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Prof. Farr discovers ringing black holes  

'Ringing' Black Hole Validates Einstein's General Relativity 10 Years Ahead of Schedule: Gravitational wave 'tones' detected following the merger of two black holes confirms the decades-old 'no-hair theory' of black hole properties

Will Farr, Associate Professor at Stony Brook and group leader for gravitational wave astronomy at the Flatiron Institute's Center for Computational Astrophysics in New York City and colleagues present their findings in Physical Review Letters.

For the first time, astrophysicists have heard a black hole ringing like a bell. By reanalyzing the first black hole merger ever detected, the astrophysicists measured the gravitational wave 'tones' emitted following the event. The breakthrough comes 10 years earlier than expected and confirms that the properties of black holes are just as Einstein predicted in his theory of general relativity in 1915.

When two black holes merge into one, the resulting supersized black hole wobbles like a struck bell. These reverberations emit gravitational waves at characteristic tones that fade away as the black hole settles. The so-called 'no-hair theory' predicts that these tones - and all other external properties of a black hole - depend only on the black hole's mass and rotation. That's just as Einstein's general relativity predicts. Some scientists, though, propose that reality is hairier and that effects like quantum mechanics play a role as well.

Scientists knew that detecting a black hole's tones could settle the debate. The tones, though, were thought to be too quiet to detect using current-generation gravitational wave detectors LIGO and Virgo.

In the new study, the astrophysicists combined simulations of black hole mergers with a reanalysis of the first gravitational waves ever detected. Those waves came from the merger two black holes. The analysis led to the identification of two independent tones emitted by the newly combined black hole. The pitch and decay rates of these tones lined up with Einstein's general relativity. The no-hair theory stood triumphant.

Farr says that with new data analysis and LIGO and Virgo continuing to observe black hole mergers, tests from the observatories will become more precise. The added precision will likely lead to additional detections of black hole tones and an improved understanding of the exotic objects.

Farr collaborated on the study with Maximiliano Isi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Caltech astrophysicists Matt Giesler, Mark Scheel and Saul Teukolsky.
Peter Stephens receives 2019 Barrett Award  

Prof. Peter Stephens receives the 2019 Barrett Award in X-Ray Diffraction from the International Centre for Diffraction Data and the Denver X-ray Conference. "For his sustained contributions to the field of powder diffraction, through structure solution of polycrystalline materials using synchrotron radiation, and service to the crystallography community."

The full citation can be found here and a SBU news post here .

Jac Verbaarschot - 10 years leadership of the physics graduate programs  

With the beginning of the academic year Jac Verbaarschot has stepped down as Graduate Program Director (GPD). Jac started leading the graduate programs in 2009 and has quietly and largely behind the scenes been a cornerstone of the operation of the department for the past 10 years. During his tenure Jac continued an active research program publishing 45 papers while serving as GPD.

Over the 10 years about 300 PhD student joined our program and nearly 250 students completed their PhD. Almost all of which moved on to postdoc position and other employment. Jac led the effort to increase the size of our Master program to about 70 students and established it as serious degree granting program that enables many recipients to continue to PhD programs.

Jac deeply cares about the students in our programs. He personally advised all students about classes and opportunities in the department with a focus to assure that struggling students do not fall behind and advanced students excel. Jac introduced several new opportunities for graduate students, like a new PhD concentration in Physical Biology or multiple tracks in the Master program. He oversaw regular revisions of the curriculum, organizing the visiting days student days, instituted a follow-up questionnaire to students who did not accept our offer and selected another institution, and was excellent at keeping records and statistics, not only as a snapshot of the current situation, but following the trends over the years.
Peter van Nieuwenhuizen receives 2019 Special Breakthrough Prize  

Peter van Nieuwenhuizen, along with Dan Freedman and Sergio Ferrara, have been awarded a Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for their "invention of supergravity, in which quantum variables are part of the description of the geometry of spacetime."

The discovery of Supergravity is only the fifth Special Breakthrough Prize given, it joins the discoveries of gravitational waves, of pulsars, of the Higgs boson, and those of Stephen Hawking, in receiving this special recognition. Details about this years prize can be found here.

More information can also be found here or in an interview with Peter van Niewenhuizen.
Joanna Kyriluk receives 2019 PECASE Award  

Joanna Kiryluk received the 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the US government to outstanding scientists. The award acknowledges the contributions of Joanna to the advancement of science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) education and to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, and community outreach.

Joanna's research focuses on high energy neutrinos measured with the IceCube observatory at the South Pole, which is the largest underground neutrino detector in the world. Seeking to find the origins of the most powerful cosmic accelerators in the Universe, her work will confirm or refute theory predictions for astrophysical neutrino sources and cosmic acceleration mechanisms. Joanna is also in educational and outreach work in collaboration with the Stony Brook University WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) Program.

CDF and D0 awarded the 2019 EPS High Energy and Particle Physics Prize  

The 2019 High Energy and Particle Physics Prize of the European Physical Society, for an outstanding contribution to High Energy Physics, is awarded to the CDF and D0 Collaborations for the discovery of the top quark and the detailed measurement of its properties.

This is a significant honor for the Stony Brook HEP group whose many members made significant contributions to the DO experiment over the years. The group then led by Paul Grannis was the leading university group in D0. The prize is shared by Stony Brook faculty Guido Finocchiaro, Paul Grannis, John Hobbs, Chang Kee Jung, Bob McCarthy, Michael Rijssenbeek, Dean Schamberger, Dmitri Tsybychev and Chiaki Yanagisawa.

The full citation can be found here

2019 SUNY Chancelor's Award for Excellence  

Three department members receive the 2019 Chancellor's Award for Excellence

Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence

Awardee Abigail Bishop, physics and astronomy major of the class of 2019, is a leader in the Women in Science and Engineering honors program, and has been engaged in astronomy and physics research.

Chancellor's Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities

Awardee Axel Drees, Department Chair and Professor, was recognized for his contributions to Experimental Nuclear Physics.

Awardee Vladimir Korepin, Professor in the YITP, was recognized for his contributions to Quantum Information Science.

Sergey Syritsyn receives 2019 NSF CAREER Award  

Sergey Syritsyn receives restigious Early CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation for his work on "Nucleon Structure, Fundamental Symmetries, and Lattice QCD."

Connor Behan receives 2019 President's Distinguished Doctoral Sudent Award  

Connor Behan receives the 2019 President's Award to Distinguished Doctoral Students. Connor is studying quantum field theory with Prof. Leonardo rastelli. He is exploring non-perturbative methods that become applicable in the extreme high / low energy limits. These have led to new insights about universality, wherein the same field theory makes an appearance in a wide range of physical systems.

Connor joins many more students of the Department of Physics and Astroniomy who have done destingusihed research. For the most recent recipients follow the link here.

Quantum Immersion Workshop at Stony Brook  
SBU-BNL Quantum Immersion Workshop

The goal of this Quantum Immersion Workshop is to build a Quantum Information Science (QIS) community of researchers between Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and other partners. This workshop will showcase State of the Art Research in QIS and provide a forum to discuss opportunities to engage in QIS research.

Featuring five sessions on:

  • Quantum Networking and Cryptography
  • Quantum Algorithms and Programming Environment
  • Analog Quantum Simulation
  • Engineering of Quantum Devices
  • Quantum Materials
Provost Lecture: "Bulding a Quantum Computer" by Dr. Barry Sanders, Director of the Institute for Quantum Science and Technology at the University of Calgary.

Provost Lecture: "Quantum Machine Learning" by Dr. Seth Lloyd, Professor of engineering, MIT

Sponsored by Office of the Vice President for Research (SBU), SUNY Quantum Information Science Center on Long Island (SBU/SUNY), Computational Science Initiative (BNL), Institute for Advanced Computational Sciences (SBU), College of Arts and Sciences (SBU), College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SBU)

The event is free, but registration is required. For more information and to register, please visit here.
Creation of quark-gluon plasma droplets with three distinct shapes  
On December 10, 2018 the PHENIX collaboration, including professors Drees, Hemmick and their team, reported the "Creation of small droplets of quark-gluon plasma with three distinct geometries" in Nature Physics. Stony Brook's contribution to the publication was led by Senior Postdoctoral Fellow Carlos E. Perez-Lara.

In collisions of heavy nuclei at relativistic energies droplets quark-gluon plasma (QGP), a state of hot, dense nuclear matter in which quarks and gluons are not bound into hadrons. The rapid expansion of the nearly inviscid fluid translates any initial spatial anisotropy effectively into correlated momentum anisotropies among the particles produced, a pattern known as collective flow. Such flow patterns have recently also been seen small systems created in p+p and p+Au collisions, despite expectations that the volume and lifetime of the produced medium would be too small to form a QGP. PHENIX used the versatility of the RHIC accelerator at Brookhaven National Laboratory to measure flow patterns of particles produced in proton-gold (p+Au), deuteron-gold (d+Au) and helium-gold (3He+Au) collisions. The combination of these three uniquely different initial geometries and the measurement of two flow patterns provided unprecedented model discrimination. Hydrodynamical models, which include the formation of a short-lived QGP droplet, provide the best simultaneous description of the PHENIX measurements

See the Nature Physics paper, or read the press release by the University.
Dima Kharzeev appointed Distinguished Professor  
Congratulations Distinguished Professor Dr. Dmitri Kharzeev

Dr. Kharzeev was one of eight faculty from Stony Brook University that were selected by the SUNY Board of Trustees for its highest honor - the rank of Distinguished Professor. More information can be found here.

Dr. Kharzeev is nationally and internationally recognized as one of the world's leading theorists in nuclear physics. He is best known for his groundbreaking work on the Chiral Magnetic Effect (CME) - the induction of electric current parallel to an external magnetic field in the presence of imbalance between the right- and left-handed particles. CME is currently studied in heavy ion collisions at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Though the theory behind CME was initially developed in the context of nuclear physics, it has far-reaching implications for condensed matter physics, astrophysics and cosmology. Based on Dr. Kharzee's prediction, he and a team of condensed matter scientists at BNL discovered CME in a new class of chiral materials. This discovery points to a range of potential applications in sensing, quantum computing, and medical imaging. Dr. Kharzeev is a highly cited author of about 200 scientific publications. He is a Fellow of AAAS and APS, and has several prestigious awards.
SUNY Quantum Information Science Center at Long Island  
A team of four Stony Brook physicists, led by Prof. Vladimir Korepin and comprising Profs. Eden Figuera, Dominik Schneble, and Tzu-Chieh Wei has been awarded a SUNY grant for the development of a Center for Quantum Information Science.

Korepin and Wei, both theorists, work on entanglement theory in many-body systems, models of quantum computation, quantum algorithms, and simulations of complex quantum systems, while experimentalists Figueroa and Schneble work with systems of atoms and photons. Figueroa's group uses atomic ensembles to store and entangle photons for purposes of quantum simulation and as part of a room-temperature quantum communication network. Schneble's group uses atomic clouds at nanokelvin temperatures to engineer ultracold atomic quantum systems with which fundamental questions can be addressed through direct quantum simulation.

The team's expertise and core research activities reflect the four pillars of Quantum Information Science in communication, computing, simulation, and sensing. With the envisioned Center for Quantum Information Science at Long Island, SUNY aims to foster Stony Brook University's strong capabilities for solving basic science questions and stimulating technology developments, as well as to train a next-generation, quantum-smart workforce.

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