October 14, 2013
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
It'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
Astronomy 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
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
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.