Boston University Physics News
Graduate student Clint Richardson has been chosen as a 2014 CMS Fundamental Physics Scholar. The scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding young CMS researcher and provides research support opportunities as well as financial support to facilitate a one-year residency at CERN. Fundamental Physics Scholars are chosen from a global pool of applicants based on their talent and their potential to make an impact on the scientific community. Clint’s research is currently focused on the CMS High-Level Trigger and on searches for exotic top quark partners and new heavy gauge bosons.
How do computers learn to identify images or speech? Recent work by Assistant Professor Pankaj Mehta and collaborator David Schwab (Northwestern University) suggests that the answer lies in a statistical technique known as "renormalization". Their work shows that this technique, which allows physicists to extract relevant features from a particular system, is the same process used by artifical neural networks to categorize data. Read the full story in Quanta Magazine.
Boston University theoretical particle physicist Martin Schmaltz provides a theory of inflation, not the one that took place in the early universe, but one that may have taken place to send the New England Patriots to the Superbowl. Read his interview with boston.com on the physics of deflate-gate.
An article by Professor David Bishop and former graduate student Matthias Imboden (PhD, 2012; currently a postdoc in Electrical and Computer Engineering at BU) has been featured in the December 2014 issue of Physics Today. In the article, "Top-Down Nanomanufacturing," they detail the current techniques, challenges, and future directions in the field. A device developed by their lab at BU, which utilizes dynamic stencil lithography to literally write with atoms, is featured on the cover.
In a recent interview with BU, Assistant Professor Tulika Bose discusses her role as Trigger Coordinator for the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the LHC, the difficulty involved in sorting through millions of pieces of raw data per second, and the ongoing search for new physics. BU researchers have been heavily involved in both the CMS and ATLAS experiments at the LHC, which expects to resume operation in March 2015.
Alumna Sharon Glotzer (PhD, 1993) is the joint recipient of this year's MRS Medal "for foundational work elucidating processes of nanoparticle self-assembly." The medal is awarded for a specific outstanding recent discovery or advancement that has a major impact on the progress of a materials-related field. Glotzer is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. She is currently the Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan.
Alumnus Hadi Ghaemi (PhD, 1996) was recently interviewed in Physics Today on his unique journey from physics to human rights advocacy. Ghaemi came to the US from Iran by himself at the age of 15. After earning his PhD on superresolution microscopy and spectroscopy of nanostructures from BU, he pursued a brief career in physics as a postdoc at the NEC Research Institute in Princeton, New Jersey and as a physics faculty member at the City University of New York. He left academia in late 2000 to work as a consultant for the Center for Economic and Social Rights, where he did research on human rights developments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ghaemi went on to cofound the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, where he is currently executive director. The Campaign focuses on research and documentation, advocacy, capacity building for Iranian civil society, and mass outreach.
Professors Selim Ünlü and Bennett Goldberg, in collaboration with medical researchers at BU and the University of Texas, have developed a technology to quickly and accurately detect Ebola and other hemorrhagic fever viruses in blood serum samples. Their compact device (right) uses light to measure the size and shape of viral nanoparticles, and requires minimal sample preparation, thereby limiting exposure to health care workers. The device's affordability would give resource-limited areas the necessary tools to combat the spread of Ebola and similar viruses. Read the entire story on BU Today.
It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Claire Richards, a former B.U. physics student. Claire earned her undergraduate degree in 2011. She was a stellar student, earning the College Prize for Excellence in Physics. After graduation she worked as a research assistant at Boston Children's Hospitall. In 2013 she entered Northwestern University Medical School. Claire grew up in Minneapolis. Her obituary is published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune here:
and we have a short article about her.
Memorials may be directed to the Stay Out Of The Sun Foundation, which forwards proceeds to support melanoma education and research at the Mayo Clinic.
Claire's family will visit Boston this week, and the Physics Department will have reception with them on Friday October 10th at 3 PM in SCI-352. All who remember Claire are welcome to attend.
Professor David Campbell is the recipient of a 2014-15 Gauss Professorship from the University of Goettingen. The Gauss Professorship was established to commemorate the achievements of the famous German mathematician and scientist Carl Friedrich Gauss, and is awarded to scientists who have made outstanding contributions in one of Gauss' primary fields of interest: astronomy, geophysics, mathematics, and physics. Gauss Professors are invited to give lectures and seminars in an effort to cultivate the exchange of scientific ideas. Prof. Campbell will spend several weeks in Goettingen, where he will collaborate with Prof. Theo Geisel at the University's Institute for Nonlinear Dynamics.