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Physics 141 Students Transform Professor Wolfs into Techno Maistro

December 25, 2009

Physics 141 studentsThe 2009 Christmas party showcased the true spirit of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Each year, faculty, staff, and students join for an hour of music and refreshments, but 2009 brought us something new:


Neutrino Events Detected for First Time in T2K Experiment

November 24, 2009

Prof. Kevin McFarlandPhysicists from the T2K neutrino collaboration announced today that they have detected the first events generated by the neutrino beam at the J-PARC accelerator laboratory in Tokai, Japan. This detection marks the beginning of the operational phase of the T2K experiment, a ~500 physicist, 12-nation collaboration to measure new properties of the ghostly neutrino.


UR Physicists Determine Mass Difference between Top and Antitop Quarks

October 6, 2009

A team of physicists in the Department has performed the first direct measurement of the mass difference between a quark and its antimatter partner (antiquark). Quarks are the fundamental particles that make up protons and neutrons, the stuff that regular matter is made of. Before antimatter was discovered, Paul Dirac introduced it as a requirement of the laws of quantum mechanics and Einstein's relativity. Scientists have been producing and studying antimatter such as antiprotons, antineutrons and antielectrons (or positrons) for many decades. All antimatter particles are supposed to have the same masses and lifetimes as their matter partners, but with opposite electric charges. Indeed, the masses and lifetimes of antimatter particles have been measured and found to be identical to their normal matter counterparts. Even more complicated objects such as pions, kaons, light nuclei, and hydrogen atoms appear to agree with this matter and antimatter "symmetry."


Carl R. Hagen Wins 2010 J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics

September 30, 2009

Prof. HagenCarl R. Hagen, Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, was both thrilled and surprised today when he learned that he is one of six recipients of one of the most prestigious prizes in his field: the 2010 American Physical Society's J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics. The annual prize recognizes and encourages outstanding achievement in particle theory.


United States Marine Gustavo Maravilla-Hernandez Serves in Iraq While Taking Physics 141 and Math 171Q

September 29, 2009

US Marine Gustavo Maravilla-HernandezUnited States Marine Gustavo Maravilla-Hernandez is serving in Iraq while taking Physics 141 and Math 171Q. You might wonder how he does it: being a Marine and taking some of the most challenging courses offered by the University of Rochester.


Riccardo Betti Wins Edward Teller Medal for Fusion Research

September 23, 2009

Prof. BettiRiccardo Betti, senior scientist in laser energetics, professor of mechanical engineering and physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester and director of the Fusion Science Center for Extreme States of Matter, has won the Edward Teller Medal for his research into laser-driven fusion at the University's Laboratory for Laser Energetics. The award is named after Edward Teller, the co-founder of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and one of the key designers of the hydrogen bomb. Only two honorees are chosen to receive the award every other year. Betti was presented with a silver medal and $2,000 on Sept. 10 at the International Conference on Inertial Fusion Sciences and Applications in San Francisco, Calif.


Jamie M. Dougherty Receives Jane and Frank Warchol Scholarship from the Society of Vacuum Coaters

September 23, 2009

Jamie DoughertyA member of the Class of 2011, Jamie M. Dougherty has received a one-year Jane and Frank Warchol Scholarship from the Society of Vacuum Coaters (SVC). Since Fall 2008, Jamie has been doing research for The Optics MANufacturing Group (OMAN) in the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, under the supervision of Senior Manufacturing Engineer Nelson LeBarron and Senior Laboratory Engineer Pete Kupkinski.


Gregory S. Bentsen Wins 2009 Physics Honors Prize

September 23, 2009

Bentsen receives his award from Prof. WolfsThe Department of Physics congratulates Gregory S. Bentsen, the 2009 recipient of the Physics Honors Prize, which is awarded annually to the top-performing undergraduate in the freshman/sophomore Honors Physics sequence. In consultation with the Chair of Undergraduate Awards Committee, Gregory's instructors in PHY 141, 142, 143, and 237 selected him for the honor, which includes a copy of The Feynman Lectures in Physics volumes, a paid membership in the AAPT, and a subscription to Physics Today.


Emil Wolf Proposes Method to Determine the Phases of X-ray Beams Diffracted by Crystals

September 23, 2009

Prof. Emil WolfIn a recent Physical Review Letters  paper, Wilson Professor of Optical Physics and Theoretical Physics Emil Wolf introduces a technique that overcomes the long-standing difficulties relating to measuring phases of diffracted x-ray beams in structure determination of crystals. The current methods incorrectly assume that x-rays are monochromatic, and as Wolf points out in a recent article, this type of beam is not found in nature and cannot be created in the lab. He proposes that physicists use spatially coherent x-rays that can be produced in the lab and that they measure beam correlation functions to obtain missing structural data.


Professor Adam Frank's Science Writing Makes National Collection

July 7, 2009

Prof. FrankAdam Frank, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Rochester, is a computational scientist whose research group develops state of the art supercomputer codes to study star formation and stellar death. He is also a popular science writer who has written numerous articles for national magazines as well as a recent book on Science and Religion. Now one of Frank's magazine articles has garnered the national honor of being included in "The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009" published by Houghton Mifflin. Each year the "Best of" editors read hundreds of articles on science and nature from sources ranging from the New Yorker to Natural History. Of those articles only a handful are selected for the book.


Class of 2009 Graduates with Many Honors

June 1, 2009

Congratulations to the 2009 graduates of the Department of Physics and Astronomy! In the graduation ceremony held today:


SUNY Geneseo Confers Honorary Doctorate to Professor Esther Conwell

May 29, 2009

Prof. ConwellAt its graduation ceremony on May 16, SUNY Geneseo awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree to Esther Conwell, University of Rochester Professor of Physics and Chemistry. Conwell is best known for her research in semiconductor physics and transistor design, efforts that propelled her to the forefront of the birth of the computer revolution.


NASA Spitzer Space Telescope Moves from Cryogenic to "Warm" Mission

May 29, 2009

The NASA Spitzer Space Telescope's cryogenic mission is over. At approximately 2:30 PM EDT on Friday, 15 May 2009, precisely as expected, the last of the facility's liquid-helium coolant evaporated. The telescope and instruments began quickly to warm up from the temperature, 1.5 degrees above absolute zero, at which they have been kept for the 5.7-year duration of the mission. The temperature is expected to level off at about 30 degrees above absolute zero, at which the observatory's Infrared Spectrograph and Multiband Imaging Photometer, and half of the detector arrays in the Infrared Array Camera, can no longer function.


PAS Graduate Student Amy Wakim Attends Meeting of 26 Physics Nobel Laureates

May 5, 2009

Amy WakimAmy Wakim, now a fourth-year graduate student in Professor Bigelow's lab, won the honor of attending the 58th Meeting of Nobel Laureates at Lindau, Germany in June of 2008. Nominated by the University, Amy was selected by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) from a large pool of applicants sponsored by the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, Mars, Inc., and ORAU.


Rochester Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Physics and Astrophysics Grant Renewed for Three Years

April 30, 2009

The Department of Physics and Astronomy has been awarded a grant to renew its successful Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program for another three years (2009-2012). The grant totals $434,468 and is the sixth award since the program was initiated in 1994. It is co-funded by the Physics and Astronomy Divisions of the National Science Foundation and the ASSURE program of the Department of Defense.  The Department's REU program is under the direction of Professor Arie Bodek and Project Administrator Ms. Connie Jones.


Weak value measurements by a strong duo

April 23, 2009

Jordan and HowellAssistant Professor Andrew Jordan and Associate Professor John Howell teamed up this past year with collaborators to make three strong advances related to weak value measurements and slow light. First, they discovered that gravity can push slow light down by about 1 Angstrom in the lab. Second, they demonstrated an optical pi cross-phase modulation jump. And third, they were able to measure extremely small (560-femtoradian) shifts of an optical beam. Much of this work merged Jordan's theoretical research with weak value measurements and Howell's experimental research with slow light and optical systems.


Four Undergraduates Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

April 7, 2009

Three seniors and one junior have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa this year:


Sixty Students Participate in the 2009 Rochester Symposium for Undergraduate Physics Students (RSPS)

April 4, 2009

April 4, 2009 marked the day of the twenty-eighth Annual Rochester Symposium for Undergraduate Physics Students (RSPS), held this year at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  Overall, sixty undergraduates from eight colleges and universities participated by either attending or speaking about their research.


Undergraduate Awards Announced

March 16, 2009

The Department of Physics is pleased to announce the winners of this year's undergraduate awards, including the National-level Winston Churchill Foundation Scholarship, the Honors Physics Prizes, the John Castle Jr. and John Radu Scholarships, and on behalf of Phi Beta Kappa, the Iota Book Awards.


Alumnus Florencia Canelli (PhD, 2003) Awarded 2009 Sloan Research Fellowship

March 4, 2009

Florencia Canelli (PhD, 2003)Alumnus Florencia Canelli (PhD, 2003) has received a Sloan Research Fellowship for 2009. The Sloan two-year fellowships are awarded annually to 118 researchers based on their performance and "potential to make substantial contributions" to their fields. Thirty-eight Sloan Fellows have gone on to win Nobel Prizes.


Professor Emil Wolf Receives Award for 50 Years as a Faculty Member

March 3, 2009

Profs. Bigelow, Wolf, and KnoxWilson Professor of Optical Physics and Theoretical Physics Emil Wolf stood before a packed Sloan Auditorium on March 2nd. He greeted the audience of approximately 175 people and the lights dimmed. The first slide of his presentation, Unified Theory of Coherence and Polarization of Light and Some of Its Applications, appeared on the drop-down screen.


NYS APS Spring 2009 Meeting Announced

March 1, 2009

The April 2009 symposium of the New York State Section of the American Physical Society will take place on April 17-18 at the University of Rochester. This marks the 100th symposium. The topic this year is:


Rochester Senior Awarded Prestigious Churchill Scholarship

February 17, 2009

Krsitin BeckHonor Bestowed Upon a University of Rochester Student for Third Consecutive Year


American Institute of Physics Cites UR SPS Chapter as One of the Nation's Best

February 16, 2009

SPS AwardThe American Institute of Physics has selected the University of Rochester Society of Physics Students (SPS) as "an Outstanding SPS Chapter for the 2007-2008 school year."  Gary D. White, the Director of the SPS national program, awarded this honor to our SPS chapter based on the depth of our activities in "physics research, public science outreach, physics tutoring programs, hosting and representation at physics meetings and events, and providing social interaction for chapter members."  The award, he added, is a testament to the UR chapter's personal leadership skills and superior performance.


First Laboratory Experiment to Accurately Model Stellar Jets Explains Mysterious "Knots"

February 9, 2009

Adam FrankSome of the most breathtaking objects in the cosmos are the jets of matter streaming out of stars, but astrophysicists have long been at a loss to explain how these jets achieve their varied shapes. Now, laboratory research detailed in the current issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters shows how magnetic forces shape these stellar jets.


The Death of Entanglement: Life Without Half-Life

February 3, 2009

Joseph EberlyAll Natural Processes Follow a Half-Life Rule when Decaying--Except Entanglement