• Remembering Emeritus Professor Elias Burstein

    On June 17, 2017, the Department of Physics and Astronomy lost one of its most distinguished members with the passing of Elias Burstein at age 99.  Eli joined the Penn faculty in 1958 and held the positions of Mary Amanda Wood Professor of Physics from 1982 and became Mary Amanda Wood Professor Emeritus following his retirement in 1988. Eli was also a founding father of the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM) in 1960.

  • Prof. Khoury receives 2017 W. M. Keck Foundation Science and Engineering Grant

    Prof. Justin Khoury, who is part of a team of researchers that was just awarded a 2017 W. M. Keck Foundation Science and Engineering Grant. The collaboration, led by Prof. Holger Mueller at UC Berkeley, will use atom interferometry to test various theories of the dark sector, including chameleon and symmetron dark energy fields that Prof. Khoury proposed some years ago. The grant of 1 million dollars over 3 years will fully support a theory postdoctoral fellow at Penn.

  • Penn Researchers Uncover Complex Behavior of Drying Liquid Crystal Drops

    Penn physics PhD student, Zoey Davidson, in collaboration with Yodh, Collings, and Kamien, explored the physics of a new kind of drying drop - one filled with liquid crystals. The formation of different phases during drying led to dramatically different fluid movement and solid deposition.

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  • Prof. Khoury’s research featured in Quanta: “Dark Matter Recipe Calls for One Part Superfluid”

    Justin Khoury, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, has been featured in an article in Quanta Magazine regarding his research on Dark Matter. Prof. Khoury, together with former Penn postdoc Lasha Berezhiani, recently proposed that in the cold, dense environment of the galactic halo, dark matter condenses into a superfluid — an exotic quantum state of matter that has zero viscosity.

  • Physics and Astronomy PhD Candidate Awarded 2017 NSF Graduate Fellowship

    Congratulations to Sarah Friedensen (far left) who received the 2017 NSF Graduate Fellowship. Sarah’s work includes electronics transport in topological and two-dimensional materials in Prof. Drndic lab.At the 2017 APS March Meeting in New Orleans she gave a talk on  "Electron-beam nanosculpting and materials analysis of exfoliated bismuth selenide”

  • Penn Researchers Study How New 2-D Nanopores React to Light

    Drndic and Johnson’s labs, together with researchers from Penn State, explore the creation and size control of two dimensional tungsten disulfide nanopores with light.

  • Penn Researchers Provide New Insight Into Dark Matter Halos

    Professor Bhuvnesh Jain and Postdoctoral Fellow Eric Baxter surveyed the sky to find evidence that the dark matter halos surrounding galaxy clusters have a discernible edge. Analysis of a galaxy survey called the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has confirmed the reality of these edges through shifts in the distribution and colors of galaxies. Through their research, they are gaining a better understanding of the nature of dark matter.

  • Physics and Astronomy Professors Awarded for Distinguished Teaching 2017

    The College of Arts and Sciences recognizes the exemplary performance of teaching excellence and committment toward the education of our students. A warm congratulations to Professors Evelyn Thomson and Cullen Blake on being honored as recipients of 2017 awards for distinguished teaching! 

  • Physics and Astronomy PhD Candidate Awarded for Distinguished Teaching

    PhD Candidate Asja Radja has been honored with the 2017 Dean's award for Distinguished Teaching. The Dean's Award seeks to recognize teaching that is intellectually rigorous, exceptionally coherent, and that has considerable impact upon students. Recipients of the Dean's Award embody unusually high standards of integrity, fairness and commitment to learning. A warm congratulations to Asja!

    To view last year's recipients, visit (

  • Physics and Astronomy Alum on 'Smarter Machines'

    Penn Physics alum Jessamyn Fairfield has written a feature for the March 2017 issue of Physics World about neuromorphic electronics, novel devices whose function mimics synaptic function. Neuromorphic features can be realized in a variety of materials, from nanomaterials to polymers, and may enable the development of electronic skin, novel computational paradigms, or smart neuroprosthetics. Jessamyn is currently a professor at NUI Galway in Ireland, and did her PhD research in the Drndic lab on semiconducting nanocrystal optoelectronics.