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News from 2012 in the Penn State Department of Physics.
Quantum Gravity Extension of the Inflationary Scenario

Quantum Gravity Extension of the Inflationary Scenario

A new cosmological theory tackles the description of the earliest era of the Universe, a period inaccessible by current models.

Nitin Samarth elected Fellow of AAAS

Nitin Samarth elected Fellow of AAAS

Congratulations to Nitin Samarth on being elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He joins 9 other faculty who have received this honor in the past.

Distinguished Professor

Distinguished Professor

Mark Strikman has been appointed Distinguished Professor.

Faculty Openings

Faculty Openings

The Department of Physics at The Pennsylvania State University (University Park campus) anticipates making two or more new faculty appointments that will start in Fall 2013.

Nanoscale, geometrically-asymmetric tunnel junctions for collection and rectification of light

Nanoscale, geometrically-asymmetric tunnel junctions for collection and rectification of light

Penn State Altoona is one of the key players in a collaborative research endeavor with the Storrs campus of the University of Connecticut, and Scitech Associates Holdings, Inc. of State College, to study the physics of a quantum tunneling device aimed at harnessing the visible portion of the solar spectrum – a feat that has never been accomplished.

Leonard Eun wins RHIC/AGS thesis award

Leonard Eun wins RHIC/AGS thesis award

Dr. Leonard Eun has been selected as one of the winners of the 2012 RHIC and AGS Thesis Award for his dissertation entitled `Transverse Single Spin Asymmetries and Cross-Sections for Forward Pi Zero and Eta Mesons at Large Transverse Momentum in 200 GeV Collisions at the STAR Detector.’

Moses Chan testifies at US Senate

Moses Chan testifies at US Senate

Helium is a precious resource vital for science, technology and national security. In his testimony before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Moses Chan discussed the conclusions of a National Academies of Science report that he co-authored in 2010, arguing that the current law’s requirement that the Bureau of Land Management sell-off nearly all the Federal Helium Reserve by 2015 could pose a threat to the availability of this resource for future U.S. scientific, technical, biomedical, and national security users of helium.

Physics majors honored at Spring 2012 graduation - Meet Nobel Laureate Steven Chu

Physics majors honored at Spring 2012 graduation - Meet Nobel Laureate Steven Chu

Physics majors Matthew Jaffe and Patrick Breysse represented the Physics and Astronomy Departments respectively at the 2012 Eberly College of Science commencement ceremony as student marshals. Matthew is a triple major (E SC, Physics, and Math), did research at CERN, and with Profs. Jun Zhu and Martin Bojowald. Matt will be playing professional ultimate Frisbee this coming summer before entering the graduate Physics program at UC Berkeley in Fall. Patrick is a double major (Physics and Astronomy/Astrophysics), did research with Prof. Sam Finn, and won a prestigious Astronaut Fellowship while at PSU. Patrick played in the Penn State Blue Band all for years and will attend Johns Hopkins University next Fall. After the ceremony they both met Nobel laureate and Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu.

Physics graduate student Tyler Engstrom awarded a Penn State Academic Computing Fellowship.

Physics graduate student Tyler Engstrom awarded a Penn State Academic Computing Fellowship.

Tyler Engstrom has been awarded a 2012 Academic Computing Fellowship from the PSU Graduate School for the next three years.

Physics graduate student teaching awards for 2012

Physics graduate student teaching awards for 2012

The 2012 Physics Department Graduate TA awards were presented at the last Physics Colloquium of the year.

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory reports a surprising discovery in Nature

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory reports a surprising discovery in Nature

The intense conditions needed to generate cosmic rays have focused physicists’ interest on two potential sources: the massive black holes at the centers of active galaxies, and the exploding fireballs observed by astronomers as gamma ray bursts.

Former PSU Physics major honored with Alumni Achievement Award

Former PSU Physics major honored with Alumni Achievement Award

Danielle S. Bassett ’04 is a Sage Junior Research Fellow in the University of California, Santa Barbara’s departments of physics and psychological and brain sciences.

Network Dynamics: Reka Albert's cover article in Physics Today

Network Dynamics: Reka Albert's cover article in Physics Today

Networks that govern communication, growth, herd behavior, and other key processes in nature and society are becoming increasingly amenable to modeling, forecast, and control. In the April issue of Physics Today, an article by Adilson Motter and Réka Albert reviews the status of this field.

Graduate Exhibition Winner

Graduate Exhibition Winner

Alejandro Suarez has been awarded first place in the Physical Sciences & Mathematics category of the Twenty-seventh Annual Graduate Exhibition for his poster titled "Computationally Searching for Magnetism in Graphene".

Gemelke awarded Sloan Research Fellowship

Gemelke awarded Sloan Research Fellowship

Nate Gemelke, assistant professor of physics, has been awarded the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship.

Alumni Association Dissertation Award, Rustom & Della Roy Award

Alumni Association Dissertation Award, Rustom & Della Roy Award

Physics graduate student Ashley DaSilva has won the Alumni Association Dissertation Award, and graduate student Qingzhen Hao has won the Rustom & Della Roy Award.