Quantum Gas Reveals First Signs of Path-bending Monopole

Magnets, whether in the form of a bar, horseshoe or electromagnet, always have two poles. If you break a magnet in half, you’ll end up with two new magnets, each with its own magnetic north and south.

But some physics theories predict the existence of single-pole magnets—a situation akin to electric charges, which come in either positive or negative chunks. One particular incarnation—called the Yang monopole after its discoverer—was originally predicted in the context of high-energy physics, but it has never been observed.

Read More



Searching for the Quantumness of Gravity

Brian Swingle’s first passion was condensed-matter physics. As a graduate student, he performed calculations to uncover and understand new quantum phases of matter, such as topological insulators and spin liquids. But then Swingle signed up for a string theory class. There he realized that the condensed-matter tools he was developing could be used to answer questions in quantum gravity, the theory that could reconcile Einstein’s general theory of relativity with quantum mechanics. Read his interview with Physics magazine's Matteo Rini. 

Jack Wimberley Received Ph.D Thesis Award

UMD graduate student Jack Wimberley is one of two recipients of the 2018 Ph.D. thesis awards given by the Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) collaboration at CERN. These awards recognize students for excellent theses and additional work over and above the central thesis topic that has made an exceptional contribution to the LHCb.  The LHCb collaboration is made up of about 800 physicists from 79 institutions in 16 countries.  

Wimberley’s work explores a possible discrepancy in the Standard Model illuminated by analyzing the decay of rare particles. It was published in Physical Review Letters and highlighted in the October 13, 2017 CERN Courier.


A New Way to Measure Energy in Microscopic Machines

What drives cells to live and engines to move? It all comes down to a quantity that scientists call “free energy,” essentially the energy that can be extracted from any system to perform useful work. Without this available energy, a living organism would eventually die and a machine would lie idle.

Read More