The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics was won by Peter Higgs and Francois Englert for development of the theory of the scalar field that gives mass to elementary particles. Penn physicists Brig Williams, Joe Kroll, Evelyn Thomson, and Elliot Lipeles played important roles in the design and construction of the ATLAS detector and analysis of its data to find the Higgs particle. See the Penn News item for more information.
In seeking new ways to have students learn by directly engaging with their peers and professors, Prof. Ken Lande and Lecturer Robert Johnson are implementing "case-study" laboratories for introductory physics. Students learn how to recognize and explore original observations and deal with unexpected obstacles as part of the process of doing research.
Anshuman Pal is the international award winner in the Mathematical & Physical Sciences category for The Undergraduate Awards. The Undergraduate Awards is the world’s only pan-discipline academic awards program that identifies the leading creative thinkers and problem solvers through their undergraduate coursework. Anshuman will travel to Dublin for the Global Summit in November to receive his medal.
Graphene Frontiers, a company developed through Penn's Center for Technology Transfer's UPStart program by Physics Prof. Charlie Johnson and Zhengtang Luo, a former postdoctoral researcher in Johnson’s lab, has been awarded a $744,600 grant from the National Science Foundation. Graphene Frontiers, founded in 2011, is developing roll-to-roll production of graphene, the “miracle material” at the heart of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics.
The 5-year quest by the Dark Energy Survey (DES) team is underway (3 September 2013) to solve the cosmic detective puzzle of why the expansion of the universe is speeding up rather than slowing down. Penn physicists are playing integral roles on the team and on the mission. Prof. Bhuvnesh Jain is leader of the Penn contingent and co-coordinator of the gravitational lensing group. Prof. Gary Bernstein is co-leader of the Science Verification team that has been fine-tuning the DES camera. Assoc. Prof. Masao Sako is co-coordinator of the Supernovae group working with Prof.
Penn undergraduate major Anshuman Pal has been chosen as a finalist for the American Physical Society's 2013 LeRoy Apker Award. Each year, this award recognizes outstanding achievements in physics by 2 undergraduate students (one from a PhD granting institution and one from a non-PhD institution) who have demonstrated great potential for future scientific accomplishment. Anshuman was nominated for his work with Prof. Gene Mele on understanding the electronic behavior for "twisted graphenes".
We are pleased to announce that Prof. A. T. Charlie Johnson has been appointed to the position of Director of the Nano/Bio Interface Center as of July 1. Charlie has been on the NBIC Executive Committee since its inception and has been instrumental in the growth of the Center. He brings a combination of leadership in collaborative research and a clear vision for the future of the Nano/Bio Center.
World Cafe Live will feature Charlie Johnson, Professor and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Affairs for Physics and Astronomy. On Tuesday, July 23, 2013 from 6-7pm at World Cafe Live (3025 Walnut Street), Prof. Johnson will present his research on how biological structures attached to flat or rolled-up lattices of carbon atoms have enabled his team to build new kinds of sensors for detecting things like Lyme disease bacteria and sniffing out certain cancers.