• Research News

    New Research Reveals How Energy Dissipates Outside Earth’s Magnetic Field

    Earth’s magnetic field provides an invisible but crucial barrier that protects Earth from the solar wind—a stream of charged particles launched from the sun’s outer layers. The protective properties of the magnetic field can fail due to a process known as magnetic reconnection, which Read More
  • Research News

    Machine Learning’s ‘Amazing’ Ability to Predict Chaos

    The findings come from Professors Michelle Girvan and Edward Ott along with two other UMD collaborators. "They employed a machine-learning algorithm called reservoir computing to “learn” the dynamics of an archetypal chaotic system called the Kuramoto-Sivashinsky equation. The evolving solution to this equation behaves Read More
  • Research News

    Atoms May Hum a Tune from Grand Cosmic Symphony

    Researchers playing with a cloud of ultracold atoms uncovered behavior that bears a striking resemblance to the universe in microcosm. Their work, which forges new connections between atomic physics and the sudden expansion of the early universe, will be published in Physical Review X Read More
  • Research News

    A Different Spin on Superconductivity: Unusual Particle Interactions Open up new Possibilities in Exotic Materials

    When you plug in an appliance or flip on a light switch, electricity seems to flow instantly through wires in the wall. But in fact, the electricity is carried by tiny particles called electrons that slowly drift through the wires. On their journey, electrons Read More
  • Research News

    Latest Nanowire Experiment Boosts Confidence in Majorana Sighting

    In the latest experiment of its kind, researchers have captured the most compelling evidence to date that unusual particles lurk inside a special kind of superconductor. The result, which confirms theoretical predictions first made nearly a decade ago at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) Read More
  • Research News

    Physics at the Edge of the World

      Deep within the ice covering the South Pole, thousands of sensitive cameras strain their digital eyes in search of a faint blue glow—light that betrays the presence of high-energy neutrinos. For this episode, Chris sat down with UMD graduate student Liz Friedman and Read More
  • Research News

    New Hole-Punched Crystal Clears a Path for Quantum Light

    Optical highways for light are at the heart of modern communications. But when it comes to guiding individual blips of light called photons, reliable transit is far less common. Now, a collaboration of researchers from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), led by JQI Fellows Read More
  • Research News

    Rare Decays Provide Hints of Particle Mischief

    Scientists cataloguing the disintegration of an ethereal particle may have spotted new signs of a subtle discrepancy in the Standard Model—the theory that wraps up all of particle physics in a single equation. The new measurement, performed at the Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment Read More
  • Research News

    Spheres of Attraction, Brought Together by Quantum Physics

    Researchers at the University of Maryland have made new measurements of a practically imperceptible effect, known as the Casimir force. In contrast to more familiar forces like gravitation, scientists didn’t even really know of its existence until the mid 20th century. Read more. Read More
  • 1 New Research Reveals How Energy Dissipates Outside Earth’s Magnetic Field
  • 2 Machine Learning’s ‘Amazing’ Ability to Predict Chaos
  • 3 Atoms May Hum a Tune from Grand Cosmic Symphony
  • 4 A Different Spin on Superconductivity: Unusual Particle Interactions Open up new Possibilities in Exotic Materials
  • 5 Latest Nanowire Experiment Boosts Confidence in Majorana Sighting
  • 6 Physics at the Edge of the World
  • 7 New Hole-Punched Crystal Clears a Path for Quantum Light
  • 8 Rare Decays Provide Hints of Particle Mischief
  • 9 Spheres of Attraction, Brought Together by Quantum Physics
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Department News

  • May 11, 2018 Erik Blaufuss Wins Provost’s Excellence Award Research Scientist Erik Blaufuss has received the 2018 Provost’s Excellence Award for Professional Track Faculty in research.   Blaufuss has served as scientific analysis coordinator of IceCube, an NSF-sponsored scientific instrument in Antarctica in which 5,160 photoreceptors are embedded in a cubic kilometer of crystal-clear Read More
  • May 10, 2018 Christopher Bambic Awarded University Medal Christopher Bambic, who will graduate this month with bachelor of science degrees in physics and astronomy, will also be awarded the University Medal, which recognizes the most outstanding graduate of the year. The University Medal is awarded to the undergraduate who best personifies academic distinction, Read More
  • May 8, 2018 Eliot Fenton Recognized as a Maryland ‘Undergraduate Researcher of the Year’ Eliot Fenton, UMD physics major, was among those recognized as a 2018 Maryland ‘Undergraduate Researcher of the Year.’ This award is eligible for exemplary seniors who have been nominated by their faculty advisors.  Fenton earned this award for his wide-ranging experimental physics research accomplishments. From Read More
  • May 8, 2018 Richard F. Ellis (1944-2018) Professor Emeritus Richard F. Ellis died on Sunday, May 6.  He was 73. Professor Ellis received his B.A. in physics at Cornell University in 1966 and his Ph.D. in plasma physics at Princeton in 1971.  He served on the faculty at Dartmouth and also held appointments Read More
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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.

Read more

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.

Read more