Boston University Physics News
Professor Claudio Rebbi has been awarded the 2013 Neu Family Award for Excellence in Teaching by the College of Arts and Sciences. The award recognizes excellence and distinguished teaching in the broadest sense, including classroom performance, course and curriculum development, mentoring and other academic engagement with students outside the classroom, and enhancement of the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Second-year graduate student Clint Richardson was named a CAS Outstanding Teaching Fellow for the 2012-2013 academic year. The award honors teaching fellows in each discipline for their tireless work to help undergraduate students achieve their full academic potential. Clint's overall instructor rating was an excellent 4.8 (out of 5) for the Fall 2012 semester; the written evaluations from his students were uniform in their praise of his approachability, skill at explaining difficult concepts, and his ability to inspire their enthusiasm for studying physics. Read more about the award and view a full list of awardees on the CAS website.
Is it possible to change the electronic properties of a solid by driving the underlying atomic lattice out of equilibrium? The electronic structure of materials is typically understood in terms of a static lattice which provides the background for electronic motion. First-year graduate student Tom Iadecola and colleagues studied what happens in graphene when the underlying lattice vibrates in a particular normal mode. They showed that the transport properties of the non-equilibrium problem can be understood by transforming into a reference frame which is co-moving with the vibrating lattice. In this way, they argued that the driven system behaves as a static semiconductor with a band gap whose size can be tuned by adjusting the amplitude of the vibrations. This is in stark contrast to the equilibrium case, where graphene is gapless. Their work was published in Physical Review Letters.
A full synopsis, as well as a link to the original article, can be found on the APS Physics website.
Alumna Oana Malis (PhD, 1999), currently an assistant professor of physics at Purdue University, has received a five-year, $400,000 Faculty Early Career Development award from the National Science Foundation. From Purdue's website: "Malis is seeking to demonstrate a non-polar nitride cascade laser to fill the need for ultra-fast compact light sources tunable by design in the entire underutilized near-infrared range. The program will enable a new class of versatile, ultra-fast devices that will facilitate compact, affordable consumer systems and could eventually surpass the commercial success of the blue nitride lasers. The program also will increase exposure of seventh to twelfth graders from economically disadvantaged backgrounds in Central Indiana to the scientific content and method of photonics." Read more about Malis' research here.
Rob Carey has been promoted to the rank of Full Professor. His research is in medium energy precision physics, with active research projects at Fermilab and the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland. Additionally, Rob serves as our Director of Undergraduate Studies, and is the faculty advisor for Photon, our undergraduate physics organization.
Emma Rosenfeld, a junior Physics major, has been named a Clare Boothe Luce Scholar for summer 2013. The award supports undergraduate research projects undertaken by female US citizens. Emma will be working with the Boston University ATLAS group to develop procedures for building and operating a new type of particle detector, called Micromegas. The Micromegas will be used to measure properties of muons produced in collisions at the Large Hadron Collider, and will help to fully explore the characteristics of the recently discovered Higgs boson.
New analyses carried out by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations are lending support to last year's detection of a potential Higgs boson. Since the announcement of their discovery in July 2012, the teams have analyzed more than twice as much data, and so far their results are in line with the predicted measurements for a Standard Model Higgs particle. Read more about their findings on the CAS website.
Alumnus Michael Manfra (PhD 1999) and his team at Purdue University were awarded a $1M research grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to develop an ultrapure semiconductor capable of acheiving correlated states. The material, a precisely-formed gallium and arsenic lattice, traps electrons in quantum wells; when a magnetic field is applied at very low temperatures, the electrons synchronize and new patterns emerge. Manfra's team aims to reduce the impurities in the lattice that would disturb the correlated state of the electrons. Research on correlated states could have applications in quantum computing, and could even lead the way to new physics. More info is available at Purdue's website. Manfra is the William F. and Patty J. Miller Associate Professor of Physics at Purdue University.
Teacher in Residence Mark Greenman has been honored with the 2012 Paul W. Zitzewitz Award for Excellence in Pre-College Physics Teaching by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). In addition to his 30 year career as a science educator at Marblehead High School in Massachusetts, Greenman has received many awards and honors, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching for Massachusetts and an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. More information is available on the AAPT website.