Boston University Physics News
Congratulations to Prof. Larry Sulak for being recognized with the American Physical Society Division of Particles and Fields Instrumentation Award. Larry presented a review of his seminal contributions to the water Cherenkov technique at the DPF meeting prize ceremony on August 4. Larry is seen here with DPF chairperson Marcela Carena.
Photo crdits: Reider Hahn, Fermilab
Bernard (Bernie) Chasan, emeritus professor of physics, passed away in Boston on July 24th. Born in 1934 in Brooklyn, NY, he graduated from Columbia College and earned his PhD in physics from Cornell University.
Chasan joined Boston University’s physics department in 1962 and immediately became an integral member of the faculty. He was described by colleague and Professor Emeritus George Zimmerman as “one of the go to members who could be relied on to help whenever there was a situation that required it.” Professor Karl Ludwig shared similar sentiments, acknowledging Chasan’s mentor role and efforts to ensure others had the support they needed. “Bernie was a very thoughtful and caring mentor when I arrived at BU in 1988. [He] always looked out for others, particularly young members of the department,” said Ludwig. Chasan was also immensely respected and liked by his students, “known among [them] as a particularly devoted and spirited teacher,” according to (name). In addition to his academic role at BU, Chasan also served as the chair of the Department of Physics from 1983-85.
During his time at BU, Chasan studied nuclear physics and biophysics and became an expert Atomic Force Microscope scientist. The difficulty in successfully using an AFM was a skill that Chasan mastered. “It is really more of an art than a science,” said biophysicist Rama Bansil, who collaborated with Chasan on several projects. “Bernie’s just got the right touch.” Chasan collaborated with colleagues across BU and beyond, including working with Massachusetts General Hospital urologist Horacio Cantiello studying the chemical transition between cell membranes across protein channels.
In addition to his research, Chasan was devoted to his students and educational outreach efforts. He developed an undergraduate biophysics course in which he used physics as a way to explain biological processes, such as protein folding and membrane structures. He first taught this course as a summer course for minority students, and several outstanding undergraduate minority students majoring in physics, biology, biochemistry and engineering attended. This course gave students a firsthand look into biophysics and allowed them access to Rama Bansil’s lab.
Chasan’s connections to colleagues extended beyond just the lab and the classroom. He is remembered by several colleagues for his friendship, his love of music and great sense of humor. “He loved puns and would insert them into the conversation given the slightest opportunity,” said Professor William Klein. “Being with Bernie was always fun and interesting and he could talk intelligently about almost any subject…Bernie would always have something of interest to contribute, and it was clear that his opinions were based on a deep, rather than superficial, knowledge. That knowledge came from his inquisitive mind and his wide range of interests, “ Klein went on to say.
Bernie Chasan contributed immensely as a friend, teacher, researcher and mentor during his time at Boston University, and he will not soon be forgotten.
Written by: CAS News
Artticle can be found here
Professor Claudio Chamon was named a 2017 Simons Fellow in Theoretical Physics. The Simons Fellows program provides funding to faculty for up to a semester long leave from administrative and teaching obligations with the aim of increasing research creativity and productivity. Chamon's research focuses on topological phases of matter in 3D.
Assistant Professor Kirill Korolev received a 2017 Cottrell Scholar Award to investigate the benefits of chirality - a type of morphological asymmetry - in the microbial world. Korolev and colleagues will study competition between strains of cells with different chiralities with the aim of understanding the origin and role of these puzzling phenomena. Korolev will also develop a new course in modeling, nonequilibrium physics, and biophysics at Boston University.
Assistant Professor Liam Fitzpatrick  was recently named a 2017 Sloan Research Fellow. The two-year fellowships are awarded annually to 126 researchers for their unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field of work. Fitzpatrick's research applies quantum field theory to questions in particle physics, cosmology, quantum gravity, and material science.
Physics professor Rama Bansil and graduate student Maira Constantino (GRS ’17) have been featured in BU Research for their work on Helicobacter pylori, a corkscrew-shaped bacterium that can cause ulcers and stomach cancer. Along with collaborators, they have shown that H. pylori is able to traverse the gel-like mucin lining of the stomach using a combination of enzymatic secretions and a spiral swimming motion. Their work has implications for drug delivery and cancer treatment. Read the full story in BU Research. Image credit: Jackie Ricciardi
Associate Professor Tulika Bose has been appointed Physics Co-Coordinator for the CMS experiment at CERN. Starting in September 2017, Bose will be one of two lead scientists charged with reviewing the entire scientific output of the CMS experiment. She will help to define the goals and types of research that collaborators undertake in the hunt for new physics—i.e. theorized exotic particles and new unpredicted phenomena. Additionally, Bose will be responsible for organizing activities to produce and review the physics results of the CMS experiment, whose collaborators publish over 100 papers each year. This new leadership role comes at a particularly exciting time, as substantial new discoveries about our universe are anticipated over the next few years. Prior to this role, Bose served as Trigger Coordinator for the CMS experiment from 2014-2016.
On March 30th, the Physics Department welcomed 50 high school students from neighboring Quincy public schools to explore educational and research opportunities in STEM. Students explored pathways of study in astronomy, toured biology teaching labs, gained first-hand experience in the Quantum Physics and Marine Biology research labs, and were introduced to the design and fabrication of custom scientific equipment and electronics in the SIF and EDF. The day was capped off by a lecture and discussion with Professor Sheldon Glashow on his Nobel Prize winning work.
Students took away a greater understanding of research and the opportunities an education at Boston University provides. “It’s amazing how much knowledge undergrads and graduates have. BU is a great facility that allows students to explore their curiosity”. Many of our visitors left feeling inspired after interacting with our passionate students and faculty, “I definitely think I’ll look into research more. The passion with which the students and professors spoke in regards to their research makes me want to take on something as fulfilling”.
- Tereasa Brainerd, Department Chair, BU Astronomy
- Rob Carey, Director of Undergraduate Studies, BU Physics
- Courtney Clark, Undergraduate Coordinator, BU Physics
- Sheldon Glashow, University Professor, BU Physics
- Shaun Russell, Administrative Coordinator, BU Physics
- Ed Shapiro, Nobel Laureates' School Visits
- Kathryn Spilios, Director of Instructional Labs, BU Biology
- BU Marine Biology Research Lab
- BU Quantum Physics Lab
- Electronics Design Facility (EDF)
- Quincy Public Schools
- Scientific Instrument Facility (SIF)
Congratulations to physics professor Kenneth Rothschild for being elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors! Rothschild holds over 50 US patents based on his biophysics research in FTIR spectroscopy of rhodopsins. His research has been vital to the development of the rapidly growing field of Optogenetics, and led him to co-found AmberGen, a technology company that develops new medical diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.
Read the full story in BU Today.
The new US News & World Report Global Ranking places BU 32nd in the world and our Physics Department 26th in the world. The Physics ranking places us 14th in the US and 9th among US private universities. Among US private universities, only MIT, Harvard, Chicago, Caltech, Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, and Yale were ranked higher. These ratings are a testament to the work of our faculty, our staff, our students and the support we receive from the College and the University. Congratulations to all!
US News and World Reports Global Ranking (Physics)