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

 CTAPhoto Credit: CTAO/M-A. Besel/IAC (G.P. Diaz)/ESOIn 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. 

UMD Joins Forces with 11 Institutions in a New International Simons Collaboration “Ultra-Quantum Matter”

SImons2019bannerImage: Leon Balents.

Seventeen theoretical physics faculty across 12 institutions have established a new Simons Collaboration on Ultra-Quantum Matter. The team, which includes Victor Galitski, a Chesapeake Chair Professor of Theoretical Physics in the Department of Physics and Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute, will investigate innovative ideas about how quantum physics works on macroscopic scales. This new effort will be led by Professor Ashvin Vishwanath at Harvard University and is supported under the Simons Collaborations in Mathematics and Physical Sciences program, which aims to “stimulate progress on fundamental scientific questions of major importance in mathematics, theoretical physics and theoretical computer science."

The Simons Collaboration on Ultra-Quantum Matter aims to explore unusual quantum mechanical behaviors arising in systems comprised of many constituents. This kind of matter is made from quantum particles (e.g. atoms and electrons) that interact strongly and feature robust non-local quantum entanglement, for instance. Such a system defies the conventional expectation that quantum effects tend to dissipate as the number of particles increases. The collaboration will primarily focus on developing theory around ultra-quantum matter and exploring pathways towards future technologies, such as devices that store quantum information non-locally and unconventional quantum materials.

Ultra-Quantum Matter is an $8M four-year award funded by the Simons Foundation and renewable for three additional years. It will support researchers from the following institutions: Caltech, Harvard, the Institute for Advanced Study, MIT, Stanford, University of California Santa Barbara, University of California San Diego, the University of Chicago, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Innsbruck, University of Maryland and University of Washington.

UMD Physics Offers Undergraduates New Research Opportunities with FIRE

FIRE20192019 FIRE Simulating Particle Detection students with their research leader, Dr. Muge Karagoz.

The University of Maryland’s Physics Department has joined The First-Year Innovation & Research Experience (FIRE) program through the launch of the Simulating Particle Detection research group. The group is run by Dr. Muge Karagoz in collaboration with two Experimental High Energy Physics faculty members: Professor Sarah Eno and Assistant Professor Alberto Belloni, both of whom are members of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the Large Hadron Collider based at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

FIRE is a three-semester program with second and third semesters concentrating on research in a specific discipline. FIRE provides students with authentic research experience and a broad mentorship with the goal of influencing academic success and personal development. The FIRE Simulating Particle Detection brings undergraduate students from a wide variety of majors into the field of experimental particle physics, concentrating on the simulation of cutting-edge, high-energy particle detectors, such as the planned upgrade of the CMS detector.

In Simulating Particle Detection, students go through all aspects of conducting research. They start with a literature search on particle physics and detectors, as well as training on computing and coding. They then move on to data analysis and presentation of their results. For their research projects, they form teams giving them a chance to experience the pursuit of collaborative achievements. As a natural outcome of performing research, especially in the context of an international, big-data experiment like CMS, the students also learn skills such as adaptability, and strategies such as trouble-shooting.

The research group launched in the spring of 2019, with 33 undergraduate students, and has just completed its first semester. This was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the FIRE program operated through the Office of the Senior Vice President and the Provost, the Department of Physics, and the Experimental High Energy Physics Group. The research group was also greatly helped by highly-dedicated undergraduate research assistants and peer mentors. Peer Mentors are second-year FIRE students who return to serve as mentors for the first-year students in FIRE research groups, through the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center’s Academic Peer Mentoring Program. The Simulating Particle Detection will continue with current students in the fall, with the next group of first-year participants to begin in Spring 2020.

More information on the Simulating Particle Detection research group can be found on the FIRE program’s web site ( Additional information on the Experimental High Energy Physics Group can be found on the Department of Physics website (