News Archive


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.

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

February 20, 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.

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.

Department Bids Fond Farewell to Prof. Heidi Schellman

After 24 years in the Department Prof. Heidi Schellman has accepted a position as Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics at Oregon State University. Prof. Schellman chaired the Department from 2010-2014. The move to Oregon brought her to live nearby family members, but she will be missed at Northwestern.

Prof. Sara Solla Named APS Fellow

December 17, 2014

Prof. Sara Solla was recently named a 2014 fellow of the American Physical Society.  Her citation is for "applications of statistical physics to problems concerning learning, adaptation, and information coding in neural systems."

Read about all the 2014 APS fellows here.

Prof. David Schwab's Work Featured in Quanta Magazine

December 8, 2014

Prof. David Schwab's work on computer learning was recently featured in Quanta Magazine.

Read the full article here.

Prof. Nathaniel Stern Profiled in Centerpiece

November 24, 2014

Prof. Nathaniel Stern spoke to Centerpiece recently about his research with two-dimensional molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), and the role physicists play in developing innovative materials.

Read the full article here.

Welcome to Our First Class of Master's Students!

November 14, 2014

Three students joined us in September as our first class of Master's students.  The department welcomes our new group and looks forward to their work here at Northwestern.

Inauguration of the Institute of Cosmology and Physics

November 10, 2014

Congratulations to Prof. Mayda Velasco, Director of the new Institute of Cosmology and Physics (COFI), on the institute's successful inauguration!  The event began on November second with a dinner and address by Nobel Laureate, Adam Riess.  About 100 people attended the dinner, with 40% of the attendees traveling from abroad.  The inauguration continued the next day with a public lecture by Riess at the University of Puerto Rico, attended by over 1000 people. 

Prof. Ketterson Publishes New Book on Superfluids

November 7, 2014

The second volume of Prof. Ketterson's edited book, "Novel Superfluids," will be published on November 27th. 

Read more about the book here.

Dave Meyer Delivers New Video Course on Space Astronomy

October 27, 2014

The Teaching Company has just released an 18-lecture video course by Physics and Astronomy Prof. Dave Meyer entitled "A Visual Guide to the Universe".  In this course, produced in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, Meyer discusses the scientific stories behind some of the most spectacular cosmic images obtained by NASA space probes and observatories over the past 20 years. The lecture topics range from Cassini's close-up view of Saturn's rings to Spitzer's infrared panorama of star formation in the Swan Nebula to Hubble's detailed view of the most peculiar galaxies.  

Read more here.

Nathaniel Stern wins 2014 Early Career Investigator Award for Energy Research

October 14, 2014

Nathaniel Stern, assistant professor of physics and astronomy in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, received the 2014 Northwestern-Argonne Early Career Investigator Award for Energy Research for his proposal to investigate the use of monolayer semiconductor quantum dots to improve solar efficiency.

Read the full article from the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern.

Profs. Rivers and Meyer make ASG Honor Roll

September 30, 2014

Physics and Astronomy Professors Andy Rivers and Dave Meyer have been named to the Associated Student Government's 2013-2014 Faculty Honor Roll.

See the full honor roll here.

Panagiotis Spentzouris Named Head of Scientific Computing at Fermilab

September 19, 2014

NU PhD. Panagiotis Spentzouris has been named head of the  Scientific Computing Division at Fermilab. Panagiotis got his doctorate working with Heidi Schellman in 1994 and, after a postdoc at Columbia University, became a Research Associate at Fermilab.  At Fermilab he has led a group of scientists and programmers who  have developed  computer modeling tools that  enable large-scale virtual prototyping of particle accelerators for physics and many other applications.

Read more here.

Andy Li Wins WorldQuant Scholarship

September 9, 2014

Andy Li has been awarded a World Quantitative and Science Scholarship from the WorldQuant Foundation. Andy is a graduate student currently working with Prof. Jens Koch on quantum simulation of interacting many-body systems out of equilibrium.

Read more on the WorldQuant scholarships here.

Trapped Molecular Rotors Laser Cooled to the Ground Quantum State

September 2, 2014

Trapped molecules are widely recognized as holding promise for applications ranging from quantum information processing to searches for new physics beyond the Standard Model. However, the requisite internal state control and non-destructive state readout have proven challenging.  Now, Brian Odom’s group has developed a technique to use a single broadband laser to pump trapped molecules to their ground rotational-vibrational state, achieving cooling from room temperature to 4 Kelvins in a fraction of a second.  The results were in published in Nature Communications 5, 4783 (2014).


Spring 2014 Dimensions is Available

Read the latest edition of the Physics & Astronomy Department Newsletter here.

Vicky Kalogera Elected Trustee of Aspen Center for Physics

July 21, 2014

Prof. Vicky Kalogera was elected as the astrophysics trustee, among only nine trustees, of the NSF-funded Aspen Center for Physics on July 9. The ACP is a center for physicists that offers long-term workshops, conferences, and research opportunities for those invited to attend. ACP Trustees provide overall scientific, financial, and administrative guidance; typically, only one or at most two astrophysics positions open up every decade.

Congratulations to our Undergraduate Award Winners!

June 24, 2014

Congratulations to our many undergraduate award winners! This year's departmental award winners were:

Outstanding Senior Thesis: Jonathan Matthew Kernes (advisor: Frank Petriello) for "Calculation of Feynman Diagram Topologies via Differential Equations of Pure integrals."  Jonathan also received departmental honors for his thesis.

Outstanding Junior: Xiaowen Chen

Outstanding Sophomore: Rui Chen

In addition,  many of our sophomores and juniors received Undergraduate Research Grants from Weinberg College:

James Bueghly (advisor: Mayda Velasco), for "Measuring Higgs Boson Hccbar Coupling.”

Erik Johnson (advisor: Adilson Motter), for "Negative Compressibility & Fibrin.”

Find out more about undergraduate research grants, including how to apply, from the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Xiaowen Chen Wins Krieghbaum Award

June 23, 2014

Undergraduate physics student Xiaowen Chen has received the Katherine L. Krieghbaum Scholarship Award as well as a Weinberg Summer Grant to work on a project on doubly transient chaos withProf. Motter. Xiaowen, who is also a major in Mathematics and ISP, has in addition been elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society, received the prize "Outstanding Achievement in Mathematics by a Junior" from the Math department, and was selected Best Junior in Physics and Astronomy.

Congratulations from the Department of Physics and Astronomy!

June 20, 2014

The department celebrated yesterday at our annual graduation ice cream social. We offer congratulations to all our graduates for their hard work and many achievements here at Northwestern.

Symmetry Profiles Former Northwestern Postdoc Lucy de Barbaro

June 19, 2014

Symmetry magazine caught up recently with Lucy de Barbaro, a former postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern and Fermilab. Since then, de Barbaro has applied her physics background to computing at the telecom company Alcatel-Lucent, as well as passive house design. 

Read the full article here.

Art Schmidt Talks Roller Coaster Physics with the Chicago Tribune

June 18, 2014

Art Schmidt spoke to the Tribune recently about the physics behind roller coaster design. Read the full story at the Chicago Tribune.

Art Schmidt Brings Physics Demonstrations to Local Middle School

May 29, 2014 

Art Schmidt visited Eugene Field School in Andersonville, Chicago where he entertained some forty 5th grade students for an hour presentation of Physics demonstrations. Pictured above: Art shows the students what the world looks like in infra red with an IR camera.

Thomas Wytock and Sean Cornelius Win SIAM Awards

May 29, 2014

Thomas Wytock has received the 2014 SIAM Student Chapter Certificate of Recognition for his leadership as founding president of the Northwestern SIAM Student Chapter. Dr. Sean Cornelius has received the 2014 Student Paper Prize from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) for his innovative approach to control nonlinear complex networks, published jointly with his former advisor in Nature Communications. Wytock is currently a graduate student in Prof. Adilson E. Motter's group, and Cornelius is a recent graduate of the group.

Eric Dahl Awarded Department of Energy Early Career Grant

May 29, 2014

Prof. Eric Dahl has been awarded an Early Career Grant from the DOE to develop a new dark matter detector. 

Read more at Fermilab Today.

Undergrad James Bueghly Awarded Summer Research Grant

May 12, 2014

Undergrad James Bueghly has been awarded a grant by Northwestern's Undergraduate Research Grant Program to work with Prof. Mayda Velasco this summer. His project is titled Measuring Higgs Boson H c c Coupling.

Adilson Motter featured in the 30 most promising Latin American Scientists under 40

May 7, 2014

Prof. Adilson Motter has been featured among the 30 most promising scientists under the age of 40 born in Latin America. He is among the 9 featured scientists currently working in the US. The compilation covers all fields of science, engineering, and mathematics, and is published by a joint collaboration between the Chilean magazine Qué Pasa and the international organization

Read more at Qué Pasa [Spanish].

Nate Stern and Eric Dahl Win Early Career Grants from the Department of Energy

May 7, 2014

Two Physics and Astronomy assistant professors, Eric Dahl and Nate Stern, have been selected for the prestigious Early Career Research Program by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).  Eric Dahl will use the award to build novel instruments for the detection of particle dark matter, and Nate Stern will use the award to investigate quantum phenomena in two-dimensional materials.  P&A faculty represent two of the 35 total awards selected by DOE this year to support and stimulate the research programs of outstanding scientists early in their career. 

Niharika Sravan and Scotty Coughlin Win Poster Awards

May 7, 2014

Niharika Sravan and Scotty Coughlin were awarded poster prizes at a computational research poster session on April 22. Niharika won first place among graduate student presenters and Scott won first place among undergraduates. Niharika works with Prof. Claude-André Faucher-Giguère and Scott works with Prof. Vicky Kalogera.

Congratulations to Dr. Jae Yong Suh

May 6, 2014

Dr. Jae Yong Suh will join Michigan Technological University as an assistant professor starting in the fall.  Jae Suh is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Stern Group. His research interests are in plasmonics and quantum optics, including nano-fabrication and laser spectroscopy of materials.

Undergraduate Student Scotty Coughlin Awarded Fulbright Scholarship

May 6, 2014

Scotty Coughlin, an undergraduate student who has been working in Vicky Kalogera’s LIGO group, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. He plans to continue his work at Cardiff University in Wales.

Read more at CIERA.

James Sauls Guest Lecturer at University of St. Andrews, University of Edinburgh, and The Royal Society

Prof. James Sauls was the guest of the University of St. Andrews and Universtiy of Edingugh during the month of March 2014 as "Distinguished Lecturer of the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance" and the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics, where he spoke on spontaneous symmetry breaking and the detection of Anderson-Higgs modes in superfluid Helium.  He was an invited speaker at the Royal Society meeting on "Emergence of new exotic states at interfaces with superconductors" at Chicheley Hall, where he lectured on Majorana fermions in topological superfluids.  He also delivered the invited talk on the discovery of broken time-reversal symmetry in the chiral phase of liquid Helium at the workshop on "Topological Protection and Non-Equilibrium States in Strongly Correlated Electron Systems" at St. Andrews University.

Congratulations to Sonny Mantry on his new faculty position

April 22, 2014

Dr. Sonny Mantry will begin a faculty appointment at the University of North Georgia starting this fall.  Sonny Mantry was a LHC Theory Initiative fellow based at Northwestern University from 2011 to 2013, and was a postdoctoral researcher in Prof. Frank Petriello's group during the previous year.  Sonny is a theorist working on topics ranging across particle, nuclear and cosmological physics.

Mark Kokish Receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Mark Kokish, student of Brian Odom and Tamar Seideman, received a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for his proposal to demonstrate experimentally the use of near-resonant light to monitor the orientation of trapped molecules, down to the single-molecule level.  The fellowship provides full support for three years.

Assistant Professor Yoram Lithwick Awarded NSF CAREER Award

March 14, 2014

Yoram Lithwick's proposal "Planet Formation in the Age of Kepler" has been awarded an NSF CAREER award, the Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of young faculty.

Mike Smutko Presents Study on the Effect of Technology in the Classroom

Mike Smutko spoke with Northwestern Magazine about the results of the study he and Psychology professor Sara Broaders have conducted on the effects of different note-taking technologies on students' performance. Smutko and Broaders have shown that students who take notes with only a pencil and paper significantly outperformed students taking notes on a laptop or attempting to multitask.

Read the full story here.

Shane Larson to Present at NU TEDx

March 14, 2014

Shane Larson will present "Pluto's Day of Reckoning" at Northwestern's first TEDx event, held Saturday April 12, 2014.  Prof. Larson holds a joint appointment between the NU Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Department of Astronomy at Adler Planetarium.  See here for more information.

Physics Outreach at the AAAS Family Science Days

February 17, 2014

Members of our department showcased a variety of Physics demonstrations over the weekend at the Family Science Days hosted in downtown Chicago by the AAAS. These demonstrations were, in part, sponsored by Prof. Jens Koch's NSF CAREER grant.

Read more about the Family Science Days here, or see more photos here.

Physics Review B Features Research from the Sauls Lab

January 28, 2014

Research from Prof. Jim Sauls's lab was featured via Kaleidoscope for the front page of the website of Physical Review B. The image above is a computer simulation of the atomic structure of ultra-low density silica aerogel (shown in green) based on a diffusion limited cluster aggregation simulation created by former graduate student Sarosh Ali. Local anisotropy is observable on length scales of order 30 nm, while the smallest scale structures - SiO2 strands - are of order 2 nm. Liquid helium fills the space (shown in black) confined within this gossamer solid, and remarkably superfluidity is stabilized in within this random environment. This work was presented as an invited talk at the International Conference on Statistical Physics of Disordered Systems, held at the The Courant Institute, New York University, August 22-23, 2013.

Read more about it here.

Motter Accepts Position in APS' Statistical and Nonlinear Physics

January 22, 2014

Professor Motter has been elected to the governance of the Statistical and Nonlinear Physics (GSNP) APS Unit. Over each of the next four years he will be Vice-Chair, Chair-Elect, Chair, and Past Chair of the GSNP, respectively.

Prof. Bill Halperin to Become Chair of the Division of Condensed Matter Physics (DCMP) of the American Physical Society

January 17, 2014

Bill Halperin was elected Vice-Chair of DCMP and will serve four years at Vice-Chair (2014), Chair-Elect (2015), Chair (2016) and Past Chair (2017). The DCMP is the largest division of the American Physical Society, representing research areas ranging from solid-state physics, quantum liquids and solids, to soft-matter. Research in Condensed Matter Physics concentrates on such topics as superconductivity, semi-conductors, magnetism, complex fluids, and thin films. This discipline covers a broad range of research in both basic and applied physics. The Chair of DCMP oversees the March Meeting of the APS, which attracts approximately 10,000 physicists from all over the world from industry, universities, and major laboratories, and is the largest physics meeting in the world.

Roberto Vega-Morales Awarded American Physical Society Dissertation Award

January 15th, 2014

Dr. Roberto Vega-Morales, Northwestern Ph.D. in Physics, 2013, has received the 2014 J.J. and Noriko Sakurai Dissertation Award in Theoretical Particle Physics from the American Physical Society. The Award recognizes exceptional young scientists who have performed original doctoral thesis work of outstanding scientific quality and achievement in the area of theoretical particle physics.

Dr. Vega-Morales did his Ph.D. under the supervision of Professor Ian Low and was a Fermilab Fellow in Theoretical Physics working under Dr. Joseph Lykken. He is now a postdoctoral fellow at Laboratoire de Physique Theorique d’Orsay, Université Paris-Sud in Paris, France.

Prof. Yoram Lithwick and student Sam Hadden Find Many Small Exoplanets are Covered in Gas

January 6, 2014

Yoram Lithwick presented results at a January 6 session of the American Astronomical Society demonstrating that 60 exoplanets under investigation are covered in gas.  This work greatly expanded our knowledge of sub-Neptune exoplanets, and has been written about by The Economist, New ScientistNational Geographic, and Sky & Telescope.

For more information see here.

Prof. Petriello elected co-spokesperson of the CTEQ collaboration

The CTEQ collaboration recently elected Frank Petriello as its co-spokesperson.  CTEQ is an international community of physicists devoted to a broad program of research and education in high-energy physics centered on Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD).  

For more information on the CTEQ collaboration and its activities, please read more here

Work from the Sauls lab featured by Physical Review B

December 12th, 2013

Graduate student Hao Wu's image (above) of the spectrum of Majorana fermions on the surface of 3He-B was featured via Kaleidoscope for the front page of the website of Physical Review B.

Read his recent paper with Prof. Jim Sauls here.

Alumnus Yoonseok Lee Elected as APS Fellow

December 6th, 2013

Yoonseok Lee, Northwestern PhD in Physics, 1997, was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society in recognition of his contributions in low temperature physics (Division of Condensed Matter Physics), "For high-precision ultrasound measurements in quantum liquids, and discovery of the acoustic Faraday effect and broken spin-orbit symmetry in superfluid 3He-B". 

Yoonseok Lee did his PhD under the supervision of W. P. Halperin and is currently Professor of Physics at University of Florida.

Work By Prof. Schellman Featured in Fermilab Today

The DZero collaboration, which includes Prof. Heidi Schellman and Alumnus Sahal Yacoob, has released new details on their method of measuring the mass of the W Boson. 

Read more at Fermilab Today.

Celebrating Bob Tilden's 40th Year at Northwestern

As of this year, Bob Tilden has been with Northwestern for 40 years!  He is currently a computer specialist with our particle physics group. We thank Bob for everything he has done and continues to do for the department.

Profs. Adilson Motter and Frank Petriello Elected as APS Fellows

December 5th, 2013

Professors Adilson Motter and Frank Petriello have been elected as APS Fellows. Prof. Motter's citation is, "For his contributions to the foundations of chaos and the study of nonlinear dynamics in complex networks, including the discovery of synthetic rescues and pioneering work on network synchronization phenomena, cascading failures, and the control of nonlinear network dynamics."

Prof. Petriello's citation is, "For pioneering new methods in the application of perturbative quantum chromodynamics to high-energy processes, and for computing high precision, fully exclusive production cross sections for electroweak vector bosons and Higgs bosons at hadron colliders."

Profs. Novak, Rivers, and Smutko make ASG Honor Roll

Physics and Astronomy Professors Novak, Rivers, and Smutko have been included in the Associated Student Government's 2012-2013 Faculty Honor Roll.

See the full honor roll here.

Physics Review Letters Features Work From the Ketterson Lab

Work by Joe Sklenar, Seongjae Lee, and Prof. John Ketterson was recently featured on the cover of Physics Review Letters (Volume 111, Number 7). The team has recently studied the ferromagnetic resonant properties of a two-dimensional artificial quasicrystal with collaborators at the University of Kentucky Lexington as pictured here.  The tiles used are Penrose P2 kites and darts that have boundaries defined by ferromagnetic permalloy bars of width 135 nm and lengths 500, and 810 nm.

Read the full article here.

Prof. Smutko Presents Findings on Students' use of Laptops in Class

Prof. Michael Smutko addressed students on the effects of laptop use in class, which he has been researching at Northwestern since 2009. Smutko found that using technology to multitask in the classroom leads to a marked decrease in performance. His advice to students: “It doesn’t affect me. But it affects you.”

Read more at the Daily Northwestern.

Northwestern CMS Physicists Featured in Fermilab Today

Ongoing work on the Higgs Boson by Profs. Mayda Velasco, Prof. Kristian Hahn and their collaborators was featured recently in Fermilab Today. 

Read the full story here.

Nobel Prize awarded to Peter Higgs and François Englert

The department celebrated the award of the Nobel Prize to the theorists who originally proposed the existence of the Higgs Boson at an event hosted by Prof. Mayda Velasco. Velasco's research, along with the work of fellow Northwestern physicists Michael Schmitt and Kristian Hahn, contributed to the discovery of the Higgs Boson by the LHC last July.

Read more here.

Cornelius Develops Approach for Network Control

Nonlinearity is a hallmark of complex systems, but has generally been regarded as an obstacle to controlling their behavior. In a new paper published in Nature Communications, Sean Cornelius shows how nonlinear dynamics can be harnessed to control a network and drive it to desired states. The new approach can be used to identify control interventions in a range of large complex networks, from cells to power grids. Cornelius is a graduate student working with Prof. Motter.

Read More at the Northwestern Newscenter, or read the original publication here.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences publishes work by the Bedzyk Group

The crystallization of molecules with polar and hydrophobic groups, such as ionic amphiphiles and proteins, is of paramount importance in biology and biotechnology. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a Northwestern University collaboration demonstrated how to combine X-ray scattering and theoretical to study how crystalline order within membranes formed by coassembled cationic and anionic amphiphiles can be controlled by varying pH and molecular tail length. Their work suggests how to design bilayer membranes with specific crystalline arrangements at ambient temperature and physiologically relevant pH environments by suitable choices of molecular headgroups and tails. Changes in crystallinity are likely to affect molecular diffusion rates across membranes and may enable control over the encapsulation and release of molecules within the membrane. Moreover, pH-induced crystalline transformations are likely used by organisms to control metabolic flow in harsh environments.


 “Crystalline polymorphism induced by charge regulation in ionic membranes”, Cheuk-Yui Leung, Liam C. Palmer, Sumit Kewalramani, Bao Fu Qiao, Samuel I. Stupp, Monica Olvera de la Cruz, and Michael J. BedzykProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, (2013).

Read more here.


Prof. Adilson Motter Receives the 2013 Erdős-Rényi Prize

Adilson E. Motter has received the 2013 Erdős–Rényi Prize in Network Science. Motter is being honored for his outstanding work in complex networks; the citation notes “his groundbreaking contributions to the study of synchronization phenomena and the control of cascading failures in complex networks.” The prize is given each year by the Network Science Society to one researcher in the broad field of network science under the age of 40. It consists of a cash award, a plaque and an honor lecture at the International Conference on Network Science (NetSci2013). The award ceremony took place on June 7 at the Royal Library in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Motter will donate $3,000 from his award to Northwestern undergraduate students through activities that can promote the most outstanding students in the physics and astronomy program.

Read more at the Northwestern Newscenter.

MINERvA Releases New Results

New results were released in May of 2013 from the MINERvA collaboration, which includes postdoc Laura Fields and graduate student Cheryl Patrick. MINERvA observes neutrino-nucleus interactions in order to better understand the behavior of protons and neutrons in the nucleus. Both Fields and Patrick work with Prof. Heidi Schellman.

Read more at Fermilab Today.

Prof. Jens Koch Hosts Middle-School Physics Adventure

In May of 2013, 20 middle-school students visited Northwestern as part of the after-school Science Club run by Science in Society. They joined Prof. Jens Koch and a group of our graduate students to learn about extremely low temperatures in a "physics adventure."

Graduate student Bill Gannon told Science in Society that, “I think the thing that we hope the kids will get out of the trip is that science is not just your teacher, who you may or may not like very much, writing on the blackboard. Science is something that’s happening all the time and it’s fun and it’s not just something that’s abstract.”

Read the full story from Science in Society, or visit their facebook page for more pictures.

Congratulations to Joan Marler on Her New Faculty Position

Prof. Joan Marler began her faculty appointment at Clemson University this fall.  Marler was a postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Brian Odom's lab from 2009 to 2012, and returned as a visiting scholar through 2013. At Clemson, she will begin a new experimental project with trapped ultracold ions. 

Read more about Marler's work at her website.

Prof. Adilson Motter Featured on the Cover of Physics Today

Fifty years ago Edward Lorenz revealed deterministic predictability to be an illusion and gave birth to a field that still thrives. In an invited piece featured as the cover article of Physics Today, Prof. Adilson Motter and his colleague Prof. Campbell from Boston University discuss developments that led to the discovery of chaos and implications of this fascinating phenomenon to a broad range of areas.

Prof. Michael Bedzyk has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

The AAAS is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to "advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people."

See the full list of 2012 fellows here.

Quest for Dark Matter Begins With a Few Tiny Bubbles

Prof. Eric Dahl is part of a group of physicists that has just launched an unusual new experiment in an attempt to be the first to directly confirm the existence of dark matter.

He spoke with the Northwestern Newscenter recently about his research.  Read the full article here.

There's a new E+M text in town

Prof. Anupam Garg's new graduate-level textbook, "Classical Electromagnetism in a Nutshell," has been published.  Reviewers call it "a treasure trove of thoughtful and incisive nuggets," and "the best treatment of electromagnetism in material media that I know."

"Classical Electromagnetism in a Nutshell" is also available in ebook format. 

Learn more from Northwestern's Research News or read reviews from at Princeton University Press.

Starting this spring, Prof. Kristian Hahn will take Quest into the classroom by requiring the students in his undergraduate Computational Physics class to use it in their coursework. Hahn believes his students will take this experience out of the classroom and use it to further their career goals after graduation. He told the NUIT newsletter that, “Most will need to reference this experience when seeking employment in their field after graduation, and it’s important to have this type of computational experience when applying for graduate school.”

Read the full article here.

Prof. William Halperin, physics Professor and past ISEN-award recipient, was featured in Science in Society (SiS) on August 9 for the research he is doing in the properties and potential of superconductors. Read the full story in Science in Society.

The Northwestern Research Newsletter's November issue featured an article on Prof. William Halperin's liquid nitrogen and helium facility. The facility supplies twenty to thirty labs at any given time, as well as the Tech renovation project.

For more information, see the Northwestern Research Newsletter.

The American Physical Society has elected Prof. Chris Jacobsen as a Fellow. The society limits the number of fellows to one half of one percent of the society's membership.

The APS council cited his “seminal contributions to x-ray microscopy” when they elected him in November, 2011.

Full Story from Argonne National Lab here.

Northwestern's High Performance Computing system, Quest, has been supporting research across the university for nearly three years.  Prof. Vicky Kalogera has been working closely with Quest as they continue to expand their capabilities.

Read the full article about Prof. Kalogera's collaboration with Quest here.

Prof. Jens Koch  was awarded a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation in September of 2011. 

His research will be on "Quantum Phases and Non-Equilibrium Dynamics of Strongly Correlated Photons".  The primary goal of the research funded by the award is to address the challenge of developing needed tools for the quantitative understanding and prediction of strongly interacting photon states and their properties.

Prof. Koch was also featured in Science in Society, where he explains some of the results and applications of quantum mechanics for Science in Society:

"The impact of quantum physics has been enormous: not only is it the prime common factor in nearly all physics Nobel Prizes awarded in the past one-hundred years, but it has also been a crucial driving force in technological advances ranging from lasers and superconductors to medical imaging like MRIs. Indeed, imagining a world in which quantum physics had never been discovered would amount to eliminating a lot of the technology we take for granted each and every day."

Read the full story here.

In May of 2013, 20 middle-school students visited Northwestern as part of the after-school Science Club run by Science in Society. They joined Prof. Jens Koch and a group of our graduate students to learn about extremely low temperatures in a "physics adventure."

Graduate student Bill Gannon told Science in Society that, “I think the thing that we hope the kids will get out of the trip is that science is not just your teacher, who you may or may not like very much, writing on the blackboard. Science is something that’s happening all the time and it’s fun and it’s not just something that’s abstract.”

Read the full story from Science in Society, or visit their facebook page for more pictures.

"All-optical switching of photonic entanglement," an article written by Prof. Prem Kumar and Prof. Joseph Altepeter of the Electrical Engineering department, was selected as one of the "Highlights of 2011" by the New Journal of Physics. The paper was downloaded 500 times in the first 15 days of publication, a record for the NJP.

Read more about the New Journal of Physics Highlights collection here, or find "All-optical switching of photonic entanglement" here.

Prof. Ian Low served as co-chair of our conference, "The Next Stretch of the Higgs Magnificent Mile."  The conference took place on our Chicago Campus, from May 14th to 16th. 

For more information, see the conference page here.

When tensioned, ordinary materials expand along the direction of the applied force. But a new paper published this week by Zachary G. Nicolaou and Prof. Adison E. Motter  demonstrates that not all materials have to be that way. They explored network concepts to design metamaterials exhibiting negative compressibility transitions, during which a material undergoes contraction when tensioned (or expansion when pressured). Continuous contraction of a material in the same direction of an applied tension, and in response to this tension, is inherently unstable. They achieved a conceptually similar effect, however, through destabilizations of (meta)stable equilibria of the constituents. These destabilizations give rise to a stress-induced solid-solid phase transition associated with a twisted hysteresis curve for the stress-strain relationship. The strain-driven counterpart of negative compressibility transitions is a force amplification phenomenon, where an increase in deformation induces a discontinuous increase in response force. The proposed materials are the first to exhibit longitudinal negative compressibility at zero frequency. They could be useful for the design of actuators, force amplifiers, micromechanical controls, and protective devices.

Zack, an undergraduate physics student working with Prof. Motter when the work was done, now is a first-year graduate student at Caltech.

The paper was published in Nature Materials and is available here.

A news story prepared by the NU NewsCenter is available here.

An imperative condition for the functioning of a power-grid network is that all of its power generators remain synchronized. A new study by Profs. Adilson E. Motter and Takashi Nishikawa published in Nature Physics establishes conditions under which power grids can synchronize spontaneously.  Given that most power outages involve equipment or operational errors, this is relevant both for reducing dependence on conventional control devices, thus offering an additional layer of protection, and for contributing to the development of self-healing networks that can recover from failures in real time.  The other authors of the study are Prof. Motter's former undergraduate mentee  Seth A. Myers (now a graduate student at Stanford) and Marian Anghel of LANL.

Read the full news article here.

Read the original article here.

Chaos welcomes its newest editor, Professor Adilson Motter. Chaos is an interdisciplinary journal published by the American Institute of Physics.

Professor Motter currently holds the Harold H. and Virginia Anderson Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University. His research includes theoretical work on networks as well as network modeling and applications.

Fifty years ago Edward Lorenz revealed deterministic predictability to be an illusion and gave birth to a field that still thrives. In an invited piece featured as the cover article of Physics Today, Prof. Adilson Motter and his colleague Prof. Campbell from Boston University discuss developments that led to the discovery of chaos and implications of this fascinating phenomenon to a broad range of areas.

Read the original article here.

Prof. Giles Novak has been awarded the Weinberg College Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research. 

The college's teaching awards "applaud excellence in instruction, significant contributions to curricular innovation, exemplary mentoring of research and independent study, and fostering of a sense of community both inside and outside the classroom."

Prof. Frederic A. Rasio has been appointed as the next editor of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The mission of the letters section is to allow "astrophysicists to rapidly publish short notices of significant original research."

Rasio will begin serving as editor on January 1st, 2013.

Full article from Northwestern News Center here.

Prof. Jim Sauls has just been awarded the 2012 John Bardeen Prize recognizing his contributions to the theory of unconventional superconductivity, most importantly manifest in the heavy fermion superconductor UPt3, high-temperature cuprate superconductors, and superfluid 3He. The prize will be formally presented to him and two others, Chandra Varma and Steve Kivelson, at the M2S superconductivity meeting this August.

The John Bardeen Prize is awarded for theoretical work that has provided significant insights on the nature of superconductivity and has led to verifiable predictions.

Prof. Heidi Schellman has been appointed as U.S.representative on the H Commission of Particles and Fields (C11) of IUPAP, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.

The mandate of C11 is "To promote the exchange of information and views among the members of the international scientific community in the general field of Particles and Fields".

Physics World's Top 10 Discoveries of 2012 featured the MINERvA collaboration, which includes Northwestern Prof. Heidi Schellman, Postdoc Laura Fields, and Grad Student Cheryl Patrick.  Physics World recognized MINERvA for "being the first to demonstrate communications using neutrinos."

New results announced at Fermilab on March 2nd have given the most precise measurement of the W Boson to date - 80.387 GeV, plus or minus 0.019 GeV. Prof. Heidi Schellman, whose team contributed to the new measurement, reports that this new data will help narrow down the search for the much sought-after Higgs Boson.

 Read the full story at the Northwestern Newscenter here.

Prof. Michael Schmitt was featured in Fermilab Today on 9/27/2012. Dr. Schmitt  serves on the CMS collaboration statistics committee which validates advanced statistical methods used in particle physics measurements.

News from July 4, 2012:  The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) presented their preliminary results on the search for the standard model (SM) Higgs boson in their data recorded up to June 2012.

CMS observes an excess of events at a mass of approximately 125 GeV with a statistical significance of five standard deviations (5 sigma) above background expectations. The probability of the background alone fluctuating up by this amount or more is about one in three million. The evidence is strongest in the two final states with the best mass resolution: first the two-photon final state and second the final state with two pairs of charged leptons (electrons or muons). We interpret this to be due to the production of a previously unobserved particle with a mass of around 125 GeV.

The Northwestern's CMS team is headed by Mayda Velasco and Michael Schmitt, and originally formed by Bruno Gobbi.

The Northwestern CMS team  is involved in several Higgs analyses. Most of them look for decays that include at least one Z boson  in the final state or di-leptons with missing energy.  Our main emphasis now will be to understand the properties of this new resonance and look for other like it.  The PhD students supervised by Velasco that are working on Higgs related analysis as part of PhD thesis work are: Nate Odell, Andrey Pozdnyakov and Brian Pollack.  Other group members also working on Higgs and Electro-Weak physics are: Anton AnastassovAndy KubikRadek OfierzinskyStoyan Stoynev and Steve Won.

Further Reading on the New Subatomic Particle Announcement from the LHC:

The Northwestern Newscenter has published an interview with Drs. Mayda Velasco and Michael Schmitt. Dr. Velasco reported that, "We are definitely entering a new era in particle physics." Read more about the discovery at the Northwestern Newscenter.

For a more in-depth look at the data from the LHC, check out Dr. Michael Schmitt's discussion of the new particle at his blog.

Right from the source: press releases are also available online from CMS, the LHC, and CERN.

In 2012 Physics World chose the discovery of a "Higgs-like Boson" by the ATLAS and CMS teams at CERN as their Top Breakthrough of the Year.  Physics World described the discovery as "the most important physics breakthrough so far in the 21st century." Congratulations to Northwestern Profs.Mayda VelascoMichael Schmitt, and Kristian Hahn for their contributions to this amazing discovery!

The Higgs discovery has been making year-end lists around the world. Prof. Mayda Velasco's work was also featured in the Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia's list of the top 5 scientific discoveries of 2012.

From the 24th to the 29th of June, Prof. Kamal Seth hosted the June 2012 PANDA collaboration meeting. Approximately 70 physicists attended.

The PANDA experiment (anti-Proton ANniliation at DAarmstadt) is being built at the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) at the GSI Laboratory in Darmstadt, Germany.  The collaboration consists of more than 450 scientists from 17 countries, and is building a state-of-the-art detector to study the results of proton-antiproton collisions in order to study the strong nuclear force, exotic states of matter and the structure of hadrons.

Read more about the experiment and collaboration members here.

We are happy to announce that Michael Smutko has accepted a full-time Distinguished Senior Lecturer position in the Department starting this Spring. He will be teaching both physics and astronomy courses. For the past eight years, Michael has held a joint appointment with the Adler Planetarium. We are delighted that the Department will now be able to benefit more fully from his expertise.

In a campus-wide vote, Distinguished Senior Lecturer Michael Smutko has been elected by students to Northwestern's Associated Student Government's 2012 Faculty Honor Roll.  This marks the 5th year in a row that Dr. Smutko has received this honor and it is his 6th election overall.

Sara A. Solla, Professor of Physiology and Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University, has been invited to participate in a new national panel on the `Physical and Mathematical Principles of Brain Structure and Function'. This is of the first steps in the implementation of the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative announced by President Obama on April 2, 2013.

Professor Solla, who represents Northwestern University, is a theoretical physicist working in computational and theoretical neuroscience. Her research focuses on constructing mathematical models to understand how networks of neurons acquire, store, and process information. Current projects include the decoding of neural signal from primary motor cortex for the guidance of prosthetic limbs, and the encoding of sensory signals by neurons at the base of rats' whiskers.

Prof. Farhad Zadeh was featured the Northwestern Newscenter recently for his new work on radio imaging of dusty stars and interstellar clouds.  He told the Newscenter that "knowing details of these clouds is important because the clouds can produce stars and also provide material for the growth of black holes."

Prof. Zadeh presented his results to the American Astronomical Society on January 8th.

Read the full article here.

Prof. Farhad Zadeh and his colleagues have discovered evidence of star formation close the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. Astronomers have doubted whether it was possible for stars to form so close to a black hole.  But as Prof. Zadeh told the Northwestern Newscenter, "what we seem to have found are patches of dust and gas that have become so dense that they are able to overcome their inhospitable surroundings."

Read the full story from the Northwestern News Center here.

Or, read more coverage of Prof. Zadeh's work at,, or

Robert Regan Receives Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award
May 2, 2017

Vicki Kalogera Receives Walder Research Award

Joseph Cordero Mercado Wins NSF GRFP
March 20, 2017

Graduate student Joseph Cordero Mercado has received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program award for his proposal titled "Controlled Chemistry with Single-Particle Resolution in a Hybrid Trap."

Claude-André Faucher-Giguère wins NSF CAREER AWARD
March 9, 2017

March 9, 2017 - Prof. Faucher-Giguère has been awarded an NSF CAREER grant for his proposal "The Physics of Stellar Feedback and Star Formation Regulation in Galaxies"

Prof. John Ketterson publishes book - The Physics of Solids
March 9, 2017

March 9, 2017 - The Physics of Solids by J. B. Ketterson was recently published by Oxford University Press.

Prof. Bill Halperin and Prof. Jim Sauls Win Fritz London Memorial Prize
February 20, 2017

Prof. Prem Kumar Receives Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service
February 8, 2017

After four years of service as Program Manager, Defense Science Office, Prem Kumar has been recognized for Outstanding Public Service.

Conditions right for stars, planets near Milky Way’s supermassive black hole

Blobs of gas near the Milky Way’s center may be just the right mass to harbor young stars and possibly planets, too. Any such budding stellar systems would face an uphill battle, developing only about two light-years from the galaxy’s central supermassive black hole with its intense gravity and ultraviolet radiation. But it’s not impossible for the small stars to survive in the hostile place, a new study suggests.

Graduate Student Katie Breivik Receives Chambliss Graduate Student Prize Honorable Mention
January 31, 2017

Supernova News from Assistant Professor Raffaella Margutti
January 24, 2017

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory featured the work of Raffaella Margutti in a press release on the significance of supernova SN 2014C, a "chameleon supernova."

Eric Dahl Receives PCASE Award
January 9, 2017

Senior Daniel Kinch Named 2016 Marshall Scholar

Senior Daniel Kinch has been named a 2016 Marshall Scholar. He will explore the relationship between physics and math as it applies to string theory when the scholarship takes him to England for two years.

Written in the Stars: Couples Podcast Featuring Vicky Kalogera and Fred Rasio

Astrophysicists Fred Rasio and Vicky Kalogera actively avoid collaborating on research. That decision once came into play in the announcement of one of the biggest discoveries in modern science.

Adilson Motter Receives Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award
October 20, 2016

This award will support study of the temporal order of gene knockouts. Prof. Motter will collaborate with systems biologist Kimberly Reynolds of the University of Texas-Southwestern.

Brian Odom Named Faculty Director of Research Shop
October 20, 2016

Associate Professor Brian Odom will direct the Research Shop, a modernized core facility scheduled to open in summer 2017.

Rebecca Diesing Selected as Oliver Marcy Scholar for 2016-17
September 28, 2016

CIERA Postdoctoral Fellow Laura Sampson Selected for L'Oreal Women in Science Fellow
September 26, 2016

Earlier this summer we received the news that CIERA Postdoctoral Fellow Laura Sampson was selected as a 2016 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellow. This is a competitive and prestigious honor, and, we believe the first at Northwestern.

Three Physics and Astronomy Faculty Members Make the ASG Honor Roll
September 13, 2016

Three faculty members from the department made the ASG Honor Roll for 2016-2017. Professors Jens Koch, Andrew Rivers and Michael Smutko were the recipients of this year's award. Please join the department in congratulating our professors.

Northwestern University’s Physics and Astronomy Department is rising in impact and visibility

Over the last 15 years, Northwestern’s Department of Physics and Astronomy has emerged as a force in the field, with new researchers pushing innovative projects, compelling collaborations and groundbreaking discoveries that have elevated the standing and reach of the department.

Dearborn Observatory Featured in the Weinberg Magazine
June 24, 2016

The universe may be vast, but many of its secrets have been revealed by an 18.5-inch lens housed within Northwestern’s own Dearborn Observatory.

2016 Undergraduate Department Honors
May 24, 2016

Graduate Student Kyle Kremer to Perform in Solar System Symphony
May 18, 2016

Graduate student Kyle Kremer created a Solar System Symphony, combining his love of music and physics.

Kristian Hahn Receives DOE Early Career Award
May 6, 2016

Kristian Hahn, Assistant Professor in Physics & Astronomy, has received a $750,000 DOE Early Career Award. His work at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN focuses on the search for dark matter, the material that comprises 85% of the universe.

Prof. Jens Koch Awarded WCAS Distinguished Teaching Award
May 4, 2016

Jens Koch has been awarded the WCAS Distinguished Teaching Award. Each year Weinberg College recognizes three faculty for excellence in undergraduate teaching.

Kevin Kelly Awarded Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award
May 4, 2016

Kevin Kelly has been selected to receive the WCAS Outstanding Student Teaching Award. He was nominated by many students in his sections of Physics 135, Astronomy 101, Astronomy 111, and Astronomy 120, and strongly supported by faculty in the Department. Kevin works with Prof. André de Gouvêa.

Bennett Goldberg, New Director of Searle Center, to Have Joint Appointment in Physics & Astronomy
April 28, 2016

Bennett Goldberg has been appointed Director of the Searle Center and Associate Provost for learning and teaching. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and formerly a Professor of Physics at Boston University. He will have a courtesy appointment as a professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy.

Dan Baxter Receives DOE SCGSR Award
April 20, 2016

Graduate Student Dan Baxter has received an Office of Science Graduate Student Research program award. Supported by this award, Dan will be working at Fermilab for the next year with Hugh Lippincott to study electron recoil backgrounds in a LZ-style Xenon Time Projection Chamber. Dan is in the research group of Eric Dahl.

Alumnus Yoni Kahn Wins APS DFP Dissertation Award
April 13, 2016

Yonatan (Yoni) Kahn received the 2016 J.J. and Noriko Sakurai Dissertation Award in Theoretical Physics from the American Physical Society. The award will be made at the Division of Particles and Fields Meeting in Salt Lake City on April 17, 2016. Yoni is a 2009 graduate of the Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, BA in Physics. His undergraduate research at Northwestern was under the direction of Prof. Michael Schmitt. Kahn's dissertation was with Jesse Thaler at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the APS award cites the work "For proposing a novel method to detect dark photons, for developing halo-independent techniques of direct dark matter detection, and for finding a new viable supersymmetric extension of the standard model." This is the second J.J. and Noriko Sakurai Dissertation Award to go to a Northwestern alumnus in the past five years. The 2014 Award went to Ph.D. graduate Roberto Vega-Morales.

Daniel Case wins Presidential Fellowship
April 5, 2016

Graduate Student Daniel Case has been awarded a Presidential Fellowship, the most prestigious fellowship awarded to graduate students at Northwestern. It is funded by the President of the University and awarded by The Graduate School. Awardees are nominated by their academic programs as individuals who combine outstanding intellectual or creative ability with the capacity to play an active part in the life of the Society of Fellows. Daniel works in the research group of Prof. Adilson Motter.

Yang Yang Wins Student Speaker Award
March 25, 2016

Yang (Angela) Yang received the Student Speaker Award in Statistical and Nonlinear Physics at the APS March Meeting 2016, held in Baltimore, MD. She was selected from the 5 finalists invited to present at the meeting. The award includes a certificate, travel support, and a cash prize. Yang is a PhD Candidate in Prof. Adilson Motter’s group. Her talk at the meeting was titled “Hamiltonian-Based Model to Describe the Nonlinear Physics of Cascading Failures in Power-Grid Networks”.

Assistant Prof. Nate Stern Awarded Prestigious ONR Young Investigator Award

Nate Stern's proposal "Multi-Dimensional Control in Laterally Confined Atomically Thin Nanostructures" received funding through the Office of Naval Research's Young Investigator Award. Only 47 investigators received this prestigious early career award nationwide. Read the Northwestern News article here.

Profs. Adilson Motter and Takashi Nishikawa Awarded $3.2M Award to Study North American Power Grid

Adilson Motter and Takashi Nishikawa have received a Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems (NODES) grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) to study power grid architecture related to utilization of renewables. Prof. Motter and Nishikawa are members of the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN). Read the news release here.

Northwestern Alumnus Jay Jones Supports APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research
February 26, 2016

The American Physical Society awarded it's first Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research to Ed Witten on January 28, 2016. This medal was established through the generosity of Jay and Mary Jayne Jones. Jay graduated with an undergraduate degree in physics in 1948. He is an entrepreneur and founder of the Olympic Medal Corporation.

Assistant Prof. Nate Stern Featured in Northwestern Research Annual Report

Nate Stern's work on the quantum properties of materials was featured in the 2015 Annual Report from the Office for Research. Read the report here. Prof. Stern is featured on page 47.

Gravitational Waves Detected by LIGO, 100 Years After Einstein Predicted Them

Northwestern scientists Vicky Kalogera,Shane Larson, and Selim Shariar are members of the Laser Inferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration. Today, the collaboration announced the first detection of ripples in space time known as gravitational waves.

Northwestern Chapter of the Society of Physics Students Receives Recognition
February 11, 2016

The Northwestern Chapter of the Society of Physics Students has been recognized by the national organization as the Distinguished SPS Chapter for 2014-15. Our chapter is advised by Art Schmidt.

Rebecca Diesing Accepted to Undergraduate Summer Research Program at CERN
February 1, 2016

Physics major Rebecca Diesing was accepted to the University of Michigan's REU program at CERN. Diesing was nominated by Prof. Mayda Velasco.

Prof. Claudé-Andre Faucher-Giguère's Research Sheds Light on Star Formation

Using observations by the Hubble Space Telescope, an international research team, Claude-André Faucher-Giguère, Aaron Geller from CIERA, and astronomers from the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, has for the first time found young populations of stars within globular clusters that have apparently developed courtesy of star-forming gas flowing in from outside of the clusters themselves. The study is published in the January 28 issue of Nature and featured at the Northwestern News Center.

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.

Prof. Adilson Motter Elected to the AAAS

Prof. Adilson Motter has been elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Prof. Motter was chosen for his distinguished contributions to the fields of complex systems and nonlinear dynamics, particularly for advances in the network modeling and control of collective dynamics in complex physical and biophysical systems. Read more from the Northwestern Newscenter.

Physics & Astronomy Welcomes Gerald Gabrielse

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.

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."

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.

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.

1700 People Attend Rooftop Viewing of Lunar Eclipse

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.

Faucher-Giguère's Work on Galactic Evolution Featured in Northwestern Discover Research at Northwestern

Claudé-Andre Faucher-Giguère has performed breakthrough calculations that shed light on how galaxies form. Read the full article here.

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

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

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.

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.