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Congratulations to Lisa Whitehead (Ph.D. 2007) for being recognized as CSWP Woman Physicist of the Month  
The American Physical Society's Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) recognized Lisa Whitehead as "Woman Physicist of the Month".

Lisa received her Ph.D. in 2007 in the Experimental High-Energy Physics group, working on the K2K experiment. Currently she is in her third year at the University of Houston after serving a postdoctoral appointment at Brookhaven National Laboratory. As an experimentalist in neutrino physics she is a member of both MINOS and DAYA BAY. Her responsibilites include being Co-Convenor for Cosmogenic Isotopes for DAYA BAY as well as being a Co-Convenor of the ve appearance analysis group for MINOS. She has organized and hosted major collaboration meetings and shouldered other service activities such as being on the Fermilab User's Executive Committee. She has a Department of Energy Career Award.

We congratulate Lisa for her achievement and wish her more successes.

2014-02-11
Welcome New Faculty  
We welcome new faculty members Professor Vladimir Litvinenko (started in September, 2013) and Associate Professor Rosalba Perna (started in January, 2014).

Rosalba Perna joined our Astronomy group from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Previous to that she was Lyman Spitzer Fellow at Princeton University and Junior Fellow at Harvard University, the same institution where she got her Ph.D. in 1999. She had visiting appointments at the California Institute of Technology, at the Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Italy, and at the Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale, Italy. She studies high-energy astrophysics (Gamma-ray bursts, neutron stars, accretion disks, X-ray binaries, ultra-luminous X-ray sources), cosmology (gravitational lensing, interstellar medium and dust in high-redshift galaxies, foregrounds for Cosmic Microwave Background and 21 cm measurements, growth of supermassive black holes) and exoplanets with emphasis on the magnetohydrodynamics in the atmospheres of hot Jupiters.

Rosalba is a piano player (she has a Piano Diploma from the Conservatorio di Musica, Potenza, Italy) and she likes to travel. One of her trips was a 1200 km by bicycle tour through Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden.

b>Vladimir Litvinenko holds a joint appointment with Brookhaven National Laboratory's Collider-Accelerator Department, where he is the Deputy Head of the Accelerator R&D Division. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Prior to joining BNL Valdimir was tenured faculty in the Physics Department at Duke University, where he played a key role in building up the Free Electron Laser Laboratory. He came to the USA from the Institute for Nuclear Physics, Accelerator Laboratory, Novosibirsk, Russia. His Ph.D. is from the Novosibirsk State University and Institute for Nuclear Physics, Novosibirsk, Russia (1977). His research interests include free electron lasers, electron recovery linear accelerators, coherent electron cooling and the planned electron - ion collider. He is also interested in exotic high-energy colliders and accelerators including femto- and ato- second electron beams and next-generation light sources.

Vladimir is the director of the Center for Accelerator Science and Education. He is leading the effort to establish a strong accelerator physics group in our Department, including hiring junior faculty. He is currently teaching the graduate course in Accelerator Physics.

news-20-14
Juliet Lee-Franzini died January 19, 2014  
Juliet Lee-Franzini, Professor Emerita, died Jan. 19 in Frascati Italy.

Juliet was one of the pioneers of the department, taking an appointment at the newly established Stony Brook campus in 1963 as the founding faculty member of the high energy physics experimental group, following her Ph.D. and postdoc at Columbia University. In 1993 she left Stony Brook to take a position at Laboratori Nazionali de Frascati, where she was VIP Physicist and later Director of Research.

Lee-Franzini's research spanned a broad range of important topics in particle physics in experiments conducted at Nevis Labs, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Penn-Princeton Accelerator, Fermilab, Cornell, and Frascati, usually in collaboration with her husband Paolo Franzini. Her early work at Columbia measured the muon decay spectra and gave precision confirmation of the V-A nature of the weak interaction. Her search for the lepton-violating decay μ ➙ e γ pointed to the subsequent discovery of two distinct neutrino flavors. Under her leadership in the Columbia-Stony Brook experiment at Cornell, the spectroscopy of bound state mesons containing a bottom and anti-bottom quark was mapped out, leading to the understanding of heavy flavor potentials, and the indirect observation of mesons containing a single bottom quark. The work on the KLOE experiment at Frascati provided beautiful measurements elucidating CP-violation in the neutral K meson system.

Lee-Franzini was an exceptional mentor and her students now lead particle physics research programs around the world. She served on the board of directors of the Research Foundation of SUNY, and on the Executive Committee of the APS Division of Particles and Fields.

Paul Grannis

2014-01-24
Student from the Laser Teaching Center is Intel Finalist.  
This year Stony Brook faculty advised three of the Intel Science Talent Search finalists, and one of them, Kathy Camenzind, did her research in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. She worked with John No and Marty Cohen, at the Laser Teaching Center , studying the trapping forces in an optical tweezers setup. In the history of the Laser Teaching Center Kathy is the 3rd student reaching this high level of recognition.

One of the other finalists is Aron Coraor with a project advised in Geosciences. Last year Aron worked with Matt Dawber and a short video about his work in Matt's lab can be found here . The third finalist is Emily Pang, advised in the Department of Medicine.

Phil Allen advised Luran He, who reached the stage of semi-finalist, with a work on emergence of chaos in a scattering system.

In 2013 Kevin Chen, one of Matt Dawber's students was a finalist. Deriam Chirinos (advised by Jac Verbaarschot) and Grace Pan (another of Matt's students) were semi-finalists. In 2012 Juliana Coraor (sister to Aron Coraor, also advised by Matt Dawber) was a finalist.

Support from the Simons Summer Research Program is crucial to bringing talented high school students and faculty together. All of the students mentioned above (and many more) were supported by the program during at least a part of their research in Stony Brook. The Program gives academically talented, motivated high school students who are between their junior & senior years the opportunity to engage in hands-on research in science, math or engineering at Stony Brook University. Established in 1984, the Simons Summer Research Fellowship Program is supported by the Simons Foundation and individual faculty grants.

Congratulations to all students and faculty for this great success.

2014-01-23
Conference of Undergraduate Women in Physics is a great success.  
The East Coast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) was hosted by Stony Brook University (SBU) and Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). The three-day meeting was attended by more than 100 undergraduate physics majors. This was one of the eight regional conferences coordinated by the American Physical Society.

Students arrived Thursday evening and stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn. Friday's program was in BNL, with lectures, a poster session, visits to facilities and a dinner. Saturday there were presentations and a roundtable discussion in the Wang Center. The dinner, with a special talk about communicating science, was at the hotel. The complete program is here.

The Conference was a great success. Participants praised the excellent speakers, the well selected topics, the friendly ambiance, the excellent facilities and the perfect organization. Some of the students participated at earlier CUWiP meetings, and they called this one "the best".

Thanks to our Undergraduate Program Director, Abhay Deshpande, and the "Status of Women" Committee for setting up the interesting program. Thanks to faculty (Meigan Aronson, Sally Dawson, Marivi Fernandez-Serra, Angela Kelly, Joanna Kiryluk, Michael Rijssenbeek and Martin Rocek), postdocs and students (Mariola Lesiak-Bzdak, Ali Hanks, Alyssa Montalbano, Betul Pamak) for their presentations and participation in the roundtable discussions. The BNL side of the program was superbly organized by Noel Blackburn (outreach office) and Liz Flynn (BNL Director's Office). Stony Brook's Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program contributed to the welcoming atmosphere.

Special thanks to Jin Bentley and Nathan Leoce-Schappin for paying attention to every detail, resulting in a flawless execution of the plans for this meeting.

We acknowledge support from the BNL Director's Office and the Provost's Office. Support from the American Physical Society, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation is also acknowledged. (Photo credit to Brookhaven National Laboratory.)

2014-01-20
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

Links to all "What's new" sections: 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and the latest.

 

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Department of Physics and Astronomy
Stony Brook University
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Contact:
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Phone: (631) 632 8100
Fax: (631) 632 8176
WEB page maintained by
Laszlo Mihaly
laszlo.mihaly@sunysb.edu <\br>

 CUWiP photo credit to Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Unless otherwise noted, all content © Department of Physics and Astronomy, Stony Brook University.