos and Joyce J. Eliopoulos Endowed Fund for Undergraduate Research in Physics and Astronomy, which will financially support a summer scholar in the department of physics and astronomy.