Reports of events hosted by the physics department, such as colloquia, special seminars, and outreach programs offered to the public.

Nobel Prize Winner, Professor Adam Riess, Katzenstein Distinguished Lecturer

The University of Connecticut, Department of Physics is proud to announce the 26th Annual Katzenstein Distinguished Lecturer that will be on Friday, November 15th. The details of the lecture TBA

Adam Riess is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, the Thomas J. Barber Professor in Space Studies at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, a distinguished astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992 and his PhD from Harvard University in 1996. His research involves measurements of the cosmological framework with supernovae (exploding stars) and Cepheids (pulsating stars). Currently, he leads the SHOES Team in efforts to improve the measurement of the Hubble Constant and the Higher-z Team to find and measure the most distant type Ia supernovae known to probe the origin of cosmic acceleration.

In 2011, he was named a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and was awarded the Albert Einstein Medal for his leadership in the High-z Supernova Search Team’s discovery that the expansion rate of the universe is accelerating, a phenomenon widely attributed to a mysterious, unexplained “dark energy” filling the universe. The discovery was named by Science magazine in 1998 as “the Breakthrough Discovery of the Year.” His accomplishments have been recognized with a number of other awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, the Gruber Foundation Cosmology Prize in 2007 (shared), and the Shaw Prize in Astronomy in 2006.

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.

Solar Eclipse Viewing Event: 2-4:30pm Mon Apr 8 on Horsebarn Hill

UConn faculty and students will host a community event to view the solar eclipse at 2:00-4:30pm this Monday, April 8, on Horsebarn Hill (behind the Dairy Bar). Here in Storrs we’ll observe a maximum occultation of 92% at 3:28pm. This is a very exciting and special opportunity, since the next time that our location will experience such an eclipse is not until 2079(!).

Details about the event are in the flyer embedded below, and also on the UConn Events Calendar. You can also listen to Prof. Jonathan Trump talk more about the solar eclipse on WILI-AM and on NBC CT.

Physics Celebrates 51’st Annual Ascent of Mount Monadnock

On October 14, 2023 40-50 members and friends of the UConn Physics department took part in the 51’st annual ascent up Mount Monadnock, near Jaffrey, New Hampshire. After the hike, the then-hungry hikers descended to the campground near Gilson Pond and enjoyed some well-earned refreshments, including burgers, hot dogs, and more sausages than anyone could eat. News of the group’s cheer “Let’s Go, Physics” from the summit is expected soon to be trending on youtube. Rumors are circulating that it may have been heard as far as Boston and Storrs.

UConn Physics annual climb of Mount Monadnock, taken October 14, 2023
UConn Physics Department members rest after ascent of Mount Monadnock near Jaffrey, NH 14-Oct-2023

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 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

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

Physics Department runs Women in Science Outreach at the Connecticut Science Center

Promoting gender diversity and inclusion in the field of science, technology, engineering, and
mathematics (STEM), the Connecticut Science Center’s Women in Science Initiative hosted a captivating
outreach event led by UConn’s Sarah Trallero, Aslı Tandoğan, and Aislinn Daniels. This event took place
on April 15th, 2023 at the Connecticut Science Center.

In the outreach event, Sarah, Aslı, and Aislinn engaged children and adults alike to have “Fun with
Physics” and experience physics hands-on. Multiple interactive stations encouraged enthusiastic
participants to “feel” what principles affect rotation, to learn how lightning works by playing with Van de
Graaff generators, and to even build their own simple DC motor.

The Women in Science Initiative at the Connecticut Science Center encourages girls and young women to
pursue studies and career paths in STEM and celebrates the achievements of women in the sciences. By
breaking down gender barriers and inspiring curiosity, such initiatives play a vital role in shaping the
future of scientific discovery and innovation.

From right: Aslı Tandoğan, Sarah Trallero, Aislinn Daniels.

UConn Physics hosts Quantum Matter Conference, Dec 19-22

Quantum matter and materials have grown to be active areas of modern condensed matter. The fascinating properties of quantum materials might lead to technological applications such as spintronics, quantum technologies, and quantum sensors. The combination of new materials discoveries and the development of new probes of quantum matter has helped shape these topics into an exciting area. Recent dynamic and pumped probe experiments reveal a strong promise of Dynamic Quantum Matter as a new research direction. We strive to measure, understand and predict transient correlations and coherences in quantum materials upon different driving conditions. Therefore, we introduce it as a new topic at this year’s quantum matter conference. We seek to have an active discussion on hidden, entangled, and dynamic orders that emerge in quantum matter and the potential applications beyond it.

The main focus for this upcoming conference will be on the modeling and experimental observations of Quantum Matter. Overall, the goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers to discuss and highlight emerging topics and develop ideas for future research.

The workshop is sponsored by the University of Connecticut, the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, and the University of North Florida.

Venue: Innovation Partnership Building, UConn Tech Park

Confirmed Speakers:

Charles Ahn – Yale University
Pamir Alpay – UConn
Boris Altshuler – Columbia University
Daniel Arovas – University of California San Diego
Alexander Balatsky – University of Connecticut and NORDITA – Organizer
Victor Batista – Yale University
Kenneth Burch – Boston College
Paola Cappellaro – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Rodrigo Cortiñas – Yale University
Ilya Drozdov – Brookhaven National Laboratory
Benjo Fraser – Stockholm University
Andrew Geraci – Northwestern University
Sinéad Griffin – Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Jason Haraldsen – the University of North Florida – Organizer
Menka Jain – University of Connecticut – Organizer
Yonathan Kahn – University of Illinois
Robert Konik – Brookhaven National Laboratory
Walter Krawec – University of Connecticut
Leonid Levitov – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Daniel McCarron – University of Connecticut
Anatoli Polkovnikov – Boston University
Lea Santos – University of Connecticut – Organizer
James Sauls – Louisiana State University – Organizer
Daniel Sheehy – Louisiana State University
Ilya Sochnikov – University of Connecticut
Boris Spivak – University of Washington
Boris Svistunov – University of Massachusetts Amherst
William Terrano – Arizona State University
Carlos Trallero – University of Connecticut
Chandra Varma – University of California Riverside
Ilya Vekhter – Louisiana State University
Pavel Volkov – Rutgers University
Justin H. Wilson – Louisiana State University
Qin Yang – University of Connecticut

For more information:,

Visit by Dr. Sylvester James Gates

The University of Connecticut Department of Physics is pleased to announce the upcoming colloquium by Dr. Sylvester James Gates Jr. on November 18th in Gant West 002 from 3:30-4:45PM. Dr. Gates is a theoretical high-energy physicist who has made significant, pioneering contributions to supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory. His colloquium will concern the ongoing efforts to construct a mathematical foundation for supersymmetry (SUSY).

Alongside the colloquium, there will be additional events during Dr. Gates’s visit, organized by the Physics Diversity and Multiculturalism Committee with help from the Physics Graduate Student Association:

  • Undergraduate and graduate physics students are encouraged to attend a lunch meet and greet with Dr. Gates from 12:15 to 1:15 pm in Gant South room 117, where pizza will be provided.
  • Students, postdocs, and faculty from all departments are all encouraged to attend a DEI panel discussion: “Bringing Diversity into the Physical Sciences,” featuring Dr. Gates as well as faculty from multiple departments in CLAS at UConn. The panel will take place in Gant South rooms 117 and 119 from 1:30 to 2:30 pm.

List of Panelist Speakers: 

  • Prof. Jim Gates – Clark Leadership Chair in Science, Distinguished University Professor and Regents Professor, University of Maryland

  • Prof. Ronald Mallett – Professor Emeritus and Research Professor, Department of Physics 

  • Prof. Nora Berrah – Professor, Physics Department 

  • Prof. Amy Howell – Professor, Chemistry Department 

  • Prof. Marisa Chrysochoou – Professor and Department Head, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering 

  • Prof. Masha Gordina – Professor, Department of Mathematics 

Professor Gates Bio:

Gates received Bachelor of Science degrees in both physics and mathematics and a Ph.D. in physics from MIT. At the University of Maryland, he became the first African American to hold an endowed chair in physics at a major U.S. research university. Gates is the past president of the American Physical Society (APS), a role to which he was elected in 2019. He has received numerous awards and accolades, including the 2013 Mendel Medal and the 2013 National Medal of Science from former President Barack Obama. In 2013, he was also elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming its first African American theoretical physicist recognized in its 150-year-old history. He also served on former President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In addition, Gates has just been named as the 2023 recipient of the prestigious Hans Christian Oersted Medal, presented by the AAPT in honor of his outstanding leadership and impact in physics education.

Dr. Gates was until very recently the Theoretical Physics Center Director, Ford Foundation Professor of Physics, and Affiliate Mathematics Professor at Brown University. He has since moved back to Maryland where he is the Clark Leadership Chair in Science, Distinguished University Professor and Regents Professor at the University of Maryland.