EPS to Honor DØ, CDF Collaborations for Top Quark Detection

logo EPS blueThe European Physical Society has announced that the and CDF collaborations will receive the 2019 High Energy and Particle Physics Prize for "the discovery of the top quark and the detailed measurement of its properties".

In 1973, Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa predicted a top and bottom quark to explain CP violation. Four years later, Leon Lederman’s team at Fermilab discovered the bottom quark. But because of the complexity required to find the massive, short-lived (5x10-25 second) top quark, nearly two decades ensued before its confirmation at Fermilab’s Tevatron proton-antiproton collider, home to both DØ and CDF. The Tevatron was the world’s most powerful accelerator before the Large Hadron Collider at CERN opened in 2009.

UMD physicists played important roles in the top quark discovery. In the DØ collaboration, Nick Hadley was co-convenor of the Top Group at the time of detection. Sarah Eno’s precise measurement of the decay width and mass of the electroweak W boson helped predict the mass of the top quark.  Drew Baden devised an analysis technique, called HT, which allowed the experiment to separate the top quark signal for the much more numerous background events. Before coming to Maryland, Greg Sullivan was physics co-convener of the dilepton group for the CDF collaboration, and Kara Hoffman was also a member of the CDF collaboration.

“The top quark remains one of nature’s most interesting particles. It has the mass of a gold atom, but behaves like an elementary particle with a volume at least a billion times smaller than a proton,” said Hadley.

The EPS prize will be formally awarded at the EPS Conference on July 15 in Ghent.

Doug Currie Comments on Lunar Laser Ranging Retroreflector Arrays in Eos

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In an Eos article titled, "Seeing the Light," UMD Physics Research Scientist and Professor Emeritus Doug Currie describes the current retroreflectors installed on the Moon and his proposal to send a new module as part of an upcoming lunar mission. The article details how retroreflectors installed on the Moon during the Apollo 11, 14 and 15 missions are still used today, but that improvements are needed.

Professor Julie McEnery Discusses CTA and Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope in SciTech Europa

 CTAIn an interview with SciTech Europa, Fermi Project Scientist at the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory, Astrophysics Science Division of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and University of Maryland Adjunct Associate Professor Julie McEnery answers questions about the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) and its impact on astrophysics. She also explores the integration of Fermi Gamma ray Space Telescope and CTA. 

Gaurang Yodh (1928 - 2019)


Gaurang Yodh, a University of Maryland physics professor from 1961-88, died on June 3 at the age of 90. Yodh earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1955, working with Herb Anderson and Enrico Fermi. After appointments at Stanford, the Tata Institute and the Carnegie Institute, he joined the UMD physics faculty in 1961. In his long career researching particle physics and cosmic rays, his contributions included developing improved radiation detectors for particle detection and developing ground-based water Cherenkov gamma ray telescopes to study gamma rays and search for sources of cosmic rays.

Yodh was a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the UK Institute of Physics.

He was an extraordinarily accomplished sitar player, and while in College Park offered a course in Indian classical music performance that helped launch the UMD ethnomusicology program. 

While a professor at the University of California, Irvine, Yodh established the Yodh Prize for outstanding achievement in cosmic rays and astroparticle physics. Jordan Goodman, who earned his doctorate under Yodh in 1978, received this award in 2017.

Hafezi Named Finalist for Blavatnik Award

Mohammad Hafezi has been named a finalist for the 2019 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists.

He is one of 31 researchers competing for three Blavatnik National Laureate Awards in the categories of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Chemistry and Life Sciences, and is one of 10 finalists in Physical Sciences and Engineering. Each of the three National Laureates will win $250,000—the world’s largest unrestricted prize for early-career scientists. The awards are sponsored by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences.

"Starting during his time as a postdoc in the Joint Quantum Institute, Hafezi has established himself as a world leader in marrying topology, many body physics and photonics," said Steve Rolston, chair of the Department of Physics. "With appointments in physics and engineering,  he is helping to catalyze UMD's efforts to transition quantum physics to quantum technology."

Now in its 13th year, the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists recognize the past accomplishments and the future promise of the most talented faculty-rank scientists and engineers aged 42 years and younger at America’s top academic and research institutions. This year, the Blavatnik National Awards received an unprecedented 343 nominations from 169 academic and research centers across 44 states—a record in all three categories. The three 2019 National Laureates will be announced June 26.

Inspired by the concept of topology in mathematics and its prevalence in electronic quantum materials, Hafezi’s innovative work has addressed a critical problem of inevitable nanofabrication defects. These imperfections have plagued the reliability and performance of optical devices in nanophotonics and quantum optics for years. Hafezi has shown that like electrons, photons under a given set of conditions can also be made insensitive to both the shape and defects in an optical device. This discovery has garnered immense interest in the optics community and spurred a new field of topological photonics. Hafezi is an associate professor with affiliations in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Department of PhysicsJoint Quantum Institute, and Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics.

Liangbing Hu, a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, is also among the finalists.