Time flies – it has been nearly three years since [Prof. Haiyan Gao] started to juggle between the complicated and interesting "double" life of a Physics Professor at Duke University in the U.S., and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China. Friends, neighbors and colleagues asked me "How has it been?" all the time whenever I am back in the U.S. My answer has always been: "it is exciting, challenging, busy, exhausting, everything except boring."
Duke Kunshan is a… read more about Commuting Between Duke University and Duke Kunshan University »
The Duke Physics 2017 newsletter is live! The department has had many achievements, faculty hires, new staff, and more over the past year that have been compiled into our final print publication. Read it now online here and look for it in your mail boxes next week.
To receive next year's, which will be online only, make sure you are on our mailing list by sending your preferred email address to news at phy dot duke dot edu.
Happy Holidays! read more about Duke Physics 2017 Newsletter »
Physicist Michael Rubinstein has always been willing to go new places and try new things. In 1977, he immigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union, seeking opportunity. “The Soviet Union looked stable then, but there was no future for me to do what I wanted to do,” he says. As a college student, his only career choice seemed to be physics teacher.
Instead, he came to the United States with his family midway through his college education. He finished his undergraduate degree in physics at the… read more about Michael Rubinstein: Creating Communities and Collaborations to Study Soft Matter »
Rita was born in Durham, NC and has spent most of her life in Raleigh. She graduated from Meredith College with a degree in Music Education and taught several years both privately and at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC. Since getting married in 1981, she and her husband have lived in Spartanburg, SC, Kinston, NC and then back to Raleigh.
When they moved to Raleigh, Rita accepted a job with a company that sold phosphates internationally. She worked in international marketing with them for 15… read more about New Physics Staff »
Congratulations to Prof. G. Allan Johnson who has been named one of nineteen researchers to receive the 2017 Distinguished Investigator Award from the Academy for Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Research. This honor recognizes accomplishments of those in the field of medical imaging. Please click here to read more about the Academy and award. Click here to see Medical Physics' announcement. read more about Prof. Johnson Named 2017 Distinguished Investigator »
Christoph Schmidt wants to understand the physics of living materials such as cells, tissues, and organs. How does a cell generate forces and move, or sense its own size and shape? How does an animal sense its own motions?
In Schmidt’s mind these questions are crying out for attention from physicists. “In the last half century or so, people have had a strong focus on molecular biology,” he says, “whereas the knowledge of physical properties—say elasticity or dynamics—and the physics of matter inside cells… read more about Christoph Schmidt: Using Physics to Understand Biology »
Third year graduate student Aaron Mahler, working under the supervision of Prof. Weitao Yang, has been awarded a 2018 Phase-I Fellowship from the NSF-funded Molecular Sciences Software Institute for his research on theory and implementation of a localized orbital scaling correction to generate improved functionals. See the press release here. read more about Grad Student Mahler Receives Phase-I Fellowship »
Congratulations to senior physics major Bryan Higgins who received the 3rd place award and cash prize for his research poster at the Energy Week Conference held at Duke in November 2017. Bryan has been carrying out senior thesis research with Prof. Stephen Teitsworth, and has been exploring and testing novel types of dye-sensitized solar cells that are inexpensive to fabricate and utilize common regional plants as a source of organic dyes. read more about Undergrad Higgins Places at Energy Week Conference »
The COHERENT Collaboration's result is in the running for being named “Breakthrough of the Year” by Science Magazine. This is a wonderful opportunity to highlight some of the successful science we do here at Duke and with TUNL. Voting is also a great way to show support for so many of our students who are at all levels and at all four local institutions. Choose your breakthrough of the year here by December 3rd.
Photo credit: Jean Lachat, University of Chicagoread more about Cast Your Vote for the COHERENT Result as Breakthrough of the Year »
A team of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering researchers from Duke, The Ohio State University, and The National University of Singapore have built the world's highest rate quantum key distribution system. Led by Physics graduate student Nurul Islam, the system is capable of generating a secret key at a rate five to ten times faster than the existing methods. Read the team's paper: "Provably secure and high-rate quantum key distribution with time-bin qudits" published in Science Advances…read more about A Multi-Disciplinary Team Builds the World's Highest Rate Quantum Key Distribution System »
Iman Marvian, a quantum information theorist, will be joining the Duke faculty in January 2018, with a joint appointment in physics and electrical and computer engineering. He’ll be adding to the efforts of others in physics and engineering who are working to design and build quantum computers. But Marvian has a broader vision. “The field is not just about building quantum computers,” he says. “That’s a big part, but not the only part.”
Harold Baranger, professor of physics, says, “Iman… read more about Iman Marvian: The “Magical Power” of Quantum Systems »
UNC professor Art Champagne succeeded Duke professor Calvin Howell to become the director of the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL) in July 2016. Champagne is the William C. Friday Professor of Physics at UNC-Chapel Hill.
A year and a half after making the transition from TUNL faculty member to TUNL director, Champagne says, “It’s a different perspective. It’s nice to look and see what everyone is doing. It’s all really exciting stuff that we can point to with a great deal of… read more about Art Champagne Ushers TUNL Through its Next Phase »
Congratulations to Prof. Maiken Mikkelsen who will receive an early promotion to Associate Professor!
Prof. Mikkelsen joined the Electrical & Computer Engineering and Physics departments in 2012 and has since developed an outstanding research program. She was most recently in the news this past August when she won the 2017 SPIE Early Career Achievement Award. Click here to visit the Mikkelsen Lab's webpage. read more about Prof. Mikkelsen Promoted Early to Associate Professor »
Physicist Anselm Vossen has something in common with Goethe’s Faust: he wants to know what holds the world together. “In Germany, we like the poet Goethe,” Vossen says. “In Faust, there’s a quote: ‘So that I may perceive whatever holds/The world together in its inmost folds.’”
Unlike Faust, who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge, Vossen is using the tools of physics to try to understand the forces that hold the nucleus of an atom together. Vossen will be joining the Duke faculty as an… read more about Anselm Vossen: What Holds the World Together? »
If you want to know how a physicist thinks about the brain, talking to Nicolas Brunel is a good place to start. Brunel, who joined the Duke faculty in July as a professor of neurobiology and physics, uses the tools of statistical physics to illuminate the workings of the brain’s neural networks.
Synapses in our brains change every time we learn something. As pathways and patterns are created in the neural network, some synapses become stronger and others weaker. “What are the rules that govern synaptic… read more about Nicolas Brunel: A Theoretical Physicist Investigates the Brain »
The American Physical Society today announced that both Prof. Roxanne Springer and Prof. Chris Walter have been elected Fellows!
The criterion for election is exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise, and election is restricted to 0.5% of the membership in any given year. Thus, Fellowship is a distinct honor signifying recognition by one's professional peers. This brings the number of Duke Physics faculty members elected to APS fellowship to 15 (plus three secondary faculty),… read more about Profs. Springer and Walter Named 2017 APS Fellows »
The 2017 graduate student awards and fellowships were distributed before the October 11th Colloquium by Associate Chair for Teaching Prof. Steffen Bass. Congratulations to all recipients on their accomplishments and for each prestigious recognition.
The Henry W. Newson Graduate FellowshipRonald Malone is awarded the Henry W. Newson Graduate Fellowship Prize for his work in developing experimental techniques and systems for measuring neutron-neutron scattering in nuclei and for performing… read more about 2017 Graduate Student Awards »
The Physics Department's Grants & Contracts Administrator, Miriam Vines, holds a bachelors degree in Theatre & Dance. When she's not working for Physics, one of her hobbies is participating in community theatre with The Gallery Players in Burlington, NC. Last November she performed with the chorus in Little Shop of Horrors. This fall she is cast in the musical Sister Act as Sister Mary Patrick, Kathy Najimy's role from the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg.
The show goes on… read more about Staff Member Vines Cast in Community Performance of Sister Act »
Alumnus Nathan Kundtz (PhD '09) will be inducted as a 2017 member of Duke Graduate School's Few-Glasson Alumni Society. The society recognizes graduates who have distinguished themselves through their career accomplishments, the potential of their current endeavors, or their support for the graduate students and graduate education at Duke. Kundtz is the founder, chief executive officer, and president of Kymeta Corporation which develops better satellite antenna technology as an alternative to cellular… read more about Alum Kundtz to be Inducted into Grad School's Few-Glasson Society »
Prof. Maiken Mikkelsen has won the 2017 International Society for Optics + Photonics (SPIE)'s Early Career Achievement Award. Only one is given each year worldwide and is presented in recognition of significant and innovative technical contributions in the engineering or scientific fields of relevance to SPIE. Mikkelsen attended the awards banquet in San Diego, California where she was bestowed a trophy. Learn more about the Early Career Achievement Award and see the formal announcement honoring Mikkelsen,… read more about Prof. Mikkelsen Wins 2017 SPIE Early Career Achievement Award »
The Physics Department chartered a bus which took 50 members of the community to the eclipse's path of totality on Monday, August 21, 2017. The group traveled to Bryson City, North Carolina at the Swain County Event Park adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Prof. Ronen Plesser, Lab Administrator Yuriy Bomze, and graduate student Ryan Kozlowski set up viewing gear, shot footage, and entertained the crowd.
The video below was captured by Kozlowski. He… read more about Department Members Share their Total Eclipse Experiences »
HimmelCongratulations are in order:
Former Neutrino Group postdoc Alex Himmel, now a Wilson Fellow at Fermilab, and Richard Longland, Assistant Professor of Physics at NC State and member of TUNL, have been honored with Early Career Awards from the Department of Energy.
LonglandThe Early Career Research Program is a financial opportunity for scientists from DOE labs in the early stages of their careers. Read the announcement… read more about 2017 DOE Early Career Awards Go to Two of Our Own »
The COHERENT Collaboration's 32-lb neutrino detector has observed coherent elastic scattering, before only theorized and something scientists have been trying to see for forty years. Read the team's paper "Observation of coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering" in Science here.
DukeToday interviewed COHERENT's Duke leaders Prof. Phil Barbeau, Prof. Kate Scholberg and TUNL's Grayson Rich. Read more details about their amazing discovery with quotes… read more about COHERENT Collaboration First to Observe Coherent Elastic Neutrino Scattering »
On Monday, August 21, 2017 there will be a coast-to-coast total solar eclipse crossing the US, the first one in almost a century. The Physics Department has chartered a bus to go down to Columbia, SC in the region of totality (all spaces have been taken); we expect to go to the South Carolina State Fairgrounds where many events are planned. If you can go to the region of totality, by all means do so, but plan ahead-traffic may be congested.
A total eclipse is certainly the most impressive astronomical… read more about 2017 Eclipse Information and Viewing Glasses »
This summer, graduate student Anne Draelos, along with members of a Duke team spanning five fields, has been keeping busy by participating in the Amazon Robotics Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to automate warehouse order processing with recognition for a wider variety of objects. In a video by Duke's Office of News & Communications, Draelos described the project, breaking down the human aspects the team is programming the robot to do on its own. Team Duke will travel to Nagoya, Japan for the… read more about Graduate Student Draelos a Part of Amazon Robotics Challenge »
The blog Blackbird provided a detailed summary of the 2017 Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) and Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) Annual User's Meeting held June 20-23. Prof. Berndt Mueller, Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear & Particle Physics at Brookhaven National Lab, attended and spoke during Plenary Session II on Thursday. Prof. Mueller delivered a progress update and listed future goals on behalf of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee: "Executing the Long Range Plan for RHIC… read more about Prof. Mueller Presented to 2017 RHIC and AGS Users' Meeting »