Boston University Physics News
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.
It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Claire Richards, a former B.U. physics student. Claire earned her undergraduate degree in 2011. She was a stellar student, earning the College Prize for Excellence in Physics. After graduation she worked as a research assistant at Boston Children's Hospitall. In 2013 she entered Northwestern University Medical School. Claire grew up in Minneapolis. Her obituary is published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune here:
and we have a short article about her.
Memorials may be directed to the Stay Out Of The Sun Foundation, which forwards proceeds to support melanoma education and research at the Mayo Clinic.
Claire's family will visit Boston this week, and the Physics Department will have reception with them on Friday October 10th at 3 PM in SCI-352. All who remember Claire are welcome to attend.
Professor David Campbell is the recipient of a 2014-15 Gauss Professorship from the University of Goettingen. The Gauss Professorship was established to commemorate the achievements of the famous German mathematician and scientist Carl Friedrich Gauss, and is awarded to scientists who have made outstanding contributions in one of Gauss' primary fields of interest: astronomy, geophysics, mathematics, and physics. Gauss Professors are invited to give lectures and seminars in an effort to cultivate the exchange of scientific ideas. Prof. Campbell will spend several weeks in Goettingen, where he will collaborate with Prof. Theo Geisel at the University's Institute for Nonlinear Dynamics.
Professor Kevin Black is the recipient of a 2014 US ATLAS Scholars Award. The award is intended to provide travel and salary support for distinguished scholars to visit and collaborate with one of the National Laboratories participating in ATLAS. Prof Black will work at Argonne National Lab on an upgrade of the ATLAS trigger and data acquisition, and searches for new heavy quarks.
Research Professor Plamen Ch. Ivanov, a native of Sofia, Bulgaria, has received the prestigious Pitagor (Pythagoras) Prize. The Pitagor Prize is the highest award in Bulgaria for scientific achievements. The award is given annually by the Bulgarian government to honor scientists in the fields of natural sciences, medicine and technology.
The 2014 Pitagor Prize was given in recognition of Dr. Ivanov's seminal contributions to interdisciplinary science at the interface of physics physiology and medicine, for uncovering basic laws of dynamical interactions among physiological systems, and for pioneering a new field, Network Physiology.
The 2014 Pitagor science awards ceremony was hosted by the Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria, and was attended by government officials and representatives of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, leading universities and institutions.
Dr Ivanov (center) is accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Dr. Daniela Bobeva (left) and the Minister of Education and Science, Prof. Anelia Klisarova (right).
Assistant professor Pankaj Mehta has received a Simons Foundation Investigator Award for the Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems. The program is meant to help scientists engaged in mathematical model-based research in the life sciences launch their careers. Mehta plans to use the award to continue his research at the interface of physics and biology. He is particularly interested in better understanding how the large-scale, emergent behaviors observed within the single cells and cellular populations arise from the interaction of many individual molecular elements, and how these interactions allow cells to perform complex computations in response to environmental cues.
Professor Anders Sandvik was awarded a Simons Fellowship to support his 2014-2015 sabbatical leave. He will spend his time in China and Taiwan collaborating on computational quantum many-body physics with researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, and National Taiwan University in Taipei. More information about the Simons Fellows Program can be found on their website.
Second-year graduate student Tom Iadecola has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) fellowship. The NSF GRFP fellowship provides three years of support to "outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines." In addition, second-year graduate students Jason Christopher and Chester Curme were recognized with honorable mentions
Tom's research, advised by Professors Chamon, Campbell, and Pi, focuses on the realization and control of novel phenomena in solid-state condensed matter systems through the application of external driving. His recent work has focused on theoretical proposals for turning graphene, which is a gapless two-dimensional material, into a semiconductor whose gap can be controlled externally by varying the driving parameters. A tunable semiconductor of this kind could have applications in the development of next-generation electronic devices.