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2015 News


Prof. Prem Kumar Named DARPA Program Manager of the Year

December 15, 2015
Prof. Prem Kumar was recognized last week as DARPA's 2015 Program Manager of the Year.

Alumnus Koichiro Nishikawa Awarded Fundamental Physics Breakthrough Prize

December 10, 2015

Dr. Koichiro Nishikawa has received a Fundamental Physics Breakthrough Award for "fundamental discovery and exploration of neutrino oscillations, revealing a new frontier beyond...the standard model of particle physics." Dr. Nishikawa received his Ph.D. in 1980, working with Prof. David Buchholz.


Physics & Astronomy Welcomes Gerald Gabrielse

November 16, 2015 – from NORTHWESTERN NOW
Prof. Gerald Gabrielse, a former chair of the Harvard Physics Department, is coming to Northwestern to found and direct a Center for Fundamental Physics at Low Energy (CFP). A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Gabrielse is world renowned for his high-precision tests of the Standard Model and its fundamental symmetries, and for starting low energy antiproton and antihydrogen physics. The Department of Physics & Astronomy is excited that the Gabrielse group and the CFP will add low energy particle physics done using novel methods from atomic, molecular, and optical physics to the many cutting edge research opportunities offered to its graduate students and postdocs. Gabrielse has prestigious awards for both his research and his teaching, and will be the department's first Board of Trustees Professor. More details are in the Northwestern Newcenter press release.

James Sauls and Erik Lujiten Appointed Co-directors of Graduate Program in Applied Physics

November 6, 2015

James Sauls and Erik Lujiten will direct the Applied Physics Ph.D. program, a collaboration between WCAS and McCormick including departments of Physics & Astronomy, Chemistry, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and computer Science, and Materials Science & Engineering. There are currently 41 students in the program.

Vicky Kalogera Elected to LSSTC Executive Board

November 5, 2015

Prof. Vicky Kalogera has been elected to the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Corporation’s (LSSTC) Executive Board of Directors. In this capacity, Dr. Kalogera will participate in the oversight and administration of the Corporation. Learn about the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

Learn about the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.


Vicky Kalogera Awarded APS 2016 Bethe Prize

October 12, 2015

E.O. Haven Professor and CIERA director Vicky Kalogera has been awarded the 2016 Hans A. Bethe Prize from the American Physical Society.  This annual award recognizes outstanding work in astrophysics and Prof. Kalogera is the first woman to receive the honor.  She will be honored with this prestigious prize at a reception ceremony during the April, 2016 meeting of the APS.

Shane Larson Elected APS Fellow

October 7, 2015

Shane Larson, Research Associate Professor and Astronomer at Adler Planetarium, has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society.  His citation commends him for "Impacting science and society through the integration of public engagement and research, and for empowering generations of future scientists by his example."


James Sauls Named Visiting Scholar at Institute for Materials Science, LANL

September 30, 2015

James Sauls is named Visiting Scholar of the Institute for Materials Science at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Prof. Sauls will deliver lectures on frontiers in hybrid quantum materials and devices, and on electrodynamics of topological superconductors at Los Alamos.

Jens Koch Lectures at the Center for Quantum Technology and the Kavli Institute

September 30, 2015

Jens Koch co-organized and lectured at the international research workshop "Nonequilibrium physics of driven-dissipative many-body systems," hosted by the Center for Quantum Technology at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, 21-25 September, 2015.  Prof. Koch is also an invited lecturer at the workshop "Many-body physics with light," hosted by the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

1700 People Attend Rooftop Viewing of Lunar Eclipse

September 28, 2015 – from NORTHWESTERN NOW
In the largest public viewing event hosted by CIERA, 1700 students, faculty, staff, and community members attended a viewing of the total lunar on September 27. The eclipse was especially noteable because it occurred during a time the moon was a supermoon. The Northwestern Newscenter and The Daily Northwestern both reported on the event.

CIERA Director Vicky Kalogera to Join National Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics

September 25, 2015

CIERA Director Vicky Kalogera has accepted an invitation to serve on the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) of the National Research Council. The CAA’s purpose is to support scientific progress in astronomy and astrophysics and assist the federal government in integrating and planning programs in these fields. It is a joint committee of the Space Studies Board and the Board on Physics and Astronomy under the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C.


Motter Group to Host Network Frontier Workshop

August 26, 2015

Prof. Adilson Motter's group will be hosting the third Network Frontier Workshop at Northwestern on December 6-7, 2015.

The Network Frontier Workshop 2015 is a two-day event highlighting current research on network dynamics. Presentations will emphasize physical principles underlying  control and collective behavior in networks of dynamical systems, as well as network problems in biological, ecological, social, and physical systems. 


Fred Rasio and Carl Rodriguez Predict Detection of More Merging Black Holes than Previously Thought

July 29, 2015 – from NORTHWESTERN NOW
Colliding black holes release energy as gravitational waves, a phenomenon that will soon be observable when the the first gravitational wave detectors come online. In a study published in Physical Review Letters this week, Prof. Fred Rasio and graduate student Carl Rodriguez predict that the number of merging black holes will be greater than previously thought. Read more at the Northwestern Newscenter

Mel Ulmer and Hooman Mohseni awarded Keck Foundation Grant

July 7, 2015 – from NORTHWESTERN NOW
Prof. Mel Ulmer and Prof. Hooman Mohseni, along with external collaborator Olivier Guyon of the Subaru Telescope, have been awarded a $1 million grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation. The team will develop a fast, ultra-sensitive camera that could be the first to directly image light reflected by planets outside our solar system and help scientists in their search for life on Earth-like exoplanets. Read more at the Northwestern Newscenter.


Profs. Motter and Lithwick Featured in the NU Office of Research Report

June 11, 2015

Work by Prof. Adilson Motter and Prof. Yoram Lithwick was featured in the 2014 Annual Report from the Northwestern Office of Research.

Read more here. You can find Prof. Lithwick on page 42 and Prof. Motter on page 44.

Xiaowen Chen Wins ISP Thesis Award

June 4, 2015

Xiaowen Chen has received the Prize for Distinguished Honors Thesis from Northwestern’s Integrated Science Program (ISP) for her senior thesis entitled “Fractal Geometry of Undriven Dissipative Systems”. Xiaowen is an undergraduate majoring in Physics, Mathematics, and ISP, and has performed her research on transient chaos in Prof. Adilson E. Motter’s group. She is graduating this spring and will join Princeton University in the fall to pursue her graduate studies in physics.


Prof. Kalogera Awarded NSF Research Traineeship Award

April 8, 2015

Prof. Kalogera has been awarded one of eight NRT Awards.  Along with Prof. Michael Schmitt and key participants from EPSSESPEECS, and IEMS, she will lead interdisciplinary training on data-driven discovery.  Over the 5-year duration, the $3 million award will provide NRT graduate fellowships to over 35 students drawn from multiple existing Ph.D. programs.

Current student and alumni win NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

April 7, 2015

Joshua Fixelle, a first-year graduate student, has been awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.  Fixelle works with Prof. Fred Rasio.  In addition, two alumni have received the award: Stephen Okoniewski and Kyle Kremer.  Okoniewski is currently a Ph.D. candidate in physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  He graduated from Northwestern in 2013, and worked with Prof. John Ketterson, publishing a first author paper during that time.  Kremer worked with Prof. Vicky Kalogera, and graduated from Northwestern in 2012.  He was the recipient of a Churchill Scholarship to study astrophysics at the University of Cambridge.

Prof. Zadeh's Work Finds Possible Nursery for New Planets

April 2, 2015

New research by Professor Farhad Yusef-Zadeh and colleagues shows that stars could be forming near the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, which was previously thought to be too hostile for such activity.

You can read more about the work at Discovery News, Sky and Telescope and Physics World.


Prof. Velasco appointed to the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel

March 31, 2015

Prof. Mayda Velasco was recently appointed to the The High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP). HEPAP has advised the Federal Government on the national program in experimental and theoretical high energy physics research since its inception in 1967. The Panel reports directly to the Associate Director, Office of High Energy Physics, Office of Science (DOE), and the Assistant Director, Mathematical & Physical Sciences Directorate (NSF), under the guidelines established by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

Prof. Sauls Gives Invited Talk at APS March Meeting

March 16, 2015

Prof. Jim Sauls gave an invited talk at the recent APS march meeting, as part of the Symposium on Novel Phenomena in Helium in Reduced Dimensions and Confinement. Find more information about his talk, "Signatures of Majorana and Weyl Fermions in confined phases of superfluid 3He,"here, and the presentation here.

Prof. Motter Named 2015 Simons Fellow

March 10, 2015

The Simons Foundation has named Prof. Adilson Motter one of their 2015 fellows in theoretical physics.

You can find the full list of fellows here.


New Test of the Leggett-Garg Inequality

February 6, 2015

A thirty year old paper by Anthony Leggett (of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Anupam Garg continues to challenge experimentalists to find ever more macroscopic manifestations of quantum mechanics. The latest test of the so-called Leggett-Garg inequality shows that Cesium atoms can exist in states with indefinite properties, which while not as drastic as Schrodinger's imagined dead-and-alive cat, are still remarkable.

Read more here.


Luke Robison wins Graduate Student Research Program Fellowship

January 7, 2015

Graduate Student Luke Robison has been selected for the DoE Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program (SCGSR). The SCGSR fellowship will allow him to spend a year working with the photon beam particle collider at Thomas Jefferson National Lab (JLab), in Newport News, Virginia. Luke will work with both Prof. Kam Seth at Northwestern and Dr. Lubomir Pentchev, a physicist at JLab.