• Research News

    Scientists See Train of Photons in a New Light

    Flashlight beams don’t clash together like lightsabers because individual units of light—photons—generally don’t interact with each other. Two beams don’t even flicker when they cross paths. But by using matter as an intermediary, scientists have unlocked a rich world of photon interactions. In these Read More
  • Research News

    Quantum Simulation Stars Light in the Role of Sound

    Inside a material, such as an insulator, semiconductor or superconductor, a complex drama unfolds that determines the physical properties. Physicists work to observe these scenes and recreate the script that the actors—electrons, atoms and other particles—play out. It is no surprise that electrons are Read More
  • Research News

    Diamonds Shine a Light on Hidden Currents in Graphene

    It sounds like pure sorcery: using diamonds to observe invisible power swirling and flowing through carefully crafted channels. But these diamonds are a reality. Prof. Ron Walsworth of the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) and Quantum Technology Center (QTC), working with Postdoctoral Associate Mark Ku, Harvard's Read More
  • Research News

    New Quantum Information Speed Limits Depend on the Task at Hand

    Unlike speed limits on the highway, most speed limits in physics cannot be disobeyed. For example, no matter how little you care about getting a ticket, you can never go faster than the speed of light. Similarly stringent limits exist for information, too. The Read More
  • Research News

    Quantum Gases Won’t Take the Heat

    The quantum world blatantly defies intuitions that we’ve developed while living among relatively large things, like cars, pennies and dust motes. In the quantum world, tiny particles can maintain a special connection over any distance, pass through barriers and simultaneously travel down multiple paths. Read More
  • Research News

    Peeking into a World of Spin-3/2 Materials

    Researchers have been pushing the frontiers of the quantum world for over a century. And time after time, spin has been a rich source of new physics. Spin, like mass and electrical charge, is an intrinsic property of quantum particles. It is central to Read More
  • Research News

    New Protocol Helps Classify Topological Matter

    Topological materials have captured the interest of many scientists and may provide the basis for a new era in materials development. On April 10, 2020 in the journal Science Advances, physicists working with Andreas Elben, Jinlong Yu, Peter Zoller and Benoit Vermersch, including Associate Read More
  • Research News

    Donuts, Donut Holes and Topological Superconductors

    Topology—the mathematical study of shapes that describes how a donut differs from a donut hole—has turned out to be remarkably relevant to understanding our physical world. For decades, it’s captured the hearts and minds of physicists, who have spent that time uncovering just how Read More
  • Research News

    Charting a Course Toward Quantum Simulations of Nuclear Physics

    In nuclear physics, like much of science, detailed theories alone aren’t always enough to unlock solid predictions. There are often too many pieces, interacting in complex ways, for researchers to follow the logic of a theory through to its end. It’s one reason there Read More
  • 1 Scientists See Train of Photons in a New Light
  • 2 Quantum Simulation Stars Light in the Role of Sound
  • 3 Diamonds Shine a Light on Hidden Currents in Graphene
  • 4 New Quantum Information Speed Limits Depend on the Task at Hand
  • 5 Quantum Gases Won’t Take the Heat
  • 6 Peeking into a World of Spin-3/2 Materials
  • 7 New Protocol Helps Classify Topological Matter
  • 8 Donuts, Donut Holes and Topological Superconductors
  • 9 Charting a Course Toward Quantum Simulations of Nuclear Physics
  • Student Spotlight
  • Grad Student Spotlight

martyn J

For the past four years, John Martyn could be seen whipping across campus on his skateboard. As he traveled from class to the lab on his board, Martyn was mastering the ultimate balancing act. 

While the recent physics graduate wasn’t doing any calculations while he was

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Since arriving at the University of Maryland in 2015, physics Ph.D. student Liz Friedman has immersed herself in much of what the University of Maryland has to offer.

“It is important to remember that graduate school is a marathon and not a sprint,” Friedman said.


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Department News

  • Aug 7, 2020 Ott Elected Foreign Member of the Academia Europaea Professor Ed Ott has been elected a foreign member of the Academia Europaea for his outstanding achievements and international scholarship as a researcher. He is globally known for his pioneering contributions in nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory. Ott is a University of Maryland Distinguished University Professor and holder Read More
  • Aug 7, 2020 Lila Snow, 1927 - 2020 Lila Snow, a noted local artist and television host, died on July 13. She was the wife of George Snow, a UMD professor of high energy physics from 1958 to 1992. Lila, a native New Yorker, earned a degree in chemistry from Brooklyn College and Read More
  • Jul 8, 2020 Linke Lab's Work Cited Research by a team that includes Assistant Professor Norbert Linke, UMD physics graduate student Nhung Hong Nguyen, and visiting graduate student Cinthia Huerta Alderete has been selected as one of the 2019 Top Picks in Computer Architecture by IEEE Micro. The work, which compared different kinds Read More
  • Jun 30, 2020 Maissam Barkeshli Promoted to Associate Professor Maissam Barkeshli has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor, effective July 1, 2020. Barkeshli received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Afterward, he was a Simons Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University and a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft's Station Q at the University Read More
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Upcoming Events

14 Aug
Virtual AMO Seminar
Date Fri, Aug 14, 2020 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
17 Aug
Online EPT Seminar
Mon, Aug 17, 2020 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
18 Aug
CMTC Seminar
Tue, Aug 18, 2020 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
19 Aug
Mohammad Hafezi on Quantum Optics
Wed, Aug 19, 2020 1:30 pm - 2:00 pm
24 Aug
Mon, Aug 24, 2020 3:00 pm - 4:00 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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