Boston University Physics News Archive: 2016
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)
Profs. Ami Katz and Liam Fitzpatrick were awarded funding from the Simons Foundation as principle investigators on a new worldwide collaboration called "The Nonperturbative Bootstrap". The objective of the collaboration is to apply quantum field theories to a wide variety of strongly coupled systems, crossing traditional boundaries between string theory, condensed matter physics, and phenomenology, and making strong connections to modern mathematics and computer science.
Daniel Smith (CAS '18) describes his work analyzing positive kaon interactions in liquid argon.
Congratulations to all of our student researchers who presented at the 19th Annual Boston University Undergraduate Research Symposium:
- Jessica Allan (mentor: Sulak), Assembling and Preliminary Testing of the CMS GE1/1 Chambers at CERN
- Owen Burek (mentor: Rohlf), Live Data Monitoring at the Compact Muon Solenoid Experiment
- Sakib Matin (mentor: Klein), My Fault: Computer Simulation of Earthquakes Using the OFC Model
- Sara Metti (mentor: Ludwig), Development of Active X-Rays Optics
- Shanon Rubin (mentor: Sandvik), Dynamical Scaling of Simulated Classical Annealing in Two-Dimensional Ising Spin Glasses
- Daniel Smith (mentor: Kearns), Study of Positive Kaon Total Interaction Cross Section on Liquid Argon in LArIAT
- Glenn Steranka (mentor: Erramilli), Calibration of the Jet Energy Scale for H > bb Decays in e+e- Collisions at sqrt(s)=1.4 TeV with the CLIC Detector
The symposium, which was held on Friday, October 21, is part of BU's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). UROP provides assistance - through placement and funding - to undergraduate students interested in faculty-mentored research.
New faculty, L-R: Anushya Chandran, Chris Grant, and Chris Laumann
This fall we welcome three new assistant professors to the department:
Anushya Chandran joins our condensed matter theory group. She studies quantum mechanical systems in which disorder “localizes” particles, as well as the non-equilibrium behavior of quantum mechanical systems. As a secondary student she earned a Certificate of Merit (All India 92) and went on to attend the Indian Institute of Technology at Madras. Anushya held a Centennial Fellowship at Princeton, where she did her PhD work with Shivaji Sondhi. After graduating, she took a postdoctoral fellowship at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada. Anushya’s papers are highly cited and she has given over 20 invited talks worldwide, including at Oxford, Cambridge, Illinois, Los Alamos, Harvard, Max Planck Institute Dresden, and the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore. In addition, she has organized programs on many-body localization and many-body physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara and at the Perimeter Institute. Anushya looks forward to working with BU condensed matter faculty and students.
Chris Grant is a particle experimentalist who studies neutrinos. It is widely believed that better understanding the neutrino could be key to physics beyond the Standard Model. Chris has played an important role on key experiments investigating fundamental properties of the neutrino. For his doctoral work at the University of Alabama, Chris worked to perfect the KamLAND experiment in Japan to carefully measure the flux of neutrinos from the Sun. As a Nuclear Science and Security Consortium Postdoctoral Fellow and Fermilab Intensity Frontier Fellow at UC Davis, Chris worked first on the Double-Chooz experiment to precisely measure the neutrino mixing effect. More recently he has been working on the SNO+ experiment in Canada and the CAPTAIN and DUNE experiments based at Fermilab. Chris already has 17 publications with over 650 citations. At BU, Chris has a particular interest in mentoring undergraduate and graduate students.
Chris Laumann also joins our condensed matter theory group. His work examines the fundamental quantum mechanical nature of the universe, particularly how that nature manifests itself in the dynamics of systems and in quantum information processing. He was a member of the 1998 US Physics Olympiad Team and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a double major in physics and mathematics from Harvard. Chris was awarded a Marshall Scholarship, enabling him to earn master’s degrees from the University of Edinburgh and Cambridge University. After earning his PhD from Princeton, Chris was named Lawrence Golub Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard. As an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington from 2013-2016, Chris won a Sloan Research Fellowship. He has over 35 publications, including 10 in Physical Review Letters. Chris looks forward to working with students and colleagues on research in quantum many-body phenomena and quantum information processing.
Graduate student Farrukh Mateen (ENG '18) and Physics Professor Raj Mohanty have been featured in BU Research for their work building small wireless micromechanical devices. These micromachines, which can be turned on and off remotely, could have applications ranging from remote sensors to brain implants.
Physics Teacher in Residence Mark Greenman has been named the Janet Guernsey New England Physics Teacher of the Year for 2016. The award is bestowed annually by the New England Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers to an outstanding local high school or college physics teacher.
BU Physics Lecturer Manher Jariwala is the recipient of the 2016 Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Metcalf award was established in 1973 to create "a systematic procedure for the review of the quality of teaching at Boston University and the identification and advancement of those members of the faculty who excel as teachers." Read more on BU Today.
Professor Michael Manfra (back) with graduate student Geoff Gardner in front of their molecular beam epitaxy system.
Michael Manfra (PhD ‘99) has been chosen to lead Station Q Purdue, an experimental research team collaborating with Microsoft Station Q to pursue a path to quantum computing. Manfra and his team will use molecular beam epitaxy to create new platforms for topological qubits, a more robust type of quantum bit that stores information across correlated electrons. Manfra's team has received multimillion-dollar funding for this fundamental research. More information is available at Purdue’s website. Manfra is the Bill and Dee O'Brien Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Purdue University.
Boston University has been inducted into "The 5+ Club" of the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) for its outstanding contributions to the education of future physics teachers. "The 5+ Club" honors colleges and universities around the country that prepare five or more physics teachers in a given year; BU tied for 4th in the nation with six graduating teachers in 2015.
A joint project of the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, PhysTEC was created to address the national need for physics teachers by supporting institutional change in the teaching of physics and the preparation of new physics teachers. Fewer than 20 institutions in the United States graduate 5 or more highly qualified physics teachers in a year, and most graduate less than two. Graduating 5 or more physics teachers a year is a significant achievement and helps to address the severe national shortage of high school physics teachers.
The PhysTEC program at BU is spearheaded by the Physics Department and the School of Education, with additional support from the Office of the Provost.
Assistant Professor Alex Sushkov has been named a 2016 Sloan Research Fellow by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Sloan Research Fellowships seek to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise. These two-year fellowships are awarded yearly to 126 researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field.
Congratulations to graduate student Clint Richardson for receiving the 2015 CMS Achievement Award! The CMS spokeperson and collaboration board presented Clint with this award citing his "outstanding High Level Trigger work on CPU performance and online operations". Clint was one of six graduate students to be recognized from over 1000 CMS graduate students.
Research Professor Plamen Ch. Ivanov has been featured on the cover of the February 2016 issue of Physics World for his pioneering work in the field of Network Physiology. Physics World is the member magazine of the Institute of Physics (IOP), with a circulation of 50,000. You can read the whole story on the IOP website.
Last year, Ivanov and colleagues were awarded a $1M Keck grant to further develop the field of network physiology, and to create the first atlas of organ system interactions, leading to a new kind of Big Data, the Human Physiolome.