On June 17, 2017, the Department of Physics and Astronomy lost one of its most distinguished members with the passing of Elias Burstein at age 99. Eli joined the Penn faculty in 1958 and held the positions of Mary Amanda Wood Professor of Physics from 1982 and became Mary Amanda Wood Professor Emeritus following his retirement in 1988. Eli was also a founding father of the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM) in 1960.
Prof. Justin Khoury, who is part of a team of researchers that was just awarded a 2017 W. M. Keck Foundation Science and Engineering Grant. The collaboration, led by Prof. Holger Mueller at UC Berkeley, will use atom interferometry to test various theories of the dark sector, including chameleon and symmetron dark energy fields that Prof. Khoury proposed some years ago. The grant of 1 million dollars over 3 years will fully support a theory postdoctoral fellow at Penn.
Justin Khoury, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, has been featured in an article in Quanta Magazine regarding his research on Dark Matter. Prof. Khoury, together with former Penn postdoc Lasha Berezhiani, recently proposed that in the cold, dense environment of the galactic halo, dark matter condenses into a superfluid — an exotic quantum state of matter that has zero viscosity.
Penn physics PhD student, Zoey Davidson, in collaboration with Yodh, Collings, and Kamien, explored the physics of a new kind of drying drop - one filled with liquid crystals. The formation of different phases during drying led to dramatically different fluid movement and solid deposition.
To read this story in full, visit https://news.upenn.edu/news/penn-physicists-discover-why-drying-liquid-crystal-drops-leave-unusual-coffee-rings
Drndic and Johnson’s labs, together with researchers from Penn State, explore the creation and size control of two dimensional tungsten disulfide nanopores with light.
“We’d like to see if we can use this phenomenon, this chemical reaction, to actually make pores with light. As scientists at a university, we have the luxury of playing around a little bit to see what works better,” Drndić says. “We’re able to explore, which can lead to some new ideas. We’re laying down the fundamental basis behind how nanopores work so that one day engineers can continue the technology.”
Congratulations to Sarah Friedensen (far left) who received the 2017 NSF Graduate Fellowship. Sarah’s work includes electronics transport in topological and two-dimensional materials in Prof. Drndic lab.At the 2017 APS March Meeting in New Orleans she gave a talk on "Electron-beam nanosculpting and materials analysis of exfoliated bismuth selenide”
Professor Bhuvnesh Jain and Postdoctoral Fellow Eric Baxter surveyed the sky to find evidence that the dark matter halos surrounding galaxy clusters have a discernible edge. Analysis of a galaxy survey called the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has confirmed the reality of these edges through shifts in the distribution and colors of galaxies. Through their research, they are gaining a better understanding of the nature of dark matter.
PhD Candidate Asja Radja has been honored with the 2017 Dean's award for Distinguished Teaching. The Dean's Award seeks to recognize teaching that is intellectually rigorous, exceptionally coherent, and that has considerable impact upon students. Recipients of the Dean's Award embody unusually high standards of integrity, fairness and commitment to learning. A warm congratulations to Asja!
To view last year's recipients, visit (https://www.college.upenn.edu/teaching-award-nominations)
The College of Arts and Sciences recognizes the exemplary performance of teaching excellence and committment toward the education of our students. A warm congratulations to Professors Evelyn Thomson and Cullen Blake on being honored as recipients of 2017 awards for distinguished teaching!