Boston University Physics News Archive: 2006

2006 Alumni Newsletter Online
December 22, 2006:

The 2006 alumni newsletter is now available online here.

Accolades for newest faculty
December 20, 2006:

Dear friends of physics:

A couple of recent successes of our newest faculty members are worth noting as we close out the year:

  • Richard Averitt joins us in January from Los Alamos National labs, and his most recent work (as senior author), Active terahertz metamaterial devices has been published in Nature this past month together with a comment.
  • Ami Katz has just won an NSF CAREER award for work in “Electroweak and Strong Coupling Physics.”
  • Anatoli Polkovnikov has recently won a single investigator theory grant from DoD entitled, “Dynamics and Thermodynamics of Many-Particle Cold Atom Systems.”

Congratulations to all!


BU faculty and students integral to Fermilab discovery
December 18, 2006:

On Friday, December 8, the D0 Collaboration announced the first evidence that top quarks are produced not only in top-antitop quark pairs through the strong interaction but also as single top quarks and antiquarks through the electroweak interaction.

Boston University had a significant role in this result with Prof. Ulrich Heintz co-leading the top quark physics analysis group and Prof. Meenakshi Narain, postdoc Shabnam Jabeen and graduate student Monica Pangilinan directly contributing to the analysis.

“Observing a few single top quarks in a sea of billions of particle collisions represents an extraordinary technical tour de force,” said Dr. Robin Staffin, Associate Director for High Energy Physics in DOE’s Office of Science. “The power and sophistication of experimental analysis techniques like those developed by the DZero experimenters augur well for exciting discoveries to come.”

You can find more information in the Fermilab press release:

And in the slides from Friday’s seminar:


Art Projects
November 06, 2006:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It is with great pleasure that I announce the installation of two art and science projects in the Metcalf Center for Science and Engineering complex, sponsored by the Physics, Chemistry and Biology Departments.

The first of these projects is “Evolution of Darwin”, designed by artist Esther Solondz from RISD, which uses images of Darwin and other evolutionary scientists to create rust portraits that develop over time. The process used to accomplish this is to sandwich images composed of iron filings between two pieces of cotton gauze. The images are then placed on the concrete walls in front of the Metcalf Science buildings piled with compressed salt bricks in various stages of crystallization, growth and dissolution. The pieces are out in the open and will evolve by exposure to the weather, unimpeded by human intervention. As part of their involvement, students will be asked to make use of their knowledge of fundamental concepts in science. Interested students will be invited to work with the artist by suggesting chemical and physics alterations to the process that could affect the resulting work. For more information, visit and this article.

The second project, “Visual Entanglements-The Search for Connections between Science, Art and Life”, will be appearing soon in the entrance of the Metcalf Center. BU students Brienne Rosner and Holland Dieringer won the competition in CFA Prof. Hugh O’Donnell’s site specific art class. Brienne and Holland have taken images from research in the Physics, Chemistry and Biology Departments and stylized them to become artistic images designed to show the link between the sciences as well as their relationships to the natural world. See if you can locate imagery from the graduate students in the laboratories of Profs. Tullius, Redner, Stanley, Grinstaff, Mohanty, Eldred, Kaufman, Goldberg, and Campbell. For a preview of the images, please click on the image below.

Special thanks to Cristi Menard, Hugh O’Donnell, Richard Anders, John Straub, Katinka Csigi, Gil Jones, Geof Cooper, Dave Osborne, and Colleen McGinty


New additions to Physics
September 05, 2006:

This fall we welcome our newest faculty member, Associate Professor Ophelia Tsui. Prof. Tsui joins us from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Her area of expertise is soft condensed matter physics, including the dynamics and ordering of ultra-thin polymer films as well as applications of nanolithography and atomic force microscopy. In the front office we welcome Julia Elder, who has replaced Kim Armstrong as the undergraduate administrator. We are also thrilled to announce (again) that Prof. Mohanty has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.

Please make our new arrivals feel at home,

2006 Graduation Slideshow Online
July 06, 2006:

Click here for a PDF version of Rob Carey’s presentation for the 2006 Physics Graduation, along with a transcription of the speech.

NHK Films Physics Professor
May 25, 2006:

As part of an educational piece on Lisa Randall’s (Harvard University) work on cosmology, and more specifically her book titled “Warped Passages”, Japanese Public Television (NHK) filmed a session of Professor Larry Sulak’s writing course which has utilized Randall’s book to not only develop students’ writing skills but also to help them understand the mysteries of the Universe. The filming took place on April 27 and included student presentations by Brandon Lopez, Brett Chizinski and Laura Storch.

View the video in QuickTime format. Right click to save video to your computer.

Dean Edmonds Video
March 09, 2006:

Videos put together by Richard Laskey about Dean S. Edmonds, Jr. are now online.

  • The Usual Ansatz (iPod)
  • First Atomic Clock (iPod)

Movies in the iPod format can be played directly from the website by left clicking on the link, or downloaded to your computer by right clicking and using the “Save As” menu option. The file will then play both in iTunes and on video capable iPods. You will need Apple’s QuickTime if you do not already have it installed.

Goldhaber Prize and TF of the Year
January 26, 2006:

To all in the Physics Family:

It is a great pleasure for the graduate committee to recognize several of our outstanding graduate students with the following awards for the past year:

  1. Chang-Yu Hou is the winner of this year’s Goldhaber prize, given to a for excellence in graduate studies and research in the first year of study. He is currently a second year student, doing research with Prof Claudio Chamon.
  2. Jason St-John is Teaching Fellow of the Year. Jason was a TF for Prof Lawrence Sulak’s course in the Fall semester and is currently doing research with Prof Kevin Smith.
  3. Daniel Gastler is the recepient of the Chairman’s Book Prize for excellence in graduate studies and research.
  4. Hidefumi Tomita and Colin Nichols are each recepients of the Chairman’s Book Prize for excellence in Teaching.

The award winners will all be recognized by the Chairman prior to the annual Dean Edmonds’ Lecture.

Please join me (Bennett Goldberg) in congratulating the winners, and I look forward to seeing all of you next Tuesday at the Dean Edmonds’ Lecture to recognize these outstanding students in person.

Alex Marin Memorial Site
January 24, 2006:

Please visit our online memorial to Alexander Marin. If you have any materials you would like to share, please send them to Richard Laskey.