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Professor Jack Smith participates at the 2013 Physics Nobel Prize Ceremony.  
Professor Jack Smith (YITP) participated at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm on December 8, when Francois Englert and Peter Higgs received the award from the Swedish King. They received the Prize for predicting the existence of the "Higgs boson", that has recently been discovered at CERN in Geneva by a team of scientists, including our High Energy Experimental Group . Here is a link to the Nobel WEB site with a photo of Peter Higgs accepting the Prize.

Jack and his wife Elsebeth were members of the "team Higgs" delegation, which included Peter Higgs' relatives, former students and collaborators. They participated at an evening concert, scientific lectures at the University of Stockholm, a luncheon at the British Embassy and finally the award ceremony itself. Jack met several other Nobel laureates, including Gerald 'tHooft, David Gross, Frank Wilczek and Carlo Rubbia. In his words: "It was a wonderful if exhausting week". See more here.

Jack was Higgs' first research student at Edinburgh University. He went on to a distinguished career in particle theory. He played an important role in laying the groundwork for the discovery of the Higgs boson: He wrote two papers on this subject with over 500 citations each, and many other papers with well over 100 citations each.

Jack is the third P&A faculty member to be honored by an invitation to the Nobel ceremony, an acknowledgement of a significant contribution to the Nobel-Prize-winning discovery. In 1997 Hal Metcalf was in Stockholm when the Nobel Prize was awarded for laser cooling. In 1999 Peter van Nieuwenhuizen was similarly invited to attend the ceremony honoring Martin Veltman and 'tHooft.

2013-12-21
Subaru Telescope's Image Captures the Intricacy of Comet Lovejoy's Tail  
An international team of astronomers led by Prof. Jin Koda used Suprime-Cam, Subaru Telescope's wide-field, prime-focus camera, to capture an image of the intricate flow of comet Lovejoy's ion tail. The instrument's combination of a wide field of view and high spatial resolution provides a clear delineation of the complex, wiggling streams in the tail. At the time of this observation, at around 5:30 am on December 3, 2013 (Hawaii Standard Time), comet Lovejoy was 50 million miles (80 million km) distant from Earth and 80 million miles (130 million km) away from the Sun.

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) was discovered in September this year. At dawn on October 31, 2013, the Subaru Telescope made its first image, together with an image of comet ISON (C2012 S1). Although comet ISON did not survive its closest encounter with the Sun and disappeared from the sky, comet Lovejoy's visibility has been increasing.

The variety of approaches used to image and analyze comet Lovejoy will lead to a much clearer view of its detailed structure. As Jin Koda commented, "Subaru Telescope offers a rare combination of large telescope aperture and a wide-field camera. This enabled us to capture a detailed look at the nucleus while also photogenically framing inner portions of Comet Lovejoy's impressive ion tail."

See also the Subaru press release.

2013-12-05
Laszlo Mihaly was elected a Fellow of the AAAS  
Laszlo Mihaly was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his contributions in optical studies of high temperature superconductors and fullerene materials; and for developing far infrared methods for electron spin resonance. He used infrared light and high magnetic fields to study the properties of correlated electrons in solids, most recently in antiferromagnets and other unusual magnetic materials. Laszlo currently serves as Department Chair. He is the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in teaching and the SBU Dean's Award for Excellence in Service to Education by a Graduate Program Director. He is Fellow of the American Physical Society and he has been elected external member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He is the author of more than 120 publications in international journals, and he is co-author of a book about Solid State Physics.

Laszlo is among the 3 newly elected Fellows from Stony Brook University, who will be honored at the Fellows Forum held during the national meeting for the AAAS being held February 15, 2014. The Department has 16 current or former AAAS Fellows.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (www.sciencemag.org). AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more.

See also the University's press release.

2013-11-25
IceCube finds evidence for high energy astrophysical neutrinos  
In a recent issue of Science, the IceCube collabortion reports the observation of 28 high energy events, the first solid evidence (more than 4 standard deviation) for astrophysical neutrinos from cosmic accelerators. The events cannot be explained by other neutrino fluxes, such as those from atmospheric neutrinos, nor by other high-energy events, such as muons produced by the interaction of cosmic rays in the atmosphere. The result is based on 2 year's of data, from May 2010 to May 2012.

Billions of neutrinos pass through every square centimeter of the Earth every second, but they rarely interact with matter. The vast majority originate either in the Sun or in the Earth's atmosphere. Far rarer are neutrinos from the outer reaches of our galaxy or beyond, which have long been theorized to provide insights into the powerful cosmic objects where high-energy cosmic rays may originate: supernovas, black holes, pulsars, active galactic nuclei and other extreme extragalactic phenomena.

IceCube was designed to accomplish two major scientific goals: measure the flux, or rate, of high-energy neutrinos and try to identify some of their sources. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the observatory is comprised of 5,160 digital optical modules suspended along 86 strings embedded in a cubic kilometer of ice beneath the South Pole. The detectors are sensitive to the Cherenkov light, produced by particles created when the neutrinos interact with the polar ice. The principle of detecting neutrinos in ice has been established nearly 25 years ago, and IceCube became operational after a 7-year construction in 2010.

Professor Joanna Kiryluk is a co-leader of the IceCube cascade/tau working group. Her Stony Brook research group includes Mariola Lesiak-Bzdak, (postdoctoral research fellow), Hans Niederhausen and Yiqian Xu (graduate students), Anna Steuer (Fulbright fellow) and Christopher Urban (undergraduate student). The IceCube collaboration includes 250 physicists and engineers from the U.S., Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, U.K. and Korea. The lead institution is the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center (WIPAC) at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

See more details in the Stony Brook press release and in a New York Times article.

2013-11-21
Two theorists predicting the existence of the Higgs boson get the Physics Nobel Prize  
Peter Higgs and Francois Englert won the Nobel Prize in Physics for predicting the existence of the Higgs boson. The particle has been discovered on July 4, 2012, by teams of physicists from the ATLAS and CMS experiment, using the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. This discovery and subsequent measurements were the culmination of a decades-long quest to understand how mass arises. Our Experimental High Energy Physics Group has been involved in the research and discovery of the Higgs boson for 30 years.

The group members, Profs. Roderich Engelmann, John Hobbs, Robert McCarthy, Michael Rijssenbeek, Robert Dean Schamberger and Dmitri Tsybychev, along with their graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, carry out research with the ATLAS experiment team. The group made a number of contributions to the Higgs discovery and ongoing follow up studies. The group was responsible for design and construction of instrumetation needed for the measurements of the Higgs boson decays to electrons and photons. These measurements formed the main evidence in the 2012 discovery analyses. The group also led the effort to calibrate the measured masses in these decays.

Our group leads ongoing studies of the Higgs boson, in particular analyzing additional Higgs boson reactions which must occur if the standard theory is correct. We are beginning participation in analysis searching for other reactions which may occur if the standard theory is incomplete.

The section of the ATLAS apparatus which measures electron and photon energies, is a modernized version of the apparatus used in the D0 experiment at Fermilab. D0 was led for 13 years by Distinguished Research Prof. Paul D. Grannis including the period during which another fundamental particle, the top quark was discovered. Analysis of D0 data, along with that of its sister experiment CDF, established initial evidence for the Higgs boson prior to the ATLAS and CMS discovery announcements.

2013-10-08
Mount Stony Brook is back in business  
As part of the roof renovation of the Geosciences building in summer 2013, a new Ash dome was installed for the Astronomy Group's telescope. The Mt. Stony Brook Observatory is used for class demonstrations, the undergrad/grad astronomy lab course, and for outreach. It is equipped with a Meade 14" LX-200 telescope, a SBIG CCD camera and a spectrograph.

The telescope is a key to the Astronomy Open Night lecture series. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the series that is arguably the longest running public lecture series at the University. "Open Nights at Stony Brook", as it was called originally, began with the arrival of Comet Kohoutek. Tobias Owen, Deane Peterson, and Mike Simon put together a series of lectures for the public on the comet shortly before it reached perihelion on December 28, 1973. Comet Kohoutek was a new comet, and astronomers expected it to be quite bright when it passed by the Sun on perhaps its first visit to the inner solar system. Unfortunately, the bright display never materialized. But the talks were such a hit that a series was formed.

We also may have a second chance: This year, comet ISON is supposed to be extremely bright, and is being called the "Comet of the Century"

2013-10-05
Congratulations to Professor S.Y. Lee (Ph.D. 1972), recipient of the USPAS Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Accelerator Physics and Technology  
Shih-Yuan Lee of Indiana University received the USPAS Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Accelerator Physics and Technology for "his extraordinary contributions to accelerator education including mentoring a large cadre of highly-regarded students, for overseeing the Indiana University - USPAS Master's Degree Program in Accelerator Physics and for serving as USPAS Director from 1998 to 2002". The award will be presented at the 2013 NA Particle Accelerator Conference in Pasadena, California. This special prize is awarded by the U.S. Particle Accelerator School on behalf of its Board of Governors.

Professor Lee received his Ph.D. from our Department in 1972, with a thesis titled "Theory of Effective Interaction and Operator in Nuclear Structure". His advisor was Professor T.T.S. (Tom) Kuo.

2013-08-15
Discovery of muon neutrinos transforming to electron neutrinos  
The international T2K collaboration announced a definitive observation of muon neutrino to electron neutrino transformation at the European Physical Society (EPS) meeting in Stockholm. P&A faculty member Professor Chang Kee Jung is international co-spokesperson for the experiment that involves over 400 physicists from 59 institutions in 11 countries. Other Stony Brook participants include Professor Clark McGrew, Reserch Professor Chiaki Yanagisawa, postdocs James Imber, Jeanine Adam, and Jose Palomino, and graduate students Karin Gilje, Joshua Hignight, Jay Jo and Xiaoyue Li. A key component of the experiment, the pi-zero detector, has been built in Stony Brook.

Neutrinos are very light elementary particles that come in 3 different variations. "Neutrino oscillation" means that one variant changes over to another one and back. Studying the oscillations is important for our understanding of the Standard Model. Ultimately, these experiments may help to answer a really fundamental question: Why is that we have an overwhelming amount of matter and a relatively small amount of anti-matter in our Universe?

In the T2K experiment a 30-GeV particle accelerator is used to produce a beam of neutrinos at the J-PARC facility on the East coast of Japan. The beam travels 183 miles through the Earth with a speed close to the speed of light, and it is detected and analyzed at another facility close to the West coast. See more at:
the home page of the T2K experiment, especially this pdf file with pictures and technical details
the Stony Brook press release
the EPS meeting home page

2013-07-19
Gerald E. Brown, 1926 - 2013  
Gerald (Gerry) Brown, a theoretical physicist who played a key role in the development of modern atomic and nuclear physics, died at his home in Setauket, New York on May 31. Brown was SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus with the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics. His influential research began in the years following World War II, as physicists turned from war work to fundamental research, delving deeper and more precisely into the motion of electrons in atoms and the internal structure of atomic nuclei. Gerry and coworkers showed how to solve the then still novel equations of quantum mechanics and relativity to calculate the energies of electrons in atoms to new levels of accuracy, and to create novel methods to derive the properties of nuclei. These methods are still in use today. In later years, he went on to apply his understanding of nuclear physics to the formation of supernovae, neutron stars and black holes. He was also a leader in applying the symmetry principles of quantum chromodynamics to nuclear physics, and was very active in the theory of nuclear collisions, at RHIC and elsewhere.

Gerald Brown was born in Brookings, South Dakota, the son of a Professor of Mathematics at South Dakota State College and the nephew of farmers. In 1943, he left high school to enlist in the Navy. The war ended while he was still in an officers' training program that included study at the University of Wisconsin. As a post-war civilian he earned his Bachelor's degree in Physics from Wisconsin (1946) on the GI bill, continuing on to graduate study. In 1947, he moved with his advisor, Gregory Breit, to Yale University, where he received a Ph.D. in Physics in 1950.

While at Yale, Gerry involved himself in left-wing politics, eventually joining the Connecticut State Communist Party, then quickly being expelled for questioning the party line. Subsequently, he maintained a principled resistance to providing information on former associates. With the McCarthy Era on the horizon, at the invitation of Rudolf Peierls he moved to Birmingham University in England. In Birmingham after earning a D.Sc. in one year he served as lecturer and eventually Professor. For much of this period, he lacked a valid U.S. passport, which was only issued in 1958. In 1960, Gerry joined the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Atomic Physics (NORDITA), Copenhagen, and in 1964 became Professor of Physics at Princeton, splitting his time with NORDITA. He moved from Princeton to the still-new Stony Brook University in 1968, drawn here by Nobel Prize-winner Chen Ning Yang, who had himself joined Stony Brook in 1966. In 1985, Gerry retired from NORDITA, joining Stony Brook full time until his retirement in 2009.

At Stony Brook, Gerry established a group in nuclear theory, which he led to an international prominence that it enjoys to this day. With Nobel laureate Hans Bethe he worked for nearly two decades, shaking up previous understanding of supernova collapse and black hole formation. As a teacher and doctoral research advisor, he had outstanding success, supervising over seventy doctoral candidates, with many of whom he maintained strong professional and personal ties throughout his lifetime.

Gerry Brown was the author or co-author of nearly four hundred research papers. His style was often unorthodox and sometimes controversial with other experts, but consistently creative and fruitful. He left his mark in each of these fields, changing paradigms and opening new arenas for research.

Gerry was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1978. He was also a member of the national scientific academies of Denmark, Finland and Norway. He held honorary doctorates from the Universities of Copenhagen, Helsinki and Birmingham, and received numerous other awards and honors, including the Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics of the American Physical Society (1982), the John Price Wetherill Medal of the Franklin Institute (1992), Max-Plank Medal of German Physical society (1996) and the Hans A. Bethe Prize of the American Physical Society (2001). He was a founder and long-time editor of the highly-regarded journals Physics Letters, specializing in short, high-impact papers, and Physics Reports, devoted to in-depth reviews (both North-Holland Publishing Co.).

Gerry Brown's extraordinary insight, numerous acts of kindness, and wry sense of made him a legend in the world physics community. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth, his children Hans, Nicky, Annegret, Claudia, Bernard and Titus, and seven grandchildren. Information on memorial events, contributions and personal memories may be found at http://ivory.idyll.org/gerry/ .

Gerry left us an engaging scientific and personal memoir in "Fly with Eagles," Annual Reviews of Nuclear and Particle Science, 51, 1 (2001). See as well the essay "What is the Universe? G.E. Brown, His Life and Work," by Sabine Lee in "From Nuclei to Stars. Festschrift in Honor of Gerald E. Brown," World Scientific (2011). Searches on Inspire will locate both these articles.

Many of Gerry's admiring colleagues at Stony Brook contributed to this notice.

2013-06-05
YITP Receives $1,000,000 Donation for an Endowed Chair  
The University received a $1 million donation from a prominent Chinese businessman, Dr. Deng Wei. The gift was announced at a formal donation ceremony that took place in Beijing, China on May 17.

The donation will be used to establish the "Chen Ning Yang - Deng Wei Endowed Chair in Physics and Astronomy" in the YITP. Dr. Deng made the gift to honor Dr. Yang, the founding Director of of the Institute that now carries his name. The YITP encompasses the full range of theoretical physics, including elementary particles, string theory, statistical mechanics, and quantum information. Its former students and postdoctoral scholars hold leadership positions in science and education in the United States and around the world.

2013-05-17
Congratulations to Jim Lattimer for being appointed Distinguished Professor  
Jim Lattimer have been appointed to the rank of Distinguished Professor by the SUNY Board of Trustees. He is among 16 total SUNY faculty who were appointed to distinguished ranks this time.

The Distinguished Professorship is conferred upon individuals who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within a chosen field. This distinction is attained through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the case of the arts. The candidates’ work must be of such character that the individuals’ presence will tend to elevate the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond these persons’ academic fields.

All distinguished faculty are also members of the SUNY Distinguished Academy, established in March 2012.

Jim is an internationally recognized expert in the properties of hot dense matter that is found in neutron stars and other astronomical objects. His research spans the fields of nuclear physics and astrophysics, and he has significantly contributed to both. Perhaps his most important work is the development of models for the properties of dense nuclear matter. His models have been widely accepted and used by researchers in the astrophysical community, leading to the solution of a host of astrophysical problems. Most recently, he and his former students discovered superfluidity in a neutron star.

Jim received his Ph.D. in 1976 from the University of Texas at Austin. He was Research Associate at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before coming to Stony Brook in 1979. He is the recipient of the Benfield Fellowship, the Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Ernest F. Fullam Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship and most recently the Yukawa Professorship. He is Fellow of the American Physical Society.

2013-05-07
Congratulations to Leonardo Rastelli for winning a Guggenheim Fellowship  
In its eighty-ninth annual competition for the United States and Canada, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded Fellowships to a diverse group of 175 scholars, artists, and scientists. The successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants. Associate Professor Leonardo Rastelli is the recipient of one of these Fellowships, the only one awarded in Physics. Congratulations!

Leonardo received his Ph.D. in 2000 from MIT. He was postdoc and Assistant Professor at Princeton before joining the Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics and our Department in 2006. He works on string theory and quantum field theory and he is/was advisor to several graduate students.

2013-04-11
Congratulations to Rouven Essig for winning a Sloan Fellowship  
Assistant Professor Rouven Essig is the recipient of a 2013 Sloan Fellowship. These two-year fellowships were awarded this year to 126 researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field. The fellowships are in seven scientific fields: chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, evolutionary and computational molecular biology, neuroscience, and physics. This year 23 of the awards were in Physics.

Rouven received his Ph.D. in 2008 from Rutgers University and joined the Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics and our Department in 2011. He is a theoretical particle physicist, but often works closely with experimentalists to address open research questions at the cosmic, intensity, and energy frontiers. His goals are to develop the theoretical implications of the data being collected at dark matter detection experiments, at high-intensity beam experiments, and at the Large Hadron Collider and to generate new ideas for experiments that can further our understanding of the fundamental constituents of Nature.

In 2012 Rouven was the recipient of a Department of Energy Early Career Award. He is co-spokesperson of the A' Experiment (APEX) at Jefferson Laboratory. He is also a member of the Heavy Photon Search Collaboration, and he is an Affiliated Scientist with the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope.

2013-02-15
We welcome Tom Allison, Lukasz Fidkowski and Eden Figueroa, Assistant Professors starting in January, 2013.  
Tom Allison received his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in 2010. He worked with Roger Falcone on the development of time resolved measurements of molecular dynamics using ultrafast pulses in the soft x-ray (XUV) regime. Most recently, he was a postdoctoral scholar at JILA with Jun Ye, working on the development of frequency combs in the XUV. His plans are to develop time resolved spectroscopy measurements of non-Born Oppenheimer dynamics in small molecules us-ing XUV frequency combs. Tom has a joint appointment between P&A and Chemistry. He is the recipient of an AF AFOSR Young Investigator Research Award.
Lukasz Fidkowski received his BS in Mathematics from Harvard University in 2001, and Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University in 2007. His Ph.D. advisor was Prof. Stephen Shenker. He was a postdoc at the California Institute of Technology in 2007-2010 and a at Microsoft's Station Q. He made important contributions to the field of topological insulators: he developed a classification of topological phases in one dimension, he carried out a calculation of the entanglement spectrum of topological insulators and superconductors, and he suggested the existence of the Majorana zero modes in one-dimensional quantum wires without long-ranged superconducting order.
Eden Figueroa received his PhD from the University of Calgary in 2008. He worked with Alexander Lvovsky on the development of a quantum memory using non-classical states of light and electromagnetically induced transparency. He was a postdoctoral scholar in the group of Gerhard Rempe at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany. His plans are to demonstrate and explore nonlinear quantum-optical phenomena on the single-photon level in a crossed-cavity-QED system, as well as to develop a hybrid solid-state quantum-dot/atomic interface to be used as a novel source of single photons.
2013-01-15

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