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The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo collaboration identify a second gravitational wave event in the data from Advanced LIGO detectors. On December 26, 2015 at 03:38:53 UTC, scientists observed gravitational waves-ripples in the fabric of spacetime-for the second time. The gravitational waves were detected by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA. Read more
PhD Candidate Christopher Johnson exemplifies the best of the Graduate Student Research Assistance (GSRA) program, supported by the Louisiana Space Consortium (LaSPACE). Chris has received consecutive GSRA awards in support of his exemplary research and commitment to professional development. Each award has supported travel to collaborative meetings and scientific conferences, which led to invitations to participate in additional scientific meetings, thus increasing Chris’s experience, professional network, and communication skills while presenting his work. Read more
Extreme light from frozen argon: LSU physicistsMette Gaarde, Mengxi Wu, Kenneth Schafer, andDana Browne, in collaboration with a team of researchers at SLAC/Stanford University have directly compared the ultrafast, extreme ultraviolet radiation emitted by argon atoms when they are in their gas phase or in their weakly bound solid phase and found significant differences between them, as reported today in the journal Nature. The results yield new clues about how energetic electrons in a solid behave, and may yield new compact sources of short wavelength radiation. Read more
Rob Hynes, Brad Schaefer, undergrad Zach Baum, Ching-Cheng Hsu, Mike Cherry et al. present a multi-wavelength study of the low-mass X-ray binary Sco X-1 in "Kepler K2 Observations of Sco X-1: Orbital Modulations and Correlations with Fermi GBM and MAXI" in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Read more
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has announced the selection of WW Georgia Teaching Fellows for 2016. Among them is Louisiana State University 2016 M.S. graduateZachary Edwards. The highly competitive program recruits both recent graduates and career changers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and math-the STEM fields-and prepares them specifically to teach in high-need secondary schools. Read more
The CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET), launched from the Tanegashima Space Center off the southern coast of Japan to the International Space Station in August 2015, has now detected over a hundred million cosmic ray events above 10 GeV. The 1400 lb CALET experiment is the first instrument specifically designed to identify electrons at energies above 10^12 electron volts, and will spend the next 2-5 years measuring very high energy cosmic ray electrons, nuclei, and gamma rays. At LSU, John Wefel, Mike Cherry, Greg Guzik, Amir Javaid, Nick Cannady, Bethany Broekhoven, Doug Granger, Michael Stewart, and a team of undergraduates are working with collaborators at over 30 institutions in Japan, Italy, and the US to analyze the CALET data. Read more
The research of LSU Physicist James Matthews and an international team of scientists is featured in the CERN Courier. The world's largest cosmic-ray experiment, the Pierre Auger Observatory in Mendoza Province, Argentina, is embarking on its next phase, named AugerPrime. Read more
After a whirlwind tour of press conferences, parties and awards following their Feb. 11 announcement of the world's first direct detection of gravitational waves, the team of scientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory are preparing to begin another round of listening for cosmic collisions.Sometime this fall - likely September or October - the twin detectors in Livingston Parish and Hanford, Washington, will again begin collecting data in the search for signals similar to those detected on Sept. 14 from a 1.3 billion-year-old merger of two black holes. Gravitational waves are distortions, or ripples, in the fabric of space and time caused by violent and energetic events such as colliding black holes or neutron stars, exploding supernovae or the birth of the universe itself. The ripples travel through the universe at the speed of light, carrying with them information about the cataclysmic events that created them. Read more
"Scaled plane-wave Born cross sections for atoms and molecules," H. Tanaka, M. J. Brunger, L. Campbell, H. Kato, M. Hoshino, andA. R. P. Rau. Rev. Mod. Phys. 88, 025004 (45 pp) (2016).The Born approximation, as applied and extended by Bethe in the 1930s, has been dominant and useful for calculating scattering cross sections of electrons from atoms and molecules. In the intermediate energy region of 10 to 300 eV, detailed calculations are cumbersome and computationally expensive so that for a variety of applications of radiation penetration in matter, simpler scaled cross sections are valuable. This article critically reviews such cross sections, their theoretical justification and comparison with available experimental data, and provides analytical expressions for a number of atoms and small molecules relevant to astronomy, plasmas, and medicine.
Raman scattering is a powerful technique to probe optical phonons in solids. It usually involves electron-mediated process, involving photon, electron and phonon interactions. In principle, manipulating electrons, for instance by applying a magnetic field, should affect Raman phonon intensity, yet there is no direct experimental measurement. Recently Prof. Ward Plummer and Prof. Jiandi Zhang, through a collaboration with Prof. Qingming Zhang’ s group at Renmin University in Beijing, China, reported the first realization of the idea in a prototype material, MoS2. From monolayer and bilayer to bulk MoS2 they observed a dramatic modification of Raman phonon intensity induced by magnetic field. Such a giant magneto-optical effect appearing at a monoatomic layer level and its technological implications for magnetic-optical devices should inspire a new branch of inelastic light scattering. For detail, read the related published article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more
(Schematic of (A) a three-step Raman excitation process and (B) experimental configuration. Raman spectra of monolayer MoS2 of (C) parallel and (D) perpendicular polarization configurations between incident and scattered light with and without the magnetic field (0 and 9 tesla). The vibrational patterns of the corresponding E and A Raman modes are illustrated in the insets)
Dr. William O. Hamilton was inducted into LSU College of Science Hall of Distinction on April 22, 2016. Dr. Hamilton, a Professor Emeritus in Physics & Astronomy, is considered the "father of gravitational physics at LSU." Over his career, Hamilton made seminal contributions to low-temperature experimental physics that have had major impacts in astronomy and cosmology. His pioneering work was instrumental in attracting the Laser Interferometric Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) facility to Livingston, Louisiana. To read more about Dr. Hamilton and view a photo gallery, visit http://www.phys.lsu.edu/newwebsite/photogallerynew/hamilton.html
Yin Wang, Feng Pan, Kristina D. Launey, Yan-An Luo, andJ. P. Draayer, "Angular momentumprojection for a Nilsson
mean-field plus pairing model", Nucl. Phys. A 950 (2016) 1; doi:10.1016/j. nuclphysa. 2016.03.012. The paper explores the interplay of pairing and deformation in intermediate-mass nuclei based on a new method for restoring the rotational invariance of a general nuclear pairing-plus-deformation Hamiltonian. The pairing term is exactly solved by using the Richardson Gaudin methods, while the deformation enters through an axially deformed mean field of the Nilsson model. Such a general nuclear Hamiltonian breaks the rotational symmetry. To remedy this, we carry out an angular momentum projection for the intrinsic deformed Hamiltonian, which is then applied to low-lying states of good angular momentum. Applications to oxygen, neon, and magnesium isotopes demonstrate the suitability of the method. Read more
A Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics will recognize the scientists and engineers contributing to the momentous detection of gravitational waves from two black holes colliding over a billion light years away. Thirteen physicists and graduate students from LSU, who conduct research where the detections were made at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, in Livingston, La., will be among the recipients of this prestigious honor.
NASA has awarded a Louisiana Space Grant Consortium, or LaSPACE, research team at LSU a grant to develop an instrument that would fly into a thunderstorm to measure how lightning can produce high energy gamma-rays. The student-led project called, Correlation of Terrestrial gamma flashes, Electric fields and Lightning strikes, or COTEL, is one of 39 projects selected by the NASA Office of Education through the Undergraduate Student Instrument Project, or USIP, program. COTEL has been awarded a $200,000 grant. Read more
The U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE NNSA) has awarded LSU's second year PhD student Erin Good with a Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship. Recognizing an ever-increasing demand for scientists highly trained in areas of interest to stewardship science, the DOE NNSA founded the SSGF in 2006. The highly competitive DOE NNSA SSGF selected only seven fellows this year. In addition to an enhanced stipend and covering university tuition and fees, the fellowship experience also allows Good to perform a three-month practicum at one of four DOE national defense laboratories with the aim of developing the nation's nuclear workforce. Read more
Second-year nuclear physics Ph.D. candidate Erin Good is helping expand the boundaries of nuclear physics research. LSU Reveille: Doctoral student awarded national fellowship for nuclear physics research.
Prof. Jorge Pullin was elected fellow of the International Societyfor General Relativity and Gravitation. Every three years the Society
bestows this honor on 1.5% of its members. Read More
Long-term observations made with the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph at Gemini South, combined with Spitzer space telescope data, reveal how core collapse supernovae can make an important, yet largely unrecognized, contribution to the overall dust budget of the Universe. The research of Geoff Clayton with his grad students, Kelsie Krafton and Ed Montiel, as well as his former grad student, Jen Andrews, is featured in Gemini Focus this month on page 5-8. Read more
Small Science Wields Big Ideas -
LSU Celebrates NanoDays: The Biggest Event for the Tiniest of Science. For the seventh consecutive year, LSU will host NanoDays at the Highland Road Park Observatory on Saturday, April 16, from 2-6 p.m. Read more
Catherine Deibel was named a Rainmaker in the category of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Emerging Scholar from LSU Office of Research & Economic Development on March 16, 2016. Rainmakers are faculty members who balance their teaching and research responsibilities while extending the impact of their work to the world beyond academia. Deibel works in the experimental nuclear physics group, conducting research in some of the forefront areas of nuclear physics relating especially to nuclear astrophysics. Read more
Professor and Director of LSU Medical and Health Physics Wayne Newhauser, has been named a Fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. A distinct honor among the medical physics profession, an AAPM Fellow honors members who have made significant contributions through service, the advancement of medical physics knowledge based upon independent original research or development, medical physics educational activities, especially in regard to the education and training of medical physicists, medical students, medical residents and allied health personnel, and leadership in the practice of medical physics. Read More
LSU faculty, students and scholars have had leading roles in the development of several generations of gravitational wave detectors, in their commissioning and operation as well as the collaborations formed. Today's achievement is in part an outcome of LSU's long-term vision and commitment to high-risk, high-potential gain scientific research. Gabriela González, LSU professor of physics and astronomy, is the elected spokesperson and leads the LIGO Science Collaboration. "This detection is the beginning of a new era. The field of gravitational wave astronomy is now a reality," González said.
M. Saghayezhian, L. Chen, G. Wang, H. Guo, E. W. Plummer, and J. Zhang. Have investigated the annealing effect on the surface of SrTiO3 (111), showing an optimal temperature window for epitaxial film growth. Phys. Rev. B 93, 125408.2016. Read More
LSU students, and alumni involved in LIGO reflect on the discovery: LIGO has united founding scientists with alumni and graduate students alike.
Professors Bill Hamilton and Warren Johnson, who had been conducting gravitational wave experiments using the first cryogenic bar detector in the basement of Nicholson Hall, approached LSU about bringing LIGO to Louisiana with the possibility - and eventual probability - of a detection. Hamilton said the need to develop the technology for a detector much larger and more sensitive than the cryogenic bar - which could detect tiny vibrations but had not found gravitational waves - provided some of the impetus for the development of the eventual 2½ - mile long LIGO interferometers. In addition, the location in the southeast US (2000 miles from a west coast detector and suitable to form one element of a triangle with an eventual European detector) and the low level of seismic activity gave significant advantages to a Louisiana location. Read More
Physics major and Tiger Band member Nigel Payne talks about being accepted into the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate (NUPOC) program. Read More
An entrepreneur created Magnetic Cool LLC strictly for the purpose of licensing and commercializing professor Shane Stadler’s invention, which eliminates the use of harmful fluorocarbons and reduces energy usage by 20% to 50% in both residential and commercial heating and cooling systems. The magnetocaloric material uses a magnetic field to heat itself and removes the magnetic field to cool the material below its ambient temperature. Read More
LIGO announces the detection of gravitational waves from a binary black hole merger. On Sept. 14, 2015 at 9:50:45 UTC, the two detectors of the LIGO Observatory simultaneously observed a transient gravitational wave signal due to the inspiral and merger of a pair of black holes, with masses 36 and 29 MΘ, at a distance of approximately 410 Mpc. Read More
Guang Jia and medical physics doctoral candidate Joseph Steiner have developed a device to improve the accuracy of prostate cancer screening. If successful, their device will produce more accurate CT scans of the prostate and improve prostate cancer diagnoses. Read More
Ivan Agullo has received a five-year National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development, or CAREER, award to support his research on the early universe. The NSF CAREER award is one of the foundation’s most prestigious grants awarded to promising junior faculty who effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. Agullo will receive $400,000 for investigating the most extreme epochs in the evolution of the universe and obtaining avenues to observationally test the new ideas. Read More
Through the collaboration with Prof. Jiandong Guo’s group in the Institute of Physics (IOP), Chinese Academy of Science, Prof. Ward Plummer and Prof. Jiandi Zhang with their colleagues, have designed and built a new type of electron energy loss spectroscopy system (see the picture: (from left) Prof.Jiandi Zhang, Dr. Xuetao Zhu, Prof.Ward Plummer and Prof. Jiandong Guo, stand by the system installed at IOP). This newly designed spectrometer provides unique capability of simultaneous electron energy and momentum mapping, thus it is a powerful technique to probe vibrational and electronic excitations at surfaces. The detailed design principle and its applications for studying lattice and charge dynamics as well as their coupling at a crystalline surface have been summarized in their recent publication [see Xuetao Zhu et al., Review of Scientific Instruments 86, 083902 (2015)].
Also recently, both Prof. Zhang and Prof. Plummer group have worked on the understanding of the nature of metal-insulator transition in ultrathin films of crystalline oxide materials. The results have been published in Physical Review B 92, 125123 (2015), which is also a part of the thesis work of a Ph. D. student (Zhaoliang Liao) under the LSU-China Dual Degree Program.
Bradley Schaefer has a wide range of interests throughout astrophysics, including gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, low mass X-ray binaries, eclipsing binaries, Nereid, Pluto, Kuiper Belt Objects, sunspot counts, astronomical effects on history, the accuracy of the press in reporting astronomy, the origin of the Greek and Chinese constellations, archaeoastronomy, astronomical events in history(e.g., the Crucifixion and the Star of Bethlehem), and astronomical events in literature (especially in "The Hobbit" and in the "Sherlock Holmes" canon). Read More
String theory and loop quantum gravity - attempting to unify quantum theory and gravity - Jorge Pullin argues that making LQG compatible with general relativity necessitates interactions that are similar to those found in string theory. Read more
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, is one of NSF's largest investments, which consists of more than 900 scientists from institutions throughout the U.S. and 16 countries working together to detect and analyze gravitational waves as defined by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. The spokesperson for this massive collaboration is LSU Physics & Astronomy Professor and LIGO scientist Gabriela Gonzalez. Internationally recognized for her work with LIGO, Gonzalez has been a member of the LSC since its founding in 1997. She was also featured in "LIGO Generations," a documentary highlighting four generations of researchers committed to proving the existence of gravitational waves. Read more
LSU Astrophysicst Geoffrey Clayton's recent paper is featured in Research Highlights from the journals of the AAS. This paper reports the results of program using Hubble Space Telescope to study the nature of interstellar dust in the Andromeda Galaxy, which is the nearest galaxy similar to the Milky Way. Interstellar dust consists of grains of sand and soot. His team studied how the absorption of ultraviolet light changes at different wavelengths, providing clues to what the dust is made out of, and its size and shape. Read More
Shane Stadler and colleagues discovered a breakthrough material that may change the heating and cooling industry. A Louisiana company called Magnetic Cool LLC licensed this material and is developing a prototype that could provide more efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Read More
LSU Physicist James Matthews and an international team of scientists are reconstructing the path of the Universe's most energetic cosmic rays, bringing new insights into the origin and nature of this intergalactic phenomenon.
Professor Thomas Kutter, Martin Tzanov, and William Metcalf were among the scientists sharing the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics announced on November 8. The $3 million prize is shared among five international experimental collaborations studying neutrino oscillations Read More
Ilya Vekhter has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society. A distinct honor among the physics profession, an American Physical Society Fellow is elected based on exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise including outstanding physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics or significant contributions to physics education Read More
Congratulations! Parampreet Singh has received a five-year National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development, or CAREER, award to support his research on Explorations in Quantum Gravity: Cosmological and Black Hole Spacetimes.Read more
First gamma ray burst observed by CALET Gamma ray Burst Monitor: The CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET) aboard the International Space Station has begun taking data. An example of a TeV electron event observed during the initial commissioning period is shown in the Japanese Space Agency press release.Read More
LSU Physicists Contribute to Nobel Prize Winning Research The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo and Arthur McDonald of Queens University in Canada for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass. LSU Professor of Physics Thomas Kutter and his group of researchers were members of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, or SNO Collaboration, led by McDonald, which made the key measurements by observing neutrinos from the Sun..Read More
"Permanent-magnet energy spectrometer for electron beams from radiotherapy accelerators, " David J. McLaughlin et al, reports the use of a lightweight permanent dipole magnet spectrometer, originally designed for laser plasma research, to measure energy spectra of electron beams used in radiation therapy. Shapes of the energy spectra are important for quality control and for matching beams from different Elekta accelerators, as each shape depends on the phase of the RF power recirculated to its standing wave accelerator.
Small entropy changes allow quantum measurements to be nearly reversed. Physicist Mark M. Wilde has improved a theorem in a way that allows for understanding how quantum measurements can be approximately reversed under certain circumstances. The new results allow for understanding how quantum information that has been lost during a measurement can be nearly recovered, which has potential implications for a variety of quantum technologies. Read More
Chemical compounds may have properties that cannot be obtained by studying the properties of their component parts or their relations. This behavior is known in philosophy
of science circles as "emergence". Realistic interpretations based on events as the recently
introduced Montevideo interpretation of quantum mechanics by Gambini and Pullin
provide a natural framework to explain emergence, as described in
"The ADM papers and part of their modern legacy: loop quantum gravity" by Jorge Pullin.
"Approximate symmetries in atomic nuclei from a large-scale shell-model perspective", K. D. Launey et al,focuses on recent new insights into nuclear structure modeling that are unveiled with the help of group-theoretical methods, together with an overview of the significant studies that have led to these findings throughout the last five decades. The paper discusses novel approximate symmetries in nuclei, chaotic behavior of nuclear dynamics based on quantum information theory, as well as unprecedented no-core shell-model descriptions of the challenging Hoyle state and intermediate-mass nuclei.
Recent material science research advances the understanding of how materials can be manipulated without having to discover new materials, change the chemical concentration or apply external magnetic fields.Dr. Ward Plummer and Dr. Jian Shen's research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Read More.
CALET Instrument Succesfully Launched to Space Station: LSU Astrophysicists Anxiously Await the DataRead More
NASA Commentator Pat Ryan talks with Dr. John Wefels of Louisiana State University about the Calorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET). Watch interview here.
LSU Researchers' Telescope arrives at International Space Station will study high energy particles, 'Dark matter" Read The Advocate article here.
We are pleased to welcome three new members of the faculty: Scott Marley has joined the department as an assistant professor in nuclear physics, Rui Zhang as an assistant professor in medical physics, and Nayeli Zuniga-Hansen as an instructor.
Graduate Student Zach Edwards' proposal (With Dr. Brad Schaefer and Zhichao Xue)
for observing time with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was accepted."The Stingray Nebula" provides the unique opportunity to watch the ionization of a Planetary Nebula, a helium shell flash, and the evolution of the central star. This system has been evolving 'startlingly' fast, and has not been imaged for over 15 years. As such, they will be using the Hubble Space Telescope to track the fast evolution of this system.
Co-lead PI Phil Sprunger, Mark Jarrell and Juana Moreno join LSU Faculty to lead efforts to $20M grant to form Louisiana Advanced Manufacturing Consortium "The synergy between engineering development and scientific understanding will allow us to address key scientific barriers, accelerate technology development and reduce the time from conceptualization to large-scale production," said Sprunger. Read more here
Mark Wilde's work is featured in the article "Applying Quantum Technologies to Computer Science" in LSU CCT's Components 2014. Wilde is working to develop algorithms for quantum information processing that could help make quantum computation and communication a reality. "My work is interdisciplinary. The field of quantum communication draws on physics, mathematics, computer science, and electrical engineering," Wilde said.
Over the next three years, Louisiana will receive $2.5 million from NASA, plus a crucial investment of about $1.9 million from the Board of Regents Support Fund. LaSPACE, which manages NASA Space Grant and NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research has been awarded three significant multi-year awards from NASA to support space-related research development and higher education programs in Louisiana. T. Gregory Guzik is the principal investigator for Space Grant and NASA EPSCoR projects. Media Release
Congratulations! Mette Gaarde was elected to the DAMOP executive committee. DAMOP is the Division for Atomic, Molecular, and Optical sciences within the American Physical Society, and only two members are elected to the Executive committee each year, for a three-year term.
Congratulations! Mark Wilde has been selected as an associate editor of Quantum Info Theory for IEEE Transactions on Info Theory.
Congratulations! Jorge Pullin was named as the 2014 Distinguished Research Master of Engineering, Science, or Technology. Pullin's research addresses the interface between gravity and quantum theory, specifically in the area of loop quantum gravity. His research has involved probing how space-time inside black holes is affected by quantum theory. He now also focuses on the foundations of quantum mechanics. Read more here
Congratulations to Mette Gaarde, who has been named a winner of the 2015 LSU Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award! This award recognizes faculty members for outstanding teaching, research, and/or service.
Congratulations to Mark Wilde, who has been named a winner of the 2015 LSU Alumni Association Rising Faculty Research Award! This award recognizes faculty at the rank of assistant professor who have outstanding records of scholarship and published research.
Congratulations to the Department of Physics and Astronomy Spring 2015 Graduates! B.S. Degrees: Nicholas Chason, Jonathan Curole, Haggai Davis, Adrian Galan, Jason Mueller, Cadron Pickett, Evan Rabeaux, Kenneth Sutherland, and Cedric Williams M.S. Degrees: Anthony Mazza, Edward Montiel, Noah Morris, and Alok Shankar Ph.D. Degrees: Anamaria Effler and Chinedu Ekuma
Alison Dreyfuss, a native of Keene, N.H., who is pursuing her doctorate in physics with a focus on nuclear structure., received an honorable mention as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellows this year. Read more here
Professor Philip Adams and Tijiang Liu have published a paper in Nature Physics titled "Enhanced electron coherence in atomically thin Nb3SiTe6." The paper explores how the vibrations of atoms in a material change when that material is made very thin. In fact, the flakes of the material they studied, Nb3SiTe6, are only a few atoms thick! It turns out that electrons can move more easily through these thin flakes than originally thought because the atom vibrations are confined by the thickness of the flakes. This work suggest that electronic devices could be fabricated from these two-dimensional materials and these devices would have superior electrical properties to those of current technologies.
Congratulations! Catherine Deibel receives DoE Early Career Research Grant! Her research, "Determining Astrophysical Reaction Rates for Classical Novae and X-ray Bursts via Indirect Method," relies on state-of-the-art techniques for nuclear spectroscopy using both stable and radioactive ion beams to calculate the reaction rates of classical novae and Type I X-ray bursts, the most common stellar explosions in the Galaxy. Using these data, important reaction rates will be calculated accurately for the first time, eliminating key uncertainties in understanding classical novae and X-ray bursts. Read more here
On Sunday, April 19, 2015, the MARS truck was stationed at the Old Governor's Mansion in the designated children's area for Louisiana Earth Day. LaSPACE staff and faculty, LSU LaACES students, and LSU Society of Physics Students (SPS) staffed three major visitor stations, which featured solar telescopes, scientific near-space ballooning experiments conducted by students, and demonstrations by the SPS students, including a Geiger Counter Demo, Van de Graaff Generator, Angular Momentum / Rotational Inertia Chair Demo, Spectrograph, Faraday's Law of Induction Demo, and a Tube Race Demo. Read more here
The LSU community is mourning the loss of Anton Joe, 25, and Ishita Maity, 28, both graduate students in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, who unexpectedly passed away Sunday, April 26 in Baton Rouge, LA. Read more here
Dr. Edward Zganjar was inducted into LSU College of Science Hall of Distinction on March 20, 2015. Dr. Zganjar is a LSU Professor Emeritus in Physics & Astronomy, a former DeMarcus D. Smith Endowed Alumni Professor, and a prominent experimental nuclear physicist. He earned his bachelor's of science in physics and mathematics from St. John's University followed by a master's and Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Vanderbilt University. He is known in the nuclear physics community for systematic analysis of complex nuclear spectroscopic data, for designing and building state-of-the-art nuclear spectroscopic instrumentation, and for his contribution to the establishment of a university consortium and laboratory within the Holifield nuclear facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Dr. Zganjar served as chair of the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy from 1982-85 and associate vice chancellor for research and economic development from 1990-94. He has published over 142 journal articles, 220 published conference contributions, and maintained continuous external funding throughout his career. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and a recipient of the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society's Francis G. Slack Award for excellence in service to physics in the Southeast. Photo gallery
LSU Physics alumna Ashley Pagnotta is featured in "Looking up and finding our Cosmic Address" article for her "Astronomy Live! - Our Cosmic Address" presentation. The presentation is about the Earth's position in the solar system and the solar system's position in the Milky Way Galaxy and where our galaxy fits in the observable universe. Ashley is a 2012 PhD alumna and is currently working as the Kathryn W. Davis Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in the departments of Astrophysics & Education.
Daniel Sheehy, Stephen Kudla, and Dominique Gautreau have published a paper in Phys. Rev. A titled "Pairing correlations in a trapped one-dimensional Fermi gas." This work analyzes theoretically the properties of a gas of atoms close to absolute zero and confined to a cigar-shaped optical trapping potential. Studying systems like this helps us learn more about the collective behavior of quantum mechanical systems.
Professor Shane Stadler, along with a team of researchers, discovers new material that may change the way we cool our food, homes and cars. Refrigeration and air conditioning units in homes and automobiles may become more efficient, quieter and green-friendly with this patent-pending work.
'LIGO Generations' documentary explains world-shaking science studied at LIGO. In the woods of Livingston Parish, scientists are working to investigate gravitational waves generated millions of light-years from Earth. "This is a project that has taken many decades," Gabriela González said. "It's an instrument that has been built by many bright physicists, engineers, scientists who have worked together and trained each other for generations." The film was created by director Kai Staats and funded by the National Science Foundation. Read more here
LSU graduate students present nanotechnology during 6th annual NanoDays event at Highland Road Park Observatory. NanoDays is a nationwide festival of programs meant to demonstrate the power of tiny things. Read more here
Congratulations! Dr. Philip Adams, Dr. Shane Stadler, Dr. David Young, and Tapas Samanta were awarded a LIFT 2 grant for $34,150 for the "Advanced Materials (Magentocaloric) for Improved Cooling to Reduce Current Refrigerant Needs" project. They are working on a new magnetocaloric material they say is "non-toxic, environmentally friendly, easy to fabricate and composed of affordable materials." If correct about the new material could replace up to 80 percent of the current compressor market. Read more here
Parampreet Singh was named a Rainmaker in the category of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Mid-Career Scholar. Faculty members chosen as Rainmakers are those who balance their responsibilities with external expectations such as securing funding for their research and establishing the impact of their findings to the scholarly community and society as a whole. Singh investigates the origins of the universe and the way properties of space and time emerged during its birth, ideas based in Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Read more here
Professor Singh with Jorge Pullin and K. T. Valsaraj at the Rainmaker reception on March 10, 2015.
LSU research team comprised of physics professors Dr. John Wefel, Dr. Michael Cherry, and Dr. T. Gregory Guzik and graduate student Nick Cannady help to develop an International Space Station cosmic ray instrument, the CALormetric Electron Telescope (CALET). With the CALET instrument, scientists will capture the cosmic rays, separate the particles and study their composition at higher energy levels to test astrophysics theories. Read more here
Charge Density Waves (CDWs) are observed in many solids, especially in low-dimensional systems. The existence of CDWs was first predicted in the 1930s by Sir Rudolf Peierls, who prophesied that CDWs would exist in an ideal one-dimensional (1-D) chain of atoms, lowering the energy of the system and driving a reconstruction of the lattice. The 1940 paper by Frisch and Peierls described how one could construct an atomic bomb from a small amount of uranium-235. In 1959, Walter Kohn (1998 Nobel Prize) pointed out that the origin of a CDW in the Peierls picture would result in what is now known as a "Kohn Anomaly", a simultaneous softening of coherent lattice vibrations, i.e., phonon softening. This simple text-book picture of the origin of CDWs does not seem to be correct in most if not all materials, so in this report we propose a new classification of CDWs based upon their nature.
Prof. Jonathan Dowling and LSU Researchers are contributing to the next big technological advance by working to build a supercomputer. Dr. Dowling specializes in quantum computing and focuses his research on the development of a computer to revolutionize modern technology. Dowling and his research team, which includes Physics Undergraduates Todd Moulder and Simon Lorenzo, contribute to the race by modeling and designing different hardware approaches for quantum computer prototypes.
U.S. Department of Energy Awards Dr. John DiTusa and the Louisiana Consortium for Neutron Scattering (LaCNS) a $4.9M Statewide Research Grant. Neutron scattering is one of the few techniques available that can probe the structure and dynamics of materials over a broad range of time, length and energy scales. LaCNS researchers will use the equipment and facilities and collaborate with the scientific staff at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee, where they will run their experiments.
Physics senior and Tiger Band leader Nigel Payne hopes to become a nuclear officer in the US Navy. Payne began the application process for the Navy's Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program in November 2014.
The Society of Physics Students (SPS) renovates MARS truck to visit schools and teach astronomy to students from pre-k to high school. "The main goal of the project is to promote [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics]," said research associate Bethany Broekhoven. "We want to reach out to younger kids and make them see that science is fun."
The Optical Society (OSA) has announced the formation of the LSU OSA Student Chapter. OSA is the leading professional society for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders working in optics: the science of light.
Congratulations! Kip Matthews has been named President-elect of the Southwest chapter of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.
As described in the LSU Office of Research & Economic Development's latest Research magazine, "Big Data" issues are of interest for the department's astrophysics, LIGO, and medical physics groups. In the area of astrophysics, the National Academy's most recent Decadal Survey of Astronomy identified the next two highest priority projects in astronomy to be WFIRST and LSST, one space-based and one ground-based telescope to survey the skies for transient events, producing terabytes of data each night. In the case of LIGO, when Advanced LIGO comes online later this year, it will require large amounts of computing power to perform its simulations and the data analysis needed to identify rare gravitational radiation events. And in medical physics, using imaging data to build a profile based on an individual patient's specific genetic makeup holds promise in personalizing medical care.
In the same Research magazine, the Quantum Physics and Quantum Gravity groups' work applying fundamental quantum mechanics to the development of quantum computers and to the cosmology of the early universe are highlighted in "Schrödinger's Killer App: Quantum Technology at LSU".
The Beauty of Physics: Patterns, Principles, and Perspectives by Prof. A. R. P. Rau. Published by Oxford: 25 November 2014.
This book is about ideas and themes in physics. A small set of them apply over broad areas of physics, and in that wide reach lies some of the power, beauty, and attraction of the subject. Many metaphors from ordinary language or other disciplines have been adopted by physics, albeit with its own specific and distinct flavour. The selection of topics reflects the author’s own four-decade career in research physics and his resultant perspective on the subject. While aimed primarily at physicists, including junior students, this book also addresses other readers who are willing to think with symbols and simple algebra in understanding the physical world around us. Each chapter, on themes such as dimensions, transformations, symmetries, or maps, begins with simple examples accessible to all while connecting them later to more sophisticated realizations in more advanced topics of physics. Equations are used sparingly and only in the beginning examples, and around 70 drawings and figures illustrate the concepts and phenomena discussed. While mathematics is its natural language, physics is mostly about patterns, connections, and relations between objects and phenomena, and it is this aspect that is emphasized in this book. Complementary representations or descriptions, and seeing the world from different points of view are continuing themes throughout the book. Historical footnotes on great physicists and their contributions to the subject are provided.
Congratulations to the Department of Physics and Astronomy Fall 2014 Graduates! B.S. Degrees: Collin Hawkins and Nutsinee Kijbunchoo M.S. Degrees: David Byrd, Derek Freund, and Manish Gupta Ph.D. Degrees: Ryan DeRosa, Joseph Prestigiacomo, and Bhaskar Roy Bardhan
RESEARCH NEWS! - Assistant Professor Mark M. Wilde's research on quantum key distribution has been published in a recent issue of Nature Communications. The work establishes a fundamental bound on the rate at which quantum secured information can be communicated over an optical communication channel, such as a fiber optic or free space link. The U.S. government is now using the bound as a benchmark to assess quantum key distribution protocols.
At a gala ceremony November 9, the Breakthrough Prize Foundation announced $36M in prizes to a collection of the world's top scientists including LSU's Brad Schaefer and his colleagues on the Supernova Cosmology Project. Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google) and Anne Wojcicki, Jack Ma (founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba) and Cathy Zhang, Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder of Facebook) and Priscilla Chan, and Yuri and Julia Milner handed out the awards at a Silicon Valley gala hosted by Seth MacFarlane and attended by celebrity guests. The prize winners were selected by a scientific advisory panel which included Steven Hawking. The ceremony was televised November 15.
Several years ago, two teams of physicists and astronomers independently made the startling and unexpected discovery that the expansion of the Universe was speeding up. The expansion of the Universe has been known for decades and is one of the prime pieces of evidence supporting the notion of a Big Bang. It was not expected, though, that the expansion is speeding up. Apparently there is a mysterious component of the Universe dubbed "dark energy" which is responsible. Physicists and astronomers do not understand its nature, but they know that it makes up roughly 70% of the energy of the Universe. The discovery was honored with a Nobel Prize in 2011.
Now LSU's Schaefer and his colleagues on the discovery teams have been awarded this year's Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. Schaefer, Alumni Professor and Distinguished Research Master in LSU's Physics and Astronomy Department, was a member of the Supernova Cosmology Project that observed very distant supernovas. These stars produce such enormously bright explosions as they die that they can be seen from great distances across the Universe. The key discovery was that these exploding stars, called type Ia supernovas, appear to be fainter than expected. This implies that the stars are farther away than expected, and that the expansion of the Universe must be accelerating, not slowing down as had been expected.
Congratulations! Graduate student Joe Prestigiacomo has received a National Research Council Research Associate award to work at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C.
Prof. Mette Gaarde has been elected a 2014 Fellow of the Optical Society of America, "For outstanding experimentally relevant research focused on the production and application of ultrafast ultraviolet and extreme ultraviolet radiation sources that exploits high-performance computing for the solutions of the time-dependent Schrödinger equation and Maxwell's wave equation."
Congratulations! Graduate Student Paul Maggi has been selected to attend the 2-week United States Particle Accelerator School (USPAS) at Old Dominion University in January 2015. His selection includes an award of funds to cover registration and lodging. The USPAS provides national graduate-level educational programs in the science of particle beams and their associated accelerator technologies. The USPAS course will enhance Paul's PhD project, which is to develop a real-time electron energy spectrometer for use as a quality assurance, commissioning, and research tool for radiation therapy. The knowledge gained through the school will provide guidance for more effective utilization of the spectrometer, including development of methods to tune the operating performance of linear accelerators.
RESEARCH NEWS! - Graduate student Alison Dreyfuss' work on the Hoyle State
in 12C is featured in the most recent edition of The Pursuit, the College of
Science's news magazine. The Hoyle State was originally proposed in 1954 by
Fred Hoyle as an excited state of 12C as a key step in stellar
nucleosynthesis. Dreyfuss, working with Kristina Launey, used a new nuclear
structure model (the No-Core Symplectic Model) developed at LSU to provide
the first detailed explanation of the physics responsible for the Hoyle
State, published in Physics Letters B.
Thank you to the Bella Bowman Foundation for their generous contribution to
the department's Medical Physics program!
Congratulations! Undergraduate Nutsinee Kijbunchoo, graduate student Thomas Abbott, working with Prof. Gabriela González were awarded best experimental student poster at the meeting of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration in Stanford.
Summer 2014 is the fifth summer for the Physics & Astronomy REU program. We have 16 participants this year, selected from more than 300 applications; our participants represent college and universities of all sizes from across the U.S. The participants will work on projects that are active parts of their mentors' research in astronomy nuclear physics, gravity and cosmology, neutrinos, condensed matter, and quantum science. The REU participants will tour the CAMD synchrotron and LIGO-Livingston facilities, and participate in weekly seminars by department faculty. Stay tuned for more details about what these students accomplish this summer.
Congratulations to Jeffrey Blackmon, who has been named a winner of the 2013-2014 LSU Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award!
Congratulations to Aaron Grocholski, who has been named a winner of a 2013-2014 Tiger Athletic Foundation Undergraduate Teaching Award!
Congratulations to the winners of awards at the Annual Physics & Astronomy Awards Ceremony:
Undergraduate Research Award: Andrew Olivier
Department Service Award: Hannah Gardiner and Collin Hawkins
Outstanding Teaching Assistant: David Heins, Paul Maggi, and William Donahue
Joseph Callaway Memorial Award: Christopher Johnson
Gregg Hussey Scholarship for Excellence Award: Andrew Olivier
Keen-Morris Prize: Melanie Carroll and Hannah Gardiner. Melanie and Hannah were also honored at the College of Science Choppin Honors Convocation, where Melanie also received a Dean's Award and College Honors.
NanoDays, a free family friendly event, will take place at the Highland Road Park Observatory on Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 2 PM to 6PM. NanoDays is a nationwide family festival celebrating the science of ultra small matter, and participants in the festival can learn about nanoscale science and technology.
RESEARCH NEWS! - In a paper entitled "Lorentz transformation of blackbody radiation" (Phys. Rev. E 88, 044101, 2013), G. W. Ford and Robert O'Connell have solved a problem which numerous authors have worked on over a time span exceeding a hundred years. This is the question of how temperature behaves under a Lorentz transformation. Both Einstein in 1907 and Planck in 1908 published results which disagreed with each other and both of which proved to be incorrect. The reason why the problem remained unsolved for so many years was the fact that no experimental evidence existed to provide a check on the huge variety of theoretical methods employed. By constrast, Ford and O'Connell employed the experimental results for the spectrum of the universal cosmic blackbody radiation measured by Earth observers who are in different reference frames because of their motion through the 2.7K radiation. Despite the fact that kT behaves like an energy, it turns out that T does not change in a Lorentz transformation.
The conference showcased different careers in physics, through a series of presentations and panel discussions. The 110 participants, of whom 80 were undergraduate students, were engaged in discussions and networking through much of the weekend, including during a poster session with peer judges. The opening night career panel, for instance, consisted of five panelists who represented different careers in physics - academia, national lab, industry, medical physics, and education - and who shared both their professional and personal career paths. The conference also featured a number of both local and outside distinguished speakers who conveyed their excitement about their particular area of research or expertise. By the end of the conference, many participants reported feeling inspired, empowered, and re-invigorated in their pursuit of a career in physics.
RESEARCH NEWS! - Mark Wilde's research on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle has been accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters. Wilde and coauthors have established a revision of the uncertainty principle which quantifies the fundamental trade-off between measurement accuracy error and uncontrollable disturbance that occurs in any measurement of a quantum system. They have used concepts from information theory in establishing this revision.
Hannah Gardiner and the Society for Physics Students participated in Super Science Saturday as part of National Chemistry Week. The event brought approximately 1000 students and their parents to campus. Volunteers from SPS demonstrated angular momentum and the properties of cornstarch in water together with students from Chemistry and Food Science and representatives from Entergy. An article about the event appeared in the December 16 issue of the American Chemical Society’s Chemical and Engineering News.
RESEARCH NEWS! - The first catalog of ground-based observations of terrestrial gamma flashes (TGFs, millisecond-long bursts of gamma rays associated with terrestrial lightning) has been accepted for publication in Journal of Geophysical Research. Becky Ringuette, Gary Case, Mike Cherry, Doug Granger, Greg Guzik, Michael Stewart, and John Wefel report the observation of 24 millisecond-scale bursts of gamma rays up to 2 MeV associated with nearby (< 5 miles) lightning. The measurements were made with an array of detectors mounted on rooftops on the LSU campus and operating since Summer 2010.
RESEARCH NEWS! - Mark Wilde's research on time travel and quantum cloning has been accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters. Wilde and his coauthors show that it is possible to violate the no-cloning theorem of quantum mechanics if one has access to a closed timelike curve (a time machine) that behaves according to a model established in 1991 by David Deutsch.
LSU researchers awarded nearly $1 million for big data research -- LSU's Seung-Jong Park, associate professor of computer science with joint appointment in the Center for Computation & Technology, or CCT, along with co-investigators Joel Tohline, Sean Robbins, Lonnie Leger, K. Gus Kousoulas and other senior LSU faculty, recently received an NSF grant of $947,860 for a campus-wide project aimed at bringing "Big Data" computational capabilities to separate university research groups. Samsung Electronics is also participating in the project as an industrial collaborator. The project, titled "CC-NIE Integration: Bridging, Transferring and Analyzing Big Data over 10Gbps Campus-Wide Software Defined Networks," will empower scientific breakthroughs at LSU by providing researchers with advanced information technologies and cyberinfrastructure.
RESEARCH NEWS! - The T2K experiment, involving Thomas Kutter, Martin Tzanov, William Metcalf, and their research group of postdoctoral researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, has announced definitive evidence of muon to electron neutrino oscillations. A muon neutrino beam produced at the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC) on the east coast of Japan was detected by the giant Super-K underground detector in Kamioka 185 miles away from Tokai. A total of 28 events were observed compared to 4.6 events without nu-mu to nu-e oscillations. Nu-mu to nu-e oscillations may be a key to charge-parity (CP) violation, which may in turn be responsible for the observation that the Universe is composed of matter and not antimatter.
Jorge Pullin has been interviewed for the FQXi podcast. FQXI - Foundation Questions Institute, "Exploring Foundations and Boundaries of Physics and Cosmology". FQXi catalyzes, supports, and disseminates research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology, particularly new frontiers and innovative ideas integral to a deep understanding of reality, but unlikely to be supported by conventional funding sources.
Gary Grest has been named to the College of Science Hall of Distinction. Grest earned BS, MS, and PhD degrees from LSU in physics in 1971, 1973, and 1974. After graduation, he worked at Rutgers and the University of Chicago before accepting a faculty position at Purdue in 1979. He is currently at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Sandia National Lab working in the Theory and Simulation of Nanoscale Phenomena unit that studies the assembly, interfacial interactions, and emergent properties of nanoscale systems. Dr. Grest is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and winner of the American Physical Society's Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics in 2008 and the Polymer Physics Prize in 2011.
Congratulations to the winners of awards at the 2013 College of Science Choppin Honors Convocation:
College of Science Outstanding Junior: Melanie Carroll
Keen-Morris Prize: Daniel Case
Gregg Hussey Scholarship for Excellence Award: Jonathan Curole
Outstanding Geaux Teach Student Award: Mia Ferriss
College Honors: Daniel Case and Mea Ferriss
College of Science Untenured Faculty Research Award: Parampreet Singh
Congratulations to the winners of awards at the 2nd Annual Physics & Astronomy Awards Ceremony:
Undergraduate Research Award: Hannah Gardiner and Conrad Sprunger
Department Service Award: Chase Brignac and Greg Tobin
Outstanding Teaching Assistant: Chris Johnson and Ed Montiel
Callaway Memorial Award: Ashkan Balouchi
Undergraduate Majors' Faculty Teaching Award: Jonathan Dowling
Congratulations to Sarah Caudill, former graduate student, winner of the 2012 LSU Distinguished Dissertation Award for Science, Technology and Mathematics.
Congratulations to graduate student, Dalgis Mesa, winner of the Graduate School's 2013-2014 Dissertation Year Fellowship.
NanoDays, will feature several hands-on activities for children of all ages. On Saturday, March 30, at 4:00 p.m. in the Highland Road Park Observatory, Dr. Richard Kurtz, Physics Department, LSU, will present Nanotechnology for improved energy generation, storage and transmission. On Saturday, April 6th, at 12:00 p.m. in the LASM, Dr. John DiTusa, Physics Department, LSU, will present Nanomagnets as a path to new computers. Dr. Juana Moreno will display a Scanning Tunneling Microscope that measures the surface of objects at the atomic level several times during the day.
NanoDays, organized by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net.), takes place nationally March 30-April 7, 2013, at more than 200 science museums, research centers and universities across the country. For more information please visit LSU Nanosciene & Nanotechnology website or contact Dr. Juana Moreno at
. Free admission at the LASM for students with an ID or report card. The event at the Observatory is free for all. Come be part of NanoDays!
Geoffrey Clayton has been working with Marianne Konikoff, who is a student a St. Joseph's Academy, on her project "Molecular Hydrogen and Fare-Ultraviolet Extinction due to Dust: A Two-Year Study," which won 1st place overall in the senior division, grades 9-12, of the 2013 Region VII Louisiana Science and Engineering Fair. This project involves the analysis of measurements of the amount of molecular hydrogen in various directions towards stars in the Milky Way galaxy. The presence of molecular hydrogen is an indicator of cold, dense clouds of gas and dust in the interstellar medium. Marianne is looking for relationships between the characteristics of dust grains and the temperature and density in the clouds.
RESEARCH NEWS! - Jing Teng, Chen Chen, Yimin Xiong, Jiandi Zhang, Rongying Jin and E. W. Plummer have recently reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [PNAS110, 898 (2013)] the observation of extremely large spin-charge-lattice coupling driven by the broken symmetry present at the surface. The study was conducted on single crystals grown at LSU of the newly discovered Fe-based superconductors Ba(Fe1-xCox)2As2, using high resolution inelastic electron scattering to proble the lattice dynamics.
RESEARCH NEWS! - A paper by Thomas Kutter, former LSU postdoc Jason Goon, and their collaborators on the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) describes a new analysis of the Sudbury solar neutrino data using an array of He-3 proportional counters installed in the heavy water target to measure the rate of neutrino-deuteron neutral-current interactions. The total flux of active neutrinos was measured to be consistent with both previous measurements and standard solar models. A global analysis of solar and reactor neutrino mixing parameters yielded best-fit values of Δm2 = 7.59 +0.19/-0.21 x 10-5 eV2 and θ = 34.4+1.3/-1.2 degrees. The paper, published in Physical Review C87, 015502 (2013), was selected as a "Phys. Rev. C Editor's Suggestion".
Congratulations to Rongying Jin, who has been named a 2012 LSU Rainmaker Mid-Career Scholar in the area of Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics. This recognizes a faculty member at the Associate Professor level or recently promoted to full professor who exhibits a sustained program of excellence. The Rainmaker program is sponsored by Campus Federal Credit Union, and awardees were selected by the Council on Research from the pool of nominations they received earlier this year.
RESEARCH NEWS! - Jorge Pullin of the LSU Relativity Group and Hearne Institute and Adjunct Professor Rodolfo Gambini of Universidad de la Republica in Montevideo, Uruguay, have made a step forward in reconciling quantum mechanics with gravity using a new interpretation - the Montevideo interpretation - that eliminates the need for outside observers. This new view of the meaning of measurements in quantum mechanics may yield insights into the development of a quantum theory of gravity, a major unresolved issue in theoretical physics. It may also allow improved connection between a possible quantum mechanical phase early in the history of the universe and imprints of that phase on today's classical universe.