PhD candidate, Lisa Tran is awarded 5th place in the 2017 Small World in Motion competition. Tran’s entry on cholesteric liquid crystal shells, encapsulating water droplets at a 10X magnification, gave off psychedelic colors under polarized light. The competition which is hosted annually by Nikon features digital photomicrographs of life as seen through a light microscope.
To read more about the competition, visit Nikon Small World
Professor Paul Heiney and collaborators, Karen Winey, Arjun Yodh, Eric Detsi, and Zahra Fakhraai, were awarded a Major Research Instrumentation grant from the NSF for the LRSM's X-Ray Scattering Shared Experimental Facility. Briefly, the new instrument will offer structural information at both high and low spatial resolution across a wide range of length scales (0.09 to 600 nm) and thereby facilitate the study of hierarchical structures in a wide range of hard and soft materials. The MRI award also received matching funds from the LRSM and SEAS.
Physics and Astronomy professor Philip Nelson talks about the power of light and the ongoing optical revolution in the world of natural sciences in his new book From Photon to Neuron: Light, Imaging, Vision. The textbook integrates various sciences, techniques, and concepts ranging from Physics to Chemistry, Biology and more.
To read more about the book, visit http://www.physics.upenn.edu/biophys/PtN
Professor Masao Sako, Rachel Wolf, Ph.D. graduate and David Sliski, Ph.D. candidate educate the public on the solar-eclipse phenomenon – what to expect, why it occurs and which states will showcase total visibility. The researchers hope the excitement of this nation-wide solar-eclipse will be a catalyst for broader conversations about astronomy and in general, about science.
A team led by Professor Alison Sweeney and Postdoctoral Fellow Jing Cai investigated the material structure of squid eye lenses. These spherical lenses achieve remarkable acuity by incorporating a graded refractive index, which reproduces to a high degree of accuracy the ideal parabolic form calculated by Maxwell in 1854. The team found that S-crystallin proteins in the squid eye accomplish this by behaving as patchy colloids—small molecules that have spots of molecular glue that they use to stick together in clusters.
Can explore topology
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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.