Second-year graduate student Andrea Mejia received in Fall 2022 the CT Space Grant Award for her Graduate Research on “Constraining Black Hole Binaries and Mergers” where she studies, by means of numerical simulations, how Active Galactic Nuclei form and eventually merge stellar mass black hole binaries, see https://ctspacegrant.org/funding-programs/faculty/past-recipients. In addition, Andrea successfully secured in May 2023 an ACCESS Explore Grant. These grants are designed specifically for graduate students in need of advanced computing and data resources for research purposes. Andrea’s grant provides 716,800 cpu-hours on high-performance computing systems to be used by May 2024. Originating from Andrea’s undergraduate research at her prior institution, Hunter College, this well-funded research will help to interpret data on gravitational waves from black hole mergers observed by LIGO and VIRGO. For her graduate studies at UConn, however, Andrea plans to pursue a different career path and switch from mergers of stellar mass black holes in theoretical astrophysics to collisions of subatomic particles in theoretical particle and nuclear physics.
This year, the Department of Physics proudly welcomes two new faculty members.
Pavel Volkov joins the Department of Physics as an assistant professor. He is a condensed matter physicist, specializing in the theory of strongly correlated and quantum materials. He earned his Ph.D. at Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany, followed by a postdoc at Rutgers University. His work covers topics such as superconductivity, frustrated magnetism, ferroelectricity, and materials with nontrivial topology, often inspired by new experimental discoveries made around the world. During this academic year, Pavel will be on leave at Harvard University, working on the theory of two-dimensional Moiré materials, created by stacking single-atomic layers. He also enjoys mentoring students at all levels and bringing cutting-edge science into the classroom.
Lea Ferreira dos Santos joins the Department of Physics as a full professor. She earned her Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University, Michigan State University, and Dartmouth College. She then took a position at Yeshiva University for 15 years, where she climbed the ranks to full professor and chair of the Department of Physics. Her research on many-body quantum systems has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). It influences a broad range of disciplines across condensed matter, atomic physics, and quantum information science. Her awards include the Simons Fellow in Theoretical Physics, Outstanding Referee for the American Physical Society, NSF CAREER Award, and member of the U.S. delegation to the 3rd IUPAP International Conference on Women in Physics.
Welcome, Lea and Pavel!
Associate Professor of Physics and Institute of Materials Science Menka Jain recently organized the 28th International Workshop on Oxide Electronics, 2-5th October, Portland, Maine. Other co-organizers were Charles H. Ahn (Yale University), Divine Kumah (North Carolina State University), and Ryan Comes (Auburn University). There were close to 150 attendees from all around the world. The workshop provided an interdisciplinary forum for researchers – theorists as well as experimentalists – on understanding the fundamental electronic and structural properties and also on the design, synthesis, processing, characterization, and applications of (epitaxial) functional oxide materials.
For more information visit the workshop website.
Prof. Chiara Mingarelli is the Inspiring Women in Science awards 2022 Scientific Achievement Runner-Up.
The Inspiring Women in Science awards celebrate and support the achievements of women in science, and all those who work to encourage girls and young women to engage with STEM subjects and stay in STEM careers around the world.
For more information read the press release