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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.


Links to all "What's new" sections: 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and the latest.


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