Penn Physics Research Enhances Studies of Human Perception

Two graduate students from the Living Matter lab of Dr. Vijay Balasubramanian have moved into research on human perception. John Briguglio examines whether our sensory apparatus is tailored to our natural environment-- specifically, the textures of the natural landsape of Botswana.

Penn Physics Professor Finds Light under the Sea

Penn Physics and Astronomy Assistant Professor Alison Sweeney's research on undersea biooptics may have implications for solar energy and the development of biofuels. As reported on the SASFrontiers website, Sweeney's research indicates that proteins in mollusc shells, called reflectins, help propagate solar energy underwater to optimize photosynthesis in algae colonies.

Penn Physicists Help Show Math Behind Growth of "Coffee Rings"

Physicists Arjun Yodh and D.J. Durian and their groups explore how particles stack up as they reach an evaporating drop's edge. The different particles make smoother or rougher deposition profiles depending on their shape.

Read more about this work in:

APS Physics Forum:

Penn Humanities Forum

David Spergel, the Charles A. Young Professor of Astronomy at Princeton University, is giving the Penn Humanities Forum lecture today at the Rainey Auditorium of the Penn Museum at 5pm.  The title is "The Edges of the Visible Universe".  Pre-registration is required.  The event details are located at

This lecture is co-sponsored by the department. 


Emeritus Professor Al Mann

Emeritus Professor of Physics Alfred K. Mann passed away on Jan. 13.  Prof. Mann was one of the 3 original members of the Penn Experimental High Energy Physics group and played crucial roles in a number of neutrino physics experiments.  His funeral will be held Wed., Jan 16th at 10:15am at the Bringhurst Funeral Home, West Laurel Hill cemetery in Bala Cynwyd.

Penn Team Making Waves

A team of Penn researchers, including Prof. Randy Kamien, have shown that they can manipulate defects at the top of a stack of layers of  liquid crystals using a physical template at the bottom of the crystals.  Their template sheet might be used as a template to assemble other molecules or use heat to modify the template sheet and hence the pattern of defects in a subtle way rather than the use of electrical fields to modify the pattern of defects as is typically done.

Charlie Kane nominee for Fundamental Physics Prize

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, the Fundamental Physics Prize Selection Committee announced that a group consisting of Charlie Kane, Laurens Molenkamp of the University of Wuerzburg in Germany, and Shoucheng Zhang of Stanford have won the 2013 Physics Frontier Prize.  This makes them automatic nominees for the 2013 Fundamental Physics Prize of $3M to be announced on March 20, 2013 at CERN.  The nomination is for work on "topological insulators".

Andrea Liu elected to AAAS

Andrea Liu is one of five Penn faculty members to be named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Andrea was elected for distinguished contributions in theoretical physics, particularly for demonstrating that slow relaxation in many different systems can be viewed within a common framework called “jamming.”

Postdoctoral Fellow for Academic Diversity

Dr. Natalie Arkus has been selected for a Postdoctoral Fellowship for Academic Diversity to work in the department with Prof. Randy Kamien.  This selection comes with the strongest support of the review and selection panels that went through the many well-qualified applications to the program.