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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.

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)

Dhruv Dixit Named Goldwater Scholar  
Congratualtions to physics and mathematics major Dhruv Dixit for being named a 2015 Goldwater Scholar.

Dhruv is member of Stony Brook University's Honors College. He is only the 34th Goldwater Scholar honoree in Stony Brook since 1992. The award is among the most prestigious honors given nationally to college undergraduate students.

Dhruv is originally from Gujarat, India. He works at the PHENIX detector with Tom Hemmick, Abhay Deshpande and Axel Drees at Brookhaven National Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. The high-energy collisions produced at RHIC give rise to a super-hot quark-gluon plasma, and the study of the properties of this plasma is crucial for testing the Standard Model of particle physics. Dhruv will participate in the analysis of the data currently being collected at RHIC.

Dhruv is planning to seek a PhD in physics following graduation.

Paper led by Mathew Madhavacheril and Neelima Sehgal selected as an Editor's Suggestion in Phys. Rev. Letters.  
A paper led by Neelima Sehgal and her graduate student Mathew Madhavacheril for the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACTPol) Collaboration has just been published in PRL and it was selected as an Editor's Suggestion. It is also featured in with a Viewpoint article in Physics (dated April 13).

The collaboration studied the effects of gravitational lensing on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). The data were collected by the ACTpol telescope, operating in the Chilean Atacama Desert. They measured, statistically, distortions in the CMB hot and cold spots caused by the gravitational pull of massive galaxies or the galaxy clusters. To eliminate the noise in the CMB the authors used a stacking technique, averaging together small images centered at the positions of known galaxies. Nearly 12,000 optically selected galaxies from the SDSS/BOSS survey have been used.

Using he CMB as the background source offers some interesting advantages, as the time and the statistical properties of the CMB’s emission are very well known. The CMB also comes to us from all directions and can be available for many more objects of interest.

Please note that Tom Allison is also featured in Physics (Synopsis, dated April 14), as the co-author of a paper on "Cavity-Enhanced Field-Free Molecular Alignment at a High Repetition Rate".

Lukasz Fidkowski received a Sloan Fellowship  
Lukasz Fidkowski recevied a 2015 Sloan Research Fellowship. He is one of the 126 recipients this year; 24 of the Fellowships were awarded in Physics, see here.

Lukasz was selected for his research in theoretical condensed matter physics. In particular, he developed a classification of topological phases in one dimension, he carried out a calculation of the entanglement spectrum of topological insulators and superconductors, and he suggested the existence of the Majorana zero modes in one-dimensional quantum wires. His discoveries extend and deepen our current understanding of the ordered states of matter and help uncover new properties of matter. Some of these properties may have useful applications, such as encoding quantum information, making it possible to use them as the building blocks of a quantum computer.

Lukasz joined Stony Brook in 2013. He received his BS in mathematics from Harvard University in 2001 and PhD in physics from Stanford University in 2007. He was a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology and a researcher at Microsoft's Station Q, a research lab focused on studies of topological quantum computing. He has made important contributions to the field of topological insulators. - See more at: here

Stony Brook faculty won 69 Fellowships since 1961. More than a third of those (28) was awarded to Physics and Astronomy faculty:

Sasha Abanov (2001), Igor Aleiner (1998), Phil Allen (1973), Adam Burrows (1985), Sudip Chakravarty (1982), Daniel M. Davis (1988), Rouven Essig (2013), Daniel Freedman (1969), Vladimir Goldman (1989) Paul Grannis (1968), Terence Hwa (1995), Andrew Jackson (1971), Jainendra Jain (1991), Zurab Kakushadze (2001), Janos Kirz (1970), Steve Kivelson (1984), Jim Lattimer (1982), Ben Lee (1963), Jack Lissauer (1987), Barry McCoy (1973), Peter Paul (1967), Chris Quigg (1974), Frank Shu (1972), Gene Sprouse (1972), Johanna Stachel (1986), Stephen Strom (1970), Derek Teany (2008).

AMO paper is Editor's Choice in Phys. Rev. Letters  
A paper by Chris Corder, Brian Arnold and Hal Metcalf is selected as Editor's Choice in this week's PRL. See and Congratulations to the authors!
Welcome new faculty  
We welcome Mengkun Liu, Assistant Professor in the condensed matter area. He is an expert in ultrafast spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy, including near-field nano-imaging and spectroscopy.

Mengkun received his Ph.D degree in the Department of Physics at Boston University in 2012. Before coming to Stony Brook he was postdoc at the Department of Physics at UC San Diego in Dmitri Basov's laboratory. His research interests include complex materials with strong electronic correlations and electron phonon coupling (superconductors, multiferroics, magnetoresistors, heavy-fermion actinide compounds) and metamaterials. He studies plasmons in graphene, polaritons in Boron Nitride, and the phase separations in vanadium dioxide thin films.

He creates artificial composites by E-beam lithography, photolithography or stencil imprint techniques. He uses these metamaterials as mediators between light and matter to perturb and study the novel optical/THz responses of complex systems.

Mengkun's laboratory will be on the S level, next to the electronmicroscope and e-beam litography facilities. See more at his group's WEB site. He is currently looking for graduate students.

Abhay Deshpande and Rosalba Perna has been elected Fellows of the American Physical Society  
Congratulations to Abhay Deshpande and Rosalba Perna for being elected Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS). APS fellowships are awarded after extensive review and each year no more than one-half of one percent of APS membership can be elected as a fellow.

Rosalba's primary area of research is theoretical high-energy astrophysics, including studies of gamma-ray bursts and of highly magnetized neutron stars, known as 'magnetars'. She is a member of several international collaborations aimed at understanding the physics of matter in extreme conditions. Her research has received numerous grants from both NASA and the National Science Foundation. She was honored for her "for her pioneering contributions to our understanding of the long and short gamma-ray bursts, including the development of advanced models to describe their properties and environments, calculations of their particle and radiative emission, and innovative treatment of the time-dependent photo-ionization in the dusty environment around the bursts."

Abhay's research has focused on exploring and understanding quantum chromodynamics (QCD), a fundamental force describing the interactions between quarks and gluons which make up hadrons such as the proton, neutron, and pion. He is also a Senior Fellow and Deputy Group Leader for Experiments at the RIKEN (Japan's Institute of Physical and Chemical Research) BNL (Brookhaven National Laboratory) Research Center, located at BNL. His research is currently supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Science & RIKEN. He was elected "for his sustained effort and leadership in experimental programs to understand the nucleons’ spin, employing polarized DIS experiments at CERN to high-energy polarized proton collisions at RHIC (with PHENIX detector), including early development of beam polarimetry and other essential tools; and for his leadership in the efforts toward realizing the future US electron ion collider."

See also at the SBU WEB page

See more here.

Discovery Fund  
Eden Figueroa received a $50k award from the Discovery Fund at an event held at the Simons Foundation headquarters in New York City on December 11. He was one of the four finalists in a the competition for the Discovery Prize that was awarded to Laurie T. Krug, Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.

Alan Alda, founder of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, provided opening remarks at the event. President Stanley described the Discovery Fund as the University’s response to a nationwide call to augment public funding of basic science with philanthropic support. The Discovery Fund is one of 15 similar funds supported by universities in the Science Philanthropy Alliance, working together to increase private investment in fundamental research.

Each finalist made a a TED-talk-style presentation to a jury that included Peter Agre, Winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Robert Shelton, President of Research Corporation for Science Advancement, Jim Simons, Chairman of the Simons Foundation, founder of Renaissance Technologies and former Chairman of the Mathematics Department and Esther Takeuchi, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.

The Discovery Fund also hosted Eden and in New York city for the night before the event.

See more here.

Proton Spin Dissected  
Recent papers by the Phenix and the STAR collaborations, and theoretical analysis of the data conclusively indicate that about 20-30% of the proton spin is due to gluons.

The new precision measurements at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) in Brookhaven National Laboratory based on data collection runs by the two experiments in 2009. The analysis of the proton spin was made possible by RHIC's unique capability of colliding polarized protons. According to Abhay Deshpande "the contribution of the gluons is about the same as the contribution of the quarks, 15%, measured at CERN in the 1990's. The remainder is due to the orbital motion of gluons and quarks. While there is evidence from transverse spin effects for the orbital motion, it can be only measured if we build the electron-ion collider (EIC) that is currently in the planning stage. Once EIC measures the orbital component directly we will have a complete understanding of the composition of the nucleon spin."

Kieran Boyle (currently a Riken BNL Research Center Fellow) and Andrew Manion (currently a postdoc at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory) did the main data analysis for Phenix results during the time when they were graduate students in our Department.

Chang Kee Jung and Fred Goldhaber Receives the SUNY Chancellor's Award  
The Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity is a SUNY-wide award intended to recognize consistently outstanding scholarly and creative productivity of its faculty.

Chang Kee Jung came to Stony Brook in 1990 joining the high energy experimental group. He participated in the D0 experiment, the Super-Kamiokande experiment, the K2K Experiment, the UNO Project and the Henderson DUSEL/HUSEP Project. He is one of the world's leading experts in the study of proton decay and neutrino oscillations. Currently he serves as the International Co-Spokesperson for the T2K Collaboration and Spokesperson for the T2K US Collaboration. Chang Kee is also a tireless and enthusiastic teacher, and he is especially good at explaining physics principles to a non-physicist audience, for example here. He mentored 10 Post Doctoral Associates, 17 Ph.D. students and 4 Master's students.

Alfred (Fred) Goldhaber joined the YITP and Department of Physics and Astronomy in 1967. He is being recognized for wide-ranging and important work, in the theory of high energy particle and nuclear collisions, magnetic monopoles, cosmology, precision tests of the photon's mass and neutrino physics. In each of these areas he has brought an uncommon creative insight and made contributions of lasting value. He been active as well on campus, having received, for example, an award for his contributions to student life. Over the past several years he has collaborated with Robert Crease of the Department of Philosophy in creating an interdisciplinary course that offers undergraduates in all fields the opportunity to examine the quantum revolution that has done so much to shape our world today.

The awards will be presented by Samuel L. Stanley, President of Stony Brook University at a ceremony on October 7, 2014.

Welcome new faculty  
Krishna Kumar received his M.Sc. in 1984 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, and his Ph.D. in 1990 from Syracuse University. After the Ph.D. he joined Harvard University as a Research Associate and he was appointed Assistant Professor at Princeton University in 1993. He moved to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as Associate Professor in 1999. He became full professor there in 2004. His research has two overarching thrusts: i.) Searches for clues to the dynamics of the early universe via ultra-precise measurements of the properties and interactions of leptons and ii.) Studies of novel low-energy QCD phenomena via sensitive measurements of semi-leptonic weak neutral current amplitudes. The research involves two classes of experiments: precision measurements of scattering reactions with high-energy spin-polarized electron and muon beams, and searches for rare radioactive decays. He currently works on parity-violating electron scattering experiments at Jefferson Laboratory and the EXO double-beta decay experiment.

Jim Misewich received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1984. He was postdoctoral fellow and later research staff member at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center. In 2002 he joined Brookhaven National Laboratory as Chairman of the Materials Science Department, and in 2005 he continued on as Chairman of the Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Sciences Department. He is currently Associate Laboratory Director for Basic Energy Sciences. He is an expert in high sensitivity and ultrafast optical techniques and their application to materials and processes that are relevant to energy conversion and transport. His research interests cover optical and electronic properties of nanoscale carbon, including carbon nanotubes, monolayer and few-layer graphene, and he works on developing heterogeneous nano-structured opto-electronic materials. Jim is one of the recipient of the $10 million Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) award that was granted to Stony Brook in June, 2014

Mike Wilking received his M.S. and Ph.D. (2009) from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Since 2009, he has been a postdoctoral fellow at TRIUMF in Vancouver, Canada, with an additional JSPS Fellowship at the Kamioka Observatory in Japan. He is a member of several collaborations, including Super-Kamiokande (SuperK), T2K, DUET and MiniBooNE. His main interests are event reconstruction and detector design. He is one of the three co-leaders of the near-detector muon-neutrino physics group at T2K, and he also leads the T2K-SuperK group with two other co-conveners, which oversees the far-detector input into the T2K oscillation analysis. He has developed a new event reconstruction method that significantly enhanced the sensitivity for the recent T2K's first-ever observation of the appearance of electron neutrino from a muon neutrino beam.


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