Boston University Physics News Archive: 2007

Heintz Group Highlighted in AIP's 'Top 10' Stories
December 20, 2007:

The American Institute of Physics has released its Top 10 Physics Stories of 2007 and BU has made the list with the work of Professor Ulrich Heintz and his research group at the Tevatron. Heintz is currently leading the top physics analysis group at the D0 experiment, and the BU group has worked directly on the evidence for single top quark production (Dr. Shabnam Jabeen), top-antitop production (Dr. Dookee Cho) and on the measurement of the top quark mass (graduate students Dan Boline and Vivek Parihar).

Research Associate Sanz Wins LHC Theory Award
December 19, 2007:

Research Associate Veronica Sanz recently received an LHC Theory Initiative Postdoctoral Travel and Computing Award, funded by the NSF. The award supports LHC-related travel and research. Dr. Sanz will be studying new strong interactions at the LHC using a holographic approach to organize the model parameter space. Click here to read more about the LHC Theory awards.

Graduate Students Lou and Wang Land ICAM Travel Awards
December 19, 2007:

Graduate students Jie Lou and Ling Wang, who work with Professor Anders Sandvik, recently won International Junior Scientist Travel Awards from the Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter (ICAM). Jie and Ling will be visiting the Institute of Solid State Physics in Tokyo.

They will work with two ISSP professors, Naoki Kawashima and Masaki Oshikawa, to perform numerical studies of deconfined criticality and new quantum Monte Carlo algorithms for strongly correlated systems implemented by Matrix Product State.

Professors Kearns and Sandvik Named APS Fellows
November 27, 2007:

Professors Edward Kearns and Anders Sandvik were recently honored as Fellows of the American Physical Society. Election to Fellowship in APS is limited to no more than one-half of one percent of the membership, and is recognition for outstanding contributions to physics.

The citation on Professor Kearns’ Fellowship Certificate will read: “For contributions in neutrino physics and particle astrophysics, particularly using the Super-Kamiokande experiment to reveal atmospheric neutrino oscillations and set stringent limits on proton decay.”

The citation on Professor Sandvik’s Fellowship Certificate will read: “For contributions to the development of quantum Monte Carlo methods and their applications to problems in quantum magnetism.”
Click here for a list of recently elected APS Fellows.

New Baby Girl for Alums Mallis and Manfra
November 20, 2007:

New Physics Offspring:

Physics Department Graduate Alumni Oana Mallis (PhD 1999) and Michael Manfra (PhD 1999) are pleased to announce the birth of Kaitlyn Elise Manfra born on Nov. 10th at 8:21pm. Karl Ludwig and Bennett Goldberg are proud (academic) grandparents.

Physics Launches Food Drive
November 09, 2007:

The physics department is pleased to announce that it is conducting a November food drive. We’re teaming up with Boston Can Share to collect food to benefit the Greater Boston Food Bank. The drive begins today and will run to the end of the month. All donations can be made at the Physics Office, Room 255 of the Metcalf Science Center.

Here’s more on what can be donated:

  • Proteins such as canned tuna fish, salmon, chicken, turkey, beef stew, canned nuts, peanut butter and canned meats
  • Fruits and vegetables including canned fruits and vegetables, juices and dried fruits
  • Canned beans and peas
  • Milk either evaporated or powdered
  • Pasta, oatmeal and cereals, rice, canned soups

This is a great way to get involved in our community, and every can helps!

Pumpkins Plummet in the Name of Science
November 07, 2007:

In case you missed the real thing on Halloween, here’s your chance to catch the excitement of the third annual Physics Department Pumpkin Drop. This year, as always, it was a smashing success!

Courtesy of the BU Physics Department Demonstration Facility

These files show a pumpkin falling down from the roof of the Metcalf Building and the digital analysis of the fall, which proves that the acceleration of the falling object is constant (the graph for y(t) is a parabola!).

The Problem: how would you estimate the height of the building knowing that the acceleration due to gravity is 9.8m/s^2?

Graduate Student Kemiktarak Published in 'Nature'
November 02, 2007:

Physics Graduate Student Utku Kemiktarak is first author of a new paper in Nature, “Radio-frequency scanning tunnelling microscopy.” Utku performed this research in the basement physics lab with a group of investigators led by BU AME Assistant Professor Kamil Ekinci. The research demonstrates utilizing radio frequencies to speed up data collection and improve resolution in scanning tunnelling microscopy. Their method will find application in quantum-limited position measurements.

To read the full text in “Nature,” click here.

VP of Research Ruckenstein Touches On Collaboration
October 26, 2007:

When Andrei Ruckenstein, the former co-director of the BioMaPs Institute for Quantitative Biology at Rutgers University made the decision to become the Vice President of Research at Boston University in June 2007, it was a conscious choice.

Ruckenstein thought that while he was eager to continue his own research, “I might have an even bigger impact helping others get their work done,” he said.

- From “Convergence.” Read More

Professor Stanley wins 2008 APS Lilienfeld Prize
October 03, 2007:

Professor Gene Stanley is this year’s recipient of the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize from the American Physical Society. The prize recognizes a most outstanding contribution to physics. The prize consists of $10,000, donated to BU, a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient, plus expenses for the three lectures by the recipient given at an APS meeting, a research university, and a predominantly undergraduate institution. Professor Stanley won the award for his research in understanding the 64 anomalies of liquid water in a coherent “physical” fashion via the new concept of a liquid-liquid (as opposed to a liquid-gas) critical point. This work was performed by Professor Stanley and his colleagues, visitors and, most importantly, graduate students in the Physics Department at Boston University.

BU Research Magazine Highlights Physics Department
October 03, 2007:

The recently released BU Research magazine features articles on some of the latest investigations at the physics department. To check them out, click below:

Answering The Biggest Questions About The Smallest Matter

Graphene: Particle Physics at Your Fingertips?

Beautifying the BU Campus: Site-Specific Art

Raising the Game: FIRST Robotics
The Scientific Instruments Facility played a large role in creating the robot discussed here.

2007 Undergraduate Alumni Newsletter
September 21, 2007:

The 2007 Undergraduate Alumni Newsletter is now online.

September 13, 2007:

I would like to bring to your attention a funding program available through the National Science Foundation (NSF) called the East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI). The EAPSI program offers U.S. graduate students in science and engineering a unique opportunity to study abroad with foreign researchers (in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, or Taiwan) for 8 weeks during the summer. In 2008, the EAPSI awards will include a stipend of $5,000, an allowance for international travel, and support to attend a pre-departure orientation in Washington DC. Foreign co-sponsoring organizations will provide additional support to cover EAPSI students’ living expenses abroad.

I have initiated the outreach phase for our 2008 summer program. Attached to this e-mail is a copy of our 2008 EAPSI flyer. The link to the EAPSI website is Please distribute this information to graduate students who may have an interest in the program. If you would like to receive hard copies of the EAPSI flyer or the EAPSI poster for your program or institution, please provide me your mailing address and I will ensure that copies are mailed to you.

Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions about the EAPSI program. I hope very much to see applications from graduate students at your institution.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Andrew S. Backe, Ph.D.
Program Specialist for East Asia and Pacific
Office of International Science and Engineering
National Science Foundation

2006/2007 Annual Report
July 26, 2007:

The 2006/2007 annual report for the Physics Department is now online.

Ahlen and Narain in Nova on PBS
July 24, 2007:

Professor Steve Ahlen and joint faculty member Meenakshi Narain were recently featured on Nova’s scienceNOW in a feature on CERN.

DZero group discovers new particle
July 06, 2007:

The DZero group has recently posted findings of a new subatomic particle, the “triple-scoop” baryon. To this we contributed hardware—“John Butler”:/people/show/39 built part of the muon trigger system and Ulrich Heintz was part of the team who designed and constructed the silicon microstrip tracker that allowed detection of this particle. BU was not involved in the data analysis.

Ulrich Heintz also recently gave a talk at the April APS meeting in Jacksonville, Florida titled Searches for non-Standard Model Higgs bosons and exotic particles.

Congratulations to all parties involved!

Students Tour Fermilab
June 18, 2007:

During the last weekend in April of this year, Professor Ulrich Heintz took a group of about 20 Boston University Academy and undergraduate physics students to Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. The group toured the facilities, including visits to the vast computing center, D0 experimental facilities, and the linear accelerator. The event was a huge success, and offered students an unprecedented view of the inner workings of current high energy physics research. Photos can be found here.

2007 Graduation Slideshow Online
June 01, 2007:

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

Alumni Reunion Survey
April 03, 2007:

Dear Boston University Physics Alumni, Graduate Students, and Faculty:

In preparation for our 2007 Graduate Alumni Reunion for May 4 and 5, we need your input to help determine the social and scientific opportunities we will present. Please give us a sense of your likely attendance in the various events, and if there is any sort of event you might like to see not listed, please send an email to Sid or myself.

Click here to participate in the survey.

Goldhaber Prize and TF of the Year
March 23, 2007:

Around this time every year, the Physics family come together to recognize excellence among our graduate students. This note is to announce the winner of this year’s Goldhaber Prize, awarded annually to a second year student, for academic excellence during the first year in our department.

It is a great pleasure to name Armin Rahmanisisan as the Winner of the Goldhaber Prize this year. Armin is currently doing research in Condensed Matter theory with Prof Claudio Chamon. The award is for excellence in coursework and in research. Armin will be recognized at the annual Dean Edmonds’ lecture, scheduled for April 10, 2007.

It is also a great pleasure to announce that Kipton Barros has been chosen to receive the Chairman’s Book Prize for displaying academic excellence in coursework and research. Kip is doing research with Professor William Klein in Condensed Matter and Statistical Physics theory, and has been a Dean’s Fellow and is currently on an ACES Fellowship.

Please join me in congratulating these two students who have done all of us proud.

Every year at the Dean Edmonds lecture, scheduled this year for April 10, we acknowledge excellence in teaching by a graduate student. This year, we are very pleased to recognize two outstanding Teaching Fellows who will jointly receive the “TF of the Year” award.

  • Mark Betnel is named as this year’s TF of the year for excellence in teaching physics. Mark is currently doing research with Professor Gregg Jaeger. Mark is also being recommended to the Dean for further recognition by the Graduate School.
  • Kaca Bradonjic is named as a joint winner of this year’s TF of the year award for excellence in teaching Physics. Kaca is interested in doing research in theoretical physics.
  • Rachele (Elizabeth) Dominguez had been selected for the Chairman’s Book Prize for excellence in teaching. Rachele is currently doing research with Professor William Klein.
  • Ronald Babich has been selected for the Chairman’s Book Prize for excellence in teaching. Ron is currently doing research with Professor Claudio Rebbi.

Please join me in congratulating these four students who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to teaching.

Shyamsunder Erramilli.

Physics Logo Contest
February 26, 2007:

Attention Physics Majors!! (Flyer here)

The Physics Department needs a new logo and we need your help! We are asking anyone with or without artistic talent to submit an idea for a logo for our department. You are limited only by your imagination and the list of rules below. This new logo will be put on t-shirts, bags, mugs and other paraphernalia in order to spread a little physics spirit. The various submissions will be put on t-shirts and displayed in the class cases in the hallway outside of the Physics Department. All of physics will then vote on their favorite design in order to choose the new logo. The winner will get bragging rights and all submissions made into t-shirts will be given back to the person who submitted the design. We plan on making items available for everyone to order once we choose a new logo.

Submissions can be brought to the front office in the Physics Department or emailed to Julia Elder. The deadline for all design submissions is March 19th. If you have any questions please call Julia Elder at 617-353-7286.

Rules for Logo Contest:

  1. No copyrighted material; appropriate material only!
  2. Nothing too detailed; it must be able to be sized to fit different objects
  3. It should have something to do with physics
Castro Neto in Physics World
February 14, 2007:

Prof. Antonio Castro Neto and collaborators contributed to a feature article in Physics World, published in November of 2006, on the physics of Graphene. Graphene, a two-dimensional form of carbon, is the thinnest material discovered by man and may lead to a revolution in electronics. An outline of the article is available here. The full article is available here.

Professors Glashow and Cohen on the cover of New Scientist
February 01, 2007:

The article is available here in PDF format.