Departmental News

Sep. 23, 2014

MAVEN KU professor among team analyzing data from Mars explorer
Physics and Astronomy Professor Tom Cravens will be among a number of interdisciplinary scientists analyzing and interpreting data collected by MAVEN about Mars' atmosphere. Last month MAVEN arrived in Mars' orbit after traveling 442 million miles over 10 months. The mission represents an unprecedented study of Mars' upper atmosphere and will help scientists learn more about the history of the planet's climate. The complete story from the Lawrence Journal World can be accessed at this link.

Sep. 16, 2014

Galaxy evolution KU Astronomer Explains "Mind-Blowing" Observation
Professor Greg Rudnick's research focus is the growth of mass in galaxies over cosmic time and how this growth is influenced by galaxy environment. He was called upon by the Lawrence Journal World to explain the recent discovery of a distant galaxy in the process of forming, the first time astronomers have caught a glimpse of the earliest stages of massive galaxy construction. NASA described the galaxy, nicknamed "Sparky," as “a dense galactic core blazing with the light of millions of newborn stars that are forming at a ferocious rate." The complete Journal World story can be found at this link.

Sep. 10, 2014

Alice Bean Physics researcher to advise faith-based office in U.S. Department of State
Professor Alice Bean is best known for her work as a high-energy experimental particle physicist. In 2012, she was a member of the international consortium of scientists who detected the Higgs boson using the world’s most advanced scientific instrument: the Large Hadron Collider. Prof. Bean’s scholarly expertise and eagerness to carry science to society at-large has led the U.S. Department of State to name her as a Jefferson Science Fellow via a program that brings tenured American faculty in science, engineering and medicine to the department and USAID for a year, to contribute to and learn from foreign policy processes. Specifically, she’ll work with the State Department’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. The complete press release/interview can be found at this link.

Sep. 04, 2014

Misha Medvedev Researcher Advances a New Model for Dark Matter
Astrophysicists believe that about 80 percent of the substance of our universe is made up of mysterious “dark matter” that can’t be perceived by human senses or scientific instruments. Mikhail Medvedev, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Kansas has just published breakthrough research on dark matter that merited the cover of Physical Review Letters, the world’s most prestigious journal of physics research. Medvedev proposes a novel model of dark matter, dubbed “flavor-mixed multicomponent dark matter.” For more insight, the full press release can be found at this link.

Sep. 04, 2014

Judy Wu KU Women of Distinction - 2014/15
The Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity has announced 27 honorees for the 2014-15 Women of Distinction calendar. The women were selected for their outstanding contributions to the university and community. Congratulations to Distinguished Professor Judy Wu on her selection for the Women of Distinction calendar. The reception for this year’s Women of Distinction will take place from 4 - 5:30 PM Thursday, Sept. 4, in the Big 12 Room in the Kansas Union. The press release can be found at this link. The calendar will be available at the reception and also at the Student Involvement & Leadership Center in the Kansas Union.

Sep. 01, 2014

LHC Forward KU Hosts Forward Physics Workshop: Sept. 3 - 6, 2014
The KU Department of Physics and Astronomy, in collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the KU Office of Research, and CERN, is hosting the Forward Physics Workshop . These meetings will bring together members of all CERN LHC collaborations and other U.S. national labs, as well as colleagues from the theory community to discuss their latest research progress, upgrade LHC plans and future ideas on forward physics, diffraction, ultra-peripheral collisions and forward heavy-ion physics in general. This is the first time that this CERN LHC Working Group meeting is being held outside Europe. Details on meeting locations and schedules can be found at this link.

Aug. 15, 2014

Higgs toy Higgs Toy Makes its KU Debut!
A new Higgs Boson plush doll (above) was developed by the KU Quarked! team of physicists, museum educators and designers, aided by KU Innovation and Collaboration. It is now available online at the KU Bookstore and at the KU Natural History Museum store. The Higgs Boson is a sub-atomic particle. The six-inch doll ($12) comes with printed information about the Higgs field and its importance, i.e., without it atoms and molecules would not be able to form, and the world of matter as we know it would not exist. So, BUY ONE NOW and KEEP the UNIVERSE ALIVE! Rock Chalk HiggsHawk!

June 09, 2014

top quark CMS Research Highighted on APS Website
Two papers published by the CMS collaboration, including Drs. Baringer, Bean, Benelli, Murray, Sanders, Sekaric, Stringer, Wang, and Wood, and grad students Danny Noonan and Pat Kenny, were featured on the APS webpage, Viewpoint, spotlighting exceptional research in Physics. The column can be accessed at this link.

May 10, 2014

Department Banquet

GRADS of 2013/2014
The annual department banquet was held on May 10 at the Lawrence Art Center. The record attendance at the event was coupled to a bumper crop of new graduates. The students graduating over the last 12 months included:
Engineering Physics (BS)
Griffin Adams, Caleb Christianson, Han Zhongyi, Dustin Kerby, Jake Meeth, Phuc Nguyen, Alexander Polsley, Ben Weintrub
Physics BS:
Johnathan Croxell, Abhinav Kumar, Katrina Martin, Greg Pach, Brian Schafer, Benjamin Vail, Amie Vo, Ben Weintrub, Jill Wenderott
Physics BA:
Yasen Ivanov, Daniel Webb
Astronomy BA:
Daniel Webb
Astronomy BS:
Abhinav Kumar, Brian Schafer
Brian Schafer (Astrobiology)

At the Graduate Level:
Masters Recipients:
Chris Gerstenkorn, Yonatan (Jonny) Israeli, Sarah LeGresley, Eddie (James) Orcutt, Matt Russell

April 30, 2014

Supernova remnant

Research will gauge hypothetical disaster: a supernova close to Earth
A research team led by Dr. Adrian Melott of Physics and Astronomy has been awarded $500,000 by NASA to make the most painstaking assessment ever of the potential damage from a near-Earth supernova. Melott is working with Dr. Andrew Overholt of MidAmerica Nazarene University and Dr. Brian Thomas of Washburn University — both Physics and Astronomy alumni — to perform computer modeling and data analysis on supercomputers such as the National Science Foundation’s Teragrid. The full press release can be accessed at this link.

April 12, 2014

Ultra-fast laser

Using strong lasers, investigators observe frenzy of electrons in a new material
A research team led by Dr. Hui Zhao of Physics and Astronomy has used high-powered lasers to track the speed and movement of electrons inside an innovative material that is just one atom thick. The work at KU’s Ultrafast Laser Lab could help point the way to next-generation transistors and solar panels made of solid, atomically thin materials. The full press release can be accessed at this link.

April 10, 2014

Jeremy Ims

Justin Mann

University announces NSF Graduate Fellowship Awardees and Honorees
Congratulations to Jeremy Ims, (BS ASTR, PHSX: 2013) on his selection for an NSF Graduate Fellowship. Jeremy is at KU working toward a PhD in Aerospace Engineering under Z. J. Wang. Congratulations also to Justin Mann, doctoral student in physics under Prof. Greg Rudnick, on receiving honorable mention in the NSF competition. The full press release can be accessed at this link.

April 08, 2014

Jeff Worth

University announces October 2013-March 2014 Employees of the Month
Congratulations to Jeff Worth, Electronics technologist for the Department of Physics & Astronomy, who was selected as the KU University Support Staff Employee of the Month for October. Jeff is under consideration to be named the Employee of the Year at the annual recognition ceremony, which will be at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, in the Kansas Union Ballroom. The full press release can be accessed at this link.

March 01, 2014


State Dept. logo

CMS Group - Featured Research and a Distinguished Appointment
Congratulations to the CMS collaboration for an exciting two weeks. A research paper with lead authors Dr. Phil Baringer, grad student Danny Noonan, and Postdoc Dr. Gabriele Benelli on measurements of the top quark was featured in the CERN Courier for Feb. 24. Meanwhile, Prof. Alice Bean has been selected as a Jefferson Science Fellow for 2014. The prestigious JSF program is administered by the National Academies and supported through a partnership between the U.S. academic community, professional scientific societies, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Jefferson Science Fellows spend one year on assignment at the U.S. Department of State or USAID as science advisors on foreign policy issues. More on the program can be found at this link.

February 14, 2014

Wai-Lun Chan

Renewable energy research, education project receives NSF grant

Congratulations to Asst. Prof. Wai-Lun Chan, who has been awarded a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award by the NSF for his research proposal, “Understanding the Role of Quantum Coherence in Exciton Transport and Separation in Molecular Aggregates.” The award is the highest honor given by the NSF to young researchers. His research explores fundamental materials issues related to organic semiconductors. It addresses the challenge of finding low-cost renewable energy by exploring the mechanisms that could improve the efficiency of next generation solar cells. The full press release can be accessed at this link.

January 28, 2014

David Gier Davis St. Aubin

Caleb Christianson Jill Wenderott

Four Undergrad Majors Win Research Awards

Congratulations to the following undergraduate students (and their advisors) for their selection for Research Awards for Spring 2014. Jill Wenderott (right), senior-physics (Prof. Hsin-Ying Chiu), Anthony St. Aubin (far right), junior-astronomy and interdisciplinary computing (Prof. Hsin-Ying Chiu), Caleb Christianson (far left), senior-engineering physics (Prof. Judy Wu), David Gier (left), junior-physics and computer science (Prof. Alice Bean). A complete description of their projects can be found at this link.

January 14, 2014

Hubble Space Telescope

Hubble Astronaut Uses HST for Long-Term Research
Prof. Steve Hawley, whose career at NASA prior to joining the Dept. of Physics and Astronomy at KU included two Shuttle missions to launch and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope, now uses the telescope to probe a long-standing mystery surrounding the odd object known as Tololo 26. The unique capabilities of HST have allowed Dr. Hawley and his collaborator to begin to make sense of the peculiarities in earlier observations of this planetary nebula that he first noted over 30 years ago. The full press release can be accessed at this link.

November 16, 2013

David Jake Meeth

Undergraduate Major Nominated for Churchill Scholarship
A committee coordinated by the University of Kansas Honors Program has selected undergraduate Engineering Physics major David Jake Meeth as one of two outstanding senior students to compete for the prestigious Churchill Scholarship, which provides one year of study at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. If selected, at Cambridge Meeth would pursue an MPhil in Engineering specializing in electronic devices and materials. The press release can be accessed at this link.

November 15, 2013

Jennifer Nielsen

Graduate Student Essay Wins FQXI Prize
Congratulations to graduate student Jennifer Nielsen for winning the Foundational Questions Institute $1000 prize for student essays on the foundational physics topic of "It from Bit or Bit from It" for her essay "Is Bit It?" FQXI is an organization/think tank headed up by Max Tegmark with members such as Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose and is dedicated to encouraging exploration of foundational physics topics. Essay winners, including Jennifer's Special Commendation Prize, can be accessed at this link.

November 05, 2013

gravitational lens

Discovery of distant 'lensing galaxy' heralds new grasp of the universe
Occasionally, astronomers find an extraordinary "lensing galaxy" that can enhance light like a telescope from even deeper reaches of universe - brightening and magnifying background galaxies up to 30 times. Prof. Gregory Rudnick , an astronomer at KU, is part of a team that has detected the most-distant-known example of a lensing galaxy - located some 9.5 billion light years away from Earth. Their findings have just been published in Astrophysical Journal Letters. For the full press release, go to this link.

November 01, 2013


KU team earns grant to extend leading-edge work at Large Hadron Collider Congratulations to the KU particle physicists who recently have earned a three-year, $1.78 million grant from the National Science Foundation to continue their research at the Large Hadron Collider, with Phil Baringer as a principal investigator, along with KU researchers Alice Bean, David Besson and Graham Wilson. The KU team is helping to design, build and improve components for a pixel detector housed within the Compact Muon Solenoid, a 12,500-ton instrument that tracks particle collisions within the Large Hadron Collider. The full press release can be accessed at this link.

October 15, 2013

Siyuan Han

Professor Wins Olin Petefish Award in Basic Science Congratulations to Prof. Siyuan Han, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, for winning the Olin Petefish Award in Basic Science, one of four Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards, the state's most prestigious recognition for scholarly excellence. The full press release can be accessed at this link. This is the second consecutive year (Judy Wu - 2012) that a Department faculty member has been selected for the honor and the 3rd time in the last 9 years (Tom Cravens - 2005).

October 14, 2013

particle physics

Higgs Physics Wins 2013 Nobel Prize
Congratulations to our high energy experimental group on their many contributions to the CMS detector at CERN which helped Francois Englert and Peter Higgs with the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics. For more insight into why this matters, take a look at the Huffington Post Blog by Dr. Alice Bean. A video cartoon explanation by Don Lincoln is also accessible at YouTube .

October 01, 2013

Jill Wenderott

Undergraduate Major Named EXCEL Finalist
Senior Physics majorJill Wenderott has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the 23rd annual EXCEL award. EXCEL is short for Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership Awards at the University of Kansas. Nominees were selected on the basis of leadership, effective communication skills, involvement at KU and in the Lawrence community, academic scholarship and ability to work with a variety of students and organizations.The Ex.C.E.L. Award provides an annual $500 scholarship to two students. The winners will plan the Blueprints Leadership Conference next spring in conjunction with KU's Student Involvement and Leadership Center. Two winners, one male and one female, will be announced during halftime of the KU-Texas Tech homecoming football game Saturday, Oct. 5, at Memorial Stadium. The full press release can be found here.

September 23, 2013

Huffington Post

Voyager 1

Department Faculty In and About the News
Prof. Alice Bean now has a Blog featured on the Huffington Post. Her first extended discussion deals with ways to visualize the Higgs Boson. If you want to see how to "see" these elusive particles, the Blog is accessible at this site. Speaking of difficult detections, Prof. Emeritus Tom Armstrong and department alumnus Dr. Jerry Manweiler were featured in an article in the Lawrence Journal World discussing the extraordinary achievement of the Voyager 1 spacecraft and its recent crossing of the heliopause to leave the solar system. The article can be accessed on-line at this link.

September 15, 2013

Self Fellows

Department Major Selected as Self Graduate Fellow
Congratulations to Brittany Krutty (BS Physics 2013) on her selection as a KU Self Graduate Fellow for 2013-2017. Self Fellows are selected for their vision, career goals, and achievements. They are able to set and attain goals, show leadership potential and motivation, and possess a strong work ethic. Self Fellows also demonstrate initiative, passion for achievement and lifelong learning, and make a commitment to participate in the Fellow Development Program. The full list of 2013 Self Fellows can be found at this site. Brittany was also featured with her siblings in an article for the Spring 2013 KU Collegian. A PDF of the article is accessible at this link.

September 05, 2013

Dryas Comet Impact

Researcher looks at comet as potential trigger of 'Big Freeze'
Prof. Adrian Melott and Dr. Drew Overholt, who received his PhD in May under the supervision of Dr. Melott, have examined the possibility that the Younger Dryas, a sudden cold period that befell Earth as it emerged from the last Ice Age between about 12,800 and 11,500 years ago, was triggered by a strike by a long-period comet. The full press release can be found at this site.

August 31, 2013

Center for Undergraduate Research

Department Majors Receive Undergraduate Awards
Two department majors will receive Undergraduate Research Awards (UGRAs) to support their research projects this fall. Jackson Young, sophomore majoring in physics and mathematics, will work with Prof. Alice Bean on a project titled X-Ray Studies Of The Pixel Readout for the CMS Detector. Caleb Christianson, senior majoring in engineering physics, will work with Prof. Judy Wu on a project titled Investigation of the Immune Response of Coated Gold Nanoparticles on Leukocytes. The full press release can be found at this site.

August 30, 2013

Women of Distinction

Department Students Named Women of Distinction
Congratulations to undergraduate Physics major Jill Wenderott and grad student Brittany Krutty on their selection for the 2013-14 Women of Distinction Awards. Both students are featured in the calendar, available at a number of locations around campus. The full press release is available here.

August 28, 2013

Jessica Stockham

Grad Student Wins Price Prize in CAPP Congratulations to graduate student Jessica Stockham on her selection as the recipient of the Dr. Pliny A. and Margaret H. Price Prize in Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics by the Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP). As part of the award, Jessica is invited to visit the Ohio State University campus to give a seminar about the work she has been doing and receive an honorarium of $1500.

August 15, 2013

ArXiv Blog

The World's Best (And Worst) Scientific Institutions Ranked By Discipline A new website ranks the world's scientific institutions by discipline and shows their location on a global map. From the Physics ArXiv Blog: the numbers don't lie! If you are interested, go to the above link for the full story or go directly to the web site at this link. The password is "excellence". If you look up the stats on KU, of the 9 programs for which stats are available, Physics and Astronomy is at the top of the list by a significant margin. Of the 7 schools rated in Physics and Astronomy in the Big 12, KU is at the top of the list.

May 15, 2013

Student Awards - Spring 2013
As announced at the departmental banquet in May, student award recipients included:
E.E. Slossen Award - Outstanding Graduate TAs:Koan Briggs, James Castle, Allen Eastlund;
Special Undergraduate E.E. Slossen Award - Outstanding Undergraduate TA
:Brian Schafer;
N. Wyman Storer Award - Unselfish Service to the Astronomy Program
:Evan Rich

Graduate Degrees in Spring 2013
The Department had a bumper crop of graduate degrees this year. As announced at the departmental banquet in May, the following students completed a
MS Degree in Physics (Advisor): Wade Rush (Jack Shi), Jeff Brown (Phil Baringer), Alex Ford (Misha Medvedev), Brett Keenan (Misha Medvedev), Gopolang Mohlabeng (John Ralston), Matt Russell (Greg Rudnick), and Jin Xu (Jack Shi)
PhD in Physics (Advisor): Nataly Ozak Munoz (Tom Cravens), Sriharsha Pothapragada (Misha Medvedev), Caitlin Rochford (Judy Wu), Victoria Zhukova (Steve Sanders), Shankar Agarwal (Hume Feldman), Guo Chen (Graham Wilson), Nathan Maddox (John Ralston), Drew Overholt (Adrian Melott), Matt Richard (Tom Cravens), Jennifer Sibille (Alice Bean), Jeff Wood (Steve Sanders)
Students receiving HONORS designation for their theses were: Gopolang Mohlabeng, Shankar Agarwal, Drew Overholt, Caitlin Rochford, Guowei Xu

Undergraduate Degrees in Spring 2013
The Department had an exceptional class of undergraduates completing degrees this year. As announced at the departmental banquet in May, the following students completed a
BS Degree in Engineering Physics: Abhishek Chakrabarti, Michael J. Claman, Hanna E. Cosgrove, Matthew D. Crawford, Benjamin D. Hofmeier, Matthew G. Vestal
BA Degree in Astronomy: Daniel R. Webb
BS Degree in Astronomy: Jeremy H. Ims, Arlo Osler, Evan A. Rich, Erin E. Schultz
BA Degree in Physics: Daniel R. Webb, Emily Young
BS Degree in Physics: Neal Doolin, Paul D. Harrison, Jeremy H. Ims, Brittany Krutty, Arlo Osler, Evan A. Rich, Erin E. Schultz, Matthew K. Sullivan, Zhoudunming "Kong" Tu, Benjamin C. Vail.
Students completing a minor were: Michael Albert - Astronomy, Kyle Nealon - Physics, Joseph Sandt - Physics, Stoney J. Weaver - Astronomy.

May 11, 2013

Steve Hawley Jack Shi

Faculty Recipients of Teaching Awards Congratulations to Professors Jack Shi and Steve Hawley, recipients of the Outstanding Graduate and Undergraduate Teaching Awards, respectively, within the Department. The awards were announced at the annual, end-of-Spring banquet on May 11.



May 05, 2013

Daniel Kennedy

Physics and Astronomy Undergraduate Wins at KUCTC Innovation Fair Congratulations to Daniel Kennedy, senior major in both Physics and Astronomy, who was the only award recipient from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the KUCTC Innovation Fair. Daniel won Second Place (and $500) in the Undergraduate Division. Pictured with him is Julie Goonewardene.



May 01, 2013


Department Faculty Member Honored for Undergraduate Mentoring Congratulations to Professor Adrian Melott for receiving the K. Barbara Schowen Undergraduate Research Mentor Award at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium at the Kansas Union. The award was given for a distinguished record of undergraduate mentoring and the extraordinary success that his students have had following their undergraduate research experiences. The full press release can be accessed at this link.

May 01, 2013

rudnick murray marfatia
Chancellor Approves Promotion and Tenure for Department Faculty
Congratulations to Assistant Professor Greg Rudnick on his promotion to Associate Professor with tenure and to Associate Professors Danny Marfatia and Michael Murray on their promotion to Full Professor. The full press release can be accessed at this link.

May 01, 2013

laser lab zhao New technique can detect structure of promising semiconductor material MoS2
Prof. Hui Zhao and his collaborators have developed a new technique to noninvasively detect the orientation of MoS2 crystals, as well as the uniformity of their thickness, how their layers are stacked and their single-crystal domain size. The detection technique, known as "second harmonic microscopy," is featured in a KU press release which can be accessed here.

April 25, 2013

Misha Mevedev Physics and Astronomy Professor Named Winner of the University Scholarly Achievement Award
Congratulations to Professor Mikhail Medvedev, who was named one of four University of Kansas faculty members selected as winners of the University Scholarly Achievement Award, which recognizes mid-career scholars who have made significant scholarly or research contributions to their fields. The annual awards are presented in four fields: arts and humanities; clinical science; science, technology and mathematics; and social science and professional programs. The full story can be accessed at this link.

April 25, 2013

Overholt Mohlabeng

Graduate Students Win Thesis Awards
Congratulations to Drew Overholt on being selected to receive a $250 Graduate Student Research Competition Presentation Award from the College of Graduate Studies. The award will be presented at the 2013 Graduate Student Awards Ceremony on April 23rd. Congratulations to Gopolang Mohlabeng on receiving this year's Outstanding Research Project Award. This award is given to one student in the College for outstanding Master's research. It comes with a cash prize of $500. Gopolang will be recognized at the CLAS Master's Hooding Ceremony on Sunday, May 18th.

April 02, 2013

Undergraduate Major Presents Research at the Capitol
Zhoudunming Tu, senior from Guangzhou, China majoring in physics and mathematics, was part of a group of undergraduate students from Kansas Regent's institutions celebrating the first annual Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. His work on relativistic heavy ion collisions - ZDC and FSCs on Proton Lead Collision at LHC, CERN - was mentored by Prof. Michael Murray. The full story can be accessed at this link.

March 15, 2013

Forecasting the End KU Research Featured in AGU Press Release and Forecasting the End on the Weather Channel.
Research by Prof. Adrian Melott and collaborators in the Geophysical Research Letters explaining the 774-775 CE carbon-14 increase was a featured news item by the American Geophysical Union for the week of March 12. Additionally, several KU faculty, including Prof. Adrian Melott will appear on the episode Gamma-ray burst, which is the second episode in the new Weather Channel series Forecasting the End. This episode is presently scheduled to air at 8:30 PM Central time on March 21.

March 07, 2013

KU-Campanile KU Names Winners of Leading Light Awards
KU recognized some of its most productive researchers recently, conferring the Leading Light Award on 40 faculty and staff at the Lawrence campus. The 40 are principal investigators or co-principal investigators on externally funded grants of $1 million or more awarded during the 2012 fiscal year. Included among the award winners are: Associate Professor Danny Marfatia, Professor Emeritus Doug McKay, Professor John Ralston, and Professor Judy Wu. The full story can be accessed at this link.

March 01, 2013

Wai-Lun Chan

New Assistant Professor Joins Department Faculty
A hearty welcome to new faculty member, Dr. Wai-Lun Chan. Dr. Chan earned his doctorate from Brown University in 2007. Before coming to KU, he was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and more recently at the University of Texas at Austin. His research includes the study of ultrafast electronic processes in organic semiconductors, metals and oxide materials with practical goals such as improving the efficiency of solar cells and photocatalysts for solar fuel generation. His research lab will be in Malott 1090.

Feb. 24, 2013

And the Awards Keep Coming-II! Congratulations to the Physics and Astronomy undergraduate David Gier, a sophomore in physics and interdisciplinary computing, for his selection to the 32nd University Scholars class at KU. As one of the 20 sophomores chosen for the program, David will be mentored by Rick Levy in the School of Law. The full story can be found at this link.

Feb. 18, 2013

And the Awards Keep Coming! Congratulations to Physics and Astronomy undergraduate recipients of Undergraduate Research Awards for Spring 2013. The four majors within the Department include Jill Wenderott, a Junior majoring in Physics, Gregory Burg, junior majoring in engineering physics, Gregory Pach, a junior majoring in Physics, and Zhoudunming Tu, a senior majoring in physics and mathematics. The full story, including their projects and mentors, can be found at this link.

Feb. 08, 2013

Jeff Wood CMS Certificate

KU Grad Student Wins CMS Award
Congratulations to Physics and Astronomy grad student Jeff Wood for his outstanding contribution to the ZDC development and operations at CERN which garnered him the CMS 2012 Achievment Award.

Jan. 08, 2013

BigBoss Massive new mapping of the universe could unlock secrets of 'dark energy'
Prof. Greg Rudnick at the University of Kansas is playing an important role in BigBOSS, a huge new plan to grasp why the expansion of the universe is accelerating rather than slowing down. This mystery of physics is due to little-understood "dark energy," which has been calculated to make up roughly 70 percent of the cosmos. In addition to giving astronomers a better understanding of dark energy, BigBoss will be useful for investigating a wide array of questions ranging from the evolution of stars in our own galaxy to the large scale structure of the universe. The full story can be found at this link.

Oct. 24, 2012


By Measuring Lithium, Physics and Astronomy Researchers Learn About Stellar Structure
With collaborators at Indiana University and five KU undergrads, Drs. Anthony-Twarog and Twarog are probing the Li content in stars in an array of star clusters, learning about stellar evolution, galactic evolution, and cosmology. The full story can be accessed at this link.

Oct. 16, 2012

Perfect Fluid Gamma Ray Burst

Department Research Featured in Two On-line Items
Research by Dr. Adrian Melott, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and colleagues was featured in the on-line site for Forbes in an article entitled "Decoding A Great Earth Die-Off: Was A Gamma-Ray Burst Really The Trigger?" by science writer Bruce Dorminey. The full writeup can be accessed at this link. Additionally, results from the CMS collaboration, with strong ties to KU, detailing the "Most Perfect Fluid" were written up in the on-line APS blog discussing exceptional research. The full article can be found at this link.

Oct. 11, 2012

Sergei Shandarin

Physics and Astronomy Professor receives Templeton Grant for Study of Cosmic Complexity
Dr. Sergei Shandarin, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, is the recipient of a prestigious $300,000 grant announced recently by the private John Templeton Foundation, part of a broader $5.6 million award to the University of Chicago. The overall project, New Frontiers in Astronomy & Cosmology , involves 20 scientists from the U.S. and other countries, as well as 21 high school and college student essayists worldwide. Shandarin's grant is for a research project titled "The Emergence of Complex Structural Patterns: A Manifestation of Increasing Cosmic Complexity." The full press release can be accessed at this link.

Oct. 10, 2012

Judy Wu

Distinguished Professor Wins Olin Petefish Award in Basic Science Congratulations to Prof. Judy Wu, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy, for winning the Olin Petefish Award in Basic Science, one of four Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards, the state's most prestigious recognition for scholarly excellence. The Lawrence Journal-World article can be accessed at this link.

Sept. 26, 2012

TARA Antennas

Keck Foundation Funds Particle Astrophysics Observatory
A grant provided by the W.M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles will help support a University of Kansas research group that is part of a multiuniversity team pioneering tools for detecting and analyzing cosmic rays - particles that may unlock the secrets of our universe. Dave Besson, a professor of physics and astronomy at KU, leads the group and will use Keck funds to build the main receiver antennas for a new bistatic radar observatory in a remote desert near Delta, Utah. The area is currently home to the Telescope Array RADAR Project (TARA), an integrated, 300-square-mile assemblage of telescopes and detectors established in 2007 to measure naturally occurring but highly energetic radiation reaching Earth from within and beyond our own galaxy. TARA is the largest cosmic ray detector in the Northern Hemisphere. For the full story, click on this link.

Sept. 19, 2012

top production

Physics Blog Features KU CMS Results
A Quantum Diaries blogger wrote an excellent piece on a paper just submitted to Physical Review Letters by the KU CMS team at Cerne. The blog entry is at this link and the paper is at this location . The KU people involved in this analysis are Profs. Phil Baringer, Alice Bean, Michael Murray, and Steve Sanders, postdocs Gabriele Benelli, Gabriele Stringer, and Gemma Tinti, and grad students Pat Kenny, Danny Noonan, Jeff Wood, and Victoria Zhukova. The blog discusses the search for a particular production of top quarks in proton-proton collisions, one which is both rare and difficult to extract even in the 7-TeV LHC collisions.

July 15, 2012

CMS Higgs KU Physicists Key Players in Higgs Hunt
Researchers announced a breakthrough discovery of a subatomic particle strongly resembling the long-sought Higgs boson on July 4 in Geneva. KU researchers have played a key part in designing and monitoring the colossal detector at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, where the discovery was made. For more insight into the research, click on this link.

June 05, 2012

Venus Transit Hundreds View Venus Transit from Lied Center
Hundreds of Lawrencians showed up in the parking area west of the Lied Center to view the transit of Venus with telescopes set up by the Astronomy Associates of Lawrence, the KU Astronomy program, and a variety of enthusiastic amateurs. Helping out in the photo above are Jeannette Shawl, Bryce and Jill Baringer, and Bob Curry. For the story in the Lawrence Journal-World, click on this link.

May 30, 2012

KU Honors Logo Two Departmental Majors Selected as University Scholars
Congratulations to Gregory Burg, a sophomore in engineering physics, and Jill Wenderott , a sophomore in physics and geology, on their selection as University Scholars for 2012. Each student receives a $250 scholarship per semester for five semesters, a faculty mentor and enrolls in an interdisciplinary seminar taught by a faculty member noted for a distinguished teaching record. The full press release can be found at this link.

May 11, 2012

Steve Sanders Victoria Zhukova KU CMS Physics Featured in Fermilab Newsletter
KU Chair Stephen Sanders and grad student Victoria Zhukova, both collaborating in research at CMS, appear in a CMS news note from the Physics Today web page for Friday May 11. The short article discusses CMS experiments and their impact on our understanding of the quark-gluon soup. For the complete story, click on this link.

May 10, 2012

PHSX211 LaunchIt's a Bird; It's a Plane; It's My Grade!
Congratulations to Prof. Chris Fischer and more than 60 students in his PHSX 211 class on an uplifting demonstration of Newtonian physics. Chris held a projectile competition on a former practice field south of Allen Fieldhouse, assigning credit based upon the distance travelled by a projectile launched using a trebuchet, catapult, or slingshot in one of three size categories. The class and department greatly appreciate the cooperation of the Athletic Department and Paul Buskirk, Associate Athletic Director, in helping set up this edutainment.

Apr. 26, 2012

New program teaches youngsters nitty-gritty of nanoscale, energy
A suite of new educational material at KU, as part of the Nanotechnology for Renewable Energy project, is introducing the world of nanoscale and energy to students in elementary and middle schools. Much of the effort focuses on a new hands-on program for schools at the KU Natural History Museum, where students explore energy through the world of cartoon physics, including falling anvils, giant rubber bands and TNT. The full article can be accessed at this link.

Apr. 20, 2012

Steve HawleyAstronomy Prof/Retired Astronaut Discusses the End of the Shuttle Era
Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Steve Hawley, talked with the Lawrence Journal-World about the decommission and retirement of the space shuttle Discovery, which he traveled to space in multiple times, including on the mission 22 years ago that launched the Hubble deep-space telescope. The full article can be accessed at this link.

Apr. 13, 2012

Gemma Tinti KU High Energy Postdoc Featured in CMS Press Release
KU Postdoc at CMS,Gemma Tinti, appears in a CMS news note from the Physics Today web page for Friday April 13. The short article discusses attempts to discover exceptionally rare particles hidden in time loops. For the complete story, click on this link.

Apr. 10, 2012

Juliet Remmers New KU YouTube Video Features UG Physics Research
Sophomore Juliet Remmers, a dance major, received an undergraduate research award to conduct Physics research at KU. Her project with Prof. Dave Besson is featured in a new on-line video promoting undergraduate research experiences at KU. The video is accessible on YouTube via this link.

Apr. 04, 2012

Department Majors Win Two Goldwater Scholarships!
As part of a four-for-four sweep by KU within the Goldwater Scholarship competition, Jeremy Ims (Astronomy, Physics, Math) and Brittany Nicole Krutty (Physics) have been selected as Goldwater Scholars for 2012. The full list of winners nationwide can be found at this link. Of the schools currently in the Big 12 or planning to join in the future, only KU had all four nominees receive scholarships. Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually.

Apr. 04, 2012

Researcher's Innovation Boosts Performance of Graphene for Solar Panels
Judy Wu, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and her research group,in collaboration with Professor Rongqing Hui's group in KU electrical engineering and computer science, have developed a technique for attaching a layer of metal nanoparticles to graphene, vastly improving graphene's capacity to soak up sunlight and re-emit it in a much-condensed form due to "plasmonic resonance," a critical step toward high-efficiency solar cells that drastically improves their light absorption. The full story can be accessed at this link.

April 02, 2012

In Memoriam: Mavis Wiseman, 1918 - 2012
Mavis Paterson Wiseman, 94, wife of Professor Emeritus Gordon Wiseman, passed away on April 1, 2012 at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor. A memorial service for Mavis will be held 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 6, 2012 at First Presbyterian Church, Lawrence. More details can be found at this link

Feb. 28, 2012

Electron-detection breakthrough could unleash next-generation technologies
Physics researchers at the University of Kansas have discovered a new method of detecting electric currents based on a process called "second-harmonic generation," similar to a radar gun for electrons that can remotely detect their speed. Dr. Hui Zhao, collaborated on the research at KU's Ultrafast Laser Lab with Dr. Judy Wu, University Distinguished Professor of Physics, and graduate students Brian Ruzicka, Lalani Werake, Guowei Xu. The full story can be accessed at this link.

Feb. 27, 2012

16 Things: Steve Hawley traveled the world and outer space before returning to KU
As part of a semiregular series for the Lawrence Journal World, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Steve Hawley, was interviewed to discuss 16 things that he has done that have influenced his life in one way or another. The full story can be accessed at this link. Steve is the second department faculty member interviewed for the series, following in the footsteps of Prof. Anthony-Twarog.

Feb. 21, 2012

Research links uplifting continents to crashes in biodiversity on Earth
A mysterious cycle of booms and busts in marine biodiversity over the past 500 million years could be tied to a periodic uplifting of the world's continents, as reported in a paper coauthored by Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Adrian Melott, in the latest issue of The Journal of Geology. The full story can be accessed at this link.

Feb. 09, 2012

ING Honors University of Kansas Professor for Excellence in Teaching
Financial services leader ING has honored University of Kansas Professor Greg Rudnick with the ING Professor of Excellence Award for his outstanding performance in the classroom and commitment to the profession. The award was presented at Allen Fieldhouse during the Kansas vs. Oklahoma men's basketball game. The ING Professor of Excellence Award is presented to a member of the university faculty for his or her achievements and dedication to excellence in teaching at the university. The recognition includes a $1,000 grant. The full story can be accessed here. A video of the award can be viewed here.

Jan. 08, 2012

AAS Dispatch: Astronaut Looks Back at 50 Years of Human Spaceflight
For the KU Astrophysics program, it was an exciting week in Austin at the 219th meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Among two of the many highlights, program alumnus, retired astronaut, and current faculty member Professor Steve Hawley, (BA: Astronomy, Physics 1973), gave an invited talk on the 50-year history of human spaceflight, a talk which ended with a standing ovation from the audience of over 1000 astronomers. At the same meeting, it was announced that Dr. Ron Gilliland, (BA: Astronomy, Math, Physics, 1974) has been awarded the Tinsley Prize for 2012. For more on Ron's research, check out the alumni news page.

For DEPARTMENT NEWS BEFORE JAN.2012, click here.

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