Megan Tabbutt and Aedan Gardill earn NDSEG fellowships

Congrats to second-year grad students Megan Tabbutt and Aedan Gardill, both in the Kolkowitz Group, on earning National Defense Science and Engineering graduate fellowships! The awards provide up to three years of funding for these students to pursue their research projects, which they describe below:


Megan Tabbutt

Optical atomic clocks are now the most precise time keepers in the world, keeping time to better than one second over the age of the universe. With support from the NDSEG, I will work with my collaborators to build a new “multiplexed” strontium optical lattice atomic clock, which will consist of  two clocks in one vacuum vessel. We will use this new kind of clock to perform tests of Einstein’s theory of relativity, such as measuring the relativistic effects of gravity on the passage of time at the millimeter scale, which may one day have applications ranging from the prediction of volcanic eruptions to water resource management and flood prevention. We will also engineer strong interactions between the atoms that make up the clock to generate entangled states for quantum enhanced clock performance, among other pursuits.


Aedan Gardill

Superconducting qubits are a promising system for quantum computing, but external sources of “noise” currently limit their usefulness. A better understanding of the sources of this noise in the qubits should help advance quantum computing efforts. With the NDSEG fellowship, my research will focus on using nitrogen vacancy centers in diamond as sensors with nanometer-scale resolution. We will develop and apply novel sensing techniques to study interesting solid state systems, such as investigating the origins of noise that currently limit superconducting qubit performance. 

Department welcomes congressional staffers

The Department of Physics was one of many departments on campus visited by senior staffers from Wisconsin’s US Senators’ and Representatives’ offices. They toured the Eriksson, Saffman and Kolkowitz labs, then visted the MST and Big Red Ball with Prof Forest. It was a great opportunity to show them how federal research dollars were being put to use to advance important work in the department. 

Daniel Freedman MS’62 Phd’64 wins special Breakthrough Prize

Alum Daniel Freedman, MS ’62 PhD ’64, recently won a Special Breakthrough Prize in fundamental physics. He shares the prize with Sergio Ferrara and Peter van Nieuwenhuizen. 

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Making biominerals: nature’s recipe is old, evolved more than once

In a report published today Aug. 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a team led by Pupa Gilbert, a University of Wisconsin–Madison professor of physics, shows that the recipe for making shells, spines, and coral skeletons is not only the same across many modern animal lineages, but is ancient – dating back 550 million years – and evolved independently more than once.


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