University of Maryland Launches Quantum Technology Center

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Davoudi, Manucharyan Receive DOE Early Career Research Funding

Zohreh Davoudi and Vladimir Manucharyan are among the 73 scientists selected by the Department of Energy for Early Career funding. Davoudi’s proposal, Analog and Digital Quantum Simulations of Strongly Interacting Theories for Applications in Nuclear Physics was chosen by the Office of Nuclear Physics. Manucharyan’s proposal, Realization of a Quantum Slide Rule for 1+1 Dimensional Quantum Field Theories Using Josephson Superconducting Circuits was selected for funding by the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

Davoudi and Manucharyan will each receive $750,000 over five years. The list of awardees and their abstracts can be seen here.


Alicia Kollár Joins UMD Physics

Alicia KollárAlicia Kollár

Alicia Kollár joins the Department of Physics on August 1, 2019 as the Chesapeake Assistant Professor of Physics.

Kollár holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Princeton University, and earned her doctorate in applied physics at Stanford University in 2016, working on the design and construction of a multimode cavity-BEC apparatus to study superradiant self-organization. She was a National Defense Science and Engineering Fellow at Stanford, and after graduating continued for one year as a postdoctoral scholar. She then accepted a Princeton Materials Science Postdoctoral Fellowship to work on quantum simulation of solid-state physics using circuit QED lattices; that research was recently featured in Physics World.

At UMD, Kollár will be a Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute and the newly-formed Quantum Technology Center, a collaborative effort between the A. James Clark School of Engineering and the College of Computer Mathematical and Naturals Sciences to establish UMD as the nation’s leading center for academic quantum technology research and education.


Mirrors on the Moon

Along with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, University of Maryland scientists left a lasting mark on the moon when Apollo 11 landed there 50 years ago this week, one that is still imprinting on the world of physics.

That’s because a piece of equipment the astronauts left behind—a small panel of 100 mirrors designed by UMD physicists Doug Currie and the late Carroll Alley and a national team—remains in use for experiments. It may soon get an upgrade, too, thanks to NASA’s new project to send astronauts back to the moon by 2024 and, eventually, to Mars.

Called the lunar laser ranging array, it works in tandem with two others placed by the Apollo 14 and 15 missions in 1971, and provides a target for lasers beamed from telescopes on Earth. The bounce-back from those pulses enables precise measurements of distance that in the past five decades have led to discoveries ranging from the moon’s liquid core to confirming that Earth’s continents are still (slowly) moving.

In fact, the arrays are responsible for “really the only verification” of some aspects of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, said Currie, now a professor emeritus at UMD.

“Science has come out of it remarkably,” he said.

There’s plenty more to learn, as Currie has been working with the National Laboratories of Frascati, Italy, and commercial space company Moon Express to get a new generation of arrays onto the moon. NASA announced earlier this month that the arrays will be one of 12 experiments placed on future payload missions as part of the Artemis lunar program and in partnership with private space companies.

With measurements exponentially more accurate, Currie hopes the new instruments shed light on mysteries like dark energy and dark matter. “The gain we will have with the next generation is significant,” Currie said. “It allows us to chase in the direction of some of the fundamental questions of physics.”

Article by Liam Farrell, reprinted from Maryland Today

Read more about Carroll Alley.

Read more about Doug Currie's new retroreflectors.

Watch an ABC News interview with Doug Currie.about the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.


Gorshkov Receives Early Career Research Award

Alexey Gorshkov(Credit: J. Consoli/UMD)Adjunct Associate Professor Alexey Gorshkov has received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Gorshkov is a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology Physical Measurement Laboratory, as well as a Fellow of the UMD Joint Quantum Institute and the Fellow of the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science.  

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