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Martin Rocek Honored by Czech Foundation  
Martin Rocek's many contributions to theoretical physics have been recognized by the 2017 Neuron Award, an honor presented to seven scientists of Czech background working in natural or social sciences.

The Neuron Awards are funded and administered by a private foundation in the Czech Republic, to individuals "who are role models and inspiration for younger generations of scientists". Martin's colleagues and students will fully agree with this characterization, for his role as instructor, mentor, tutor and advisor over so many years, in addition to his pioneering research advances.

Martin traveled to Prague to receive his award, which cites particularly his contributions in supersymmetry, and to be interviewed on national television.

ATLAS finds H -> bb decay mode  
On December 6th the ATLAS collaboration publishes first evidence for the Higgs to b anti-b quark decays (see full publication here ).

Stony Brook group of Prof. Giacinto Piacquadio and the ATLAS Stony Brook group played a key role in designing and carring out the analysis, demonstrating that H to bb searches at the LHC are not hopeless as previously widely thought. Piacquadio presented preliminary result to the LHC community in an LHC seminar at CERN in Summer 2017. Asked about the relevance of the measurement he says: " It is a big deal because without H to bb decays we were missing the biggest chunk of Higgs boson decays, which has several physics implications, for example on constraining the total Higgs boson decay width." For an article for the general public have a look at the ATLAS highlight .

Chang Kee Jung named fellow of the AAAS  

Distinguished Professor Chang Kee Jung has been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a high honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. He was named a fellow in the AAAS Section on Physics for his leadership role in neutrino research, particularly for establishing evidence for electron-neutrino appearance from a muon neutrino beam.

In Memory of John Noe  

Dr. John Wherry Noe, age 72, of Sound Beach, Long Island, died on November 18, 2017 in Hadley, Massachusetts. John was born on November 29, 1944, in the Bronx. He attended Bronx High School of Science, City College of NY, and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. John was a physicist, researcher, and mentor for 43 years at Stony Brook University. He was a major contributor to the Superconducting LINAC accelerator, collaborated on the PHENIX Detector at Brookhaven National Lab, and served as the Director of the Laser Teaching Center at Stony Brook University, where he mentored many dozens of students and launched them on successful scientific careers. Born to mother Bessie Wherry and father Ralph Wilson Noe, John was predeceased by brother Ralph Noe and is survived by children Lisanne Carr-Jos and husband Philip Jos, Michelle Carr-Mal and husband Niranjan Carr-Mal, Daniel Noe and wife Abigail Noyce, and grandchildren Eloise Jos, Claudia Jos, Arayana Carr-Mal, Cordelia Noe-Noyce and dearest friend Bonnie Frank. John, a philanthropist, was passionate about science, music, contra dancing, travel, the outdoors, and mentorship. In lieu of flowers, a donation in John's name can be made to any of his favorite charities: The Poughkeepsie Farm Project, The Suzuki Association of the Americas, or The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Rouven Essig receives grant from Heising-Simons foundation  
Uncovering the identity of dark matter, which makes up about 85% of the matter in the Universe, is among the most important goals of particle physics today. YITP faculty member Rouven Essig, in collaboration with Javier Tiffenberg (Fermilab), has received nearly $1-million from the Heising-Simons Foundation for the SENSEI experiment. SENSEI (Sub-Electron Noise Skipper-CCD Experimental Instrument) is a novel, ultra-sensitive, table-top direct-detection experiment that will search for two compelling classes of dark matter: Hidden-Sector Dark Matter with MeV-to-GeV masses and Ultralight Dark Matter with eV-to-keV masses. These two classes of dark matter are scientifically well-motivated but remarkably under-explored, and have been receiving increasing attention over the last few years.

Motivated by theoretical work by Prof. Essig and his collaborators, SENSEI will search for dark matter particles that scatter off, or are absorbed by, electrons. SENSEI has unprecedented sensitivity to the resulting tiny ionization signals, allowing it to probe orders of magnitude of unexplored dark-matter parameter space. The grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation will enable an experiment consisting of 100-grams of special silicon CCDs, called Skipper-CCDs. In contrast to most particle physics experiments, it is truly table-top in size. A prototype consisting of less than 0.1 gram is currently taking data at Fermilab.

Prof. Essig's collaborators on SENSEI include his former postdoc Tien-Tien Yu (now at Oregon), Tomer Volansky (Tel-Aviv), as well as Juan Estrada, Miguel Sofo-Haro, and Javier Tiffenberg (Fermilab), His theory collaborators include Prof. Marivi Fernandez Serra and her former student Adrian Soto (Stony Brook), as well as Jeremy Mardon, Volansky, and Yu.

Neutron Star merger  
On October 17th the LIGO and Virgo collaborations announced the first detection of gravitational waves produced by colliding neutron stars. See the LIGO here.

The first detection of gravitaonal waves from the merger of two neutron stars was accompanied by optical and radio counterparts that revealed the producion of very heavy elements (such as gold) during the merger. These observasions conirmed the prediction of neutron star mergers as the site of rapid synthesis of heavy elements made by Jim Lattimer and his advisor, David N. Schramm, in 1974.

Edward Shuryak receives 2017 APS Feshback Prize in Theoretical Nuclear Physics  
Edward Shuryak receives the 2017 APS Herman Feshbach Prize in Theoretical Nuclear Physics "for his pioneering contributions to the understanding of strongly interacting matter under extreme conditions, and for establishing the foundations of the theory of quark-gluon plasma and its hydrodynamical behavior".

Edward Shuryak was born in Odessa, Ukraine, and graduated from Novosibirsk University in 1970 with a dual degree in physics and mathematics. Under the supervision of S.T. Belyaev Shuryak received his Ph.D. in 1974 from the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics where he continued on as a researcher while simultaneously teaching at Novosibirsk. He became a full professor in 1982, the year in which he also gave the first series of lectures at CERN about quark-gluon plasma, a new form of matter the name of which he proposed. In 1989 he became the leader of the Nuclear Theory Group at the State University of New York, Stony Brook where in 2004 he became a distinguished professor. He is the author of approximately 350 papers which in total have been cited nearly 30,000 times; four of these papers have been cited more than 1,000 each, and six have been cited more than 500 times each. Shuryak is a 2004 recipient of the Dirac medal, from University of New South Wales, Sydney, and the 2005 Humboldt Prize. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

In Memory of Bob de Zafra  

Robert (Bob) deZafra, died peacefully on 10 October, 2017 from an incurable pneumonia following successful knee replacement surgery. He was a close friend and cherished colleague who served in the physics department for 38 years, and retired in 1999. Bob was born in Westchester County, NY in 1932, raised in Connecticut, earned his B.S. from Princeton, and his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. He is survived by his wife of 34 years who published extensively in immunology as Julia Phillips-Quagliata.

The biographical information cannot convey the extent and depth of the many facets of his life. We knew him as a scientific colleague who had worked on positron annihilation, optical pumping, laboratory spectroscopy of interstellar molecules, detection of trace gases in the atmosphere, and ground-based observation and measurements of the South Pole ozone layer. For this last activity, he made several trips to the Antarctic to lend his expertise to the teams working there. His contributions were so vital and revealing that a major mountainous feature was named deZafra Ridge in 2002 (and a German rock band has adopted the name). Among his important papers was an introduction to optical pumping that has served as a bible for generations of students.

Some of us also knew him as intensely civic minded. In 1995 he helped found the Three Village Community Trust and also served on the land usage committee of the Three Village Civic Association. He was relentless in his insistence for common sense and reasoned logic into discussions of environmental issues such as clean water and air. His actions demonstrated the popular maxim "think globally, act locally" because of his thorough dedication to community issues, such as the greening of 25A. He received public recognition from multiple civic organizations. In addition to these civic activities, he was also politically involved, advising and cajoling legislators and other local political leaders in his unique and pragmatic style about issues that needed their attention and support. Most local residents are unaware of the benefits they enjoy as a result of his efforts.

Bob liked to sketch, and there are several examples of his extraordinary skill at this diversion. Because he touched so many lives in various different ways, he will be dearly missed by many people.

2017 Nobel Prize in Physics  

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was awared to Rainer weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne"for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves". One of the keycore members of LIGO, Will Farr, will join the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy in Fall 2018, he receivied his Ph.D. in 2010 from MIT and currently holds a faculty position at the University of Birmingham. Will Farr studies gravitational waves and exoplanets, and he leads the rate extraction group in the LIGO collaboration. He will have a joint appointment with the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute in Manhattan, where he will lead the Gravitational Wave Astrophysics group.


Today Stony Brook University and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) announced that they have established the Center for Frontiers of Nuclear Science. Bolstered by a new $5 million grant from the Simons Foundation and augmented by $3 million in research grants received by Stony Brook University, the Center will be a research and education hub to ultimately help scientists unravel more secrets of the universe's strongest and least-understood force to advance both fundamental science and applications that transform our lives. Prof. Abhay Deshpande will lead the Center as its inaugural Director.

See more here.

Anja von der Linden and Marilena Loverde Receive Prestigious 2017 DOE Early Career Awards  

Anja von der Linden and Marilena Loverde receive prestigious 2017 Department of Energy Early Career Awards.

Von der Linden was awarded for her project, "Towards Precision Cluster Cosmology with Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)"; Marilena Loverde, also appointed in the Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics, was awarded for "Discovering Dark Energy, Dark Matter, and Neutrino Properties with Cosmic Structure".

See more here.

T2K presents first indications of CP violation by neutrinos  

At the Division of Particles and Fields (DPF) meeting at Fermilab on August 4, 2017, Prof. Chang Kee Jung presented new T2K results that indicate CP violation by neutrinos at 95% C.L. (2 sigma significance).

The Stony Brook Nucleon decay and Neutrino (NN) group led by Profs. C.K. Jung, C. McGrew and M. Wilking has been playing a leading role in the T2K experiment since its inception. In particular, for these new results, assistant Prof. Wilking and graudate student Xiaoyue Li have made significant contributions.

See here for an excellent ScienceNews ariticle on the T2K results.


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