Buonanno Elected to Italian National Academy of Sciences

Alessandra Buonanno has been elected a member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the Italian National Academy of Sciences

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

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).

Alessandra Buonanno © A. Klaer Alessandra Buonanno © A. Klaer

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


UMD Lab to Become Major Laser Research Center

Led by Professor Howard Milchberg, the Lab for Intense Laser-Matter Interactions has been chosen as one of ten LaserNetUS nodes.  The lab will receive an annual award for three years to fund laser lab research staff, postdocs and graduate students.

LaserNetUS was established in 2018 by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and is funded through the DOE’s Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES).  The purpose of the network is to allow US and international researchers without access to high powered and unique lasers the ability to  do experiments in cooperation with the network’s facilities.  In return, this leads to the advancement of research and  stimulates collaboration between various research groups.Professor Milchberg's Laser Matter Interactions GroupProfessor Milchberg's Laser Matter Interactions Group

This year, UMD is one of three new nodes.  As a collaborative node, Milchberg’s lab will accept proposals from other research groups and will have the opportunity to collaborate with those that best fit its scientific agenda.

Milchberg notes that ”this award recognizes our lab’s broad array of laser sources and techniques and its commitment to fundamental physics understanding and student education. This has been the recipe for many well-known Maryland innovations and discoveries” 

Read here for more information on LaserNetUS. 


Original story: https://ece.umd.edu/news/story/umd-lab-to-become-major-laser-research-center


Charles W. Misner, 1932 - 2023

Charles W. Misner, an eminent theorist and co-author of the classic textbook Gravitation, died on July 24, 2023. He was 91.

Misner received a bachelor’s degree at the University of Notre Dame before his doctoral studies at Princeton University with John Archibald Wheeler.  Following conferral of his Ph.D. in 1957, he remained at Princeton. A Sloan Fellowship enabled him to study at Niels Bohr’s Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen, and while there, he met and fell in love with Susanne Kemp, a friend of the Bohr family.  John S. Toll, also in Denmark that spring, greeted the couple as they emerged from their wedding at the Copenhagen cathedral to convince them to move to UMD. Toll's powers of persuasion prevailed, and Misner served on the Maryland faculty from 1963 until his 2000 retirement. 

Prof. Misner's many contributions were celebrated Nov. 10-11 with a special lecture by Kip Thorne and a day-long symposium. Please click here for information. 

Misner enjoyed a distinguished career in general relativity, devising with Richard Arnowitt and Stanley Deser the ADM formalism, which earned them the American Physical Society Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics in 1994, and was commended by the Albert Einstein Society with its Einstein Medal in 2015. Misner was an elected Fellowand was an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Astronomical Society. 

He is also well-known as the co-author, with Wheeler and Nobel laureate Kip Thorne, of the acclaimed 1973 textbook, Gravitation. The authoritative opus, known universally as MTW, was so comprehensive and unique in its vivid pedagogical style that it has remained a valued resource despite subsequent developments, and was republished in 2017. Earlier this year, the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation (ISGRG) celebrated the book’s 50th anniversary with an online forum; the milestone was also marked in Physics Today.

Following LIGO’s confirmation of Einstein’s theory of relativity, Misner contributed to UMD's popular Nov. 1, 2016 symposium, A Celebration of Gravitational Waves.  When Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish received the 2017 Nobel Prize for LIGO, Misner was quoted in Nature 's writeup.  His student Richard Isaacson (Ph.D., 1967), was noted as an "unsung hero" of LIGO, along with former UMD physicist Joe Weber and Alessandra Buonanno, in a separate article in Nature

The American Institute of Physics interviewed Misner for its oral history collection in 1989, 2001 and in 2020.

In 2018, Susanne Misner spotted a New York Times story announcing that a signed copy of Stephen Hawking's doctoral thesis had sold for $760,000. The Misners authorized the sale of their Hawking correspondence, yielding $260,000 to benefit the Joseph Weber Fund for Gravitational Physics.

More recently, the Misner family established the Charles W. Misner Endowed Lectureship in Gravitational Physics, which debuted in Fall 2022. 

The Charles W. Misner Award, recognizing outstanding Ph.D. thesis work in gravitation and cosmology by a UMD graduate student, was established in his honor.

Susanne Misner died in 2019; the couple is survived by four children and five grandchildren.  Please see this link for further information from the Misner family.  

Yunger Halpern is US Nominee for ASPIRE Young Researcher Award

Adjunct Assistant Professor and Joint Quantum Institute affiliate Nicole Yunger Halpernis the 2023 U.S. nominee for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE), an annual prize for young researchers that is awarded by the APEC trade organization. Yunger Halpern’s nomination by the State Department’s Office of Science and Technology Cooperation comes with its own $3,000 prize. Nicole Yunger Halpern  (Credit: John T. Consoli/UMD)Nicole Yunger Halpern (Credit: John T. Consoli/UMD)

“I'm extremely grateful to NIST and the University of Maryland for their support for my work,” says Yunger Halpern, who is also a Fellow of the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an adjunct assistant professor of the Institute for Physical Sciences and Technology, a member of the NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Robust Quantum Simulation, and a founding member of the Maryland Quantum-Thermodynamics Hub.

Yunger Halpern leads a theoretical research group that is modernizing thermodynamics, which traditionally describes large things like steam engines. Her team uses the tools of quantum information theory to make a theory of quantum thermodynamics that describes small things like individual molecules and the qubits that are the basic building blocks of quantum computers. She applies her quantum thermodynamics perspectives to problems from a broad range of fields, including atomic, molecular, and optical physics; condensed matter physics; chemistry; high-energy physics; and biophysics.

In addition to the U.S., APEC comprises 20 other members, including Australia, Russia, Taiwan and Chile. Each member can nominate one individual under 40 years old for the award, and the ASPIRE winner will receive a prize of $25,000.

This year the U.S. is hosting the APEC meeting that will include the ASPIRE award ceremony. As host, the U.S. selected the ASPIRE Prize theme for this year’s competition to be “Inclusive Science, Technology, and Innovation for a Resilient and Sustainable Environment.” Nominees are selected based on criteria including how their work contributes to the annual theme, their history of scholarly publications and their commitment to inclusive and interdisciplinary collaborations with scientists from other APEC regions.

Story by Bailey Bedford


Alumna, Adjunct Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Alumna Ana Maria Rey and Adjunct Professor Paul Julienne were recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Paul Julienne (Credit: Bailey Bedford/JQI)Paul Julienne (Credit: Bailey Bedford/JQI)“I am both gratified and humbled by this honor, which is only possible because of the many excellent colleagues and students with whom I have worked with over the years,” said Julienne, an emeritus Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute. “I owe them a debt of gratitude, for it is by working together that science advances."

Julienne and Rey are among 120 new members elected this year, joining a prestigious group of more than 2,500 scientists around the country who have been elected by their peers in recognition of their research achievementsThe National Academy of Sciences also elected 23 new international scientist who are joining more than 500 other international members.

reyAna Maria Rey. Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Julienne helped establish the research field of ultracold matter, which investigates atoms and molecules near absolute zero. His theoretical research includes developing models that describe how cold trapped molecules and atoms can be precisely controlled using magnetic fields or lasers. This research topic has revealed details of atomic states and chemical reactions of ultracold molecules.

Rey received a B.S. (1999) from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá and a Ph.D. (2004) from the University of Maryland, studying with Charles Clark. She is currently a JILA fellow and University of Colorado professor. Her research group focuses on ultracold atoms, optical lattices and the underlying physics of these systems, with applications in condensed matter and quantum information science. JILA is a research partnership between CU and NIST, In 2013, Rey was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, non-profit society of scholars that was established by an Act of Congress—signed by President Abraham Lincoln—in 1863. The organization works to further science in America and to provide analysis and advice to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions.

JQI story by Bailey Bedford: https://jqi.umd.edu/news/jqi-emeritus-fellow-julienne-elected-national-academy-sciences