2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007
Past News items from 2006-2005
- 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 award 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 2013 - at the Highland Road Park Observatory, Saturday, March 30, 2013 - 2:00-6:00 PM, AND at the Louisiana Arts & Science Museum, Saturday April 6, 2013 - 10:00 AM-3:00 PM. Learn about nanoscale science and technology during a nationwide festival celebrating the science of ultra small matter.
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.
Faculty, students and staff from: the LSU Center for Computation and Technology; the Department of Physics & Astronomy; the Department of Chemistry; the Society of Physics Students; and the National Science Foundation-funded Louisiana Alliance for Simulation-Guided Materials Applications (LA-SiGMA) are volunteering their time to make these events a success.
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 for students with ID or report card at the LASM. The event at the Observatory is free for all. Come be part of NanoDays!
- Bradley Schaefer's work has been highlighted in the MIT Technology Review.
- Jorge Pullin has been appointed to the committee that will select the winner of the Young Scientist Prize of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation.
- 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 [PNAS 110, 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.
- Greg Guzik was interviewed by WWL-TV News about the recent close asteroid fly-by and the meteorite impact in Russia the same day.
- 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 C 87, 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 Mathenatics. 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.
- Geoffrey Clayton has been elected to the Council of American Astronomical Society.
- 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.
- LSU astrophysicists are featured in "Exploding Stars" in the Fall 2012 issue of the LSU Research magazine published by the Office of Research and Economic Development.
- Alumnus Frank Richard "Rick" Steldt (Ph.D., 1971) is leaving a trust to the LSU Foundation valued at more than $1 million dollars to be used for graduate student support in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Thank you!
- Major General Jasper Welch, U.S. Air Force (retired) and 1952 alumnus of our department, was the speaker at the Fall 2012 Commencemnent.
- Congratulations to Jeffrey Blackmon, who has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society “for his vision and innovation in exploiting radioactive nuclear beams to advance our understanding of nuclear processes that govern astrophysical phenomena.”
- Congratulations to Rongying Jin, who has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for her "significant contributions to materials physics, including science-driven materials development and pioneering studies of their underlying physics" and to Kenneth Schafer for his "seminal contributions in the field of laser-matter interactions through extensive theoretical studies of high quality and great innovation".
- Parampreet Singh has been invited to joint the Editorial Board of the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, published by The Institute of Physics (UK).
- Research paper by Parampreet Singh has made the Highlights 2011-2012 list of the journal of Classical and Quantum Gravity.
The LSU Gravity Group has made the Highlights list every since 2001.
- Parampreet Singh has been chosen as one of the Great Baton Rouge Business Report.com's 2012 Forty Under 40.
- International Conference Held In Honor of Roy P. Daniels Professor and LSU Distinguished Research Master Jerry P. Draayer, President of Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) - More than 100 people, including some of the most prominent scientists from the U.S. and abroad, paid tribute to Draayer's world-wide recognized research and academic achievements, honored during Horizons of Innovative Theories, Experiments, and Supercomputing in Nuclear Physics, or HITES 2012, international conference held June 4 - 7 in the historic New Orleans French Quarter. The conference opening speech was offered by Prof. Michael Cherry (Chair, Department of Physics & Astronomy, LSU), and the meeting was closed by the director of Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) Physics Division Dr. David Dean. Many Draayer's colleagues from LSU, LA Board of Regents, and Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA), as well as family members joined the celebratory ceremony in his honor. The closing speech was offered by Dean Kevin Carman, Dean of LSU's College of Basic Sciences, who acknowledged Draayer's contribution to our university.
The conference was an enormous success and promoted strong inter-disciplinary dialogs. In particular, it brought together not only experts in nuclear theory, but also in experimental nuclear physics, high-energy physics, astrophysics, and, above all, in computer science, as well as leaders of various organizations that deal with present-day challenges on education, science policy, and international outreach.
More . . .
- A research paper by Sarah Caudill, former graduate student and current postedoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin, has made the Highlights of 2011-2012 list of the journal of Classical and Quantum Gravity.
- Profs. Thomas Kutter, Martin Tzanov and William Metcalf (Emeritus) are studying the fundamental properties of neutrinos, the most ghostly and numerous of the basic building blocks of nature. Along with a LSU based team consisting of post-docs (Oleg Perevozchikov, Jonathan Insler, Flor Blaszcyk) and students (Jeremiah Haremza, Corey Myers) they perform this research in Japan, where their experiment is located. Their recent paper describing a new type of neutrino oscillations, that is the transformation of one type (or flavor) of neutrino into another has recently been selected by the French popular science magazine La Recherche (the French equivalent of Scientific American) for an award amongst many outstanding papers in all fields of science.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - Jeffrey Blackmon is working with colleagues at Texas A&M University, Washington University, IFIN-HH (Romania), Universite de Caen (France), INFN (Italy); Oxford University (United Kingdom), and Kyushu University (Japan) on a series of experiments using rare isotope beams at the newly commissioned Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory (RIBF) in Japan. RIBF, the most powerful radioactive beam facility in the world, makes it possible to do cutting-edge experiments with nuclei that only live fractions of a second. The goal of the experiments is to study the nuclear reactions that occur in stellar explosions such as novae, X-ray bursts, and supernovae. The nuclear reactions occurring in these events are believed to have formed most of the elements found in our Galaxy. Catherine Deibel discussed the experimental nuclear physics group's astrophysics-related research in the year's first Saturday Science lecture for high school students and the public on Oct. 20.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - Atomically Resolved Images of Spin Chirality - " Coupled structural and magnetic antiphase domain walls on BaFe2As2", Phys. Rev. B 86, 060512 (R) (2012) - Guorong Li, Xiaobo He, Jiandi Zhang, Rongying Jin, A. S. Sefat, M. A. McGuire, D. G. Mandrus, B. C. Sales and E. W. Plummer.
- LSU Researchers Win $250,000 Grant to Probe Origins of the Universe - Parampreet Singh, assistant professor in the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy, and Peter Diener, assistant research professor in the LSU Center for Computation & Technology and the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy, recently received a $250,000 grant for a potentially breakthrough proposal hoping to answer questions about the earliest state of the universe. The grant, funded by the John Templeton Foundation sponsored the New Frontiers in Astronomy & Cosmology International Grant Competition, awarded more than $4 million in research grants to 20 scientists worldwide.
NBC33-TV-Baton Rouge, LA • The Advocate • The Advocate:Opinion • KNOE8-TV-Monroe, LA • WTOV9-Ohio • HoumaToday •
Daily Reville-Oct. 17, 2012 • El Pais (10 Oct 2012) Ciencia de ciencia ficción, Spain
- RESEARCH NEWS! - While layered ruthenate materials are well known to display an array of exciting phenomena such as metal-insulator transitions (MIT), spin-orbital ordering, exotic superconductivity, and quantum criticality, Dalgis Mesa, Jiandi Zhang, Rongying Jin, and Ward Plummer have found an unusual E-type antiferromagnetic (AFM) structure in Mn-substituted Sr3Ru2O7 (x = 0.16). They found that this layered ruthenate behaves as a quasi two-dimensional (2D) antiferromagnet with in-plane (ab) long-range ordering but only single bilayer (5-6Å) ferromagnetic correlations along the c direction bellow TN = 78 K. Such Mn-induced magnetic structure is unusual because the critical behavior of the staggered magnetization (i.e. the AFM order parameter) does not reflect the expected behavior of a 2D magnetic phase transition (Mesa et al., Physical Review B 85, 180410(R) (2012)]. The work was done in collaboration with scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
- Welcome!! to our two new Instructors: Will McElgin and Aaron Grocholski.
- Daniel Sheehy has received an NSF CAREER Award for his project "Phases and Dynamics of Cold Atomic Gases".
- Ashley Pagnotta is the recipient of the Charles E. Coates Outstanding Dissertation Award for 2011-2012. Her thesis, entitled "Recurrent Novae and Type Ia Supernova Progenitors" was a study of two different types of stellar explosions, recurrent novae and Type Ia supernovae, looking to better understand the origins of type 1A supernovae. She is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, working on a comprehensive study of the long-term evolution of cataclysmic variables and classical novae.
- Brajesh Gupt, Graduate Student in the LSU Relativity Group, has received a Coates Fellowship.
- A talk presented by Wayne Newhauser at the 2012 International Supercomputing Conference (ISC 12) in Hamburg, Germany was awarded an HPC Innovation Excellence Award. The paper described clinical trials performed via computer simulation "that would have been prohibitively expensive and taken longer to conduct with traditional methods." The joint LSU-Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center program "compared the effectiveness of multiple therapy options leading to better-informed clinical decisions" and resulting in estimated savings of over $100M in infrastructure and research costs.
- Keith Comeaux, graduate of LSU Physics & Astronomy and Mechanical Engineering in 1989, was Flight Director for the landing of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on August 5, 2012.
- NASA's Kepler spacecraft has observed superflares on Sun-like stars thousands of times larger than the solar flares produced by our own Sun. Brad Schaefer points out that a similar superflare on our Sun could have disastrous consequences for us on Earth. Two 2000 papers by Schaefer suggested that superflares could be caused by interactions of stellar magnetic field lines with nearby planets, although this is not confirmed by the recent Kepler observations.
- The National Science Foundation has announced the first set of awards under its new INSPIRE program. INSPIRE (Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education) was established to address some of the most complicated and pressing scientific problems at the intersections of traditional disciplines. Hartmut Kaiser, Geoff Clayton, Juhan Frank, Jan Staff, and Patrick Motl's proposal "STAR: Scalable toolkit for Transformative Astrophysics Research" was one of only 11 awards made nationally.
- The International Particle Accelerator Conference, or IPAC '12, was held in New Orleans in May. Sponsored by the Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society of IEEE and the American Physical Society's Division of Physics of Beams and hosted by LSU through its synchrotron light facility CAMD, the meeting was attended by over 1100 participants from across the world.
- Cooperative Agreement Signed between the Beijing Computational Science Research Center and the Hearne Institute For Theoretical Physics. On July 1, 2012, the Director of the Beijing Computational Science Research Center (CSRC), Prof. Hai-Qing Lin, and the Co-Director of the Hearne Institute for Theoretical Physic at LSU. Prof. Jonathan P. Dowling, signed a Cooperative Agreement for academic exchange and collaboration between the two institutions. The initial focus area of cooperation is quantum optics and quantum information science.
- Edward Seidel, Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the National Science Foundation(NSF), visited LSU July 13. He spoke to undergraduate students and teachers participating in summer research programs at LSU, and to high school students and teachers attending the Beowulf Boot Camp. Dr. Seidel presented a public talk at 3 p.m. in the Life Science Annex Auditorium (room A101) on LSU campus.
- University Medalist Alex Leder, Undergraduate Physics Major, Prepares for Life at MIT.
- A team at LSU has won a NASA Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Outreach award for the development of the Wallops Ballooning Experience for Educators (WBEE) program. WBEE was based upon the highly successful LaACES program, but adapted into a one week workshop for high school teachers. The first WBEE workshop was conducted during the summer of 2011 for 30 teachers from across the country. One of these teachers, Mark Arseneault from Zachary High School, then led a group of high school students to develop their own balloon payload which flew as part of the LaACES launch expedition in May 2012. The second WBEE will be held during July 2012. LSU personnel who participated in the WBEE program and received the NASA award include Brad Ellison, Jim Giammanco, Doug Granger, Greg Guzik, Steven Summerville, and John Wefel.
- Graduate student Ashley Pagnotta was highlighted on the LSU web page as a "Rising Star".
- Jorge Pullin has been appointed to the Advisory Board of the open access journal Paper of Physics, the only journal in physics to offer open peer review.
- Thomas Corbitt has received an NSF CAREER Award.
- Mark Jarrell and colleagues have received funding from NSF for a GPU cluster, a Beowulf cluster based on multiple graphics processing units to be used for a variety of research and training projects.
- Collaborative research by Prof. Rodolfo Gambini of the University of the Republic of Uruguay, and Prof. Jorge Pullin of the LSU Relativity Group has been highlighted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) at RESEARCH.GOV
International Conference held in honor of Roy P. Daniels Professor and LSU Distinguished Research Master Jerry P. Draayer, President of Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) - “Horizons of Innovative Theories, Experiments, and Supercomputing in Nuclear Physics” (HITES 2012)
– was held in June in honor of Prof. Jerry Draayer to celebrate his renowned research and academic achievements – HITES welcomed more than a hundred participants with about a quarter from abroad. Draayer presented a public lecture on June 4, at 5:30 p.m., that represented a unique opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to hear about an exciting era of great achievements and awaiting discoveries in nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics and supercomputing. The scientific meeting was held in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans.
- LSU CCT Receives Top Paper Award by HPDC (High Performance Parallel and Distributed Computing), the premier computer science conference for presenting new research. Physics and Astronomy Professor Ed Seidel and Adjunct faculty member, Gabrielle Allen were co-authors of the research paper.
- Congratulations to the winners of awards at the Physics & Astronomy Department Student and Teaching Award Ceremony:
Noah Davis --
Undergraduate Research Award
Biao Hu --
Ganesh Chanmugam Distinguished Dissertation Award
Laura Linhardt --
Joseph Callaway Prize for an Outstanding Research
Proposal in the Graduate Seminar
Charles Wilson, Garrett May --
Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant
Zhiahao Xiao --
Outstanding Graduate Assistant Grader
Mette Gaarde --
Physics & Astronomy Undergraduate Majors' Teaching Award
- RESEARCH NEWS! - A research team, led by a group from the Univ. of Tennessee and including Jeff Blackmon and Milan Matos from LSU, has elucidated the puzzling properties found in nearly pure neutron matter surrounding a short-lived atomic nucleus of beryllium. The "neutron halos" were produced in experiments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in nuclei with 2 more neutrons than normal beryllium. The results show how the unusual properties of these halos originate from a mixing of a single neutron between two different quantum mechanical states.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - High altitude balloon flights conducted by Greg Guzik, John Wefel, Brent Christner in Biological Sciences, and their colleagues have shown evidence for surprising amounts of bacteria in the atmosphere. These may be related to the formation of ice crystals in clouds and the production of rainfall. One of the purposes of the experiments was to test techniques for detecting and sampling microorganisms under conditions similar to those expected at the surface of Mars.
- Congratulations to the students who received awards at this year's College of Science Choppin Honors Convocation:
- Melanie Carroll -- Dean's Award
- Keith Motes -- Upper Division Honors
- Chris Dupuis and Alex Leder -- College Honors
- Alex Leder -- Keen-Morris Award for Outstanding Senior
- Melanie Carroll -- R. Greg Hussey Undergraduate Scholarship for Excellence in Physics
- Alex Browne -- Outstanding Geaux Teach Student
- Congratulations to faculty who have recently received teaching awards:
- TAF College of Science Undergraduate Teaching Award -- Dana Browne
- Tiger Athletic Foundation President's Award -- Ray Chastain
- LSU Foundation Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award -- Jonathan Dowling
- Jorge Pullin gave an invited Departmental Colloquium on Friday, April 13th and a Public Lecture on Thursday, April 12 at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
- Gabriela Gonzalez will participate in the 2012 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate: Faster than the Speed of Light, that will take place at the American Museum of Natural History. Popular Mechanics: " . . . the Debate Rages On"
- RESEARCH NEWS! - Geoffrey Clayton and collaborators have used data from the Spitzer Space Telescope to discover solid buckyballs in space. Their paper has been published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
- CONGRATULATIONS! to Beverly Rodriguez and Jim Giammanco on their retirements after 26 and 22 years in the department respectively. We will miss them both!
Photogallery of the retirement party.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - Graduate Student, Ashley Pagnotta and Prof. Bradley Schaefer discover origin of thermonuclear supernova - SNprogenitor.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - A paper in Physics Review Letters by Postdoctoral Researcher, Jacobo Diaz-Polo and collaborators has demonstrated how to use the evaporation of microscopic black holes to provide an observational test of loop quantum gravity. The paper has been featured in physorg.com and nextbigfuture.com
- Rodolfo Gambini and Jorge Pullin's new text A First Course in Loop Quantum Gravity was recently listed as #2 on Amazon.com's collection of Best Sellers in Physics of Gravity, second to the Kindle edition of Albert Einstein's Relativity: The Special and General Theory. Based on the reviews, though, the Gambini-Pullin text gets two stars more than Einstein.
- Congratulations to Mette Gaarde and Jim Matthews who have been named Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS).
- RESEARCH NEWS! - The Fermi GBM instrument has recently observed the black hole source Cyg X-1 making a transition from a soft gamma ray state to a hard state. The result is announced in Astronomical Telegram 3802. The earlier GBM occultation result showing that the Crab Nebula gamma ray flux varies in time, together with the observations of unexpected gamma ray flaring from the Crab, is listed as Astronomy Magazine's #2 result of the year in astronomy.
- Physics World, the magazine of the Institute of Physics, has included the T2K experiment's neutrino oscillation result on its list of the top ten breakthroughs in physics in 2011.
- Gabriela Gonzalez and Jorge Pullin have been appointed to the Advisory Panel of the Journal of Classical and Quantum Gravity of The Institute of Physics (UK).
- Bradley and Martha Schaefer at the Nobel ceremony with Laureate Saul Perlmutter.
Bradley Schaefer, as a member of the Supernova Cosmology Project, attended the 2011 Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm. Saul Perlmutter, leader of the Supernova Cosmology Project, and Adam Reiss and Brian Schmidt of the High-z Supernova Search collaboration shared the 2011 Nobel Physics Prize on behalf of the observing teams that discovered "dark energy".
- RESEARCH NEWS! - The LIGO Scientific Collaboration has demonstrated the ability to use squeezed light to increase the detector's sensitivity. The paper was published in the Sept. 11, 2011 issue of Nature and online.
- Professor Publishes First Undergraduate Loop Quantum Gravity Text - Jorge Pullin and Prof. Rodolfo Gambini of the University of the Republic of Uruguay, recently published a first of its kind textbook with the Oxford University Press - Titled “A First Course in Loop Quantum Gravity” .
- Geoffrey Clayton has been named a Ball Family Distinguished Professor.
- WELCOME!! to Thomas Corbitt (Experimental Gravity), Catherine Deibel (Experiment Nuclear Physics) and Wayne Newhauser (Medical Physics), who have joined the faculty. CONGRATULATIONS!! to Ken Hogstrom and Bill Metcalf, who have now retired.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - Far infrared and millimeter observations of Supernova 1987A made with the Herschel satellite by Geoff Clayton and collaborators reveal the presence of a population of cold dust grains with a mass close to half a solar mass. The observations, reported in Science 7 July 2011: 1205983, imply that supernovae can produce the large dust masses detected in young galaxies at high redshifts.
- Major General Jasper A. Welch, Jr., BS in Physics in 1952 from the Department of Physics & Astronomy, has been named to the College of Science Hall of Distinction. Major Welch is a former advisor to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Defense Science Board, the Secretary of the Air Force, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, defense policy coordinator for the National Security Council, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and member of the National Academy of Engineering.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - Thomas Kutter, Martin Tzanov, and Bill Metcalf's T2K (Tokai to Kamioka) long baseline neutrino oscillation experiment has announced a new result. Using neutrinos produced in an accelerator at Tokai outside Tokyo and detected in the underground Kamiokande laboratory 185 miles away, T2K has reported observing a new variety of neutrino oscillations from muon neutrinos to electron neutrinos.
- Juana Moreno has been awarded the Phi Kappa Phi Non-tenured Faculty Award in Natural and Physical Sciences.
- Congratulations to undergraduates who received awards at the College of Sciences Spring 2011 Choppin Honors Convocation: Zach Cummings and Robert Cross (Keen-Morris Award for Outstanding Senior); Bill Freeman, Daniel Lun, and Nicholas Cannady (Senior Research Award); Chase Brignac and Greg Tobin (Department Service Award); Alex Browne (Outstanding Geaux Teach Student); and Daniel Lum (College Honors).
- Congratulations to William Plick, who won the College of Science Distinguished Dissertation Award at the College of Science's Spring 2011 Choppin Honors Convocation for his Ph.D. thesis, "Quantum Light for Quantum Technologies".
- A. Ravi P. Rau has been awarded the LSU Alumni Professorship.
- Mette Gaarde and Ray Chastain have been named winners of the Tiger Athletic Foundation Undergraduate Teaching Award.
- Roger McNeil has been named Dean at the College of Science and Technology at Morehead State University.
- Gabriela Gonzalez has been elected as Spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, the group of over 800 scientists worldwide who have joined together in the search for gravitational waves. The LIGO detectors are currently in the process of being upgraded to Advanced LIGO and due to come back on line in 2013.
- Wei-Hsung Wang has been appointed to a three-year term to serve on the Academic Education Committee (AEC) of the Health Physics Society. The primary goal of the AEC is to assure that the quality and numbers of students entering the health physics career meet professional criteria and the projected demand. The AEC also maintains the Health Physics Education Reference Book, giving a listing and description of universities and institutions offering academic health physics programs from Associate to Doctorate degrees.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - The Gamma ray Burst Monitor (GBM) instrument on the Fermi satellite mission has detected a decrease of several percent in the hard X-ray and gamma ray intensity from the Crab Nebula, previously thought to be a constant "standard candle". Gary Case, Mike Cherry, and James Rodi, working with an international team of collaborators, have confirmed the result with independent measurements on the RXTE, Swift, and INTEGRAL telescopes. By using archived results going back to 1999, they suggest that the Crab periodically increases and decreases in intensity by a few percent with a period of approximately three years. The current decrease is the largest so far observed. The initial catalog of hard x-ray sources observed by GBM has been published in the Astrophysical Journal 729, 105 (2011).
- An ICAM workshop entitled "Novel Emergent Phenomena Created by Spatial Confinement", organized by our research group, was held at LSU on October 27-30, 2010. The focus of this workshop combines two of the major material themes of the 21st century—nano and complexity with the expectation the new emergent phenomena will appear. The challenge and the opportunity is to use what we learn to either design or discover new materials or new functionality. There were approximately 50 participants attending the workshop coming from the United States, Asia, and Europe. The workshop had a total of 20 invited talks with extended times for exciting discussions. Professor Thomas Klei, the LSU Interim Vice Chancellor of Research & Economic Development, gave the welcome speech at the workshop. This workshop was dedicated to Professor E. Ward Plummer, who turned 70 at the end of October 2010. Ward has a central scientific concern of combining the knowledge from surface physics with materials science in order to gain a better understanding of emergent phenomena in complex correlated electron materials driven by broken symmetry and spatial confinement. This class of materials include high-temperature superconducting copper oxides and newly discovered iron-based superconductors. We also had a birthday celebration for Professor Plummer at Nottoway Plantation. The entire event was a complete success.
- Charles Wilson, graduate student in the Medical and Health Physics program, is one of eight students from across the country who have been appointed to the Health Physics Society (HPS) Committee for Student Support.
- Jorge Pullin has been named a Founding Editor of Physical Review X, the new, open access, all-electronic journal in the Physics Review series, set to cover all areas of physics and begin publishing in September 2011. As founding editor, Pullin will have to set up the initial editorial board, recruit the initial batch of articles, and promote the journal at physics meetings worldwide.
- Joel Tohline has been named the new Director of the LSU Center for Computation and Technology (CCT).
- RESEARCH NEWS! - Condensed Matter Physics - Ward Plummer and his colleagues have demonstrated that self-assembled nanostructures (SANs) can be used to fabricate the worlds smallest capacitor, setting up the stage for investigating unusual electron behavior and exploring unique opportunities for energy applications. The SANs consist of pairs of 10 to 20-nm long lines separated by 1.2 nm and act as a quantum well on the surface TiO2(110). Inside the quantum well, a long wavelength oscillatory feature of the local density of states is observed at room temperature by scanning tunneling microscopy and attributed to the formation of electronic standing wave for the lowest energy quantum state using first principles calculations. This observation is the first attempt ever made to experimentally image the transition from a strongly correlated regime in a zero-dimensional system to a quasi-independent particle or band-like behavior in an extended one-dimensional system. TiO2 is an important energy material as it is one of the main support used in industrial catalytic reactions. The unusual electronic behavior demonstrated here opens up new possibilities for highly efficient chemical reactivity with unprecedented applications in energy conversion and harvesting. ABSTRACT -- RESEARCH ARTICLE
- RESEARCH NEWS! - As part of a program to develop a model of quantum cosmology, Kristina Giesel and colleagues from the University of Warsaw have proposed a new theory to describe the evolution of space-time in the very early Universe. Their paper (in Phys. Rev. D 82, 104038) describes their approach to couple the gravitational field to a scalar field using loop quantum gravity techniques to complete the quantization.
- The U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA) recently awarded Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and LSU (Ken Hogstrom, PI) a $2.2 million research contract to fund proton therapy research that could result in targeting cancer treatments more effectively. A major advantage of proton therapy comes from the possibility of delivering high radiation doses to a targeted tumor while sparing surrounding healthy tissues and organs. Additional work on bolus electron conformal therapy, a new electron beam technology for individualized treatment of skin cancers, is described in the recent issue of Mary Bird Perkins Perspective.
- James Matthews has been elected co-spokesman for the Pierre Auger Observatory. The Auger Observatory, located in Argentina and operated by a collaboration of over 470 scientists from 17 countries, is the world's largest ultra-high energy cosmic ray experiment.
- Jorge Pullin has been appointed to the Executive Board of the Executive Council of the American Physical Society.
- Gabriela Gonzalez
has been appointed Chair of the search committee for the new LIGO director.
- Rongying Jin has been elected Fellow of the American Physical Society "for her significant contributions to materials physics, including science-driven materials development and pioneering studies of their underlying physics."
- A paper by Kristina Giesel has been listed among the "highlights" of the Editorial Board of Classical and Quantum Gravity, published by the Institute of Physics in the UK. The LSU gravity group has made the highlights list every year since 2001.
- Jorge Pullin has been appointed editor for the space-time and gravity section of Scholarpedia. Scholarpedia is a wiki based encyclopedia using the same software as wikipedia, but with articles written by experts and peer reviewed.
- The 77th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society was held in Nicholson Hall, October 20-23, 2010, with 290 people registered, including 108 undergraduates.
- LSU Researchers Awarded One of the Largest NSF Grants in Louisiana History: LA-SiGMA will enhance materials science research capabilities for the state – Researchers at LSU, together with those at universities across the state, recently received one of Louisiana’s largest grants ever from the National Science Foundation, or NSF. The Louisiana Alliance for Simulation-Guided Materials Applications, or LA-SiGMA, received $20 million in NSF support.
The alliance is led by LSU Professors Mark Jarrell of the Department of Physics & Astronomy and Randall Hall of the Department of Chemistry, Louisiana Tech University Professor Ramu Ramachandran of chemistry and Tulane Professor Lawrence Pratt of chemical and bimolecular engineering.
- The LSU Faculty Senate has chosen the Landolt Observatory as the best building on campus.
- Jeff Blackmon has been named to the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee (NSAC), the senior advisory committee that provides official advice to the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) on the national program for basic nuclear science research.
- Parampreet Singh has been distinguished with the 2010 S. Chandrasekhar Award of the International Society on General Relativity in Gravitation. The award is given to the best presentation by a postdoctoral researcher in the triannual meeting of the society, the last meeting was held in Mexico City, Mexico in July, 2010. The award consists of a free three year membership to the society and a check for $150.
- The Editorial Office in Singapore has appointed Parampreet Singh as Editor of the International Journal of Modern Physics D. This is the leading journal in gravitational physics in Asia, published by World Scientific Publishing Company in Singapore.
- Jorge Pullin was invited by the Topical Group on Gravitation of the American Physical Society to present a talk at the Principal Investigator Symposium on Gravity at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The symposium is to convey the excitement of recent developments in gravitational physics to the authorities of the Foundation and features four principal investigators of NSF grants in gravitational physics.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - Jeff Blackmon and colleagues have used a beam of short-lived 132-Sn at the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to provide a new test of the shell model. 132-Sn, with doubly magic numbers of both protons and neutrons and an excess of 8 neutrons over its number of protons, provides a test of the validity of the shell model and lies at the border of the astrophysically interesting r-process region, where it is thought that heavy nuclei are synthesized by neutron bombardment during supernova explosions. The results have been published in Nature 465, 454 (2010) and were featured on the cover of the August Physics Today.
- Welcome to four new faculty → Kristina Giesel and Parampreet Singh in Theoretical Gravity, Martin Tzanov in Experimental Neutrino Physics, and Yimin Xiong in Experimental Material Science.
- Gabriela Gonzalez is featured in the August 2010 issue of the APS Physics InSight Slideshow.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - Carlos Palenzuela, Luis Lehner, and Steven Liebling have described a mechanism for producing the highly collimated relativistic jets observed in black hole systems (Science 329, 927, 2010; Science 329, 908, 2010). Based on numerical simulations of the coalescence of two supermassive black holes during a galaxy merger, they describe a scenario in which a characteristic electron synchrotron signal is produced in association with a gravitational radiation event, and predict that the combined electromagnetic-gravitational wave signature might be observable out to a redshift of z ~ 1.
- Work by the LSU Physics & Astronomy Numerical Relativity Group is featured in HPC Wire.
At the recent TeraGrid '10 conference, Gabrielle Allen described the work by Allen, Erik Schnetter, and Ed Seidel in developing new software tools to attack the binary black hole problem in relativistic astrophysics.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - William Metcalf and his collaborators on the MiniBoone neutrino oscillation experiment have previously presented results showing that their neutrino data are inconsistent with a two-neutrino oscillation interpretation of the earlier results from the LSND experiment. At the recent Neutrino 2010 meeting in Greece, they have now reported that their antineutrino data are consistent with an LSND-like excess above 450 MeV.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - A summary by Brad Schaefer of the ongoing coordinated observing campaign of the recurrent nova U Scorpii highlights the results and new questions raised by the longest and most extensive continued observation of a nova eruption ever conducted. Observations from infrared to x-rays continue to provide data on the eruption that was predicted in 2005 and then observed, on schedule, in January 2010.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - Gary Case, Mike Cherry, James Rodi, and the Gamma ray Burst Monitor collaboration analyzing earth occultation data from the hard x-ray instrument on the Fermi gamma ray telescope mission have reported a sudden decrease in the hard x-ray (50-300 keV) emission from the black hole candidate Cygnus X-1 at the same time as an increase in the flux in the 8-25 keV band. The observed behavior appears to be the start of a hard-to-soft-state transition also observed at lower energies by the MAXI and RXTE missions and at higher energies by AGILE.
- LSU Professor Invited to Attend Science and Technology Meeting -
LSU Professor, Hearne Chair of Theoretical Physics and Interim Co-Director for the Center for Computation and Technology Jorge Pullin has been invited to attend a joint commission meeting on science and technology cooperation between the United States and Argentina in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in September. The meeting is organized by the United States Science & Technology Cooperation and the Ministry of Science and Technology in Argentina and will be attended by representatives of many U.S. agencies that fund science and technology projects, as well as their counterparts in Argentina. Pullin was asked to attend the meeting because of his previous experience in cooperation with Argentina and his expertise in the area.
- Richard Kurtz has been named a Fellow of the AVS for his "experimental and theoretical work in interpreting intensities in photoelectron angular distributions."
- H. Edward Seidel has been appointed as Assistant Director of the Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MPS) Directorate at the National Science Foundation. Ed has been serving as Acting Assistant Director of MPS since August 2009 and Head of the NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure since September 2008. At LSU, he serves as Floating Point Systems Professor in the Departments of Physics and Astronomy and Computer Science, and was previously founding Director of the LSU Center for Computation & Technology.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - As described in a recent Gemini Observatory newsletter, luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs) at high redshift contain great amounts of dust, but a complete account of the origin of the dust so early in the history of the universe remains lacking. Jen Andrews, Geoff Clayton, James Clem, Joey Chatelain, Joe Gallagher et al. have found evidence for early dust formation in a supernova remnant, but the quantity means that supernovae are not likely the primary source of dust in LIRGs, even allowing for dust formation in circumstellar interactions as well as in the ejecta. Their results are published in the Astrophysical Journal 715, 541 (2010).
- Gabriela Gonzalez has been named a Fellow of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation for "her outstanding contributions to the gravitational wave science and leadership in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.
- Congratulations! to the following faculty who were honored at the University Distinguished Faculty Awards Reception:
- John Wefel and Greg Guzik's paper describing their measurement of an anomalous flux of high energy electrons was one of the 50 most cited papers of last year on the SPIRES high energy physics web site.
The following students were honored at the recent College of Basic Sciences Honors Convocation:
Keen-Morris Award -
Mary Dean, James Hostetter, Chris Peeler
Distinguished Research and Public Service Award -
Hussey Award for Outstanding Research -
Outstanding Senior, College of Basic Sciences -
- The paper, "Observation of a kilogram-scale oscillator near its quantum ground state", co-authored by several members of LSU's experimental gravity group has been chosen among the "Best of 2009" by the New Journal of Physics, published jointly by The Institute of Physics UK and the Deutsche Physikalische Gesselschaft.
- LSU physics major junior, Daniel Lum, receives honorable mention for the nationally competitive Goldwater Scholarship by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program.
LSU News link
- Jessica Brinson, Honors College Physics major who graduated in December 2009, has been awarded an NSF graduate fellowship. Jessica's honors thesis on neutrino oscillation physics also won the Outstanding Thesis Award from the Honors College. Jessica is currently working with Dr. Thomas Kutter's group as a Research Associate on the T2K neutrino oscillation experiment until she starts graduate school in the fall.
- The Louisiana Space Consortium, directed by John Wefel, has been named among the 2010 Top Supporters of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions in the survey conducted annually of engineering school deans of ABET-accredited HBCU and minority institutions.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - Did Jesus die on Good Friday? Brad Schaefer has been using astronomical information to attempt to determine the exact date of Jesus' crucifixion.
- NANODAYS held at the Highland Road Park Observatory as part of a nationwide program to encourage public interest in science attracted over 100 people to an event highlighting nanotechnology.
- Congratulations to Robert Hynes who was awarded a Non-Tenured Faculty Research Award at the College of Basic Sciences' recent Choppin Honors Convocation, and to Phillip Sprunger who received the College's Undergraduate Teaching Award.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - On the basis of an extensive study of recurrent novae, Brad Schaefer predicted that U Scorpii, which last erupted in 1999, would undergo another major outburst at 2009.3 plus or minus one year. On Jan. 28, the predicted eruption was observed, right on schedule, and a world-wide observing campaign since then has followed the rise and fall of the nova event in detail. The result is the most thoroughly studied nova outburst in history. Schaefer's original prediction paper was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters 621, L53 (2005).
- RESEARCH NEWS! - Quantum Sensor Developed by LSU Researcher Breaks New Limits -
Researchers at LSU have invented an optical sensor that surpasses a quantum limit to sensitivity previously believed to be unbeatable. the breakthrough has a broad array of applications, from gravity wave observatories seeking to observe distant and bizarre astrophysical phenomena, to optical gyroscopes used in commercial navigation.
The paper is published in Physical Review Letters 104, 103602 (2010).
- LSU and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center jointly hosted the Spring Meeting of the Southwest Chapter of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, or SWAAPM, at LSU's Lod Cook Conference Center on March 5-6, 2010.
- Jorge Pullin has been appointed to the Advisory Panel of the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity of the Institute of Physics (UK). The advisory panel is composted of 20 high caliber researchers from around the world and will provide advice to the journal on fast track communications and other high priority research papers in order for the journal to apply the highest possible quality standards.
- Robert O'Connell is the longest serving tenured professor at the University. First working at LSU in 1964. O'Connell teaches theoretical physics. O'Connell has taught Physics since 1964.
- Adjunct Professor Diola Bagayoko has been awarded a Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) "for his extraordinary effort to significantly increase the number of African-American Ph.D.'s in physics and chemistry." Professor Bagayoko is a professor at Southern University and Associate Director of the Louisiana Space Consortium (LaSPACE).
- Jorge Pullin's undergraduate Introduction to Loop Quantum Gravity course has received attention on the internet.
- Research team led by Mark Jarrell, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, and the Center for Computation & Technology are among the recipients for the 2010 Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment, or INCITE, program awards.
- John Wefel is a member of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (AAAC) that advises the NSF, NASA, and DOE on issues involving the three agencies within the fields of astronomy and astrophysics.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - LSU Researchers Detect First Neutrino Events at Facilities in Japan: T2K experiment off to good start.
- Thomas Kutter and his colleagues on the Tokai to Kamioka Long Baseline Neutrino Oscillation Experiment (T2K) have detected the first neutrino events generated by their newly built neutrino beam at the J-PARC accelerator laboratory in Tokai, Japan. The initial neutrino events were detected in a “near” detector (INGRID) whose purpose is to determine the neutrino beam’s direction and profile before it travels to the “far” detector at the Super-Kamiokande neutrino laboratory 183 miles away near Toyama. Super-Kamiokande, a 50,000 ton tank of ultra-pure water located over half a mile underground, will be used together with the near detectors to perform the most sensitive search for oscillations between all three types of neutrinos at the same time.
PHOTO: The picture shows a cosmic ray event entering from the top left, showering in the tracker with a photon and charged particles depositing energy downstream in the electromagnetic calorimeter.
Click the image for a bigger view.
- Mette Gaarde has been appointed to a 3-year term as a member of the Editorial Board for Physical Review A.
- Jeff Blackmon has been elected to chair the Users' Executive Committee of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and will represent the NSCL on the National User Facility Organization for 2010.
- Victor Taveras, Postdoctoral Researcher in Physics and Astronomy and CCT, is the winner of the Bergmann-Wheeler prize of the International Society of General Relativity and Gravitation. Victor's citation reads "For contributions to loop quantum cosmology and the development of a novel extension of loop quantum gravity."
- Beverly Rodriguez has been awarded a 2009 LSU Foundation Outstanding Staff Service award in recognition of all she does for the Department and all of us. Congratulations Beverly!
- Jonathan Dowling, Hearne Research Chair in Theoretical Physics, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his distinguished contributions to the field of quantum optics; particularly the quantum theory of photonic crystals and the development of quantum computing, metrology and imaging.
- CAMD offers unique research opportunities - PHOTO: Benjamin Oliver Hicks/The Daily Reveille - Richard Kurtz, Interim Director of CAMD
- Jorge Pullin has been nominated as a candidate for President of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation.
- Thank you to Entergy Corp. for a $100,000 gift to the Department to support the new Health Physics and Nuclear Power Industry Workforce Development Initiative being developed jointly by the Departments of Physics and Astronomy and Mechanical Engineering. With support from Entergy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the program is designed to establish a new curriculum, support new faculty, and train students to fill a growing need for trained scientists and engineers in the nuclear power industry. Erno Sajo is the Principal Investigator of the NRC grants and director of the new program.
- Joseph Giaime has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS).
- The LSU Board of Supervisors approves a collaborative Ph.D. program in materials science between LSU, UNO and Southern.
- LSU Professors Receive Grant to Study Gamma-Ray Bursts - Gabrielle Allen and Erik Schnetter
- Nine Physics & Astronomy faculty members have been named to the List of LSU's 2009 Rainmakers, the 100 most productive researchers and scholars at the University: Michael L. Cherry, Jonathan P. Dowling, Jerry P. Draayer, Gabriela Gonzalez, Mark Jarrell, E. Ward Plummer, Bradley E. Schaefer, Kenneth J. Schafer, and John P. Wefel.
- Huiheng Medical, Inc., a Chinese company, plans to build a plant in Baton Rouge to manufacture radiation treatment devices. The company's Whole Body Gamma Knife is already used to treat cancer patients across the world. One of the reasons cited by the company for choosing Baton Rouge was LSU's Medical Physics program.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - A recent article in Nature Physics documents the transfer of frequency comb production from the optical region to the vacuum ultraviolet region for the first time. In collaboration with experimental colleagues at JILA in Boulder, the ultrafast AMO theory group at LSU (Gaarde, Hostetter, Schafer, Tate) demonstrates how the technique of high harmonic generation can preserve the temporal coherence necessary to generate a frequency comb structure in the 7th harmonic (153 nm) of an intense infrared laser pulse. This work unites high precision spectroscopy, a specialty of the JILA group, with strong field physics, which has been extensively studied at LSU.
- The HASP (High Altitude Student Platform) balloon instrument was successfully launched on September 11, 2009 from Ft. Sumner, NM with payloads provided by student groups from Virginia Tech, Univ. of North Dakota/Univ. of North Florida, Louisiana-Lafayette, Maryland-College Park, Colorado-Boulder, and Montana State University. The flight lasted for 14 hours and reached an altitude of 120,000'. The news report from Channel 12 News in Phoenix shows a photograph of the balloon at night shortly before cutdown as seen from the Gilbert-Rotary Observatory in Gilbert, AZ.
- Dana Browne, Ray Chastain, Mike Cherry, Juana Moreno, and Adjunct Assistant Professor Cyrill Slezak have joined with the Math Department, Chemistry, College of Basic Sciences, and the Gordon A. Cain Center for Scientific, Technological, Engineering and Mathematical Literacy to offer a Masters in Natural Science program for Louisiana science teachers. Twenty teachers are currently enrolled in the program to provide advanced content and pedagogy training, enhance the quality of local science education, and provide increased access to advanced high school courses. The program has recently received National Science Foundation funding to continue for another five years.
- The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant of $1,400,000 to Louisiana State University & Agricultural and Mechanical College for support of the project "PetaCactus: Unraveling the Supernova -- Gamma-Ray Burst Mystery" under the direction of Erik Schnetter, Adam Burrows, Christian D. Ott, and Gabrielle D. Allen.
- Undergraduate physics majors Casey Pangan and Christopher Dupuis, working with Jeff Blackmon, have received travel awards from the American Physical Society to present posters on their work at the Joint Meeting of the APS Division of Nuclear Physics and the Physical Society of Japan in Hawaii in October. M.M. White, Jeff Blackmon, Laura Lindhardt, Casey Pangan and collaborators will present posters on "Electronics and Data Acquisition for miniLENS" and "Performance of a 2m prototype neutron detector for VANDLE", and Chris Dupuis, Blackmon, Lindhardt, Milan Matos, and collaborators will present a poster on "Development of a large acceptance, tracking gas ionization chamber".
- RESEARCH NEWS! - Edward Zganjar, and his UNIRIB colleagues, were recently awarded $1.78 million to complete the construction of a new type of mass separator and place it on-line to the radioactive ion-beam accelerator at the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
- Dr. Kenneth Hogstrom is featured in an article in the Baton Rouge Business Report, "Hitting the Target".
- RESEARCH NEWS! - LIGO Listens for Gravitational Echoes of the Birth of the Universe - Results set new limits on gravitational waves that could have come from the Big Bang, and begin to constrain current theories about universe formation.
- Edward Seidel was named Interim Assistant Director for the National Science Foundation’s Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) Directorate.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - The journal Classical and Quantum Gravity highlights a community paper called "Testing Gravitational-Wave Searches with Numerical Relativity Waveforms: Results from the First Numerical Injection Analysis (NINJA) Project" with authors from many institutions, including several current and former members of LSU's Relativity Group.
The article represents the first large-scale collaborative work between the data analysis and numerical relativity communities towards measuring and recognizing the gravitational waves expected in the merger of a binary black hole system in the data from detectors in operation (e.g., LIGO). For several years, the numerical relativity community has been working towards obtaining such waveforms - which required constructing complex codes implementing Einstein's equations - while the data analysis community has developed a series of refined tools to analyze the data from interferometric detectors. This article presents the first cohesive effort to adopt the knowledge gained through the simulations and study its incorporation in data analysis pipelines, measuring efficiency in simulated gaussian data."
- A big thank you goes to Scott and Susan Brodie, who have made a gift of $200,000 to the LSU Foundation to establish the Scott and Susan Brodie Science Honors Scholar Awards and the Scott and Susan Brodie Professorship in Physics and Astronomy. Additional matching funds from the Louisiana Board of Regents raise the total value of their gift to $260,000. The Department very much appreciates their generous support.
- A delegation from LSU comprised of Dean Kevin Carman, Ward Plummer, Rongying Jin, and Jiandi Zhang traveled to China recently to sign an agreement with the Institute of Physics in Beijing (part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences) for a dual Ph.D. degree program in materials science. The agreement creates what is believed to be the first dual Ph.D. program between the U.S. and China.
- The Physics Intensive Orientation for Students (PhIOS), a one-week intensive program specifically for incoming Physics, Astronomy, and Medical Physics majors designed to prepare students for their college coursework and enhance their student skills, operated for the first time in August 2009 under the direction of Associate Chair Dana Browne. The College's full set of summer orientation programs, including PHIOS, is described in an article in LSU News.
- A gallery of Undergraduate Physics Major, James Champagne's astrophotography images can be found here. The image at the left is a wide field view of the Rho Ophiucus star-forming region of the Milky Way, with antares the bright star near the center of the view. The images were taken between November 2007 and June 2009.
- RESEARCH NEWS! - - An article on the value of preserving, digitizing, and studying archival astronomical plates in the April 24 issue of Science features Geoff Clayton and his research group. Separately, a podcast interview from last fall's meeting of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) on the subject of R Coronae Borealis stars can be seen here.
- A team led by Adjunct Professor Gabrielle Allen has won the IEEE SCALE 09 (International Scalable Computing Challenge) competition in Shanghai. The team's application involved a scalable end-to-end interactive system for the simulation and visualization of black holes that depended on the 10Gbps LONI network and machines. The team, a collaboration involving CCT, Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering, included Physics and Astronomy Research Assistant Professors Erik Schnetter and Peter Diener and graduate student Oleg Korobkin. Article in the Baton Rouge newspaper, The Advocate, can be found here. More information can be found here.
- Mette Gaarde has been elected to the Executive Committee of the APS Topical Group on Few-Body Systems.
- Kenneth Schafer has been awarded a Hedersdoktor degree, an honorary doctorate at Lund University in Sweden in recognition of the many, joint papers, visits, student and postdoc exchanges that the has carried out with the experimental atomic physics group at the Lund Technical University.
- Jonathan Dowling has been invited to speak to a meeting in Washington, D.C. organized by the White House on the National Quantum Information Science Initiative. This is a planning meeting to disucss the future of quantum information science.
- TeraGrid'09 Keynote Speakers include Ed Seidel, Paul Avery and Thomas Cheatham -
CHICAGO - Edward Seidel, a globally recognized physicist and the leader of the National Science Foundation's Office of Cyberinfrastructure; Paul Avery, a recognized leader in advanced grid and networking for science; and Thomas Cheatham, a professor well known for his work in biomolecular simulations, will deliver keynote speeches at the TeraGrid'09, the fourth annual National Science Foundation (NSF) TeraGrid conference, June 22-25 in Arlington, Virginia.
- Graduate student, Sarah Caudill, has been nominated as an "alternate" to attend the annual meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany this summer. She has also been selected to be nominated as a member of the U.S delegation to the 2010 Lindau Meeting. Nominations of graduate students whose work is funded by the National Science Foundation were solicited from research institutions across the country; each institution was permitted to submit a single nomination. Sarah was the outstanding graduate student nominated for this program by LSU.
Former LSU Physics PhD student, Cindy Roundtree, was nominated and attended the 50th anniversary Nobel Laureates meeting in Lindau, Germany in June, 2000.
- Graduate student, Sarah Caudill, has been elected Chair-elect of the APS Forum on Graduate Student Affairs.
- Kenneth Schafer's attosecond stroboscope work was chosen as one of Discover Magazine's top 100 stories of 2008.
- The department's Medical and Health Physics Program has been highlighted in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
- The ATIC and Auger cosmic ray experiments were both included on the American Institute of Physics' list of the Top Ten Physics Stories of 2008.
- LSU, Mary Bird Perkins team up on cancer treatment - LSU and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center announced plans today to develop a proton therapy program for cancer patients, and intend to open a treatment and research center by 2012 at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, LSU says. Dr. Kenneth Hogstrom, chief of physics at Mary Bird Perkins and chair of medical physics at LSU, leads the partnership.
- Professor Ward Plummer and Visiting Professor Rodolfo Gambini have been elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
- Jonathan P. Dowling has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) by the Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) in recognition of his "major contributions to quantum optics as it pertains to the development of the theory of atomic emission rates and nonlinear switching in photonic crystals, as well as seminal contributions to quantum metrology and imaging, especially the invention of quantu lithography."
- RESEARCH NEWS! -
The ATIC Collaboration has discovered an excess of electrons in the cosmic rays at 300-800 GeV. This may be the first observation of a nearby source of particle acceleration from an as yet unidentified astrophysical object or it could be a signature of the annihilation of a Kaluza-Klein dark matter particle of mass about 620 GeV. The finding is reported in "An Excess of Cosmic Ray Electrons at Energies of 300-800 GeV" by John Wefel, Greg Guzik, Joachim Isbert et al. in Nature 456, 362 (2008)
and is featured in Nature News & Views p. 329
as well as being the subject of a NASA press release and in The Advocate.
ATIC was largely constructed at LSU and the excess in the spectrum was discovered in data collected during ATIC's first two Antarctic balloon flights. More information about the ATIC experiment can be found here.
- Kenneth Schafer has been elected as a Fellow of the Optical Society of America.
- In addition to the recent reference to the department's research on the popular TV series "The Big Bang Theory", we have two additional media stars: Juana Moreno has been invited to attend the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Education Workshop November 13th and 14th in Arlington, Virginia. The presentations and discussions can be viewed on live webcast by registering at this web address. Also, an interview with Geoffrey Clayton at the American Association of Variable Star Observers meeting on R Coronae Borealis stars can be viewed at this web address.
- Research News! - D. Uskov and A. R. P. Rau: Geometric phases and Bloch-sphere constructions for SU(N) groups with a complete description of the SU(4) group", Phys. Rev. A 78, 022331 (2008), provides a geometrical view of two-spin quantum systems. The quantum system of a pair of spins (qubits) lies at the heart of quantum computing, quantum cryptography and related areas of current research. This paper develops a geometrical picture for the time evolution of such systems that closely parallels a similar picture, called the Bloch sphere, which has been very influential over the decades for the quantum mechanics of a single spin in magnetic fields. This latter picture of a unit vector rotating on a sphere provides both basic insight into magnetic resonance and guides its applications in chemistry, biology and medical magnetic resonance imaging. Extension to two (or more) spins provides analogous geometrical objects, albeit of higher dimension, including spheres of larger dimension. The quantum evolution is mapped into that of real vectors rotating on such geometrical manifolds.
- Luis Lehner and Gabriela Gonzalez have been invited to participate in the 11th Annual Japanese-American Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium co-sponsored by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
- As part of a major expansion of LSU's materials science program, six new faculty have joined the department in the area of condensed matter and materials science: Assoc. Prof. Shane Stadler (experimental condensed matter, with a joint appointment at CAMD) and Asst. Prof. Juana Moreno (theoretical and computational material science, with a joint appointment at CCT) joined the department in August 2008. Both are the recipients of NSF CAREER grants. In January 2009, we will be joined by Prof. Mark Jarrell, also working in computational material science with a joint appointment at CCT. Prof. Jarrell is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and will act as head of the Materials World Focus Area at CCT. His appointment is also associated with the LONI Institute and the Materials Science Multidisciplinary Hiring Initiative. Prof. Ward Plummer, also joining the department in January, is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and currently Distinguished Professor of Physics and Director of the Tennessee Advanced Materials Laboratory at the University of Tennessee, and Distinguished Scientist at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He is the holder of numerous honors including Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Vacuum Society. He has been awarded the Davisson-Germer Prize of the American Physical Society and the Medard W. Welch Award of the American Vacuum Society. Also joining the department in January and working with Prof. Plummer in experimental materials science are Prof. Jiandi Zhang and Assoc. Prof. Rongying Jin. Prof. Jin has been awarded the Excellent Young Scientist Award from the Chinese Academy of Science and the IBM Corporation Rising Star of Technology Award, and Prof. Zhang is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award.
- LSU appears on the CBS TV show "The Big Bang Theory"! This undoubtedly a first for LSU! Slightly after the 2:20 mark, a couple can be seen arguing the merits of loop quantum gravity vs string theory. The lady cites two achievements of loop quantum gravity, the calculation of black hole entropy and "minute differences in the speed of light for different colors." The second item refers to a paper by Pullin and Gambini.
- Jorge Pullin has been named to the General Council of the American Physical Society (APS).
Read the details of his appointment at this link.
- Welcome to Dr. Ray Chastain, who has joined the department as an instructor. Dr. Chastain's expertise is in observational radio astronomy. He comes to LSU from Bucknell University.
- Richard Kurtz has been appointed Associate Dean for Research in the College of Basic Sciences.
- Interim co-directors picked for LSU research center: Jorge Pullin has been named interim co-director, with Stephen Beck of the School of Music, of the Center for Computation and Technology (CCT). Beck and Pullin will jointly lead the center while LSU starts an international search to replace Ed Seidel, who recently accepted a job as the National Science Foundation’s cyber-infrastructure director.
Futher details can be found here.
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - By replacing a few percent of iron atoms with manganese in the semiconductor ferrosilicon (FeSi), John DiTusa, former student Ncholu Manyala, and colleagues have demonstrated a possible method for systematically inducing non-Landau Fermi liquid behavior in doped semiconductors. ("Doping a semiconductor to create an unconventional metal", Nature 454, 976, 2008). See also the News and Views article "Materials Science: A metal left spinning", Nature 454, 951 (2008). The effect is apparently due to too few mobile electrons to compensate for the spins of unpaired electrons on the impurity atoms. The behavior can be turned on or off by applying a magnetic field at low temperature. More information.
- Ph.D. student, Jennifer Andrews has been awarded a NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program (GSRP) Fellowship for her thesis research on "A Multi-Wavelength Study of Dust Production in Type II Supernovae." She has also been successful in applying for observing time on the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and at the Gemini Observatory.
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - Three papers by the theoretical and experimental gravity group have been highlighted by the editorial board of the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity this year:  In "Rotating collapse of stellar iron cores in general relativity" (Class. Quantum Grav. 24, S139 2007), B. Zink, E. Schnetter, and colleagues present the results of simulations of the collapse of rotating stellar iron cores, focusing on the gravitational wave emission during the collapse, core bounce, and post-bounce phases.  In "Late-time tails in the Kerr spacetime" (Class. Quantum Grav. 25, 072001, 2008), Jorge Pullin and colleagues describe the decay with time of perturbation fields outside a black hole.  In "Search for gravitational-wave bursts in LIGO data from the fourth science run" (Class. Quantum Grav. 24, 5343, 2007), the LIGO Science Collaboration (including R. Amin, L. Blackburn, J. Giaime, G. Gonzalez, C. Hanna, W. Johnson, A. Rodriguez, J. Slutsky, and M. Sung at LSU) describe the results of the fourth science run with the LIGO and GEO 600 gravitational wave detectors. With significantly lower noise and greater sensitivity than previous runs, no positive signals from supernova or binary black hole merger events were detected. The theoretical gravity group has made the Classical and Quantum Gravity highlights list every year since the groupt started at LSU in 2001!
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - The binary pulsar system PSR J0737-3039A/B consists of two closely spaced neutron stars in an edge-on configuration such that one pulsar eclipses the other once in every 2.45 hr orbit. The spin of one compact rotating star couples with the orbital angular momentum and the spin of the other, analogous to spin-orbit and spin-spin coupling in an atomic system, providing a test of general relativity in the strong-field regime. The relativistic spin precession of pulsar B has now been measured to be about 4.80/year, R. Breton et al., Science 321, 104, 2008 , in agreement with the prediction of 5.10/yr made by B. Barker and R.F. O'Connell, Phys. Rev. D12, 329 (1975), within an observational uncertainty of 13%.
See also R.F. O'Connell , http://arxiv.org/abs/0804.3806 (2008) which reviews both strong and weak-field tests. The terminology spin-orbit and spin-spin in the gravitational context was introduced by R.F. O'Connell, in Experimental Gravitation:Proceedings of Course 56 of the International School of Physics "Enrico Fermi," B. Bertotti, Ed. (Academic Press, New York, 1974), p. 496.
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - The Auger Collaboration (including Jim Matthews, Alexei Dorofeev, Javier Gonzalez at LSU, and Megan McEwan, Roger McNeil, and Rishi Meyhanden formerly in the department) has published evidence for a cutoff at the high end of the cosmic ray spectrum. Auger previously showed that the arrival directions of cosmic rays at energies above 6 x 1019 eV were correlated with the directions of Active Galactic Nuclei -- i.e., that the highest energy cosmic rays are extragalactic in origin. Now, at the same energy, Auger has demonstrated the presence of the predicted GZK cutoff due to the interaction of extragalactic protons with the cosmic microwave background. The scientific article appears in Physical Review Letters 101, 061101 (2008). A commentary by Mike Cherry appears on the APS Physics Viewpoint web site.
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - LSU and Florida State University (FSU) are collaborating to develop the Array for Nuclear Astrophysics Studies with Exotic Nuclei (ANASEN). ANASEN combines three different types of detectors to achieve an efficient and selective instrument for studies of nuclear reactions induced by low intensity beams of exotic nuclei. Solid-state and gaseous detector technologies are being developed with state-of-the-art electronics systems to provide accurate measurements of the energies and trajectories of charged ions over a large angular range. Students at LSU and FSU will develop and test detector elements that will be combined into a completed array and used in experiments with beams of exotic nuclei at the Fox Superconducting Accelerator Laboratory at FSU. ANASEN will allow new direct measurements of nuclear reaction cross sections that are important for understanding stellar explosions like X-ray bursts and the structure of short-lived nuclei. ANASEN will also be a portable instrument that will be moved to the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University and potentially to other laboratories. LSU and FSU students will have a unique opportunity to conduct leading research in nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics with ANASEN at major national accelerator facilities. Students will also gain invaluable hands-on experience in forefront instrumentation and techniques that are important for various fields from health care to national security. ANASEN is funded by the by the National Science Foundation's Major Research Instrumentation Program and by LSU and FSU, and led at LSU by Jeff Blackmon.
- John Gibbons, Jr. has been elected Secretary of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. He is chief of clinical physics at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and adjunct associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - The LIGO collaboration (including the LSU group led by Profs. Joe Giaime, Gabriela Gonzalez, Bill Hamilton, and Warren Johnson), has presented upper limits on gravitational wave emission from the Crab pulsar, giving an upper limit on gravitational wave emission that beats indirect limits inferred from the spin-down and braking index of the pulsar and the energetics of the nebula. The scientific paper can be found here. A popular writeup can be found here.
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - Titanium dioxide (TiO2) has a number of uses in catalysis, photochemistry, and sensing that are linked to the reducibility of the oxide. Usually, bridging oxygen (Obr) vacancies are assumed to cause the Ti 3d defect state in the TiO2 band gap. Phil Sprunger and colleagues from the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center, Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Institute for Storage Ring Facilities at the University of Aarhus in Denmark propose that Ti interstitials in the near-surface region may be largely responsible for the defect state in the band gap. Based on data from high-resolution scanning tunneling microscopy and photoelectron spectroscopy measurements, they argue that these donor-specific sites play a key role in and may dictate the ensuing surface chemistry. Density functional theory calculations support the experimental observations. The scientific paper was published in Science 320, 1755 (2008).
- Spin Helicity Workshop Aims to Bring Together Several Communities of Electron Physicists - "Matthias Eschrig and Gerd Schön of the Universität Karlsruhe and Ilya Vekhter of Louisiana State University are organizing an I2CAM Exploratory Workshop entitled “Spin Helicity and Chirality in Superconductor and Semiconductor Nanostructures” to be held in Karlsruhe, Germany July 13-17.
- The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected Edward Seidel as its director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure. This office funds researchers who demonstrate cutting-edge information technology that can lead to breakthroughs in science, engineering and other academic disciplines. Seidel, who is Floating Point Systems Professor in the Departments of Physics and Astronomy and Computer Science and also is Director of the Center for Computation & Technology (CCT), will begin his NSF position September 1, 2008. The full press release can be found here.
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - Matthew Anderson, Luis Lehner, Patrick Motl, David Neilsen, Carlos Palenzuela, and Joel Tohline, together with colleagues from Brigham Young University and Long Island University, recently published a discussion of magnetic field effects on neutron star mergers and the electromagnetic and gravitational wave radiation that results. An article from the Salt Lake Tribune describing the work can be found here. An article about the implications for neutron stars with very high magnetic fields ("magnetars") can be found on the Science Magazine website here. The original paper can be found here. Anderson and Neilsen were recent Postdoctoral Researchers at LSU and are now working at BYU.
- Arlo U. Landolt is a member of the National Research Council's Space Studies Board Committee on Science Opportunities Enabled by NASA's Constellation Systems, NASA's new launch systems being designed to implement the lunar exploration component of the Vision for Space Exploration and the NASA Authorization Act of 2005. The committee's web site can be found here.
- Seven Physics and Astronomy faculty have been named among the 100 outstanding faculty recently recognized by the University as "Rainmakers", faculty whose exceptional productivity distinguishes them as leaders in the University's research and creative enterprise. Congratulations to Gabriela Gonzalez, Luis Lehner, Jorge Pullin, Brad Schaefer, Ken Schafer, Ed Seidel, and Joel Tohline. The full story can be found here. A full list of the 100 Rainmakers can be found here.
- Boyd Professor Joseph Callaway was honored posthumously as one of four new inductees into the College of Basic Sciences Hall of Distinction. The announcement can be found here.
- Marlan Scully, Adjunct Professor of Physics, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
- Congratulations to the Physics and Astronomy students honored at the 2008 College of Basic Sciences Choppin Honors Convocation:
- Keen-Morris Prize - Nickolas Van Meter
- Undergraduate Research Award - Stacey Bright and Brad Corso
- Undergraduate Service Award - Rachel Mannino
- College Honors - Shawn Wilkinson
- Physics and Astronomy faculty were successful on eight separate Enhancement, Research Competitiveness, and Graduate Fellows awards recently announced by the Louisiana Board of Regents:
- P. Adams, J. DiTusa, D. Young, "Upgrade of the LSU Helium Liquefier Facility"
- J. Blackmon, "Development of a Novel Prototype Detector of Low Energy Neutrinos"
- D. Browne, M. Cherry, G. Gonzalez, B. Schaefer, "Graduate Fellows in Physics and Astronomy"
- S. Guo (Mech. Eng.), D. Young et al., "A Quantum-Design Physical Property Measurement System (PPMS) for Novel Thermoelectric Material Studies"
- R. Kurtz, P. Sprunger et al., "Acquisition of a Variable-Temperature SPM for Multidisciplinary Materials Research and Education"
- J. Madden (Math), M. Cherry et al., "Professional Master's Degree Programs for K-12 STEM Teachers"
- D. Sheehy, "Superfluidity and Strong Correlations in Ultracold Atomic Gases"
- M. Cherry, T.G. Guzik, J.G. Stacy et al., "Science Teacher Training Using Astrophysics Research".
- One of the prestigious prizes awarded at the American Physical Society meeting in New Orleans in March 2008, was the Aneesur Rahman Prize to Gary S. Grest of Sandia Laboratories for "his ground-breaking development of computational methods and their applications". Gary received his Ph.D. from our department in 1974 (thesis advisor: A.K. Rajagopal) and was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
- Edward Seidel has been elected to the Board of Trustees of Internet2.
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - John Gibbons, chief of clinical physics at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and an adjunct professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has helped introduce a new treatment for a rare form of eye cancer, choroidal melanoma, in which low-dose radiation is applied to the affected area in an ingenious way: Radioactive "seeds" about 3 millimeters long are placed inside a solid gold cap, or plaque, that is attached to the eyeball. Approximately two thousand new cases of choroidal melanoma are diagnosed in the United States every year. Gibbons' new treatment procedure is available through a partnership between Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and is described in the March 25, 2008 issue of the Baton Rouge Business Report.
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - Ken Schafer and colleagues from Lund and Amsterdam have demonstrated that a train of attosecond UV pulses phase locked to an infrared field can be used to control the ionization of helium atoms with extremely rapid precision. Their work is highlighted in a Nature Photonics Research Highlights article. In a separate article, Schafer and his collaborators demonstrate the use of a train of ultrafast infrared laser pulses to produce images of electron motion on sub-femtosecond timescales. The "electron stroboscope" enables "unprecedented control of electron dynamics" and is expected to lead to detailed, precise studies of electron-atom interactions. A Physical Review Focus article describes the electron stroboscope.
- Congratulations to Dana Browne, who will receive the 2008 Basic Sciences Tiger Athletic Foundation President's Award at the University's Distinguished Faculty Award Reception at Lod Cook Alumni Center May 6 at 4:00 p.m.
- Congratulations to Bob O'Connell and Ravi Rau, who were honored as "Outstanding Referees" by the American Physical Society at its recent March meeting. This recognition was awarded to referees who "have been truly exceptional in their contributions to the physics community by their hard work and careful attention to the peer review process." The complete list of awardees can be found at http://publish.aps.org/OutstandingReferees.
- The Wired Campus - Education-technology news from around the web -
Universities Win $9-Million to Create High-Speed Computing Tools
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - LIGO Sheds Light on Cosmic Event - The non-detection of gamma ray burst GRB070201 by LIGO indicated that this event was not caused by the merger of two neutron stars or black holes, contrary to the expectations for a short-duration gamma ray burst observed in a nearby galaxy. The scientific article can be found here.
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - LSU Faculty are involved in two of the top 10 physics stories of the year according to the list published by the American Institute of Physics. LSU faculty are involved in the MiniBooNE experiment and the Auger experiment. MiniBoone (which involves Professor William Metcalf and his research group) recently showed evidence that appears to rule out a fourth generation of neutrinos. Previous measurements of neutrino oscillations had provided tentative evidence for a family of "sterile" neutrinos; MiniBooNE has ruled that out, leaving only the standard three neutrino families associated with the electron, muon, and tau particles. Auger, the world's largest cosmic ray telescope, involves Professor James Matthews; Auger has provided the first direct evidence that the highest energy cosmic rays are produced by active galactic nuclei powered by massive black holes at the cores of galaxies.
- Diola Bagayoko, Professor of Physics at Southern University and Adjunct Professor at LSU, along with the Timbuktu Academy he founded and currently directs, received the 2007 Benjamin Banneker Legacy Award for their work and excellent results in grade school education (K-8th grade). The award ceremony took place on November 7, 2007 in Washington, D.C. Dr. William (Bill) Cosby presented the award to Dr. Bagayoko. The Benjamin Banneker Legacy Awards are made by the Benjamin Banneker Institute for Science and Technology in Washington. More information on the K-16 systemic mentoring and research participation programs of the Timbuktu Academy, click the link above. Congratulations to Diola and the Timbuktu Academy.
- Gabriela Gonzalez has been appointed Chair of the committee that will select the winner of the GWIC thesis prize. GWIC is the Gravitational Wave International Committee, a sub-committee of the IUPAP, International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. The committee selects the winner based on the best thesis in gravitational wave research worldwide.
- Edward Seidel has been elected as fellow of the American Physical Society by the Division of Computational Physics (DCOMP).
- Luis Lehner has been elected to the "40 under 40" by the Baton Rouge Business Report.
- Gabriela Gonzalez has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society in recognition of "her experimental contributions to the field of gravitational wave detection, her leadership in the analysis of LIGO data for gravitational wave signals, and for her skill in communicating the excitement of physics to students and the public."
- LSU and Southern Receive Awards: Board of Regents provides matching funds to stimulate research in Louisiana. Winning proposal - "Multi-Wavelength and Multi-Messenger Observations in Conjunction with the Gamma Ray Large Area Space Telescope, or GLAST, Satellite Mission," submitted by Michael Cherry, with J. Gregory Stacy, Rob Hynes, Jim Matthews and Ali Fazely (Southern).
- Kenneth Hogstrom has been named a Fellow of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in recognition of his long service to the society and his contributions to the field of radiation oncology.
||RESEARCH NEWS ! - The Auger experiment has announced the first correlation of ultra-high
energy (1020 eV) cosmic ray arrival directions with extragalactic sources.
Based on a sample of data taken between 2004 and 2007, Auger sees evidence
for their highest energy events coming from the directions of nearby active
galactic nuclei. The scientific article appears in Science.
||RESEARCH NEWS ! - The ATIC cosmic ray balloon experiment is featured on LSU's home page
as part of LSU's
Antarctic research program. ATIC is preparing for its third flight
to measure the composition and energy spectrum of high energy cosmic ray
nuclei and electrons. Details and the latest news regarding the current
flight campaign can be found here.
||RESEARCH NEWS ! - At the 209th meeting of the American
Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington, astronomers announced
findings of unusually high levels of the oxygen isotope 18O in two extremely
rare types of stars. This breakthrough has led astronomers to believe
that the origin of these odd stars could be the merging of white dwarf
stars, the burnt-out remnants of normal stars like the Sun. Read the
entire article in our Fall 2007
departmental newsletter. For more information, The Gemini Observatory
website press release can be found here.
The Gemini press release recorded more hits (more than 50,000) in the
first three months after its release than any previous Gemini press release.
||RESEARCH NEWS ! - "The Pierre Auger Observatory: Measuring the
Highest Energy Cosmic Rays" - In July 2007, the initial Auger results were
presented at the 30th International Cosmic Ray Conference in Mexico. The
data indicated a clear cutoff in the spectrum near 1020 eV, a result known
as the "GZK cutoff" and expected due to interactions of high energy cosmic
ray protons with the cosmic microwave background. The Auger Collaboration
consists of over 200 scientists from more than 20 countries. The group
participating from LSU is led by Prof.
James Matthews and includes Prof. Roger McNeil, postdocs Alexei
Dorofeev and Javier Gonzalez,
graduate student Megan McEwen,
and undergraduate students Rachel Mannino and Brittan Farmers. Prof. Matthews
has been a part of the project since it was first conceived in 1992. More
information about Auger can be found by visiting Nature.com, Science
Magazine, or the Auger
Observatory website. Read the entire article in our Fall
2007 departmental newsletter. Also, the LSU News press release on the research can be found here.
Links to additional news articles about the Auger discovery can be found
at Google News (search for "Auger cosmic rays").
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - "The Relativistic Turducken Approach to Stuffing a Black Hole" - Erik Schnetter, Manuel Tiglio, and Peter Diener from LSU's Physics and Astronomy Department and the Center for Computation and Technology, working together with colleagues from the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo in Mexico, North Carolina State University, the University of Southampton in Britain, and the Albert Einstein Institute in Germany, have shown how to stuff a black hole. The result is that their "turducken" approach to stuffing a back hole may lead to useful methods of simulating the behavior of real black holes irrespective of many of the unobservable details of how the interior stuffing is arranged. A preprint of the paper can be found on the web. More information can be found in the article in our Fall 2007 departmental newsletter.
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - "Medical Physics is a fundamental science concerned with improving people's lives," said Dr. Polad Shikhaliev, who joined the LSU faculty in January, 2007 as an Assistant Professor in its joint Medical Physics Program with Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. "Medical Physics has a direct impact on people's health, helping cure breast cancer. As a medical physicist, I conduct research with detector technology to find cancer earlier". Dr. Shikhaliev's current research is focused on developing a new breast CT system that will allow detecting breast cancer at its very early stages. Breast CT, as proposed by Dr. Shikhaliev, should be able to detect breast lesions as small as 2-3 mm, compared to 10mm, which is often the case in current mammography x-rays. He also expects his research to acquire the CT scan with less radiation dose to the breast than current low-risk mammography techniques and with no pain or discomfort. Read the entire article in our Fall 2007 departmental newsletter.
- Joel Tohline has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Each year the Council elects members whose "efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished." Dr. Tohline is being honored for his " . . . contributions in the astrophysical application of numerical hydrodynamics, in particular to star formation, galactic dynamics, and compact objects, and for contributions to the development of computational astrophysics in Louisiana."
- - posted October 24, 2007
- Ravi Rau has been elected Vice-Chair of the American Physical Society (APS) Topical Group on Few-Body Problems.
- - posted October 16, 2007
- Joel Tohline has been invited to serve a 3-year term on the National Science Foundation's Directorate of Math & Physical Sciences Advisory Committee (MPSAC). The MPSAC is the only official advisory body to the Divisions within the Math and Physical Sciences Directorate, and the Directorate relies on the AC for both high level advice and connection to the community. More information on the MPSAC can be found here.
- - posted October 9, 2007
- Luis Lehner has been appointed to the Selection Committee of the Nicholas Metropolis Prize of the American Physical Society. The prize is awarded every year for the best dissertation in computational physics. Lehner was the first recipient of the prize in 1999.
- Profs. Jerry Draayer and Jorge Pullin have been appointed to the editorial board of Research Letters in Physics, an open access journal.
- - posted September 18, 2007
- The conference Profs. Rodolfo Gambini (University of the Republic, Uruguay) and Jorge Pullin are organizing in Uruguay in October has been decleared "of national interest" by the government in Uruguay. Signatures at the bottom of the document are those of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Education, and the President of the Republic.
- - posted September 11, 2007
- Luis Lehner will be one of the participants in the invitation-only workshop "Enabling Science Discoveries through Visual Exploration", organized by the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. on September 27-28, 2007.
- - posted September 10, 2007
- Two papers by Physics and Astronomy Professors Manuel Tiglio and Peter Diener with Research Associate, Eric Schnetter, and by former LSU graduate student and PhD graduate Gioel Calabrese (currently in England) have been chosen among the highlights of 2006/2007 by the Editorial Board of the Journal "Classical and Quantum Gravity", published by the Institute of Physics of the UK. Papers published by members of the LSU Relativity Group have made the highlights list for the last six years.
- The proceedings of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific conference series entitled "The Future of Photometric, Spectrophotometric and Polarimetric Standardization" that took place in Blankenberge, Belgium was dedicated to Arlo U. Landolt in recognition of his life work of setting standars in photometry.
- RESEARCH NEWS ! - John DiTusa and a group of international colleagues have discovered an unusual magnetic material that has major implications in Quantum Physics. Their findings were published online July 26, 2007 by Science in an article entitled "Mesoscopic Phase Coherence in a Quantum Spin Fluid."
- Jonathan Dowling was elected Fellow of the Optical Society of America.
- Jorge Pullin has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In addition, he also has been elected corresponding member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences (Academia Mexicana de Ciencias), a non-profit organization comprising over 1,800 distinguished Mexican scientists.
Jerry Draayer - Distinguished Research Master by the LSU Council on Research
Richard Kurtz - LSU Distinguished Faculty Award
Michael Cherry - LSU Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award
Juhan Frank - Tiger Athletic Foundation President's Award
- Jonathan Dowling has been appointed to the Oak Ridge Associated Universities National Security Experts Team.
- - posted August 28, 2007
- LSU Professor Receives Award for Work with International Neutrino Experiment
Thomas Kutter has received an Outstanding Junior Investivator Award from the Department of Energy for his work on the large-scale T2K neutrino oscillation project in Japan in hopes of solving neutrino mysteries.
- - posted August 22, 2007
- Dr. Polad Shikhaliev has just received a $389K NIH grant beginning June 1, 2007 entitled "In-vivo intravascular autoradiography with storage phosphor detector".
- - posted August 7, 2007
- Prof. Bradley Schaefer has just won a share of the 2007 Gruber Cosmology Prize as a particiapant in the discovery that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating, not decelerating as expected. By measuring the brightnesses of a large number of very distant supernovae, two competing teams -- the Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-z Supernova Search team -- simultaneously determined that the expansion of our Universe is accelerating, a surprising result since confirmed by several independent methods. The conclusion is that approximately 70% of the mass/energy of our Universe is due to a previously unknown 'force' now called 'Dark Energy'. The $500,000 prize money will be shared amongst the co-authors of the original papers, with the award ceremony being held on 7 September 2007 at Trinity College in Cambridge. Past winners of the Gruber Cosmology Prize are John Mather and the COBE team, Martin Rees, Vera Rubin, and Allan Sandage. The Gruber Award is described in more detail here. The original papers can be found here and here
- - posted August 7, 2007
- Profs. Jonathan Dowling (PI) and Hwang Lee (Co-PI), have just received a $600K grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Strategic Technology Office (STO) Quantum Sensors Program (QSP).
The objective of QSP is to develop pratical sensors operating outside of a controlled laboratory environment that exploit non-classical photon states to surpass classical sensor resolution. The Phase I grant has a duration of 18 months, and could lead to additional phase grants. Co-investigators include scientists from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Raytheon Corporation, and MathSense Analytics, all well as collaborators from the University of Calgary and the University of Toronto.
- Former LSU Physics undergraduate, Barrett Deris, has received an NSF Graduate Fellowship. Deris is currently a graduate student at Univ. of California-San Diego.
- LSU Physics & Astronomy graduate student, Enrique Pazos, won the prize for the best graduate student presentation at the 3rd Gulf Coast Gravity Conference held at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.
- The SPIRES bibliographical service at Stanford University has compiled a list of the most cited articles of all time to appear in the GR-QC preprint repository. This repository contains almost all papers in gravitation starting in 1992. Jorge Pullin's paper with Dr. Rodolfo Gambini, "Nonstandard Optics in Quantum Space-time", cited 240 times, is the 21st most cited paper ever in the repository.
- - posted February 2, 2007
- LSU Professor Hosts "Ask the Astronomer" Event Observatory - Topic will be antimatter, but all space related questions welcomed.
- - posted January 26, 2007
- Jorge Pullin has been elected corresponding member of the National Academy of Science of Argentina.
- - posted January 24, 2007
- LSU Professor Named LIGO Head - Joseph A. Giaime, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at LSU, was recently named head of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, or LIGO, based in Livingston, LA.
- - posted January 10, 2007