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. 

Penn Physicist Explores Quantum Theory of Gravity

Vijay Balasubramanian, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, is a Principal Investigator in the “It from Qubit” project which includes institutions across the United States and in Canada, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom and Argentina.   The project is investigating the idea that the fabric of spacetime is knitted together by quantum entanglement.   Utilizing the sciences of quantum computers and the study of space time and general relativity, Vijay hopes to discover the components that make up space time and decode the quantum nature of large-scale events in the cosmos.

Penn Astronomers Discover a Dwarf Planet Candidate

Masao Sako and Gary Bernstein of Physics and Astronomy and Physics majors Paul Chichura, Paulina Destarac, Tongtian Liu, William Saunders, and Tarmily Wen, have found a dwarf planet candidate in our Solar System using data from the Dark Energy Survey.  This object is currently 8.5 billion miles away, making it the second farthest known member of the Solar System.  The analysis of the measurement of its size is underway.

Physics Major Presents Research on the Dark Energy Survey

Undergraduate Physics major, Paulina Destarac discusses her research on the Dark Energy Survey.  Her research focuses on astronomical transients and supernovae, aiming to study how the universe expands.  By using computer science, Paulina also hopes to locate Planet Nine, a massive planet that is suspected to exist in the outskirts of our Solar System.

To view Paulina's poster presentation, follow this link:

Synopsis: Evolving Efficient Networks

Professor Eleni Katifori and Postdoctoral Fellow Henrik Ronellenfitsch, collaborate to develop a new model to understand how  the growth of the embedding tissue influences the development of the network it contains. The model predicts that as the tissue grows, a hierarchal network develops in stages that resemble the ones found in the human body as well as in plant leaves. The evolved network is close to a global optimum for transport efficiency showcasing that nature can find the best solution to a complicated problem using only simple rules.