Congratulations to Ann Hermundstad for her Burroughs Wellcome Fund Award!

Ann was awarded this grant for her work on emergent neural function and the natural world.

The Department of Physics & Astronomy and School of Engineering Team Up to Show How Liquid Crystals Can Form Compounds Lenses

The study was led by Francesca Serra and Mohamed Amine Gharbi, postdoctoral researchers in theDepartment of Physics & Astronomy in the School of Arts & Sciences, along with Kathleen Stebe, deputy dean for research and a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the

Physics Professor Vijay Balasubramanian Participating in World Science Festival in NYC!

The World Science Festival’s annual salon series offers in-depth conversations with leading scientists, extending the discussion of the Festival’s premier public programs to graduate students, postdocs, faculty and well-informed members of the general public.


Check out the Events list to find more information on this global science venue.

Spotlight on Physics Professor Randall Kamien in Simons Foundation E-News

Kamien has found that many problems in soft condensed matter theory can be formulated very naturally as geometry or topology problems. “We look at problems where often the solution is about drawing a picture or building a tinker toy model of what we’re trying to understand,” explains Kamien. “And then we have to understand why the tinker toy model is the right answer." Kamien is especially fond of working with liquid crystals: the kind used in many types of consumer electronics displays.


Physics & Astronomy Professor Alison Sweeney, Visits Springside Chestnut Hill Academy

Dr. Sweeney was brought to SCH through the Kleckner Scientist in Residence program, which brings a talented scientist to the school each year to work with students over a three-day period. This program is unique in that students get to actually work with scientists, exploring topics connected to that researcher’s area of expertise. The students learn about the scientist’s current work and passions, work with the scientist to collect and analyze data using new, state-of-the-art equipment supported by the program, and communicate with the scientist when doing follow-up labs.


Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Masao Sako Takes Us Way Back.

"Next time you take a sip from your water bottle, you might want to consider the fact that you are ingesting 14-billion-year-old molecules." 

To watch the 60-second lecture, please visit:

Congratulations to Professor Randall Kamien on Pushing New Topical Group, GSOFT Off the Ground!

In Spring of 2014, GSOFT was founded, the topical group on soft matter. The first official GSOFT meeting, held during the 2015 March meeting, generated a roughly 50% increase in the number of submitted soft matter abstracts over previous years. After existing for just one year, its now gained support from over 900 members.

"Soft matter has no fundamental overarching theories. The challenge in soft matter is to pose the right questions, make the right measurements, and find patterns in the materials that nature has provided."

After the Higgs: Penn Gears Up for New Physics Discoveries at CERN

After a two-year hiatus, the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, is gearing up for its second run. The LHC enabled the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson, which gives mass to all particles, but the world’s most complicated scientific apparatus is far from finished.

Penn Researchers Help Make Maps of the Universe’s Dark Matter

Members of the Dark Energy Survey have released the first in a series of maps that show the concentration of dark matter in the cosmos. These maps, created with one of the world’s most powerful digital cameras, are the largest contiguous maps created at this level of detail and will improve researchers’ understanding of dark matter’s role in the formation of galaxies.

"Penn's Best Professors"

After receiving 150 nominations in the vote for the best Professor at Penn as noted in 34th Street magazine, Congratulations to Dr. Robert Johnson on being voted Penn's Best in the Department of Physics of class, Physics 140!