News

In a year of compressed academic calendars and virtual conferences, the Duke Materials Initiative (DMI) pivoted from holding the first Triangle Hard Matter Workshop in person to hosting the event virtually. Over 300 faculty, postdoctoral associates and PhD students from not only Duke, North Carolina State and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, but also from across the U.S. and overseas, including Germany and China, attended the event. Each of the sessions, focused on one of three tracks: Energy Materials,… read more about 2020 Triangle Hard Matter Workshop Was a Resounding Success »

We are very sad to share the news that John Kolena has passed away. Dr. Kolena was an instructor at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and at Duke University. For many years, he taught astronomy and astrophysics classes in the Physics Department. After his retirement, he kept his connection to Duke, attending talks and interacting with the department community. He will be greatly missed. His obituary may be found here. Update: The North Carolina School of Science and Math will… read more about The Passing of John Kolena »

It is an exciting time at Duke University as the Quantum Center is growing. Originally envisioned by Prof. Jungsang Kim's quantum information lab, it has expanded to include Prof. Kenneth Brown since 2018 and over the next year we will welcome Marko Cetina, Crystal Noel, and Kim and Brown's long-time collaborator Christopher Monroe. Click here to read DukeStories' dynamic "More Possibilities Than There are Particles in the Universe… read more about An Update from the Duke Quantum Center »

When you run scientific studies that include infants, something will always go wrong. Families will be late or sick. The babies won’t behave. Or maybe, as happened at the Wilbourn Infant Laboratory at Duke (WILD), you’ll have to make a last-minute run to the store to buy a big pack of toothbrushes. In an interactive study, 20-month-old infants played with a variety of objects—things like a fake cookie and a toy apple, all of which the researchers had ensured were safe for infants. “We had it down,” said Makeba Wilbourn,… read more about Undergraduates Are Doing Real Research in Trinity College, And Everyone Benefits »

Alum Katrina Miller ('16) is currently a PhD student at the University of Chicago and was featured as part of the #BlackInAstro series on Astrobites during Black In Physics Week. Read Miller's interview here. From Miller's Duke Physics advisor Prof. Phil Barbeau: "I met Katrina in her Physics 152 class, and more than any of the other 300 students in that class, she was the one who most clearly thought about Physics the way I do. Katrina is right that it can be scary to think about what it… read more about Alum Miller Featured on #BlackInAstro »

In July 2021, Marko Cetina will join Duke University’s Department of Physics as an Assistant Professor. An atomic, molecular and optical physicist, Cetina has used his wide-ranging research in light, lasers and atoms to both explore the basic physics of quantum phenomena and support the development of improved technology necessary for today’s leading quantum machines. Cetina will come to Duke from the University of Maryland, where he worked at the Joint Quantum Institute alongside Chris Monroe, who joined the Duke faculty… read more about Marko Cetina: Building Quantum Machines to Understand Physical Processes »

When he received the email announcing that he had won the 2021 Herman Feshbach Prize, Berndt Mueller was in the hospital recovering from surgery. “Suddenly I get that email,” Mueller said. “It was totally unexpected.” Awarded each year by the American Physical Society, the $10,000 Feshbach Prize honors “outstanding research in theoretical nuclear physics.” Mueller was selected for his contributions to the scientific understanding of the quark-gluon plasma that filled the universe shortly after the Big Bang, which has proven… read more about Mueller Enters Next Phase With Feshbach Prize »

ACTIVE FACULTY ROBERT J. LEFKOWITZJames B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Medicine  Robert Lefkowitz, M.D., has been a member of the Duke faculty since 1973 as a professor of medicine and a professor of biochemistry and chemistry. He won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, sharing the award with Brian Kobilka, who did postdoctoral work with Lefkowitz at Duke. The two were recognized for their work on a class of cell surface receptors that have become the target of prescription drugs, including… read more about A Look at Duke's Nobel Laureates »

The National Science Foundation has awarded Duke University a $3 million, five-year Research Traineeship grant to develop a program for graduate students to develop expertise in using artificial intelligence (AI) for materials science research. The aiM (AI for Understanding and Designing Materials), program will fill a vital workforce gap by training the next generation in the new convergent field of materials and computer science research. “To achieve the promise of the U.S. Materials Genome Initiative of accelerated… read more about Filling an AI and Materials Science Training Gap »

Prof. Dan Scolnic and Prof. Michael Troxel have weighed in on the latest measurements of the clumpiness of the universe for an article in The Atlantic. Click here to read "The Universe Might Be Too Thin: Scientists may have found a new crack in our understanding of the universe". read more about Profs. Scolnic and Troxel Weigh in on the Latest Measurements of the Clumpiness of the Universe »

Duke University researchers Jungsang Kim and Christophe Monroe will join peers from the national labs, universities, federal agencies and industry on a new National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee (NQIAC) recently announced by the U.S. Department of Energy and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The NQIAC’s mission is to “counsel the Administration on ways to ensure continued American leadership in quantum information science” and was established by Executive Order as part of the… read more about Duke Joins Peers on New National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee »

The Fall 2020 graduate student fellowships and awards have been named. Mary Creason Memorial Award: Ryan Bouabid The recipient earns a monetary reward. Read more about the Mary Creason Memorial Award here. AAPT Outstanding Teacher Assistants of the Year, 2019-20: Son Nguyen and Erik Peterson Recipients receive an AAPT gift membership which includes electronic access to premier journals: The American Journal of PhysicsThe Physics Teacher, and Physics Todayread more about Fall 2020 Graduate Student Fellowships and Awards »

Alfred Goshaw, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics, surveys his career studying elementary particle physics for those "who are curious about how the field has evolved from the dawn of the Standard Model in the 1960s to activities today that require the use of mega particle detectors." Read the article at Innovation News Network. read more about Research in the Field of Elementary Particle Physics »

We are thrilled to welcome Prof. Chris Monroe to the faculty of the Physics Department. Prof. Monroe, a world-leading expert in Quantum-Information-Science, will join Duke University on January 1st 2021 with a joint appointment in Physics and ECE. Click here to read Pratt's new faculty profile "Chris Monroe: Realizing Ion-Trap Quantum Computers to Solve Unsolvable Problems." Photo credit: Pratt School of Engineering read more about New Faculty Profile: Chris Monroe »

An international leader in quantum computing, architect of the U.S. National Quantum Initiative, and member of the National Academy of Sciences, Chris Monroe will join longtime long-distance collaborators at Duke to build practical quantum computers for use in fields from finance to pharmaceuticals Chris Monroe, one of the world’s leading experts in trapping atoms and manipulating their quantum state for applications in quantum information science, has joined the faculty at Duke University. With a dual appointment in the… read more about Chris Monroe: Realizing Ion-Trap Quantum Computers to Solve Unsolvable Problems »

Graduate student Erin Conley (advisor: Prof. Kate Scholberg) has contributed an article on Fermilab's news site that outlines her research with the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). Click here to read Conley's story. read more about Grad Student Conley Provides an Update on the DUNE Experiment at Fermilab »

ATLAS Postdoctoral Associate Katherine Pachal was excited to get the chance to discuss searches for the LHC Run 3 with Symmetry Magazine. The next five years will be a very interesting time to search for new particles which travel a measurable distance in the detector before decaying. Although well-motivated, these signatures are historically under-explored due to the experimental challenges they pose. The Duke ATLAS group has invested significant effort in developing this research area and are… read more about Postdoc Pachal Discusses LHC Experiments with Symmetry Magazine »

Prof. Patrick Charbonneau was featured in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)'s article "Science and Culture: Universities move science labs to the kitchen". Click here to read more on his approach to helping students appreciate food and cooking through science. read more about Prof. Charbonneau Looks at the Science Behind Cooking »

Prof. Martin Fischer has worked with Duke physician Eric Westman to prove that masking is an effective safeguard against COVID-19 and determined which types of masks worked the best. Their Science Advances paper can be read online here, Duke Health's article "Inexpensive, Accessible Device Provides Visual Proof that Masks Block Droplets" is here, and Trinity College's "Here's Visible Proof Masks Work" here.   Photo Credit: Home Page photo, courtesy of Duke Health. read more about Prof. Fischer and Team Prove Masks Block COVID-19 Droplets »

Prof. Michael Troxel has been awarded the Department of Energy Early Career Award. Trinity College of Arts & Sciences featured this news in an article on their website. Read "Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe by Seeing the Invisible" here. Congratulations! read more about Prof. Troxel Awarded DOE Early Career Award »

Michael Troxel has always liked puzzles, especially challenging ones. Which is fortunate, since his job is solving some of the most perplexing, fundamental mysteries of the universe. “At some point in middle school I asked myself, What’s the hardest thing that I could try to do?” he said. “And at that point the hardest thing I knew about was astrophysics, so I think that was probably the first motivation for choosing this career, if I’m honest. But that was before I understood what it actually meant.” A cosmologist and… read more about Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe by Seeing the Invisible »

On June 10, 2020, over 70 members of the Duke Physics Department set aside their research, instructional, and administrative activities to participate in a nationwide strike called #ShutDownSTEM, organized by a multi-identity, intersectional coalition of STEM professionals. Participants used the day to reflect on the ways in which American physics communities, from small research groups, to undergraduate classes, university departments, multi-university collaborations, and national societies can better serve black… read more about Duke Physics Community Anti-Racism Forum »

Prof. David Beratan has been featured on Trinity College of Arts & Sciences' webpage in a background piece to coincide with his 60th birthday tribute in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B. Click here to read "David Beratan Reflects on the Humans Behind the Science." read more about Prof. Beratan Looks Back on His Career in Two Tribute Articles »

While the Duke Community celebrates this unprecedented graduating class of 2020, we would like to highlight two Duke Physics graduate and undergraduate team members for their successful development, coordination and commitment to our faculty, staff and students and first ever virtual graduating class. Katherine Siler and Timothy Fields, Jr. would have been planning their normal annual graduations with their respective graduate and undergraduate students, but instead during one of the most… read more about Department of Physics Staff Spotlight – June 2020 »

Prof. Ashutosh Kotwal has been awarded the Arts and Sciences Council's Faculty Research Grant for bringing together the Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Physics departments on "Applications of Artificial Intelligence". Prof. Kotwal has initiated this collaboration to advance the development and application of high-performance artificial-intelligence (AI) hardware in which the AI algorithms are directly embedded in silicon integrated circuits. The application that Prof. Kotwal has… read more about Prof. Kotwal Receives Research Grant for Artificial Intelligence Applications »

In 2020-2021, the Duke University Energy Initiative’s Energy Research Seed Fund will support projects addressing renewable energy’s integration into the grid, battery performance, electrochemical catalysts, utilities’ decision-making, the energy-water nexus, and energy’s connections with war and health. The Energy Research Seed Fund has a strong track record of investing in early-stage projects that go on to secure external support.The program will award six grants to projects involving thirteen faculty… read more about Energy Research Seed Fund awards six grants to Duke faculty to kickstart innovative projects »

Fifteen Duke Ph.D. students have received prestigious awards from the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) for 2020. Launched in 1952, the GRFP is the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind. It supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing Ph.D. or research-based master’s degrees. Fellows receive a three-year stipend, coverage of tuition and fees, and opportunities for international research and… read more about 15 Ph.D. Students Receive Prestigious NSF Fellowships »