The LHC Enters New Phase

Geneva, 4 November 2010. Proton running for 2010 in the LHC at CERN1 came to a successful conclusion today at 08:00 CET. Since the end of March, when the first collisions occurred at a total energy of 7 TeV, the machine and experiment teams have achieved all of their objectives for the first year of proton physics at this record energy and new ground has been explored. For the rest of the year the LHC is moving to a different phase of operation, in which lead ions will be accelerated and brought into collision in the machine for the first time.Full Story


Iron in the Mix

Below is an excerpt from an article on iron-based superconductors, recently published in Science News:

Physicist Johnpierre Paglione works in a kitchen of sorts: He precisely blends ingredients, heats his mixtures to just the right temperature and cools them to get the perfect product. But rather than only edible ingredients, his recipes call for toxic chemicals, such as arsenic, and metals — especially iron. His ovens, which line the shelves of his lab at the University of Maryland in College Park, reach 1,700˚ Celsius before he carefully cools his concoctions over days or weeks.Full Story

Gates Recognized at Launch of Change the Equation

At the ceremony to announce the launch of Change the Equation, President Obama gave a speech that recognized Professor Jim Gates in connection to his work as co-chair of the PCAST/STEM EdWorking Group. The day marked the public release of a year-long study, Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for America's Future on science, technology, engineering & mathematics (STEM) education in the nation's K-12 schools.

To read the blog created by Jim Gates, and to view related video with others from PCAST), visit:

Nobelist Walter Kohn to Receive 2010 Prange Prize

Condensed Matter Theory Lecture Set for Oct. 19 at UMD

Nobel laureate Walter Kohn, who invented the density-functional theory of matter, has been named the 2010 recipient of the Richard E. Prange Prize and Lectureship in Condensed Matter Theory and Related Areas. Kohn will receive a $10,000 honorarium and deliver a public presentation at the University of Maryland, College Park, on Oct. 19, 2010.  Kohn’s work on the density-functional theory has had transformative impact on physics, chemistry, engineering, and medicine.

The award, established by the UMD Department of Physics and Condensed Matter Theory Center (CMTC), honors the late Professor Richard Prange, whose distinguished career at Maryland spanned four decades (1961-2000). The Prange Prize is made possible by a gift from Dr. Prange's wife, Dr. Madeleine Joullié of the University of Pennsylvania.

After receiving a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Harvard University, Kohn embarked on a career that included work at Bell Telephone Laboratories with William Shockley, whose group invented the transistor.  In 1979 Kohn was appointed founding director of the National Science Foundation’s Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of California in Santa Barbara. He has received the United States National Medal of Science, the UNESCO/ Niels Bohr Gold Medal and, for his role in creating the most widely used theory of the electronic structure of matter, the 1998 Nobel Prize in chemistry. His documentary on solar power, “The Power of the Sun”, has received world-wide distribution in 10 languages. He is currently Professor of Physics, Emeritus and Research Professor at UCSB.

Kohn’s Prange lecture, titled “A World Powered Predominantly by Solar and Wind Energy," will be delivered at the University of Maryland's John S. Toll Physics Building at 4:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Oct. 19 in the Physics Lecture Hall, Room 1412. The event is open to the public.

Dr. Richard Prange did his graduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he worked with Nobelist Yoichiro Nambu, among others. Prange was the editor of a widely known book on the quantum Hall effect, but his interests reached well beyond condensed matter, extending into every substantive aspect of theoretical physics including seminal work on quantum chaos. He was at complete ease discussing subjects as disparate as ferromagnetism and the cosmological constant. His interests also included history and travel.

At the University of Maryland, he played a vital role in the life of the Physics Department, leading a substantial reform of its undergraduate major program and serving as chair of crucial departmental committees.

"Richard enjoyed a fascinating and fulfilling career at the University of Maryland exploring condensed matter physics, and even after retirement was active in the department," said Dr. Joullié. "He spent the very last afternoon of his life in the lecture hall for a colloquium on graphene, followed by a vigorous discussion. And so I was happy to institute the Prange Prize, to generate its own robust discussions in condensed matter theory. Walter Kohn is an ideal recipient."

Dr. Prange was a member of the Maryland condensed matter theory group for more than 40 years and was an affiliate of CMTC since its inception in 2002.

"The Prange Prize provides a unique opportunity to acknowledge transformative work in condensed-matter theory, a field that has proven to be an inexhaustible source of insights and discoveries in both fundamental and applied physics," said Dr. Sankar Das Sarma, who holds the Richard E. Prange Chair in Physics at UMD and is also a Distinguished University Professor and Director of the CMTC.

The prize was inaugurated in 2009, with a lecture by Nobel Laureate Philip W. Anderson.

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Groundbreaking for Physical Sciences Complex

Groundbreaking for Physical Sciences Complex

Top federal, state and university officials came together May 24 to break ground for the University of Maryland’s new Physical Sciences Complex (PSC), a highly innovative 158,068-square-foot, state-of-the-art educational and research center with facilities that will be unsurpassed anywhere in the world.

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