Richard F. Ellis (1944-2018)

Professor Emeritus Richard F. Ellis died on Sunday, May 6.  He was 73.

Professor Ellis received his B.A. in physics at Cornell University in 1966 and his Ph.D. in plasma physics at Princeton in 1971.  He served on the faculty at Dartmouth and also held appointments at Los Alamos National Lab, the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory before joining UMD Physics in 1979.  He was also an early and instrumental member of IREAP.

Ellis was a plasma experimentalist with two primary research efforts. On campus, he directed the Maryland Centrifugal Experiment (MCX), an innovative effort funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science to contain hot plasma for the goal of realizing energy from controlled fusion. The experiment evaluated this novel concept for its potential to achieve fusion energy and to explore basic plasma physics questions such as whether sheared flows can suppress fluid turbulence. He also directed efforts at General Atomics Technologies (GA) in San Diego on an Electron Cyclotron Emission (ECE) diagnostic to study the distribution of electron temperature on the DIII-D “tokamak” fusion device. 

A devoted educator, Ellis served as Assistant and Associate Dean of the College for several years and as Associate Chair of the Physics Department for Graduate Education (1994-99) and Undergraduate Education (2010-12).  He served several years in the campus senate and as president of the UMD chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.  

He received the Department’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 1981-82 and its Continued Excellence in Teaching Award in 1982-83. He was also nominated for the Parents’ Association 2001 Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award.  He was a resident of College Park and enjoyed attending Maryland sporting events.

Professor Ellis, who retired in 2016, is survived by his wife Adele, his daughter and two grandchildren. 


Three Graduate Students Recognized by the Graduate School as Outstanding Graduate Assistants

Please join us in congratulating Leonard Campanello, Minh Tran and Batoul Banihashemi, who were awarded the Graduate School's 2018 Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award. The Graduate School established this award to recognize and honor the outstanding contributions that Graduate Assistants provide to students, faculty, departments, administrative units, and the University as a whole. The award conveys the honor of being named among the top 2% of campus Graduate Assistants in a given year.


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UMD Physics Alumnus Pablo Solano Awarded Dissertation Prize

Pablo Solano, a recent graduate student with JQI Fellow and UMD physics professor Luis Orozco, has been awarded the Charles A. Caramello Distinguished Dissertation Prize. According to the official award description, the prize recognizes “original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to its discipline.” The prize is given in four broad disciplinary areas and comes with an honorarium.

Solano received the prize in the area of Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering for his dissertation titled “Quantum Optics in Optical Nanofibers”. His research focused on studying the properties of light as it propagates through optical nanofibers, and how such a system enables special atom-light interactions. His thesis work was nominated by the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences and selected by a multi-disciplinary campus committee. Solano will be honored at the UMD Graduate School’s Ninth Annual Fellowship and Award Celebration.

Solano is currently a postdoctoral associate at the Research Laboratory for Electronics and the Physics department at MIT. He is currently working on cavity-QED experiments in the strong coupling regime using laser cooled cesium atoms trapped at the center of a high-finesse Fabry-Perot cavity.

Paul Neves Named 2018 Goldwater Scholar

Four University of Maryland undergraduates have been awarded scholarships by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which encourages students to pursue advanced study and careers in the sciences, engineering and mathematics. In the past five years, UMD’s 20 nominations yielded 18 scholarships and two honorable mentions.

Paul Neves, Lillian Sun, Tanay Wakhare and Eric Wang were among the 211 Barry Goldwater Scholars selected from 1,280 students nominated nationally this year. Sun plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D., while each of the other three students plans to pursue a Ph.D.

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Professor Johnpierre Paglione Appointed to the Editorial Board of Physical Review X

Johnpierre Paglione is a Professor of Physics and Director of the Center for Nanophysics and Advanced Materials at the University of Maryland. His team has contributed to several fields of experimental condensed matter research through both single-crystal synthesis of superconducting, quantum-critical and topological materials, as well as exploration of novel phenomena. He is a leader in the field of quantum criticality and has made important contributions to the understanding of heavy-fermion materials and the quasiparticle picture of correlated materials.

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