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 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 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 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 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.


PhD Candidate Takes on the Flame Challenge

Physics and Astronomy graduate student, Dillon Fox, is challenged to answer the question "What is energy?" judged by a team of eleven year old scientists in training in a bid to amplify effective communication with the public. To watch Fox's Flame Challenge video entry, visit OMNIA

Adaptive Architecture for Energy-Saving Buildings

As published in Advanced Science News, kirigami structures will someday literally reshape our world. These metamaterials have the unique ability to control their shape and design in response to external stimuli. With the introduction of notches, kirigami structures gain even more mobility and control. These enhanced kiri-kirigami implement thermal control and light control that can be especially useful in architecture and energy saving buildings.

Eli Burstein Lecture: "Confinement & Tunneling, Pillars of Nanoscience"

(Lecture on Feb. 14, 3-4pm, Glandt Forum, Singh Center for Nanotechnology)


Cullen Blake, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, describes the discovery of Proxima Centauri b by a team led by Dr. Guillem Anglada-Escudé of Queen Mary University in London. This Earth-like planet is right in our own backyard, orbiting one of the closest stars to our Sun. Blake hopes that with the help of a new generation of telescopes, we will be able to learn amazing things about our new neighbor."

To read this story in full, visit OMNIA

Annual Women in Physics Public Lecture: "Sounds of Silent: Listening to the Universe with Gravitational Waves”

On Thursday, December 8, the Physics and Astronomy Department will host the second Annual Women in Physics Public Lecture, to be delivered by Prof. Alessandra Buonanno, Director at Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics. The event is made possible by a Fund to Encourage Women grant.