Faculty, Staff, Student and Alumni Awards & Notes

We proudly recognize members of our community who recently garnered major honors, began new positions and more.

Department News
  • A memorial symposium commemorating the life and scientific career of Charles W. Misner was held on November 11. Videos and slides from the day can be found here.
Faculty and Staff
  • John Labbate was commended for his poster at the APS Division of Plasma Physics (APS-DPP) meeting in Denver.
  • Physics magazine Junheng Tao, Mingshu Zhao and Ian Spielman 
  • Simone Pierpaoli was mentioned in The Diamondback.
  • Isaac Sherwood was quoted in Maryland Today.

Losert Named MPower Professor

Wolfgang Losert has been named an MPower Professor.  Three professors from UMD and from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)  received this distinction from the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State (MPower), which recognizes, incentivizes, and fosters collaborations between the two institutions.

Losert holds a joint appointment in physics and the Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST). He also holds an affiliate appointment in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering, andan adjunct appointment with the University of Maryland Medical System's Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is co-director of the National Cancer Institute-University of Maryland Partnership for Integrative Cancer Research. Losert's research — supported by $2 million-plus a year in funding for the past seven years — is at the convergence of physics, biology, and artificial intelligence and focuses on the nonlinear dynamics of living systems.
Wolfgang Losert. Credit: UMD/Lisa Helfert. Wolfgang Losert. Credit: UMD/Lisa Helfert.

In his research, Losert aims to discover emergent dynamic properties of complex systems at the interface of physics and biology. He currently leads a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative program funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research that transformed our understanding of how cells sense their physical environment. He also serves as co-principal investigator on a Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative center grant from the National Institutes of Health focused on information processing in sensory brain circuits.

Losert actively fosters cross-disciplinary interactions and new research and educational opportunities on campus and beyond. He helped launch and currently co-leads the American Physical Society Group on Data Science. He was part of a trans-university initiative of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (called NEXUS) that developed new science and math courses for biology majors and pre-health care students that are being widely adopted. He led the development of and co-directs the NCI-UMD Partnership for Integrative Cancer Research, which provides UMD faculty members and graduate students the opportunity to tackle pressing problems in cancer research in collaboration with National Cancer Institute experts. 

A Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Losert joined UMD in 2000 as an assistant professor and served as an associate dean in CMNS (2014-22) and as interim IPST director (2019-20). He earned his Ph.D. in physics from the City College of the City University of New York in 1998 and his diplom in applied physics from the Technical University of Munich in Germany in 1995.

Also selected were Jessica Magidson and Steven Prior from UMD and Lisa Berlin, Osamah Saeedi and James Polli from UMB.

Buonanno to Receive Oskar Klein Medal

Research Professor Alessandra Buonanno will receive the 2023 Oskar Klein Medal by the Stockholm University and the Nobel Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Each year, a distinguished physicist is invited to deliver the Memorial Lecture and to receive the Oskar Klein medal. Buonanno will give the Memorial Lecture on “Gravitational-Wave Astronomy: Theoretical Advances and Challenges” on November 23 at the AlbaNova Center in Stockholm.Alessandra Buonanno  © Markus Scholz for the Leopoldina Alessandra Buonanno © Markus Scholz for the Leopoldina

Buonanno is the director of the Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity Department at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics  (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam.

Buonanno's research has spanned several topics in gravitational wave theory, data analysis and cosmology. She is a Principal Investigator of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, and her waveform modeling of cosmological events has been crucial in the experiment’s many successes. Her work has merited election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences.

In 2018, Buonanno received the Leibniz Prize, Germany's prestigious research award. Other accolades include the Galileo Galilei Medal of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), the Tomalla Prize, the Dirac Medal (with Thibault Damour, Frans Pretorius, and Saul Teukolsky) and the Balzan Prize (with Damour).

She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the International Society of General Relativity and Gravitation and a recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship and the Richard A. Ferrell Distinguished Faculty Fellowship.

Buonanno, Charlie Misner, Peter Shawhan and others detailed UMD's contributions to gravitational studies in a 2016 forum, A Celebration of Gravitational Waves

Originally published by the Max Plank Institute: https://www.aei.mpg.de/1092354/alessandra-buonanno-awarded-oskar-klein-medal

Eno Elected to Leadership Line

Sarah Eno has been elected to the leadership track of the American Physical Society Division of Particles and Fields (APS DPF). She will serve as vice-chair from 2024-26, followed by two years as division chair.Eno has worked on several collider experiments. In 1993, she joined UMD as an Assistant Professor, and began research at the DØ experiment at Fermilab.  The discovery of the top quark—announced by the CDF and DØ teams in 1995—was a milestone in particle physics. Eno’s precise measurement of the decay width and mass of the electroweak W boson helped predict the mass of the top quark. 

Sarah EnoSarah Eno

Since 1999, Eno has worked on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. In 2012, CERN announced experimental verification of the Higgs boson, and the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs, whose 1960s calculations determined that mass could not exist without the presence of such a particle.  Since 2020 she has participated in the development of experiments for a potential new electron-positron collider at CERN (FCC-ee). She is also exploring improvement and simulations of calorimeters to better study the momentums of jets and of missing transverse energy, and studies of radiation damage in plastic scintillators.

Eno is a University of Maryland Distinguished ScholarTeacher and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society (APS).