Hans R. Griem, 1928-2019

Prof. Emeritus Hans R. Griem, a noted expert in high-temperature plasmas and spectroscopy, died on October 2, 2019.

Prof. Griem received his Ph.D. from the Universität of Kiel, Germany, in 1954 and accepted a Fulbright Fellowship working on upper atmospheric physics at UMD. He returned to Universität Kiel for a two-year appointment before joining the UMD faculty in 1957.   He was well known for his research on radiation from highly ionized atoms in high temperature plasmas, and for his work on spectral line broadening (and shifts) in dense plasmas.  He was a consultant with Los Alamos National Laboratory during most of his career, and retired from UMD in 1994.

He was a fellow of the American Physical Society and a referee for several journals, including Physical Review Letters.  Among his accolades were a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Humboldt Award and the William F. Meggers Award of the Optical Society.  In 1991 he received the James Clerk Maxwell Prize in Plasma Physics for "his numerous contributions to experimental plasma physics and spectroscopy, particularly in the area of improved diagnostic methods for high temperature plasmas, and for his books on plasma spectroscopy and spectral line broadening in plasmas that have become standard references in the field."

Prof. Griem was instrumental in founding the UMD Institute Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, and served as one of the first directors of IREAP. He advised over 40 doctoral students in his time at UMD.

Jim Griffin, Hans Griem and Doug Currie in 2001.

In The Washington Post obituary published Oct. 6, 2019, the Griem family kindly directed donations in Prof. Griem's name to UMD Physics.


Joel Dahlin Receives Ronald Davidson Award

Joel Dahlin

Alumnus Joel Dahlin, who earned his Ph.D. in 2015, has received the 2019 Ronald C. Davidson Award for Plasma Physics from AIP Publishing. Dahlin, who was advised by Distinguished University Professor James Drake and Marc Swisdak of the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics­­, is now a postdoctoral fellow at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

AIP Publishing sponsors the award in collaboration with the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics (APS-DPP), to recognize one researcher each year whose outstanding work has been published in the journal Physics of Plasmas.

"AIP Publishing and Physics of Plasmas are delighted to award Joel T. Dahlin the 2019 Ronald C. Davidson Award for Plasmas Physics," said Jason Wilde, chief publishing officer at AIP Publishing. "Now in its fourth year, this award is in honor of the late Ron Davidson, the long-time Editor-in-Chief of Physics of Plasmas."

Dahlin is being honored for his article, "The mechanisms of electron heating and acceleration during magnetic reconnection," written with Drake and Swisdak. It was selected from the most highly cited and most highly downloaded articles published in Physics of Plasmas during the past five years. 

“It is a great honor to be recognized with an award bearing Ron Davidson’s name, given his broad and influential contributions to the field of plasma physics. Since my co-authors and I published our work, it has been exciting and deeply gratifying to see how other researchers have used and built on the ideas we laid out,” Dahlin said.

The paper explored the mechanisms for electron acceleration caused by collision-less magnetic reconnection in plasma with a magnetic guide field sufficient for adiabatic electron motion. In a follow-up paper, “Electron acceleration in three-dimensional magnetic reconnection with a guide field,” Physics of Plasmas 22, 100704 (2015), Dahlin and his co-authors showed a dramatic enhancement of energetic electron production in 3D systems where stochastic magnetic fields enable continuous access to volume-filling acceleration regions.

According to Spiro K. Antiochos of NASA GSFC, "Joel Dahlin's results on particle acceleration during magnetic reconnection, especially on the effects of a guide field, may well be the key to finally understanding two decades-old major puzzles in the plasma physics of solar flares: How are flares so efficient at accelerating electrons, and why does the acceleration occur only during the early, impulsive phase of a flare?”

Dahlin will be presented with the award during the 61st Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics on Tues., Oct. 22.

For more information, please see the AIP announcement here.

Quantum Materials Symposium to Showcase Local Expertise and Highlight Partnerships in D.C. Region

The University of Maryland held a one-day symposium focusing on local research into quantum materials—condensed matter systems that exhibit strong quantum effects and hold promise as potential components in next-generation computers, sensors and other devices on Sept. 26, 2019, in the Kim Engineering Building.  

Hosted by UMD’s Center for Nanophysics and Advanced Materials (CNAM)—which will be renamed the Quantum Materials Center next month—the event broght together researchers from the university’s Departments of Physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering, in addition to researchers from the nearby National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Laboratory for Physical Sciences. Around 50 quantum materials researchers and institutional leaders were expected to attend.

CNAM Director and Professor of Physics Johnpierre Paglione, together with Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) Fellow and Assistant Professor of Physics James Williams, organized the event, which included talks on recent quantum materials research as well as reflections on collaborations that have formed among UMD researchers and also between researchers at UMD and area partners such as NIST.

“Fundamental studies of quantum materials play a critical role in not only supporting current development of quantum technologies, but also the discovery of new phenomena that hold promise for future applications,” Paglione said. “This symposium will bring together the top experts from our local community and will hopefully sprout new collaborations and partnerships.”

Amitabh Varshney, dean of UMD’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, and Robert Briber, associate dean of UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, delivered their perspectives on campus initiatives in quantum science, including the newly formed Quantum Technology Center. Carl Williams, a JQI Fellow and the acting director of the Physical Measurement Laboratory at NIST, discussed aspects of the National Quantum Initiative, and Dan Neumann, group leader of neutron condensed matter science at the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), discussed the partnership between CNAM and NCNR, which recently led to the discovery of a superconductor that may be useful in future quantum computers.

“CNAM maintains strong interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers across several departments and institutes,” Paglione said. “Going forward, we want to strengthen those partnerships, which have contributed to the success of CNAM’s fundamental research on quantum materials.”

Jeffrey Lynn, a NIST Fellow and adjunct professor of physics at UMD, is the team leader for condensed matter physics at NCNR. He noted, “There have been longstanding multidisciplinary cooperative research collaborations between NIST and UMD in general, and the NCNR and CNAM in particular,” Lynn says. “In addition to the research output, these collaborations provide cross-institutional research capabilities for students, postdoctoral fellows, and scientific staff that are essential to perform the best quantum materials research.”

 QMC logo

Story by Chris Cesare, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland Delivers Paint Branch Lecture

2018 Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland of the University of Waterloo, the third woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics (after Marie Curie in 1903 and Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963) visited UMD on September 19 to deliver the 2019 Paint Branch Distinguished Lecture in Applied Physics.  In addition to giving her talk, “From Nonlinear Optics to High-Intensity Laser Physics”, Strickland met with an enthusiastic group of women graduate students.

Donna Strickland visited UMD on 9/19/19.

Strickland earned her Ph.D. at the University of Rochester, and held appointments at the National Research Council Canada, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Princeton University before joining the University of Waterloo in 1997.  She has received a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award and a Cottrell Scholar Award. She is a past president of the Optical Society (OSA) and is an OSA Fellow and an SPIE Fellow.

Peter Shawhan Elected APS Fellow

Peter Shawhan has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He was cited for the “development of techniques and algorithms to search LIGO data for transient signals, and for realizing the important future scientific implications of gravitational wave observations by looking for other signals developed by electromagnetic observations.”

Shawhan received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Chicago, and was appointed a Millikan Prize Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. He continued at Caltech as a Senior Scientist before accepting a faculty appointment with UMD Physics in 2006.  Shawhan’s primary research for the past 20 years has been direct detection of gravitational waves with the LIGO and Virgo detectors, and he has held numerous leadership positions within the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, including Burst Analysis Working Group Co-Chair (2004-11) and LSC Data Analysis Coordinator (2017-present).  He was instrumental in establishing and nurturing a program of sharing prompt information about gravitational-wave event candidates with astronomers to allow them to look for corresponding signals in their instruments.  That groundwork enabled a remarkably rich campaign of astronomical follow-up observations and study, spanning the whole electromagnetic spectrum, when LIGO and Virgo detected the first binary neutron merger event, in August 2017.  That first event has provided scientific breakthroughs in fundamental physics, neutron star properties, high-energy astrophysics, and cosmology.  LIGO and Virgo are currently collecting more data and reporting more event candidates as they are identified.

Shawhan served as the Physics Associate Chair for Graduate Education from 2014-19 and is a member of the UMD-Goddard Joint Space-Science Institute and its Executive Committee. In addition, he is a past Chair of the Division of Gravitational Physics of the American Physical Society. Shawhan received the Richard A. Ferrell Distinguished Faculty Fellowship from the UMD Department of Physics in 2016. He was the recipient in 2018 of the Kirwan Faculty Research and Scholarship Prize and the USM Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Research.

Ray Phaneuf of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who holds an affiliate appointment in Physics, was also elected "for development of novel industrial applications of thin film techniques including coatings for the protection of cultural heritage objects against corrosion and directed-assembly of nanostructures on semiconductor surfaces."