Research, teaching and outreach in Physics at UW–Madison
Ben Woods and team named finalists in 2023 WARF Innovation Awards
Each fall the WARF Innovation Awards recognize some of the best inventions at UW–Madison. WARF receives hundreds of new invention disclosures each year. Of these disclosures, the WARF Innovation Award finalists are considered exceptional in the following criteria:
Has potential for high long-term impact
Presents an exciting solution to a known important problem
Could produce broad benefits for humankind
One of the six finalists comes from Physics. Research Associate Benjamin Woods and a team including Distinguished Scientist Mark Friesen, John Bardeen Prof. of Physics Mark Eriksson, Honorary Associate Robert Joynt, and Graduate Student Emily Joseph developed a quantum device that shows a significant increase in valley splitting, a key property needed for error-free quantum computing. The device features a novel structural composition that turns conventional wisdom on its head.
Two winners, selected from the six finalists, will be announced in WARF’s annual holiday greeting; sign up to receive the greeting here. Each of the two Innovation Award winners receive $10,000, split among UW inventors.
Physics technology shines at Summerfest Tech
Six top technologies in development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and other UW System campuses headlined WARF Innovation Day at Summerfest Tech June 29. Wednesday’s event at BMO Tower in Milwaukee drew dozens of in-person and virtual investors who heard seven-minute pitch presentations on high-tech innovations ranging from fusion power to bridge safety monitoring.
“This forum was an exceptional opportunity for investors, media and the public to interface with top University of Wisconsin ideas,” said Erik Iverson, CEO of WARF. “It is this exchange of passion and expertise that forwards the state’s innovation ecosystem.”
One of the presenters included Kieran Furlong, an Honorary Fellow with the College of Letters & Science and CEO of Realta Fusion. Furlong is also the Technology-to-Market (T2M) Advisor to the WHAM project, a fusion energy project led by physics professor Cary Forest.
Furlong’s presentation, titled “Breakthrough Physics for Clean Energy Generation,” had this summary:
The Wisconsin High-field Axisymmetric Mirror (WHAM) project is leveraging major advances in superconducting magnets and plasma heating to pursue commercially viable nuclear fusion power. Fusion is how energy is generated in the sun, yet it has been tremendously challenging to harness on Earth. This project seeks to pave the way to a comparatively low-cost fusion device that can be a net energy generator.