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The 2017 IceCube Masterclasses: connecting students and researchers through IceCube  

The fourth edition of the IceCube Masterclass hosted over 200 students at 14 institutions in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and the US. Stony Brook University, which joined the masterclass program for the first time, had a full program for women. The positive interaction with scientists is again one of the things that students value most from this program.

The Masterclass was created to promote research careers in astrophysics, and more broadly in science. Prof. Joanna Kiryluk of the department of Physics and Astronomy collaborated with WISE and SBU students to run an IceCube Masterclass on campus for the high school students.

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Women in Engineering Day Inspires Enthusiasm in STEM  

To celebrate Women’s History Month, Stony Brook University’s Women in Science and Engineering Honors Program (WISE) held the Women in Engineering Day on March 10 in collaboration with the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, iCREATE – Division of Information Technology, Physics and Astronomy, and student organizations Women in Computer Science, Society of Women Engineers and the American Society for Civil Engineers.

Students were the given the opportunity to visualize themselves as engineers and researchers by the various lab tours and demonstrations given by Jim Quinn, director of laboratories; Richard (Rick) Darienzo and Olivia Donaldson, PhD candidates from the Department of Materials Sciences and Chemical Engineering; Richard Lefferts, CASE NSL technical director from the Department of Physics and Astronomy; and Wei Yin, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

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Remembering Peter Paul  

Peter Paul passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family at his home in Setauket on March 11, 2017 at the age of 84. Peter was born in Dresden, Germany. He received a PhD from the University of Freiburg and came to the USA for a postdoctoral position at Stanford University, where he met and married Aniko in 1963.

He was a Professor, and later a Distinguished Service Professor, in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stony Brook University from 1967 until 2015, serving as chairman twice. He was the recipient of numerous awards. Among them were American Physical Society Fellow, Institute of Physics Fellow, Sloane Research Fellow, Alexander Humboldt Foundation Senior Scientist, and the Order of Merit First Class from the German Government. In 2015, he was inducted into the Long Island Technology Hall of Fame.

In partnership with his colleagues, Peter built a first-class nuclear physics group at Stony Brook which is consistently ranked among the top four in the U.S. In 1973, Peter saw that the future of the group required improving the existing Van de Graaff accelerator at Stony Brook. He spearheaded a small group that developed, designed and constructed the Stony Brook superconducting linear accelerator for heavy ions, the first such machine at a university lab.

In 1980, Peter became a member of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee(NSAC), that advises the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation on the U.S. nuclear physics program. Later, as Chair of NSAC, he led the development of the 1998 Nuclear Science Long Range Plan which led to the construction of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory(BNL).

In 1998 Peter was appointed Deputy Director for Science and Technology at BNL. From 2001 until 2003 he served concurrently as Interim Director of BNL. During his tenure at BNL, the lab made major advances in its large research facilities: RHIC began its highly successful research operation, the $100-Million Center for Functional Nanomaterials began construction; the electron-ion collider was conceptualized as successor to RHIC, and the National Synchrotron Light Source-II was inserted into the DOE facilities construction plan. Peter returned to Stony Brook, where he played an invaluable advisory role to our Nucleon decay and Neutrino research group. After 2011 he continued his engagement as Stony Brook’s Associate Vice President for Brookhaven Affairs until his retirement in 2015.

Peter had great foresight in the way physics could be developed, and he helped lay the plans for many new facilities and new institutes. He was one of the first people hired by the young university, and he helped to build Stony Brook from a dream to a reality. He had many opportunities to leave for prestigious jobs at other institutions, but he was fiercely dedicated to Stony Brook and later BNL and stayed to help build them. He inspired many to come join him at Stony Brook and BNL, and he helped to develop their careers by his encouragement and leadership. Many of us will remember Peter for his infinite energy and enthusiasm, never giving any indication that he might slow down at some point. He will be dearly missed.

A road trip to test a magnetic cloak at Argonne National Laboratory  

In December, five students from Stony Brook University in New York and their research professor, Nils Feege, loaded a prototype of a magnetic cloak into an SUV and set off for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, nearly 900 miles away.

The magnetic cloak isn’t a magical garment, but rather a crucial piece of equipment for a possible next-generation particle collider to study nuclear physics.

The proposed Electron-Ion Collider, by smashing beams of electrons and protons together at near light speed, would be the most powerful microscope yet developed for understanding how the mass of the proton is dynamically generated from the interaction of quarks and gluons, and in doing so help illuminate the forces that account for the mass of the visible universe.

Feege and his team needed to build a cylinder with two counterbalancing layers that would shield the beams from the magnetic field of the detector near the collision point without distorting the rest of the field.

Feege and his students spent nearly three years building their prototype at Stony Brook. Initial tests looked promising, but they needed to do a full-scale test in a strong and uniform magnetic field that was large enough to fit the device itself while leaving enough room to measure the field around it.

Hence the road trip to Argonne, where the team came to be the first visitors to use a new facility built by Argonne’s high-energy physics division called the 4 Tesla Magnet Facility.

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Dr. Zamolodchikov Appointed As Chen Ning Yang-Wei Deng Endowed Chair in Physics and Astronomy  

The impact that Professor Alexander Zamolodchikov has had on the field of physics can be measured by a simple metric: 18,000. It’s the number of times his published research has been cited; one of the highest in physics to date. A pioneer in modern theoretical physics and member of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Zamolodchikov is known internationally for his contributions to the study of condensed matter physics, conformal field theory and string theory. Adding to an extensive list of titles and awards, Dr. Zamolodchikov became the inaugural Chen Ning Yang – Wei Deng Endowed Chair in Physics and Astronomy on January 6 at an investiture ceremony in Beijing, China at Bright Ocean’s headquarters.

The Chair was established through the generosity of Dr. Wei Deng, the founder and chairman of Bright Oceans Corporation, a high-tech industrial group in China. Dr. Wei Deng was inspired to honor Chen Ning Yang’s scientific legacy as one of China’s most venerated scientists, recipient of the 1957 Nobel Prize in Physics and the first director of Stony Brook’s Institute of Theoretical Physics — now the Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics.

“The C.N. Yang – Wei Deng Endowed Chair is expected to help Stony Brook University transform their research achievements into actual benefits,” Wei Deng told the Xinhua Net Press, “Which will better serve people all over the world, including the people in China and America.”

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Raju Venugopalan Awarded Prestigious Humboldt Research Award  

Raju Venugopalan, an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University and a senior physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, has been awarded a Humboldt Research Award for his remarkable achievements in theoretical nuclear physics. This prestigious international award — issued by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, Germany — comes with a prize of €60,000 (nearly $70,000 U.S.) and the opportunity to collaborate with German researchers at Heidelberg University and elsewhere. Venugopalan joins 13 other Brookhaven National Laboratory physicists who have received this award since 1974.

“This is a great honor and I’m delighted to be in the company of other Humboldt winners over the past years,” Venugopalan said. “This award gives me a wonderful opportunity to build on and establish new collaborations with my colleagues in Germany, where I’ve been on sabbatical at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Heidelberg University for the past year. I look forward to widening and deepening these connections.”

Venugopalan’s work is focused on developing theories to explain and predict the behavior of extreme forms of nuclear matter-including the several-trillion-degree soup of quarks and gluons, known as quark-gluon plasma (QGP), generated in energetic particle collisions at colliders like Brookhaven Lab’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and Europe’s Large Hadron Collider He’s also explored the behavior of matter at the opposite temperature extreme, namely in ultra-cold atomic gases.

See more here and the complete BNL press release here.

Scientific Reports Publication  

Chemistry and Physics Prof. Jin Wang and Physics Graduate Student Zhedong Zhang published "Origin of long-lived quantum coherence and excitation dynamics in pigment-protein complexes" in the Scientific Reports.

Nonequilibrium quantum statistical dynamics is of fundamental importance and critical for understanding of the energy and charge transports. The recent development of renewable energy demands the improvement of efficiency of energy and charge transports in materials. The widespread interests in exploring the quantum nature in solar cells and the antenna systems have been triggered by the experimental investigations of excitonic dynamics in a wide variety of systems, e.g., semiconductors, organic molecules, light harvesting complexes, natural and synthetic photosynthetic complexes. Even with the current knowledge of electronic structure in antenna and the advances in spectroscopy that uncovered the long-lived quantum coherence in fluctuating environment, the full understanding of the role of coherence and the mechanism of excitation energy transfer has still remained elusive.

In this study, a mechanism for a long standing issue of the origin of long-survived quantum coherence (e.g., light-harvesting complexes) for efficient energy transfer was uncovered in a general scenario. The bare electrons are surrounded by nuclear vibrational modes, which leads to the strong exciton-vibron coupling. The new composite called polaron gives rise to the screening and leads to much weaker interactions with the environments. The decoherence will then be significantly suppressed and the long-lived quantum coherence emerges. The nonequilibriumness from detailed balance breaking and coherence can funnel the downhill migration of excitons. The survival of quantum coherence is long enough to significantly improve the energy transfer efficiency under the breakdown of time-reversal symmetry. This result suggesting a mechanism of slowing down the dephasing is of importance for energy/charge transports and quantum information/computing.

See more info here and the full paper here.

Researchers Receive INCITE Award to Study Stellar Explosions  

A project led by SBU Department of Physics and Astronomy professors Michael Zingale and Alan Calder has been awarded 45 million “processor hours” on the Titan Cray XK7, billed by host Oak Ridge National Laboratory as “the nation’s most powerful supercomputer for open science” (theoretical peak performance: 27,000 trillion calculations per second, or 27 petaflops).

Zingale and Calder – along with two SBU graduate students Donald Willcox and Maria Barrios as well as co-investigators from Oak Ridge, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of California, Los Alamo National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee – will spend their petaflops recreating complex astronomical events like X-ray bursts and white-dwarf explosions.

The idea is to gather clues needed to solve a host of astrophysics problems, with a particular focus on stellar explosions powered by fusion reactions.

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Sally Dawson received J.J. Sakurai Prize  

Brookhaven Lab particle physics theorist and Stony Brook University Adjunct Professor Sally Dawson has been named a recipient of the 2017 J.J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics. Dawson and her co-recipients-Gordon L. Kane of the University of Michigan, Howard E. Haber of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and John F. Gunion of the University of California, Davis-are long-term and ongoing colleagues. They were cited for their "instrumental contributions to the theory of the properties, reactions, and signatures of the Higgs boson." They will receive the award, which consists of $10,000 to be shared and certificates citing their achievements, at a ceremony during an APS meeting themed "Quarks 2 Cosmos" on Sunday, January 29, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

Dawson is best known for developing mathematical models to explain and predict the processes by which Higgs particles are produced.

"You never would have found the Higgs if you didn't know what you were looking for," Dawson explained to further highlight the importance of the theory work. "The searches were based on years of calculations and the detectors were designed to find this thing based on that theoretical work, which is still ongoing," Dawson said. Today, Dawson and her colleagues are collaborating to more accurately predict the production and decay processes for Higgs particles at the LHC.

See more here.

Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory

Paul Grannis elected as a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences  

Paul Grannis was elected as a foreign member of Russian Academy of Sciences "for outstanding achievements in high energy physics including the top quark discovery and very important contributions to the scientific cooperation between our countries".

Paul Grannis joined the Stony Brook faculty in September 1966. He is currently Research Professor and Distinguished Professor Emeritus.He served as chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department from 2002 to 2005. He has been associated with the D0 experiment at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory since its birth in 1983 to the present, serving as spokesman or co-spokesman from 1983 to 1996 and 2014 to the present. The D0 collaboration brought together scientists from 19 nations and has published almost 500 papers.

APS Fellows 2016  

American Physical Society (APS) has elected Fellows for the year of 2016. APS Fellowship is a distinct honor for APS members and is a prestigious recognition by their peers.

Physics & Astronomy would like to congratulate:

Abanov, Alexander G. - Condensed Matter Physics
For pioneering contributions to electronic condensed matter physics using topological and hydrodynamic methods.

Drees, Axel - Nuclear Physics
For having a leading role in the discovery of the suppression of high momentum hadrons and jet quenching in heavy ion collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, and his key contributions to the discovery that hadron properties are modified near the transition to the quark-gluon plasma through the measurement of electron-positron pairs.

See more here and here.

2016 Nobel Prize in Physics  

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter" was awarded to David J. Thouless (University of Washington), F. Duncan M. Haldane (Princeton University), and J. Michael Kosterlitz (Brown University).

The use of topology in condensed matter physics goes back to studies of topological defects (vortices) in superfluid helium and solitons in polyacetylene in the seventies. The field boomed in the eighties after the discovery of Quantum Hall Effect by von Klitzing in 1980. By now the field of topological phases of matter is well established and is developing very quickly. This year's Nobel Prize recognizes major achievements and the importance of this field in modern physics.

Research on topological phases of matter is represented in the Department by Lukasz Fidkowski, Tzu-Chieh Wei and Alexander Abanov. One of the distinguishing features of studies in topological phases of matter is the constant collaboration of physicists representing very different disciplines such as condensed matter proper, nuclear theory, string theory, quantum information research, and mathematical physics. All these directions are well represented in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stony Brook University. The active research inspired by 2016 Nobel Prize winners at the Department is being done on geometry of Quantum Hall states, classification of topological phases of matter, transport in Weyl semimetals, entanglement and quantum computation, matrix product states, topological effects in QCD, and holographic approach to condensed matter physics as well as experimental studies of graphene and cold atoms.

See more about Nobel Prize here.

YITP 50th Anniversary Symposium, Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, Oct. 9 and 10th  

The foundation of the Institute for Theoretical Physics in 1966 under the guidance of Chen Ning Yang brought Stony Brook University to the world stage in science. In the succeeding decades, the Institute, in collaboration with the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and now with the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics has provided the opportunity for hundreds of researchers, students, postdocs, visitors and faculty to develop their knowledge and to create new ideas in a vibrant atmosphere of research and instruction.

The Institute is marking the anniversary with a symposium, Oct. 9 and 10 at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, bringing together its alumni and friends. As it enters its sixth decade, the C. N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics continues the historic tradition of frontier science at Stony Brook University.

The program can be found here.

The scientific program will conclude with a Sir Run Run Shaw Distinguished Lecture: What is String Theory? by Ashoke Sen.
This talk is intended for the general university community. Ashoke Sen (Ph.D. Stony Brook, 1983) was an inaugural recipient of the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in 2012, and was awarded the Dirac Medal in 2014, for pioneering work in string theory. He is visiting Stony Brook as part of the YITP's 50th anniversary. The Run Run Shaw Lecture series was established by C.N. Yang in 1985.

Monday, October 10, 2016 5:30 pm
   Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, Lecture Hall


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