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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.

2014-12-12
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.

2014-11-04
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.

2014-09-18
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.

2014-08-25
Stony Brook receives $10 Million DOE Grant for a New Energy Frontier Research Center  
Stony Brook University was selected to receive a $10 million Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) award by the U.S. Department of Energy to establish the Center for Mesoscale Transport Properties. The Center will conduct basic science research to advance and enable the design of materials and components to achieve higher performing, longer life, and safer energy storage systems, including batteries.

The succesful proposal has been led by Esther Takeuchi, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and is Chief Scientist in Brookhaven National Laboratory's Global and Regional Solutions Directorate. In addition to faculty from the Departments of Chemistry, Physics and Materials Science, the collaborating institutions include Brookhaven National Laboratory, Columbia University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of California, Berkeley, and the University of North Carolina.

Our Department is represented by Profs. Marivi Fernandez-Serra and by Jim Misewich, who is currently Associate Lab Director for Basic Energy Sciences in Brookhaven National Laboratory. The Center commences activity on August 1, 2014 and will be housed at the University’s New York State Center of Excellence in the Advanced Energy Center in Stony Brook’s Research and Development Park.

See more here.

2014-06-26
Professor Rod Engelmann retires at the end of this semester  
Rod received his Diploma (1963) and PhD (1966) from the University of Heidelberg working on the weak interaction properties of hyperons. He was habilitated in Germany. Soon after that he joined Argonne National Laboratory. He came to Stony Brook in 1973 and advanced to the rank of full professor quickly in 1980. Early in his Stony Brook days, he led studies of high energy neutrino interactions and 200 GeV proton collisions at the newly commissioned Fermilab accelerator. In an extended stay at CERN in the 1980's, he exploited the UA2 data from the proton-antiproton collider to study the newly discovered Wand Z bosons and high transverse momentum processes. During a leave at BNL, he worked to characterize the magnets for the accelerator that ultimately became RHIC. For many years he worked on the DZero experiment, followed by the ATLAS experiment more recently. He was the adviser to nine graduate students.

Rod had a special talent for teaching the pre-med introductory physics courses. He started to work on internet-based education years before it became a major trend. He combined his understanding of the email, blogging and other WEB-based methods as a way to engage students. He used these and other computer-based tools to create novel and more effective ways to teach introductory physics. A 2009 interview with Rod about his teaching methods can be seen here

Rod will keep working with us on these matters, and we will rely on his advice and help in the coming years.

2014-05-20
Ken Dill elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences  
Ken A. Dill, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Chemistry, and Director of the Laufer Center for Physical & Quantitative Biology, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), one of the nation’s most prestigious learned societies. He will be inducted at a ceremony at the AAAS headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., on October11, 2014.

Ken received degrees in Mechanical Engineering at MIT before getting his Ph.D. in Biology at the University of California San Diego in 1978. After a postdoc at Stanford and a short appointment at U. Florida, Gainesville he moved to U.C. San Francisco in 1982, where he became Professor in Pharmaceutical Chemistry & Biophysics. Before joining Stony Brook in 2010, he was Associate Dean of Research, School of Pharmacy at UCSF.

Ken's work has led to insights about how the laws of physics constrain and enable the biological properties and evolution of cells. He is best known for his role in solving the "protein-folding" problem, considered a "grand challenge" in the field of biophysics. Currently he studies the physics of proteins, biological cells, and water; and he develops methods in statistical physics and computational biology.

As Director of the Laufer Center for Physical & Quantitative Biology, Ken oversees collaborative research that aims to advance biology and medicine through discoveries in physics, mathematics and computational science. He and other researchers at the Center study the biochemical networks in cells and use computational models to learn more about cells and their processes in biology and in diseases.

Ken was elected to US National Academy of Sciences in 2008.

Photo credit to http://laufercenter.stonybrook.edu/art.

2014-04-30
Congratulations to Lisa Whitehead (Ph.D. 2007) for being recognized as CSWP Woman Physicist of the Month  
The American Physical Society's Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) recognized Lisa Whitehead as "Woman Physicist of the Month".

Lisa received her Ph.D. in 2007 in the Experimental High-Energy Physics group, working on the K2K experiment. Currently she is in her third year at the University of Houston after serving a postdoctoral appointment at Brookhaven National Laboratory. As an experimentalist in neutrino physics she is a member of both MINOS and DAYA BAY. Her responsibilites include being Co-Convenor for Cosmogenic Isotopes for DAYA BAY as well as being a Co-Convenor of the ve appearance analysis group for MINOS. She has organized and hosted major collaboration meetings and shouldered other service activities such as being on the Fermilab User's Executive Committee. She has a Department of Energy Career Award.

We congratulate Lisa for her achievement and wish her more successes.

2014-02-11
Welcome New Faculty  
We welcome new faculty members Professor Vladimir Litvinenko (started in September, 2013) and Associate Professor Rosalba Perna (started in January, 2014).

Rosalba Perna joined our Astronomy group from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Previous to that she was Lyman Spitzer Fellow at Princeton University and Junior Fellow at Harvard University, the same institution where she got her Ph.D. in 1999. She had visiting appointments at the California Institute of Technology, at the Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Italy, and at the Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale, Italy. She studies high-energy astrophysics (Gamma-ray bursts, neutron stars, accretion disks, X-ray binaries, ultra-luminous X-ray sources), cosmology (gravitational lensing, interstellar medium and dust in high-redshift galaxies, foregrounds for Cosmic Microwave Background and 21 cm measurements, growth of supermassive black holes) and exoplanets with emphasis on the magnetohydrodynamics in the atmospheres of hot Jupiters.

Rosalba is a piano player (she has a Piano Diploma from the Conservatorio di Musica, Potenza, Italy) and she likes to travel. One of her trips was a 1200 km by bicycle tour through Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden.

Vladimir Litvinenko holds a joint appointment with Brookhaven National Laboratory's Collider-Accelerator Department, where he is the Deputy Head of the Accelerator R&D Division. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Prior to joining BNL Valdimir was tenured faculty in the Physics Department at Duke University, where he played a key role in building up the Free Electron Laser Laboratory. He came to the USA from the Institute for Nuclear Physics, Accelerator Laboratory, Novosibirsk, Russia. His Ph.D. is from the Novosibirsk State University and Institute for Nuclear Physics, Novosibirsk, Russia (1977). His research interests include free electron lasers, electron recovery linear accelerators, coherent electron cooling and the planned electron - ion collider. He is also interested in exotic high-energy colliders and accelerators including femto- and ato- second electron beams and next-generation light sources.

Vladimir is the director of the Center for Accelerator Science and Education. He is leading the effort to establish a strong accelerator physics group in our Department, including hiring junior faculty. He is currently teaching the graduate course in Accelerator Physics.

2014-02-11
Juliet Lee-Franzini died January 19, 2014  
Juliet Lee-Franzini, Professor Emerita, died Jan. 19 in Frascati Italy.

Juliet was one of the pioneers of the department, taking an appointment at the newly established Stony Brook campus in 1963 as the founding faculty member of the high energy physics experimental group, following her Ph.D. and postdoc at Columbia University. In 1993 she left Stony Brook to take a position at Laboratori Nazionali de Frascati, where she was VIP Physicist and later Director of Research.

Lee-Franzini's research spanned a broad range of important topics in particle physics in experiments conducted at Nevis Labs, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Penn-Princeton Accelerator, Fermilab, Cornell, and Frascati, usually in collaboration with her husband Paolo Franzini. Her early work at Columbia measured the muon decay spectra and gave precision confirmation of the V-A nature of the weak interaction. Her search for the lepton-violating decay μ ➙ e γ pointed to the subsequent discovery of two distinct neutrino flavors. Under her leadership in the Columbia-Stony Brook experiment at Cornell, the spectroscopy of bound state mesons containing a bottom and anti-bottom quark was mapped out, leading to the understanding of heavy flavor potentials, and the indirect observation of mesons containing a single bottom quark. The work on the KLOE experiment at Frascati provided beautiful measurements elucidating CP-violation in the neutral K meson system.

Lee-Franzini was an exceptional mentor and her students now lead particle physics research programs around the world. She served on the board of directors of the Research Foundation of SUNY, and on the Executive Committee of the APS Division of Particles and Fields.

Paul Grannis

2014-01-24
Student from the Laser Teaching Center is Intel Finalist.  
This year Stony Brook faculty advised three of the Intel Science Talent Search finalists, and one of them, Kathy Camenzind, did her research in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. She worked with John Noé and Marty Cohen, at the Laser Teaching Center , studying the trapping forces in an optical tweezers setup. In the history of the Laser Teaching Center Kathy is the 3rd student reaching this high level of recognition.

One of the other finalists is Aron Coraor with a project advised in Geosciences. Last year Aron worked with Matt Dawber and a short video about his work in Matt's lab can be found here . The third finalist is Emily Pang, advised in the Department of Medicine.

Phil Allen advised Luran He, who reached the stage of semi-finalist, with a work on emergence of chaos in a scattering system.

In 2013 Kevin Chen, one of Matt Dawber's students was a finalist. Deriam Chirinos (advised by Jac Verbaarschot) and Grace Pan (another of Matt's students) were semi-finalists. In 2012 Juliana Coraor (sister to Aron Coraor, also advised by Matt Dawber) was a finalist.

Support from the Simons Summer Research Program is crucial to bringing talented high school students and faculty together. All of the students mentioned above (and many more) were supported by the program during at least a part of their research in Stony Brook. The Program gives academically talented, motivated high school students who are between their junior & senior years the opportunity to engage in hands-on research in science, math or engineering at Stony Brook University. Established in 1984, the Simons Summer Research Fellowship Program is supported by the Simons Foundation and individual faculty grants.

Congratulations to all students and faculty for this great success.

2014-01-23
Conference of Undergraduate Women in Physics is a great success.  
The East Coast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) was hosted by Stony Brook University (SBU) and Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). The three-day meeting was attended by more than 100 undergraduate physics majors. This was one of the eight regional conferences coordinated by the American Physical Society.

Students arrived Thursday evening and stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn. Friday's program was in BNL, with lectures, a poster session, visits to facilities and a dinner. Saturday there were presentations and a roundtable discussion in the Wang Center. The dinner, with a special talk about communicating science, was at the hotel. The complete program is here.

The Conference was a great success. Participants praised the excellent speakers, the well selected topics, the friendly ambiance, the excellent facilities and the perfect organization. Some of the students participated at earlier CUWiP meetings, and they called this one "the best".

Thanks to our Undergraduate Program Director, Abhay Deshpande, and the "Status of Women" Committee for setting up the interesting program. Thanks to faculty (Meigan Aronson, Sally Dawson, Marivi Fernandez-Serra, Angela Kelly, Joanna Kiryluk, Michael Rijssenbeek and Martin Rocek), postdocs and students (Mariola Lesiak-Bzdak, Ali Hanks, Alyssa Montalbano, Betul Pamak) for their presentations and participation in the roundtable discussions. The BNL side of the program was superbly organized by Noel Blackburn (outreach office) and Liz Flynn (BNL Director's Office). Stony Brook's Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program contributed to the welcoming atmosphere.

Special thanks to Jin Bentley and Nathan Leoce-Schappin for paying attention to every detail, resulting in a flawless execution of the plans for this meeting.

We acknowledge support from the BNL Director's Office and the Provost's Office. Support from the American Physical Society, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation is also acknowledged. (Photo credit to Brookhaven National Laboratory.)

2014-01-20

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