In superstring theory, the fundamental building block is an extended object, namely a string, whose vibrations would give rise to the particles encountered in nature. In order to solve certain classic problems of unified gauge theories, the 4-dimensional effective theory should be in a space which is a Calabi-Yau manifold of complex dimension 3.
Penn researchers including Penn physicists Marija Drndic and Jay Kikkawa have designed specialized protein molecules that organize around carbon nanotubes into an atomistically-predefined pattern. Targeted design of such self-organization is a powerful tool for engineering at the nano scale.
Penn physicists study graphenes, atomically thin sheets of carbon atoms in a honeycomb lattice. Graphene is the prototype Dirac material hosting a solid state realization of an ultra-relativistic electron gas and accessing new phenomena that are controlled by electric and magnetic fields and by the atomic registry when graphenes are stacked.
Reflective Self-Assembling Proteins
Prof. Alison Sweeney studies the biophysical properties of reflectin - a highly reflective and self-organizing squid protein found in cephalopods like the Hawaiian Bobtail squid shown here.
Atacama Cosmology Telescope - in the north of Chile
The Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) is a 6-meter telescope located in the Atacama Desert of Chile on Cerro Toco. It's goals are to study how the universe began and evolved to its current state and to discover its major constituents. By observing the cosmic microwave background with great precision, the ACT experiment should get unprecedented measurments of cosmological parameters.
The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics was jointly awarded today to Dr. Takaaki Kajita of Japan and Dr. Arthur B. McDonald of Canada, for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass. Professor Kajita was the leader of the Super-Kamiokande experiment, and Professor McDonald the Director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observator (SNO), an experiment in which the University of Pennsylvania group played a critical role.