Boston University Physics News
Professor David Campbell has been selected as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar for the 2015-2016 academic year. From the Phi Beta Kappa website:"Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America's most distinguished scholars. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students."
Read more about the Visiting Scholars program.
Nearly 100 local high school juniors and seniors descended on the Physics Department in March for Connections@BU, a 4-day event that immersed students in the mysteries and origins of the universe. Students received a primer in particle physics and were introduced to the cutting-edge experiments being performed at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. The students also got an insider's view of the LHC thanks to Assistant Professor Tulika Bose, who serves as trigger coordinator for the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment there. Bose, who helped organize the event, hopes to set up additional sessions later this year.
Read more about the event in the CAS Newsletter.
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.