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Strong Field Molecular Ionization in the Impulsive Limit: Freezing Vibrations with Short Pulses  

The Weinacht group (time resolved spectroscopy and quantum control) recently published new measurements of how molecules behave in intense laser fields on very short timescales. Their work studied molecular ionization in the limit of impulsive excitation - i.e. with laser pulses shorter than the timescale for nuclear dynamics (molecular vibrations). They found a general, counterintuitive response involving a delicate interplay of electronic and nuclear degrees of freedom. Their work (Péter Sándor et al., is highlighted as an Editor's Suggestion in Physical Review Letters.

Separating left- and right-handed particles in a semi-metallic material produces anomalously high conductivity  

Scientists at the U.S Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University have discovered a new way to generate very low-resistance electric current in a new class of materials. The discovery, which relies on the separation of right- and left-"handed" particles, points to a range of potential applications in energy, quantum computing, and medical imaging, and possibly even a new mechanism for inducing superconductivity—the ability of some materials to carry current with no energy loss.

This "chiral magnetic effect" had been predicted theoretically to occur in superdense nuclear matter by Dmitri Kharzeev and collaborators. However the effect had been never observed definitively in a materials science laboratory at the time this work was done. In fact, when physicists in Brookhaven's Condensed Matter Physics & Materials Science Department (CMP&MS) first measured the significant drop in electrical resistance, and the accompanying dramatic increase in conductivity, in zirconium telluride, they were quite surprised. "We didn't know this large magnitude of 'negative magnetoresistance' was possible," said Qiang Li. To test that the separation of charges could be triggered by a chiral imbalance, they compared their measurements with the mathematical predictions of how powerful the increase in conductivity should be with increasing magnetic field strength. Tonica Valla performed the measurements and visualizations using angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) that confirmed that zirconium telluride indeed contained chiral quasi-particles.

On February 12, 2016 at 1:30 pm in Simons Center lecture hall 102 Qiang Li will describe the discovery in an inaugural Distinguished lecture of Stony Brook Center for Quantum Materials.

For a complete press release of Stony Brook University, see here.

The results are published in the journal Nature Physics.

See more here.

Photo by R. Stoutenburgh, BNL

New CNC Milling Machine  
We are proud to present the latest addition to our Mechanical Workshop: A Vectrax 3-axis CNC milling machine. The new machine greatly enhances our milling capabilities for producing one of a kind pieces and small production runs with precise accuracy. It can import files from Mastercam, Solidworks and AutoCAD. The milling machine has a centroid controller and a fourth axis computer controlled rotary table for cylindrical profiling. It features an onboard Mastercam. It will machine components from small to large with maximum dimensions: travel X=31.75", Y=16.5" and Z=6" with.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy full service Machine Shop provides to the SUNY campus community a wide range of technical support for mechanical systems design as well as extensive manufacturing capabilities. The Machine Shop is particularly well suited for the design and manufacturing of research and prototype systems. The shop is available to provide clients a wide extent of precision fabrication services from prototype one-offs to production runs.

See more here.

Ice-like Phonons in Liquid Water  
For more than 100 years, scientists have debated what the underlying molecular structure of water is, and the common view has been that H2O molecules are either "water-like" or "ice-like". Now through computer simulation conducted at the Institute for Advanced Computational Science (IACS) at Stony Brook University, researchers can illustrate that the structure and dynamics of hydrogen bonding in liquid water is more similar to ice than previously thought. The finding, published in Nature Communications, changes the common understanding of the molecular nature of water and has relevance to many fields, such as climate science and molecular biophysics, and technologies such as desalinization and water-based energy production.

In the paper, "The hydrogen-bond network of water supports propagating optical phonon-like modes," lead author Daniel C. Elton, a PhD candidate, and Marivi Fernandez-Serra, PhD, Associate Professor, in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and IACS, show that propagating vibrations or phonons can exist in water, just as in ice. By centering on water's unique hydrogen bond network, they routinely demonstrated that optical phonon-like modes can propagate the hydrogen bond network, just as in ice. Unlike in ice, however, hydrogen bonds in water are constantly being broken and reformed, so the phonons only last for about one trillionth of a second yet can travel over long distances up to two nanometers.

See more here.

ATLAS finds hints of a mysterious new particle  
The ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider reported December 15th tantalizing hints that may be a new particle.

See more here.

G.A.A.N.N. Grant in AMO Physics  
Distinguished Teaching Professor Hal Metcalf receives a 1.1M USD grant from the Department of Education. Graduate students in the AMO groups will benefit by the award designated strictly for the support of the optical sciences.The grant comes from the US Department of Education through its prestigious G.A.A.N.N. program for three years with possibility of extension. The support doubles the existing hiring capabilities of the AMO groups in Stony Brook.

For more information, please visit: here

Quantum Information Team publishes findings in Nature's Scientific Reports  
Eden Figueroa and his team have developed new tools to test the fundamental constituents of a quantum information processor, a device that manipulates data based on quantum mechanics rather than classical physics and therefore would have computing power well beyond the capabilities of a classic computer. Their findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports .

For more information, please read here: here

Chang Kee Jung named Distinguished Professor  
Stony Brook, NY November 16, 2015 - Chang Kee Jung was approved by the State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees for appointment to the rank of Distinguished Professor as recommended by campus and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.

Professor Chang Kee Jung is an exceptional and leading scientist with an excellent record of teaching and service to the Universityand to the broader community, and for his major scientific achievements and leadership role in the study of neutrinos and nucleon decay. Since 1990, when he established the Stony Brook Nucleon decay and Neutrino Physics group, he rose steadily in international recognition due to his deep understanding of particle physics, his strategic thinking, as well as his communication and organizational skills. His work at the Super-Kamiokande, the K2K and the T2K experiments, and his studies on nucleon decay, arewidely recognized and made him an international leader in neutrino research. He has recently embarked on helping to design and build the next generation of neutrino experiments in the U.S. Professor Jung also had tremendous successes in both graduate andpostdoctoral training, in undergraduate research experience, and in classroom teaching.

See more here

2014-15 Playwriting Competition Winners Announced  
Stony Brook University's Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, C. N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics, and Department of Theatre Arts announce their third annual Science Playwriting Competition. The winning entries, submitted by University faculty, current and former students and a freelance writer from California, were inspired by the lives of real people, common pop culture references and more. The contest, created by Christopher Herzog, associate professor at the C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook, combines science and theatre, while finding new ways of teaching difficult concepts, traditionally based in the classroom.

For more information, please read here.

The 2016 Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics was awarded to 5 Neutrino Experiments  
The 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics ($3 million) was awarded to five experiments investigating neutrino oscillation and will be shared equally among all five. The teams include Daya Bay (China); KamLAND (Japan); K2K / T2K (Japan); Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (Canada); and Super-Kamiokande (Japan). The award was accepted by team leaders Yifang Wang and Kam-Biu Luk (Daya Bay); Atsuto Suzuki (KamLAND); Koichiro Nishikawa (K2K / T2K); Arthur B. McDonald (Sudbury Neutrino Observatory); and Takaaki Kajita and Yoichiro Suzuki (Super-Kamiokande). In total, the five teams are comprised of more than 1,300 individual physicists, and all members will share in the recognition for their work. Additional information and the full list of the prize-winning members of the experiments are available at .

The members of the Stony Brook Nucleon decay and Neutrino (NN) physics research group led by Prof. Chang Kee Jung are members of the international experimental collaborations, the Super-Kamiokande, K2K and T2K collaborations, that share the 2015 Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics for their role in the discovery and study of neutrino oscillation. The Stony Brook NN group participated in the Super-Kamiokande experiment since 1991 from the beginning of the experiment. The group contributed significantly to the experiment by being a part of the team that constructed detector and analyzed the atmospheric neutrino data. The NN group members who share the breakthrough prize through their participation in the SuperKamiokande experiment are: Prof. Chang Kee Jung, Prof. Clark McGrew, Prof. Chiaki Yanagisawa, Dr. James Hill, Dr. Kai Martens, Dr. Christopher Mauger, Dr. Eric Sharkey and Dr. Brett Viren. (Prof. McGrew, Dr. Hill and Dr. Martens were postdocs; and Drs. Mauger, Sharkey and Viren were graduate students at the time of the Super-Kamiokande discovery.)

The Stony Brook NN group played a leading role in the K2K experiment, the first long baseline neutrino oscillation experiment that confirmed the neutrino oscillation observed by the Super- Kamiokande experiment, and in the T2K experiment that discovered electron neutrino appearance from a muon neutrino beam in 2013. This discovery sets the stage for the study of differences in the neutrino oscillation process relative to their antiparticles (antineutrinos) that may elucidate how the universe came to be matter dominated. T2K has recently started data taking with an antineutrino beam to study antineutrino oscillations.

Prof. Jung served as International Co-Spokesperson (co-leader) of the T2K collaboration from 2011 to 2015. Professors Clark McGrew and Michael Wilking have also played leading roles in the T2K experiment. The NN group members who share the breakthrough prize through their participation in the K2K experiment are: Prof. Chang Kee Jung, Prof. Clark McGrew, Prof. Chiaki Yanagisawa, Dr. James Hill, Dr. Kazuyoshi Kobayashi, Dr. Kai Martens, Dr. Anthony Sarrat, Dr. Christopher Mauger, Dr. Eric Sharkey and Dr. Lisa Whitehead and Mr. Daniel Kerr. (Drs. Hill, Kobayashi, Martens and Sarrat were postdocs; and Drs. Mauger, Sharkey and Whitehead, and Mr. Kerr were graduate students at the time of the K2K breakthrough.) The NN group members who share the breakthrough prize through their participation in the T2K experiment are: Prof. Chang Kee Jung, Prof. Clark McGrew, Prof. Peter Paul, Prof. Chiaki Yanagisawa, Dr. Jeanine Adam , Dr. James Imber, Dr. Anthony Sarrat, Dr. Ian Taylor, Dr. Dmitriy Beznosko, Dr. Karin Gilje, Dr. Joshua Hignight, Dr. Jay Hyun Jo, Dr. Phoc Trung Le, Dr. Glenn Lopez, Dr. Bent Nielsen. (Drs. Adam, Imber, Sarrat and Taylor were postdocs; and Drs. Beznosko, Gilje, Hignight, Jo, Le, Lopez were graduate students at the time of the T2K discovery.)

For more information, please visit:

The 2015 Long Range Plan for Nuclear Science is unanimously approved  
To prepare for the future, nuclear scientists have united behind a report outlining their priorities for research in the next decade. At a meeting of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee (NSAC) on October 15, 16, 2015, the members voted unanimously to approve the Plan. The Plan was well received by DOE and NSF officials.

The current Long Range Plan (LRP) builds on the guidelines and successes of the 2007 plan. Since then the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and the Continuous Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at the Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory (JLab) have received accelerator upgrades, with detectors to realize the physics on the way as part of the current LRP. These detector upgrades, an experiment to search for neutrinoless double beta decay and the future Electron Ion Collider (EIC) facility form the top recommendations of the newly released plan.

Stony Brook University's high-energy nuclear experimental group is well poised to play important roles at all these experimental facilities. The PHENIX Detector and its upgrades will be fully exploited by Profs. Abhay Deshpande, Thomas Hemmick and Chair Axel Drees. Profs. Deshpande and Hemmick along with Prof. Krishna Kumar will also take significant responsibilities and leadership roles in various experiments at the upgraded JLab facility. Professor Kumar is deeply involved in one of proposals for the neutrinoless double beta decay experiment proposals.

Prof. Abhay Deshpande, is taking a role as a national leader in the Electron Ion Collider project, which was recommended as the highest priority facility for construction beyond the ones being pursued now. The collider would allow unprecedented insights into how protons, neutrons and nuclei are built up from quarks and gluons, the particles bind them together. The current leading facilities for studying quark-gluon matter are the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York, and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland. These facilities smash protons and heavy ions together to recreate the energetic conditions of the early Universe, when quarks and gluons existed as a plasma rather than in atomic nuclei. The EIC would collide point-like electrons with either protons or heavy ions, generating collisions that have a similarly high energy but aimed at precisely imaging them to understand theiry structures and the gluon and sea quark dynamics.

The above recommendations in the plan would not be completed without the two initiatives explicitly mentioned in the LRP: first, the support for research groups in nuclear theory, and second, support for detector & accelerator R&D that will realize and extract the physics from the recommended facilities. These initiatives have strong overlap with the aspirations and activities of Stony Brook's world renowned Nuclear Theory group and the Center for Accelerator Science and Education (CASE).

full NSAC 2015 Long Range Plan

2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for the dicovery of neutrino oscillations  
This year's Nobel Prize was awared to Takaaki Kajita, Super-Kamiokande Collaboration, U. of Tokyo, Japan and Art McDonald, SNO collaboration, Queen’s University, Canada for the discovery of neutrino oscillations.

Prof. Kajita was one of the leaders of the Super-Kamiokande Collaboration that constructed the maginificent 50-kton Super-Kamiokande water Cherenkov detector. The experiment discovered "Oscillation of Atmospheric Neutrinos" in 1998 that had far reaching impact on the particle physics. The discovery is the only experimental evidence in laboratory venue for physics beyond the Standard Model today.

The Stony Brook Nucleon decay and Neutrino (NN) group established by Prof. Chang Kee Jung participated in the Super-Kamiokande experiment since 1991 from the beginning of the experiment. The group contributed significantly to the experiment by being a part of the team that constructed detector and analyzed the atmospheric neutrino data. The orignal members of the NN group include, Prof. Clark McGrew and Prof. Chiaki Yanagisawa, and many postdocs and graduate students. The current Super-Kamiokande members from the NN group include Prof. Michael Wilking.

The Stony Brook NN group also played a leading role in the K2K experiment, the first long baseline neutrino oscillation experiment that confirmed the neutrino oscillation observed by the Super-Kamiokande experiment and the T2K experiment that discovered electron neutrino appearance from a muon neutrino beam in 2013.

Welcome our new faculty 2015  
We welcome Marilena LoVerde, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics and Anja von der Linden, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Marilena received her PhD from Columbia in 2009 and has held postdoctoral appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study and the the Kavli Center at the University of Chicago 2009-2015. She is a theoretical astrophysicist working in cosmology, focusing on modeling the clustering of galaxies seen in large surveys, observations of the "Lyman-alpha forest" of absorption lines in the spectra of distant galaxies, and maps of the cosmic microwave background. She studies the fundamental physics of inflation, dark matter, and dark energy. She is interested in understanding the relationship between luminous objects and the underlying dark matter distribution.

Anja is an observational astrophysicist, focusing on aspects of galaxy clusters. She leads the Weighing the Giants project to use weak gravitational lensing to determine the masses of about 50 of the most X-ray luminous clusters known, in order to calibrate clusters as cosmological probes. She received her Doctorate from the Ludwig-Maximilians University and Max Planck Institute in 2007, was a postdoc at Stanford 2007-2012, and the Sophie and Tycho Brahe Fellow at the DARK Cosmology Centre in Copenhagen and the Kavli Institute of Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford (20012-2015).

2015 Chancellors Award for Excellence and the Henry Primakoff Award  
The Chancellor's Awards for Excellence are System-level honors conferred to acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence. These programs underscore SUNY's commitment to sustaining intellectual vibrancy, advancing the boundaries of knowledge, providing the highest quality of instruction, and serving the public good. Through these awards, SUNY publicly proclaims its pride in the accomplishment and personal dedication of its instructional faculty, librarians and professional staff across its campuses. The awards provide SUNY-wide recognition in five categories: Faculty Service, Librarianship, Professional Service, Scholarship and Creative Activities, and Teaching.

Robert Shrock (YITP) shares the 2015 honor with Peter Stephens of the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the category of Scholarship and Creative Activities.

Rouven Essig an assistant professor at the C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stony Brook University, has been selected to receive the 2015 Henry Primakoff Award for Early-Career Particle Physics which is sponsored by the American Physical Society. According to the APS, Essig was selected, "For seminal contributions to theoretical models of dark matter with new gauge interactions, and for leadership of the APEX experiment at the Jefferson Laboratory."

Stony Brook witnesses the supermoon lunar eclipse  
Crowds of people congregated on the rooftop of the Earth and Space Sciences building to witness a rare phenomenon last Sunday night-a supermoon in combination with a lunar eclipse.

A supermoon occurs when the full moon is closest to the Earth-an event known as perigee. Because of its proximity, the moon appears 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter in the sky than a moon that is not at perigee. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth travels between the sun and the moon, causing Earth's shadow to obscure the moon for more than an hour, according to the NASA website.

The combination of these two events occurs once every few decades.

Stony Brook University's Japanese Student Organization, or JSO, and Astronomy Club collaborated together to host a moon viewing in honor of this event. read more

Samantha Scibelli is URECA's September Researcher of the Month  
A Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) junior majoring in both Physics and Astronomy, Samantha has long held a deep passion for these fields.

Since last December, Samantha has been doing astrophysics research with Dr. Rosalba Perna (Stony Brook University, Physics & Astronmy) & Dr. Charles Keeton (Rutgers University, Physics & Astronomy) on dark matter, spiral galaxies and gravitational lensing. Her research project was funded by the PSEG Explorations in STEM program for summer 2015, a 10-week summer research program co-administered by Technology & Society, the Career Center and URECA that includes professional development activities as well as a focus on research, and culminated in a poster symposium event this past August. Samantha had previously engaged in optics research projects at the Laser Teaching Center, starting in the summer before freshman year, working under the mentorship of Dr. John Noé. She has presented posters at the URECA campus wide symposia (2014, 2015); as well as the 2013 Frontiers in Optics, OSA Annual Meeting in Florida where she presented "A study of Evolving Caustics Formed by Evaporating Water Droplets."

Born in Saratoga Springs, and a graduate of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, Samantha embarked on a long-term astronomy research project starting in her sophomore year of high school working at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Samantha analyzed over 10,000 spectra by eye in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and found a selection of stars that were not correctly classified by the electronic matching system, work for which she was recognized with an Intel STS finalist award, and which was published in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement series (Census of Blue Stars in the SDSS, ApJS 215 24, Dec. 2014).

Samantha's long term goals include getting a PhD in Astronomy. Her hobbies at SB include participating in the Astronomy Club, doing science outreach and playing club field hockey. (read more)


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