On September 20, Prof. Francis Halzen was presented with the 2018 Bruno Pontecorvo Prize. This international award is presented annually by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research Scientific Council for achievements in elementary particle physics. Congrats!
In new research published Sept. 26 in the journal Nature Communications, Physics professor Pupa Gilbert and her collaborators, including MIT engineering Professor Markus Buehler and University of Pittsburgh oral biology Professor Elia Beniash, used advanced imaging techniques to see a clearer picture of the organization of individual enamel crystals in human teeth. They found that these crystals are not perfectly aligned, as had been previously thought, and that this misorientation likely deflects cracks, leading to enamel’s lifelong strength.
Professors Tulika Bose and Maxim Vavilov have been elected 2019 American Physical Society Fellows. The APS Fellowship Program recognizes members who have made exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise in physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education. Each year, no more than one half of one percent of the Society membership is recognized by their peers for election to the status of Fellow in the American Physical Society. This year, 168 Fellows were selected and recognized for their contributions to science. Congrats, Tulika and Maxim!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
A new study by University of Wisconsin–Madison physicists mimicked solar winds in the lab, confirming how they develop and providing an Earth-bound model for the future study of solar physics.