Author: Michael Rozman

2024 Sigma Pi Sigma Honors Society Celebration!

Sigma Pi Sigma induction ceremony 2024

2024 Sigma Pi Sigma Honors Society Inductees:

  • Daniel Baker
  • Rachel Cleveland
  • Jack Conley
  • Grace Farrell
  • William Livesayand
  • Patrick McGovern
  • Kabir Sewrathan
  • Teddy Smith
  • Jefferson Tang
  • Thomas Tarutin
  • Nicholas Thiel-Hudson
  • Joseph Van Vlack
  • Elic Wu

The initiation ceremony was held on Friday, April 26th. The event began at 3:00 with a pre-colloquium reception, followed by the colloquium at 4:00 in GW-002 and by the banquet and initiation ceremony at 6:00.

Assistant Professor in Experimental or Theoretical Nuclear Physics

INTRODUCTION

The Department of Physics at the University of Connecticut (Storrs Campus) is pleased to invite applications for a tenure-track position in experimental or theoretical nuclear physics, with an emphasis on research in Quantum Chromodynamics or Nuclear Structure and Reactions, aligned with the scientific goals of major national user facilities such as the planned Electron-Ion Collider (EIC) or the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). Applications will be considered at the Assistant Professor level to begin in August 2024.

The Department of Physics has 34 tenured or tenure-track faculty members, 12 in-residence faculty, roughly 150 undergraduate and 100 graduate students, and has recognized groups actively engaged in research in nuclear and particle physics, AMO physics, astrophysics, and condensed matter physics. The current faculty members in nuclear physics are actively engaged in experimental and theoretical/computational research in the areas of low-energy nuclear physics, hadronic physics, and relativistic heavy ion physics.

The successful candidate will be expected to build and maintain a strong research program in experimental or theoretical nuclear physics that complements, strengthens, and/or broadens the existing research in the Department. Expectations include extramural funding, a strong publication record, and mentorship of junior scientists at the undergraduate, graduate, and/or postdoctoral levels. The successful candidate will be expected to teach effectively at the undergraduate and graduate levels and contribute to the service mission of the Department. Successful candidates will also be expected to demonstrate their commitment to promoting diverse, inclusive, equitable, and accessible research and learning environments and to broadening participation among members of underrepresented groups.

Founded in 1881, UConn is a Land Grant and Sea Grant institution and member of the Space Grant Consortium. It is the state’s flagship institution of higher education and includes a main campus in Storrs, CT, four regional campuses throughout the state, and 13 Schools and Colleges, including a Law School in Hartford, and Medical and Dental Schools at the UConn Health campus in Farmington. The University has approximately 10,000 faculty and staff and 32,000 students, including nearly 24,000 undergraduates and over 8,000 graduate and professional students. UConn is a Carnegie Foundation R1 (highest research activity) institution, among the top 25 public universities in the nation. Through research, teaching, service, and outreach, UConn embraces diversity and cultivates leadership, integrity, and engaged citizenship in its students, faculty, staff, and alumni. UConn promotes the health and well-being of citizens by enhancing the social, economic, cultural, and natural environments of the state and beyond. The University serves as a beacon of academic and research excellence as well as a center for innovation and social service to communities. UConn is a leader in many scholarly, research, and innovation areas. Today, the path forward includes exciting opportunities and notable challenges. Record numbers of undergraduate applications and support for student success have enabled the University to become extraordinarily selective.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

  • A Ph.D. or foreign equivalent in experimental or theoretical nuclear physics or a closely related field by August 2024.
  • Postdoctoral experience demonstrating the potential to initiate and lead an independent research program in experimental or theoretical nuclear physics.
  • An established publication record.
  • Evidence of potential for excellence in teaching.
  • A strong commitment to promoting diversity through their academic and research programs.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Ability to establish a strong research program as demonstrated through, for example, successful funding applications, approved beam time at major national user facilities, and strong roles in research collaborations.
  • An established research program closely connected to the science programs of FRIB and/or the planned EIC.
  • At least two years of postdoctoral experience.
  • A demonstrated ability to contribute through research, teaching, and/or public engagement to the diversity and excellence of the learning experience.

APPOINTMENT TERMS

This is a full-time, 9-month, tenure-track position with an anticipated start date of August 23, 2024. The successful candidate’s primary academic appointment will be at the Storrs campus. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT

Employment of the successful candidate is contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check.

TO APPLY

Please apply online to Academic Jobs Online https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/26116 and submit the following application materials:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae including a list of publications and presentations
  • Statement of research interests and plans
  • Statement of teaching philosophy and experience
  • Statement explaining commitment to diversity
  • Sample journal articles and/or books, including, for large collaboration papers, a brief description of the applicant’s role and contribution to those papers.
  • Three letters of reference (submitted directly by recommenders to the Academic Jobs Online application portal)

Applications received by December 15, 2023 will receive full consideration. Any questions regarding this position should be directed to nuclearsearch@uconn.edu. For more information regarding the Department of Physics please visit the Department website at https://physics.uconn.edu/.

At the University of Connecticut, our commitment to excellence is complemented by our commitment to building a culturally diverse community.

This position will be filled subject the budgetary approval.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.

All members of the University of Connecticut are expected to exhibit appreciation of, and contribute to, an inclusive, respectful, and diverse environment for the University community.

The University of Connecticut aspires to create a community built on collaboration and belonging and has actively sought to create an inclusive culture within the workforce. The success of the University is dependent on the willingness of our diverse employee and student populations to share their rich perspectives and backgrounds in a respectful manner. This makes it essential for each member of our community to feel secure and welcomed and to thoroughly understand and believe that their ideas are respected by all. We strongly respect each individual employee’s unique experiences and perspectives and encourage all members of the community to do the same. All applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

The University of Connecticut is an AA/EEO Employer.

Assistant Professor in Astrophysics

INTRODUCTION

The Department of Physics at the University of Connecticut invites applications for a tenure-track position at the Assistant Professor rank, to start August 23, 2024. Candidates from all areas of astrophysics and cosmology are encouraged to apply. Applicants are expected to have a PhD in astrophysics or a closely-related field and to have established an independent program of research that they will expand at UConn. The successful applicant will demonstrate a strong commitment to effective teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level, promoting an inclusive community in astrophysics, and broadening participation in astrophysics among members of traditionally underrepresented groups.

UConn is committed to a strong astrophysics program, with a vibrant and collegial atmosphere that currently has 4 astrophysics faculty, plus 3 postdocs and 20 graduate students. Current UConn astrophysics faculty are engaged in experiments and collaborations with HST, JWST, ALMA, SDSS, Rubin/LSST, Subaru/PFS, and other world-class facilities with a range of observational and theoretical research on star formation, galaxy formation and evolution, supermassive black holes, and cosmology.

Founded in 1881, UConn is a Land Grant and Sea Grant institution and member of the Space Grant Consortium. It is the state’s flagship institution of higher education and includes a main campus in Storrs, CT, four regional campuses throughout the state, and 13 Schools and Colleges, including a Law School in Hartford, and Medical and Dental Schools at the UConn Health campus in Farmington. The University has approximately 10,000 faculty and staff and 32,000 students, including nearly 24,000 undergraduates and over 8,000 graduate and professional students. UConn is a Carnegie Foundation R1 (highest research activity) institution, among the top 25 public universities in the nation. Through research, teaching, service, and outreach, UConn embraces diversity and cultivates leadership, integrity, and engaged citizenship in its students, faculty, staff, and alumni. UConn promotes the health and well-being of citizens by enhancing the social, economic, cultural, and natural environments of the state and beyond. The University serves as a beacon of academic and research excellence as well as a center for innovation and social service to communities. UConn is a leader in many scholarly, research, and innovation areas. Today, the path forward includes exciting opportunities and notable challenges. Record numbers of undergraduate applications and support for student success have enabled the University to become extraordinarily selective.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

PhD in astrophysics or a closely-related field, establishment of successful research and scholarship, commitment to promoting an inclusive community.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

Outstanding record of leadership in research and scholarship; commitment to effective teaching at undergraduate and graduate levels; the ability to contribute to the diversity and excellence of the learning experience.

APPOINTMENT TERMS

This is a full-time, 9-month, tenure-track position with an anticipated start date of August 23, 2024. The successful candidate’s academic appointment will be at the Storrs campus. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT

Employment of the successful candidate is contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check.

TO APPLY

Please apply online to Academic Jobs Online https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/25971 and submit the following application materials:

  • A cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae (including list of publications)
  • A description of past and planned research (4 pages maximum)
  • Teaching statement (1-2 pages)
  • Commitment to diversity statement (1-2 pages)
  • At least three letters of reference (submitted directly by recommenders to the application portal)

Review of applications will begin November 15, 2023 and continue until the position is filled.

For more information regarding the Department of Physics please visit the Department website at https://physics.uconn.edu/.

At the University of Connecticut, our commitment to excellence is complemented by our commitment to building a culturally diverse community.

This position will be filled subject the budgetary approval.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics which may be found athttp://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural, and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities, and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.

The University of Connecticut is an AA/EEO Employer.

Nobel Prize Winner, Professor Gérard Mourou, Katzenstein Distinguished Lecturer

The University of Connecticut, Department of Physics, is proud to announce that on October 20, 2023, Gérard Mourou, professor and member of Haut Collège at the École Polytechnique and A. D. Moore Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan and 2018 Nobel Prize winner, will be presenting the 25th Distinguished Katzenstein Lecture.

For the details of the lecture, see Physics Events Calendar

Gérard Mourou received his undergraduate education at the University of Grenoble (1967) and his Ph.D. from University Paris VI in 1973. He has made numerous contributions to the field of ultrafast lasers, high-speed electronics, and medicine. But, his most important invention, demonstrated with his student Donna Strickland while at the University of Rochester (N.Y.), is the laser amplification technique known as Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA), universally used today. CPA revolutionized the field of optics, opening new branches like attosecond pulse generation, Nonlinear QED, and compact particle accelerators. It extended the field of optics to nuclear and particle physics. In 2005, Prof. Mourou proposed a new infrastructure, the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI), which is distributed over three pillars located in the Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary. Prof. Mourou also pioneered the field of femtosecond ophthalmology that relies on a CPA femtosecond laser for precise myopia corrections and corneal transplants. Over a million such procedures are now performed annually. Prof. Mourou is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and a foreign member of the Russian Science Academy, the Austrian Sciences Academy, and the Lombardy Academy for Sciences and Letters. He is Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.

Department Head Greetings

Dear Friends of UConn Physics,

Before highlighting some of the major events in the Physics Department during the past year, I need to sincerely thank Prof. Barry Wells for his leadership as Department Head for the past five years. Dr. Wells guided the department through the turbulent times of the COVID pandemic and resulting shutdown of virtually all in-person interactions at UConn and has left the department great shape. Fortunately, Dr. Wells will continue to support the Physics Department in his new role as Associate Dean for Life and Physical Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Thus, I am writing to you as the Interim Department Head while a search is conducted during the Fall Semester for a permanent head.

An indication of the health of the department is the success in our newest faculty obtaining external funding. In particular, Profs. Christopher Faesi, Lea Santos, Anh-Thu Le, and Erin Scanlon have all received major grants. While our more senior faculty have also been very successful, this has been a particularly good year for our Nuclear Physics program, with Prof. Kyungseon Joo having been named the Chair of the CLAS Collaboration, one of the largest programs at Jefferson Lab, as well as receiving the single largest grant in the DOE-Nuclear Physics program. In addition, Prof. Andrew Puckett just received one of the largest grants in the same program, and they are joined by their colleagues Profs. Richard Jones, Peter Schweitzer, Alan Wuosmaa, and Moshe Gai to round out an exception program at UConn.

In addition to research, the department hosted a series of five colloquium and seminar speakers from groups underrepresented in physics. Spearheaded by Profs. Menka Jain and Belter Ordaz, and with strong student involvement, including Debadarshini Mishra, Lauren Gorman, and Bjorn Larsen, the highlight of the series was a visit by Prof. Sylvester James Gates Jr. of the University of Maryland. In a separate focus on inclusion, Prof. Erin Scanlon (Avery Point) organized a Faculty Online Learning Community (FOLC) to explore issues of accessibility for students with various ability constraints.

Many of our undergraduate and graduate students have also had noteworthy successes. However, one in particular stands out: undergraduate Abigail Moran has recently been selected as a finalist for the Apker Award from the American Physical Society for her work on measuring galactic acceleration with pulsar timing. As this is a national award for the top outstanding performance and original scientific contribution from a graduating senior, being a finalist is already quite an honor.

In the meantime, we continue to grow our department with two new hires:

  • Assistant Professor Simone Colombo – an experimentalist working on pushing quantum measurements to their absolute limit.
  • Assistant Professor in Residence Matt Guthrie who has taken a special interest in modernizing our planetarium and observatory.

We also welcome Assistant Professor Pavel Volkov – a condensed matter theorist working on strongly correlated quantum materials, who spent last year on research leave at Harvard and is starting at Storrs this Fall.

Finally, I would like to cordially invite you to attend our 25th annual Katzenstein Distinguished Lecture on Friday, October 20, 2023 which will be held in our department. This year’s speaker is Professor Gérard Mourou is Professor Haut-Collège at the École polytechnique. He was joint winner, with his student Donna Strickland (UConn Katzenstein Lecturer in 2022), of the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics, awarded for the development of Chirped Pulse Amplification of lasers. Professor Mourou has made numerous contributions to the field of ultrafast lasers, high-speed electronics, and medicine and this promises to be a fascinating lecture. I hope you can all attend and catch up on all that is going on in the department. I look forward to seeing you there.

Sincerely,

George Gibson
Interim Department Head, Physics

Research of Professor Trallero’s group featured in Advances in Engineering

A recent publication by Geoffrey Harrison, Tobias Saule, Brandin Davis, and Carlos Trallero from the Department of Physics, University of Connecticut is featured in Advances in Engineering. The publication presents a novel method for mitigating the bit-depth limit by increasing the phase precision of the Spatial Light Modulators (SLMs). The technique is based on adding irrational linear slopes in addition to the desired phase to increase the device’s effective bit-depth through an effect similar to volume averaging. The research is published in Applied Optics.

Spatial light modulators (SLMs) are devices that can modulate properties of light waves, such as phase, amplitude and polarization. SLMs are extensively used in numerous applications, including data storage, material processing and optical microscopy. With the widespread application of SLMs, the need to address the bit-depth and spatial resolution problems common to most SLMs is urgent.

The publication by Prof. Trallero’s group presented a technique for overcoming the bit-depth limitations of SLMs and verified it experimentally. The authors expressed confidence that the presented method could be used to gain multiple orders of magnitude with more precision beyond what was measured and obtained in their study.

About Advances in Engineering: Advances in Engineering ensures that the results of excellent scientific research are rapidly disseminated throughout the world, in a fashion that conveys their significance for advancing scientific knowledge and developing innovative technologies. Content is mainly targeted to an educated audience of engineering and physics students, scientists, and professors. Engineering fields covered are Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Nanotechnology Engineering as well as General Engineering (aerospace Engineering, communication Engineering, computer Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, and Industrial Engineering).

Department of Physics is hosting Summer School on Electron-Ion Collider

The Department of Physics is hosting UConn-NSF summer school on Parton Saturation and Electron Ion Collider (EIC). The School will take place in Storrs, from August 1 to August 10, 2023. The school chair is Professor Alex Kovner. The school website can be found at https://www.phys.uconn.edu/Conferences/saturation-eic/.

The Electron-Ion Collider is the next big experiment in high-energy nuclear physics. It is going to address a plethora of questions about the structure of protons and nuclei. One of the main exciting phenomena that it is intended to clarify is the manifestations of parton saturation. This has been predicted to occur in hadrons at high energy as well as in nuclei at lower energies. Although tantalizing hints of saturating behavior have been observed at Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) in Brookhaven National Lab and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, no cut-and-dry experimental case has been made for it yet. We hope that the experiments on nuclei at EIC will provide a convincing case for saturation. Another important aspect of EIC physics is scattering on polarized proton beams, which should improve our understanding of the so-called “proton spin crisis”.

The school is intended to graduate students and postdocs who want to extend their physics horizons or plan to pursue research in this or related areas. A preliminary list of lecturers at the school includes A. Mueller (Columbia), O.Hen (MIT), N. Armesto (Santiago de Campostela), A. Dumitru (CUNY, Baruch College), Yu. Kovchegov (Ohio State), L. Jin (UConn), V. Skokov (North Carolina State), B. Schenke (BNL). The schedule of lectures is available on the school website at https://www.phys.uconn.edu/Conferences/saturation-eic/

Research of Professor Daniel Angles-Alcazar featured in UConn Today

Galaxy clusters are the most massive objects in the Universe: a single cluster contains anything from a hundred to many thousands of galaxies, alongside collections of plasma, hot X-ray emitting gas, and dark matter. These components are held together by the cluster’s own gravity. Understanding such galaxy clusters is crucial to pinning down the origin and continuing evolution of our universe. An article recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes using of machine learning algorithms to solve a fundamental problem in astrophysics: inferring the mass of galaxy clusters.  “Measuring how many clusters exist, and then what their masses are, can help us understand fundamental properties like the total matter density in the universe, the nature of dark energy, and other fundamental questions,” says co-author and UConn Professor of Physics Daniel Anglés-Alcázar.

 

For more information about the research, check UConn Today article at https://today.uconn.edu/2023/04/astrophysicists-show-how-to-weigh-galaxy-clusters-with-artificial-intelligence/

The passing of Dr. Garry Bent

Gary Dean Bent, 82, a former assistant head of the Physics Department at the University of Connecticut for 23 years, passed away on Friday, March 3, 2023. He was born on October 9, 1940, in Battle Creek, Michigan. Growing up in Florida, he studied at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Connecticut. He was an Ordnance Corps officer in the United States Army for 12 years, serving in several military research centers and at the Military Academy at West Point. He served as assistant head of the physics department at the University of Connecticut for 23 years. While at UCONN he published numerous articles in scientific journals, worked closely with graduate students, taught courses in Physics and environmental science, and was an enthusiastic researcher. Over the years he developed a sense of how physics could be taught at the high school level to ensure student success at the college level. He pursued Connecticut teaching certification in physics and chemistry and after retiring from UCONN he went on to teach physics for UCONN credit at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs. A dedicated teacher, he made the classroom a space for fun and creative learning, using exciting experiments to demonstrate the theories of physics while dressed as a wizard! After retirement from E.O. Smith, he spent time traveling and volunteering his time to combat climate change. He was a founding member of Eastern Connecticut Green Action.

Gary touched many lives and will be greatly missed. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Unitarian Society of Hartford at a later date. In lieu of flowers, a donation in Gary’s memory can be made to the Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic Connecticut at covenantsoupkitchen.org, Eastern Connecticut Green Action at easternconnecticutgreenaction.com or Food and Water Watch at foodandwaterwatch.org.

Gary Bent’s scholarly publications are available at https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/Gary-Bent-84804712

Gary Bent obituary is at https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/hartfordcourant/name/gary-bent-obituary?id=49990378

2023 HEAD Early-Career Prize is awarded to Prof. Mingarelli

The 2023 High Energy Astrophysics Division’s Early-Career Prize is awarded to Dr. Chiara Mingarelli for her leadership in the analysis of pulsar timing array data and her contributions to our understanding of the stochastic gravitational wave background.

For more information about the Prize, see https://head.aas.org/awards/earlycareer/earlycareer.prize.html