• Research News

    Narrow Glass Threads Synchronize the Light Emissions of Distant Atoms

    If you holler at someone across your yard, the sound travels on the bustling movement of air molecules. But over long distances your voice needs help to reach its destination—help provided by a telephone or the Internet. Atoms don’t yell, but they can share Read More
  • Research News

    Quantum Simulators Wield Control Over More Than 50 Qubits, Setting New Record

    Two independent teams of scientists, including one from the Joint Quantum Institute, have used more than 50 interacting atomic qubits to mimic magnetic quantum matter, blowing past the complexity of previous demonstrations. The results appear in this week’s issue of Nature. As the basis Read More
  • Research News

    High-altitude Observatory Sheds Light on Origin of Excess Anti-matter

    UMD-led HAWC collaboration suggests dark matter as possible culprit A mountaintop observatory in Mexico, built and operated by an international team of scientists, has captured the first wide-angle view of gamma rays emanating from two rapidly spinning stars. The High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma-Ray Observatory Read More
  • Research News

    Neutron Star Merger Directly Observed for the First Time

    On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars—the dense, collapsed cores that remain after large stars die in a supernova explosion. The merger is the first cosmological event observed in both gravitational Read More
  • Research News

    Gravitational Waves Detected a Fourth Time

    On August 14, 2017, at 10:30:43 UTC, scientists observed gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of spacetime—for the fourth time. The twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors—located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington—detected the gravitational wave event, named GW170814.  Read More
  • Research News

    Turning Ions into Quantum Cats

    In Schrödinger's famous thought experiment, a cat seems to be both dead and alive—an idea that strains credulity. These days, cats still don't act this way, but physicists now regularly create analogues of Schrödinger's cat in the lab by smearing the microscopic quantum world Read More
  • Research News

    Sensing Atoms Caught in Ripples of Light

    Optical fibers are ubiquitous, carrying light wherever it is needed. These glass tunnels are the high-speed railway of information transit, moving data at incredible speeds over tremendous distances. Read More
  • Research News

    Space-based Experiment Will Tackle the Mysteries of Cosmic Rays

    On August 14, 2017, a groundbreaking University of Maryland-designed cosmic ray detector will travel to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the SpaceX-12 Commercial Resupply Service mission. The instrument, named ISS Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass (ISS-CREAM), is roughly the size of a refrigerator and Read More
  • Research News

    Simulating the Quantum World with Electron Traps

    Quantum behavior plays a crucial role in novel and emergent material properties, such as superconductivity and magnetism. Unfortunately, it is still impossible to calculate the underlying quantum behavior, let alone fully understand it. Scientists of QuTech, the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience in Delft and Read More
  • 1 Narrow Glass Threads Synchronize the Light Emissions of Distant Atoms
  • 2 Quantum Simulators Wield Control Over More Than 50 Qubits, Setting New Record
  • 3 High-altitude Observatory Sheds Light on Origin of Excess Anti-matter
  • 4 Neutron Star Merger Directly Observed for the First Time
  • 5 Gravitational Waves Detected a Fourth Time
  • 6 Turning Ions into Quantum Cats
  • 7 Sensing Atoms Caught in Ripples of Light
  • 8 Space-based Experiment Will Tackle the Mysteries of Cosmic Rays
  • 9 Simulating the Quantum World with Electron Traps
  • Outreach
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Department News

  • Dec 5, 2017 Physics and Astronomy Alumnus Charles Bennett Receives 2018 Breakthrough Prize Alumnus Charles L. Bennett (B.S. Physics and Astronomy, 1978) has received the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics “for detailed maps of the early universe that greatly improved our knowledge of the evolution of the cosmos and the fluctuations that seeded the formation of galaxies.” Read More
  • Dec 1, 2017 Quantum Physics and Gravity Meet in New Assistant Professor's Research Two landmark achievements of 20th century physics remain stubbornly isolated, despite decades of attempts by scientists to bring them together. On their own, they’ve been wildly successful. General relativity—Einstein’s grand theory of gravity—fused space and time into a single entity. It birthed the global positioning Read More
  • Nov 8, 2017 Congressional Hearing Highlights Need for Quantum Technology Initiative On October 24, 2017, two Fellows of the Joint Quantum Institute and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science were among those that testified during a joint congressional committee hearing on the topic of American Leadership in Quantum Technology. Carl Williams and Christopher Read More
  • Oct 27, 2017 Ravi Kuchimanchi Awarded Sakharov Prize Alumnus Ravi Kuchimanchi (Ph.D., 1995) has been awarded the 2018 Andrei Sakharov Prize of the American Physical Society "for his continued research in physics while simultaneously advocating for global policies that reflect science; for leading sustainable development, human rights, and social justice efforts; and for Read More
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Wed, Dec 13, 2017 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Sprangle Wins 2013 James Clerk Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics

The American Physical Society (APS) has awarded Phillip Sprangle the 2013 James Clerk Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics for " pioneering contributions to the physics of high intensity laser interactions with plasmas, and to the development of plasma accelerators, free-electron lasers, gyrotrons and high current electron accelerators."

The prize is the highest honor bestowed to plasma physicists by the APS. It will presented at the annual meeting of the Division of Plasma Physics, November 11-15, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.

Phillip Sprangle

Physics Graduate Students Receive Dissertation Awards

Physics graduate student Sergii Pershoguba, advised by Victor Yakovenko, has been awarded an Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship. The fellowship, created for students who are in the final stages of writing their dissertations, includes a stipend of $10,000, tuition remission and financial assistance towards the cost of health insurance.

Pershoguba works in theoretical condensed matter physics. He is currently studying the behavior of electrons in such novel systems as graphene, 2D surface of a topological insulator, CuO2 plane of a high-temperature superconductor. In nature, these 2D systems often exist as layers of the 3D crystals. His interests are in the unusual phenomena which occur due to the interaction between the 2D layers in 3D geometry.

In addition, Kaji Rajibul Islam was awarded a Distinguished Dissertation Award for Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering. Islam was advised by Chirstopher Monroe. His dissertation, Quantum Simulations of Interacting Spin Models with Trapped Ions, was completed and submitted in 2012.

Full Lists


UMD Physics Efforts Cited Among 2012's Most Important

Physics World's compilation of the year's biggest discoveries included the work of several UMD physicists. The highest-rated discovery was that of the Higgs particle reported by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at CERN. Professors Drew Baden, Sarah Eno, Nick Hadley and Andris Skuja are all collaborators on CMS, and have made significant contributions in the building, running, and analysis of the data. Professor Alberto Belloni will join the department from ATLAS in January, and will become the fifth faculty member on CMS, an international collaboration.

One of the next highest-rated discoveries was attributed to Leo Kouwenhoven and colleagues at Delft University for confirmation of the Majorana fermion, closely following a prediction by Sankar Das Sarma and UMD/JQI colleagues in 2010.

The BaBar experiment's discovery of time-reversal invariance in the quark sector also made the top-10 list. Professors Hassan Jawahery and Doug Roberts played key roles on BaBar, another large international experiment using electron-position beams at SLAC. Jawahery served as the physics analysis coordinator and later as spokesperson (overall leader) of the experiment.

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Physics Students Earn Goldwater Scholarships

Stephen Randall and Noah Roth Mandell have been awarded scholarships by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which encourages students to pursue advanced study and careers in the sciences, engineering and mathematics.

Randall is a double major in physics and mathematics and plans to pursue a doctorate in theoretical physics. Mandell plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics.

The Goldwater Scholarship program was created in 1986 to identify students of outstanding ability and promise in science, engineering and mathematics, and to engage their pursuit of advanced study and research careers. The University of Maryland had three Goldwater winners this year and 44 total since its inception 27 years ago.

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Gates Receives National Medal of Science, Regents Professorship



University of Maryland Professor of Physics Sylvester James "Jim" Gates Jr. was one of 23 extraordinary scientists and innovators honored recently with the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.  Gates, the John S. Toll Professor of Physics, is Director of the Center for String and Particle Theory and, most recently, a University System of Maryland Regents Professor. 

President Obama presented the National Medal of Science to Gates in a White House ceremony on Friday, Feb. 1.

Dr. Gates was featured in The Washington Post on Feb. 1.

The White House features the ceremony in a blog post on STEM education, and has posted a video online.

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