Promotions and Appointments Effective July 1, 2017

Kaustubh Agashe, who was promoted to the rank of Professor, is a particle theorist who was recently named a Fermilab Distinguished Scholar. Dr. Agashe researches mathematical extensions to the Standard Model, making theoretical predictions that can be tested experimentally in settings including the Large Hadron Collider and future accelerator facilities.


Carter Hall, who was promoted to the rank of Professor, researches neutrinos and dark matter. He has worked on the Enriched Xenon Observatory (EXO-200), and the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) detector, and is the new spokesperson for the LZ Dark Matter Experiment, based in the Sanford Underground Research Facility in the former Homestead gold mine in South Dakota.


Peter Shawhan, who was promoted to the rank of Professor, works on the LIGO experiment based in Louisiana and in Washington state. In recent years, LIGO made major news by confirming the existence of gravitational waves and thereby validating Einstein’s theory of relativity. Prof. Shawhan is also the Chair of the American Physical Society’s Division of Gravitational Physics.


Sylvester James “Jim” Gates Jr. has been appointed a College Park Professor. Gates joined the UMD faculty in 1984, and in the ensuing decades became an internationally-known advocate of science education. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of the National Medal of Science. He is now the Co-Director of the Presidential Scholars Program at Brown University.


David Clarke was promoted to the rank of Assistant Research Scientist. He received his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University, and his research focuses on the design, analysis, and manipulation of topological phases of matter for applications in quantum information processing.


Cornelius Griggs was promoted to the rank of Assistant Research Scientist. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame, and works on advancing the techniques of superconducting gravity gradiometry and its applications, such as earlier detection of earthquakes.


Greg Jenkins was promoted to the rank of Associate Research Scientist. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, and studies the magneto-optical studies of Dirac and Weyl semimetals.


Hyunsoo Kim was promoted to the rank of Assistant Research Scientist. Kim received his Ph.D. at Iowa State University, and works in the development and application of very low-temperature instrumentation for the study of the electronic properties of novel materials.


Norbert Linke was promoted to the rank of Assistant Research Scientist. Dr. Linke received his Ph.D. at the University of Oxford, and at UMD was part of the team that realized the first programmable quantum computer based on five Ytterbium ions.

New Members of the Department of Physics

Four assistant professors have recently joined UMD Physics.

Maissam Barkeshli received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Afterward, he was a Simons Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University and a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft's Station Q at UC Santa Barbara. He works on several topics in complex quantum many-body phenomena and is a member of the Condensed Matter Theory Center and Joint Quantum Institute.  

Brian Swingle received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and held postdoctoral positions at Harvard University, the It from Qubit Simons Collaboration and Stanford University. He researches quantum information and is a member of the Condensed Matter Theory Center, the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science and the Maryland Center for Fundamental Physics.

Zohreh Davoudi received her Ph.D. at the University of Washington and recently completed a postdoctoral appointment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She studies strongly-interacting systems of hadrons and nuclei, using analytical and computational methods such as effective field theories and lattice quantum chromodynamics. She will be a member of the Maryland Center for Fundamental Physics and hold a joint appointment at Brookhaven National Lab through the Riken Fellowship program.

Anson Hook will begin in the spring semester of 2018, after completing a postdoctoral appointment at Stanford University, where he received his Ph.D. in 2012. He has also held a postdoctoral appointment at the Institute for Advanced Studies. Hook researches the extent to which exotic field theory phenomena can be used to solve existing problems in particle physics. He will be a member of the Maryland Center for Fundamental Physics.

In addition, two members of the Department of Engineering and the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics (IREAP) now hold appointments in Physics.

Associate Professor Mohammad Hafezi received his Ph.D. at Harvard University. His interests include the theoretical and experimental investigation of strongly-correlated systems and topological physics, nanophotonics and optomechanics, and hybrid quantum systems. He is a Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute.

Professor Edo Waks received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He researches nanoscale photonic and semiconductor devices for applications in quantum computation, communication, and sensing. He is a Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute.

Three Graduate Students Receive 2017 NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowships

Three graduate students in the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences have been awarded 2017 NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowships. The purpose of the fellowships is to ensure continued training of a highly qualified workforce in disciplines needed to achieve NASA’s scientific goals.

James Juno, Thomas Rimlinger and Joseph Schools will each receive the award, which provides up to $45,000 a year toward a stipend and other expenses.

UMD Establishes Jayanth R. Banavar Endowed Graduate Award for Excellence in Physics Research

The University of Maryland College Park Foundation, Inc. has established the Jayanth R. Banavar Endowed Graduate Award for Excellence in Physics Research to support a merit-based award for outstanding graduate students in the Department of Physics. Preference will go to students doing interdisciplinary research on natural phenomena—Banavar’s own research area.

Gerald Wilkinson Named Interim Dean of UMD’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

The University of Maryland announced the appointment of UMD Biology Professor Gerald Wilkinson as interim dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, effective July 1, 2017.  

“A highly regarded scientist and administrator, I am confident Dr. Wilkinson will be an outstanding interim dean,” said Mary Ann Rankin, UMD’s senior vice president and provost. “I am grateful to Dr. Wilkinson for agreeing to serve in this capacity.”