Boston University Physics News Archive: 2020
The images of George Floyd's murder, which have horrified and enraged citizens around the world, serve as a chilling reminder of the long history and deep scars of systemic anti-black racism that permeate our society.
We share in the rage and sorrow and acknowledge our own tacit complicity to the legacy of racism and injustice.
We commit to reflect and listen, to learn from our Black colleagues, and to stay vigilant and aware of all forms of racism and inequity that persist in academia and in our communities.
We pledge to be proactive and work together to dismantle the many structural barriers that continue to limit access, representation, and diversity in science, and more broadly, in academia.
In addtion, our particle physics colleagues across the country have organized to stop all work this Wednesday as a call for anti-racism action NOW https://www.particlesforjustice.org/!
There is great solidarity across our physics community both in mourning and rage but also in a strong call for action. My own reservation - and the reason I pondered this for a few days - is with calling this a "strike" rather than a "protest and call for action" - this probably has to do with my experiences with strikes in the old country.
If you wish to learn more, you can watch the 2016 documentary "I Am Not Your Negro" based on James Boldwin's work online. It's an important piece in my view and there are many others.
Hope all of you are well and safe!
Congratulations to graduate student Eric Boyers for winning the 2020 CAS Susan K Jackson award. The award is presented by the college to BU honors those people who create and nurture community. Eric is an active and dedicated participant in the department, working to improve graduate student life and experience. He has also organized social events, including a seminar series for graduate students. Congratulations Eric!
Two BU Physics students, Nik Gjonbalaj and Kevin Reiss, have been named as 2020 Goldwater Scholars, the premier national recognition for exceptional undergraduate STEM students. Nik works with David Sperka in high energy experimental physics, optimizing the L1 trigger of the CMS experiment at the LHC for axion-like particles. He is currently applying deep neural networks to this optimization process to maximize the efficiency of our trigger within the computational constraints at CMS. Kevin has been working with Professor David Campbell and Salvatore Pace to explore some open questions regarding the Fermi-Pasta-Ulam-Tsingou (FPUT) lattice, which is a model of masses connected by nonlinear nearest neighbor interactions. Congratulations!
To read more about this, please see this BU Today article.
The department has outlined a response to the COVID-19 crisis. The guidelines and procedures outlined here are meant to: (a) protect everyone’s safety; (b) provide our students with the highest level educational experiences possible within the constraints of the current situation; and (c) continue carrying out and supporting our research activities as effectively as possible. We want to limit social interactions to protect ourselves and those most at risk, and also contribute, as citizens, to minimizing the stresses on the system (health care, supply chains, industry, etc). Please reach out to the relevant staff member for questions or concerns about teaching, research, or administrative tasks.
Physics Senior, Salvatore Pace, is the first BU student to receive a Churchill Scholarship, an honor comparable to a Rhodes or a Mitchell scholarship. Sal works with professors Campbell and Laumann to research theoretical physics. By the end of junior year, he was the lead author on two papers cowritten with Professor Campbell. Congratulations Sal!
To learn more, please read the feature on BU Today.
Physics Professor Kevin Smith and his group’s work were recently highlighted in the Journal of Chemical Physics. This work, focused on understanding the effects of water on oxide catalyst surfaces, could help scientists understand how water could change electronic and surface structures. To learn more about the groups work, please visit their group site.
Wanzheng Hu, an assistant professor, has just received a five year, $630,000 Faculty Early Career Development award from the National Science Foundation. The goal of the award is to advance our knowledge on the relation between crystal structure and high-temperature superconductivity, and to identify the most efficient knob to control the physical properties of iron-based superconductors. This project also includes broad education and outreach programs for female graduate students in physics, local female high school students, and K-12 students. For more info on her research, please visit her lab website.
Physics affiliate Roscoe Giles was recently elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in part for his leadership and work in advancing diversity and inclusion in the sciences. In addition to being a professor, he is the board chair of the Associated Universities, Inc.
To learn more about his research and advocacy, visit BU Research.