Boston University Physics News
Physics department Lecturer Andrew Duffy has been selected as one of seven runners from the BU community to run in memory of graduate student Lu Lingzi, one of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. For more, see the story in BU today. There are links at the bottom of the article by which you may donate to a scholarship fund in honor of Lu Lingzi. in the Comment, you can enter Andrew's name and the Parents Leadership Council will match, dollar for dollar, your contribution to the Scholarship Fund. Best of luck in the race Andrew!
Graduating senior Emma Rosenfeld has been named one of 50 Finalists (from a pool of 800 applicants) for the 2014 Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowship. Up to 15 prospective graduate students in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics will be selected for Fellowships in late March. Best wishes for success to Emma!
The Learning Assistant Alliance will be hosting a regional faculty workshop at Boston University on March 21-22, 2014. The Learning Assistant (LA) model is a mechanism for undergraduate STEM course transformation, K-12 math and science teacher recruitment and preparation, and institutional change. More than 45 universities are running LA programs based on the University of Colorado-Boulder model, and increased demands for faculty workshops aimed at starting, growing, and sustaining LA programs have led to a partnership with the National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and PhysTEC to offer five regional LA workshops in Spring 2014. The other workshops will take place at Florida International University (Feb 9-11), University of Maryland College Park (Feb 22-24), Texas State University San Marcos (Apr 4-5), and Chicago State University (Apr 18-19).
Registration will open in early January, and the $25 registration fee will include all workshop meals and materials. Visit the Learning Assistant Alliance website for more information and updates as they are available.
Graduating seniors Emma Rosenfeld and Daniel Shaffer have been elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa by the Epsilon of Massachusetts Chapter at Boston University. Election to the Society recognizes a demonstrated high level of scholarship and academic achievement in the Liberal Arts. Congratulations Emma and Daniel!
Physics alumnus Nicolas Di Fiori (PhD 2013) and colleagues were recently published in the prestigious journal Nature Nanotechnology for their discovery of a technique to control the speed at which biomolecules such as DNA pass through nanopores. Nanopores are nanometer-scale apertures in very thin ceramics through which molecules can be translocated one at a time and have the potential to unlock low-cost and ultra-fast DNA sequencing technologies. Di Fiori demonstrated that focusing a visible laser beam on a nanopore creates an electro-osmotic flow in the opposite direction of incoming biomolecules. The rushing water acts as a brake, slowing down the passage of the molecules through the pore, allowing a higher-resolution read of DNA nucleotides. He also showed that this technique could be used to identify small proteins that could not previously be detected in their native state, and that the flow reliably unblocks clogged nanopores, significantly extending their lifetime. The full article is available online here.
Our own Andrew Inglis’ company, Silverside Detectors, was the big winner at the MassChallenge Awards Ceremony last night. Here is a quote from the Globe article:
In addition to the MassChallenge winners, the program’s partners awarded another $525,000 in sidecar prizes. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space gave $75,000 to three companies, including Silverside Detectors, which also won $50,000 from MassChallenge and finished the night with the fattest overall purse: $125,000. Silverside makes low-cost radiation detectors designed to spot nuclear bombs in high-traffic areas like airports and subways
We should all congratulate Andrew on this extraordinary accomplishment. He was up against some remarkable companies and came out the best, of 1,200 entrants and 128 finalists. This should serve as an inspiration to all you young people who want to do something to change the world for the better.
Undergraduate Emma Rosenfeld (pictured, far left) was awarded third place at the 16th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium held at BU on October 18, 2013. Her poster, Evaluation of a MicroMegas Muon Detector and Development of an Electronics Testing System for Multi-Channel Detectors, was based on research done under the guidance of Physics Professor Steve Ahlen. Over 260 students presented posters at the event. Read more about the Symposium at the UROP website.
Local startup Silverside Detectors, Inc., co-founded by postdoc Andrew Inglis (PhD 2010), has been chosen as one of 26 finalists in the 2013 MassChallenge Startup Accelerator, which supports high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs by connecting them with the resources they need to launch and succeed immediately. Inglis' company has developed a low-cost lithium thermal neutron detector that would be a fraction of the cost of market-ready technology and would allow governments to build scalable networks of radiation detectors. The MassChallenge awards ceremony will be held on October 30, 2013, where finalists will vie for $1M in accelerator grants. Read more at The Daily Free Press and at the MassChallenge website.
Alumnus M.V. Ramana (PhD 1995) is a co-recipient of the American Physical Society's 2014 Leo Szilard Lectureship Award, which recognizes outstanding accomplishments by physicists in promoting the use of physics for the benefit of society in such areas as the environment, arms control, and science policy. The citation reads: "for outstanding contributions to promote global security issues, through critical analyses of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy programs in India and associated risks in the subcontinent, and efforts to promote peace and nuclear security in South Asia through extensive engagements and writings." Ramana currently holds joint research appointments at the Nuclear Futures Laboratory and the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University, where he works on the future of nuclear energy in the context of climate change and nuclear disarmament.