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.

Phosphorene makes cover of ACS Nano

Drndic lab work has been featured on the cover of ACS Nano, June 28, 2016 issue

Two pieces showcasing the P&A department featured in Omnia

Penn’s Arts and Sciences magazine, Omnia, highlights our faculty members’ research projects delving into space.  

Also check out their new section Origin Stories, featuring Chair, Mark Trodden.

Graduate student Lisa Tran's work highlighted on the cover of the June 28th issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

This work, "Lassoing saddle splay and the geometrical control of topological defects," was done with postdoctoral fellow Max Lavrentovich.  The two work with Professors Randy Kamien (Physics and Astronomy) and Kate Stebe (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering). 

For the full article visit PNAS:

Dr. Dan Beller, Physics and Astronomy alum, won the 2016 Glenn Brown prize from the International Liquid Crystal Society.

The Honors and Awards Committee of the ILCS selected Dr. Beller for his thesis work:

For his outstanding theoretical work to identify the rich possibilities and outcomes of controlling defects in nematic and smectic liquid crystals under a variety of boundary conditions.  The demonstration of the well controlled disclinations and focal conics is expected to open up a novel route for self-assembly in soft-ordered materials.

Royal Astronomical Society spotlights Prof. Mariangela Bernardi's project on black holes

The supermassive black holes found at the centre of every galaxy may be smaller than previously thought. If Mariangela Bernardi and her colleagues are right, then the gravitational waves produced when they merge will be harder to detect than previously assumed.