Maissam Barkeshli Receives NSF CAREER Award

Ten University of Maryland faculty members earned Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) awards from the National Science Foundation in the past fiscal year.

The five-year awards are the NSF’s most prestigious in support of junior faculty members who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

Additions to the Physics Teaching Faculty

Hailu B. Gebremariam has accepted an appointment as a full-time lecturer.  He holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in physics from Addis Ababa University, an ICTPHailuHailu Gebremariam diploma in high energy physics from the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics and a master's degree in physics from Syracuse University. He received his UMD doctorate in 2005 under Ted Einstein, with the thesis Terrace Width Distribution and First Passage Probabilities for Interacting Steps. Prior to accepting his new position, he was an assistant professor at Montgomery College and a part-time lecturer in the Department of Physics.

Matt sjpgMatt SeversonMatt Severson has accepted an appointment as a full-time lecturer. He holds bachelor’s degrees in atmospheric sciences and meteorology and in physics and mathematics from the University of South Alabama, and received his UMD Ph.D. in 2015 under Rabi Mohapatra, with the thesis Neutrino Mass and Proton Lifetime in a Realistic SUSY SO(10) Model.  Prior to accepting his new position, he was a part-time lecturer in the Department of Physics.

Inaugural Schmidt Science Fellow Joins CNAM

Wes Fuhrman, who recently completed his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University, has joined the Center for Nanophysics and Advanced Materials (CNAM) to conduct a one-year research program funded by the Schmidt Science Fellowship program. Fuhrman was one of 14 fellows chosen from 220 applicants for the first round of Schmidt funding.

Fuhrman received his bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Irvine, focusing on magnon decay dynamics and quantum game theory. At Hopkins, his interests turned to strongly interacting topological materials. This is also a focus area for CNAM researchers, making UMD an ideal place for Fuhrman to carry out a highly collaborative, multi-disciplinary research program focused on exploring the prospects of new technologies based on topological and correlated electron materials.

About the fellowship:

Schmidt Science Fellows, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, aims to develop the next generation of science leaders to transcend disciplines, advance discovery, and solve the world’s most pressing problems. Schmidt Science Fellows was launched in 2017 by Eric and Wendy Schmidt and is a program of Schmidt Futures, delivered in partnership with the Rhodes Trust. The program has an initial commitment of at least $25m for the first three years.

The fellowship includes a $100,000 stipend and participation in a global meeting series. According to the program, fellowship recipients choose “leading laboratories at elite institutions that conduct exciting new research."

Davoudi Receives Ken Wilson Award

Assistant Professor Zohreh Davoudi has been honored with the 2018 Kenneth G. Wilson Award for Excellence in Lattice Field Theory during the 36th Annual International Symposium on Lattice Field Theory held July 22–28 at Michigan State University. Davoudi was cited for her fundamental contributions to lattice field theory in a finite volume that are essential for performing lattice simulations of complex systems.

The annual award is named after Nobel Laureate Ken Wilson (1936-2013), who founded lattice gauge theory in 1974, permitting such theories to be studied numerically using powerful computers. Established in 2011, the award recognizes outstanding lattice field theorists who are within seven years of completing the Ph.D., and consists of a modest monetary prize and an invitation to give a plenary talk at the next symposium on lattice field theory.

Davoudi’s significant contributions to formulating the path between quantities obtained in numerical simulations of lattice field theory in a finite spacetime and the physical observables have advanced the few-body frontier in lattice field theory. The cited work paved the road towards obtaining important quantities in particle and nuclear physics, such as two and three-body scattering amplitudes, bound-state properties, electromagnetic structure of hadrons and nuclei, coupled-channel scattering and reaction rates.

Davoudi received her Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics at the University of Washington, and held a postdoctoral position at the Center for Theoretical Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining UMD in 2017. She studies how complex systems of hadrons and nuclei emerge from fundamental interactions of nature using a combination of analytical and computational methods.

zohreh receiving Ken Wilson Lattice AwardPhoto courtesy of Lattice 2018. Christine Davies, University of Glasgow (left) Zohreh Davoudi, University of Maryland (right).

Promotions Effective July, 2018

Michelle Girvan, who was promoted to the rank of Professor, works in the emerging area of network science, which focuses on complex connectivity patterns among interacting units and joins physics with the domains of mathematics, biology, environmental studies, economics, sociology, and psychology, among others. Her analysis of networks helps explain developments in settings as diverse as gene encoding and the nation’s electric grid. Girvan received her Ph.D. in 2004 from Cornell University, and has held appointments at the Santa Fe Institute and the Institute for Advanced Study. She holds a joint appointment in the Institute for Physical Sciences and Technology. In 2017 she received the Richard A. Ferrell Distinguished Faculty Fellowship and was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Min Ouyang, who was promoted to the rank of Professor, is a member of the Center for Nanophysics and Advanced Materials. His experiments at the juncture of physics and chemistry involve creating novel and complex nanomaterials via the bottom-up synthetic strategy and understanding nanoscale physics by using ultrafast and single photon optics, with potential applications ranging from quantum information processing to thermal management fabrics. He received his Ph.D. in 2001 from Harvard University and did postdoctoral work at the University of California in Santa Barbara before joining UMD. Among his honors are an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, an NSF Career Award, an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, a Beckman Young Investigator Award and a Scialog Fellowship from the Research Corporation.

Ayush Gupta, who was promoted to the rank of Associate Research Professor, works in physics education research, developing new materials and teaching practices to help students gain greater competence with disciplinary content and practice. He has contributed to the articulation and modeling of the contextual dynamics of core disciplinary practices in STEM such as mathematical sense-making and tinkering. In another thread of work, he has contributed to modeling how cultural practices influence the creation of more/less inclusive experiences for STEM students. His work has also introduced novel models for how engineering students think about ethics and social responsibility, connecting cognitive theories with social theory and ideas from Science and Technology Studies. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from this campus, and is also a Keystone Instructor in the Clark School of Engineering.

Ivan Burenkov has been promoted to Assistant Research Scientist. He received his Ph.D. in 2012 from Moscow State University, and has been a postdoctoral researcher with Adjunct Professor Alan Migdall since 2015. His interests include quantum enhanced measurements for advanced optical communication, bio-medical applications and photon frequency conversion

Nicholas Butch, who was a Rolfe Glover Postdoctoral Fellow in CNAM from 2008-11, was promoted to Adjunct Associate Professor. In addition, three other NIST scientists now have appointments in the department: Thomas Purdy and Michael Zwolak as Adjunct Assistant Professors, and Sergey Polyakov as Adjunct Associate Professor.