Erin Scanlon joins our Department in fall 2020 as Assistant Professor in Residence at the Avery Point Campus. Erin comes to UConn with an impressive track record of university teaching experience and scholarship in physics education research (PER). After earning a master’s degree in physics from Georgia Institute of Technology, Erin joined the faculty at […]
The Physics Department’s Diversity & Multiculturalism Committee (DMC) was accepted into the APS Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Alliance (APS-IDEA). Despite years of efforts on local and national levels, the diversity in many physics departments is not reflective of the diversity nationwide. Our department is no exception in this regard. The new APS initiative was created […]
What is a Bachelors of Science degree in Physics good for? What kinds of jobs are available to graduates who complete a 4-year degree in physics, but decide not to pursue an advanced degree? How does a physics degree stack up against other STEM fields in terms of employment options in today’s highly competitive job […]
The UConn Physics Department is delighted to announce that our 2019 Distinguished Katzenstein Lecturer will be Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell is world-famous for her discovery of pulsars in 1967. Pulsars are a special type of neutron star, the rotating dense remnant of a massive star. Pulsars have highly magnetic surfaces, and emit a beam of electromagnetic radiation […]
About one mile from the Gant plaza, Goodwin Elementary School teaches some really bright kids. On January 15, 2019, science teacher Nancy Titchen and Goodwin teachers brought the entire 3rd grade class on a field trip to the Physics Learning Labs mock-up studio for some science fun. Students enjoyed a liquid nitrogen show, witnessed quantum […]
Step into a fall 2018 class section of PHYS 1602: Fundamentals of Physics II, and you’ll find a scene that’s far from the large introductory science lectures common on most college campuses. Anna Regan ’21 (CLAS) utilizes a whiteboard to try out solutions during her group’s problem-solving tutorial. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo) To start, the class […]
A recently renovated physics classroom in the Edward V. Gant Science Complex was built to pilot a new approach to physics education, integrating lecture with lab rather than the classical approach of separating these components. Students and instructors apply concepts with hands-on activities throughout the lecture, practice new tools, and problem solve as a […]
Monday, March 26, 2018 The 21st Annual Katzenstein Distinguished Lecture was hosted by the UConn Physics Department, featuring Dr. Takaaki Kajita, 2015 Nobel Prize Winner from the University of Tokyo, speaking on “Oscillating Neutrinos.” After the lecture, a banquet with the speaker was held for members and guests of the department. We enjoyed welcoming alumni and […]
Solving the complex problems that we face in our world today requires a more talented workforce than we have ever needed before. Such a workforce must be comprised of a wide range of diverse talents and creative insights. No segment of the population can be ignored or overlooked in this talent search. This presentation will describe the most recent research that demonstrates the positive impact that social and informational diversity has on science and innovation, the reasons for this impact and the importance of committed leadership in achieving a strong and inclusive workplace where creativity and productivity is maximized.
The Physics Department has recently expanded its research and teaching specialties to include Astronomy with the addition of three new junior faculty: Cara Battersby, Jonathan Trump, and Kate Whitaker. In addition to the expertise in Observational Astronomy using the latest instruments and techniques, they are also spearheading a suite of new courses in Astronomy and […]
Following up on results from Physics education research conducted at MIT and elsewhere, professor Jason Hancock has begun the process of transforming the way Introductory Physics is taught at the University of Connecticut. Starting with the course PHYS 1601Q for physics majors, Prof. Hancock has developed a curriculum that integrates aspects of both lecture and lab […]
The Katzenstein Distinguished Lectures series continued in Fall 2016 for its 19th year, with an October 28, 2016 lecture by Professor Leon N. Cooper of Brown University, entitled “On the Interpretation of the Quantum Theory: Can Free Will And Locality Exist Together In The Quantum Theory?” Professor Cooper shared the 1972 Nobel Prize in Physics […]
Assistant professors in residence (APiRs) are primarily responsible for teaching and managing large introductory service classes in cooperation with faculty. The Physics Department has recently promoted Diego Valente to APiR from his former position of Visiting Assistant Professor. Congratulations Diego on a well-deserved promotion. The department extends a warm welcome to three other APiRs, Belter Ordaz-Mendoza, Hani Duli, and […]
A new platform for quantum science: programmable arrays of single atoms inside an optical cavity.
Recently, programmable arrays of single atoms have emerged as a leading platform for quantum computing and simulation with experiments demonstrating control over hundreds of atoms . Interfacing an atom array with a high-quality optical cavity promises even greater control and new capabilities. By coupling atoms to an optical cavity, we can more efficiently collect light from each atom improving detection. In addition, an optical cavity can be used to efficiently entangle many atoms in a single step relying on a novel technique called counterfactual carving . I will describe our progress towards the goal of detecting and correcting errors on a register of Rubidium atoms selectively coupled to a large-waist optical cavity. Beyond detecting errors, applying corrections requires real-time feedback, and I will present a simple experiment demonstrating that fast feedback on microsecond timescales can already improve measurement fidelity. Finally, I will describe our accidental realization that we can use our cavity to directly observe collisions between pairs of trapped atoms in real time.
Dr. Jim Zickefoose and Dr. Gabriela Ilie, Senior Scientists, Physics Division, Mirion Technologies, Meriden CT
Mirion Technologies – Connecting Academia and Industry
Mirion Technologies is a world leader in the development and supply of nuclear instrumentation and supporting software. To accomplish its goals and objectives, Mirion has a diverse team of physicists holding various levels of degrees. In this seminar we will show our paths from graduate studies to joining Mirion, emphasizing how the skills we gained during our academic journeys have contributed or have been beneficial to our professional development in industry. Furthermore, we will highlight Mirion Technologies’ general areas of interest as well as revealing some interesting applications where we have partnered with academia.
Gabriela is the Product Line Manager for Specialty Detectors and a Senior Application Scientist at Mirion Technologies, focused on developing custom high-purity germanium (HPGe) detector solutions for challenging and unique applications. She joined Mirion in 2012 (formerly Canberra Industries) as a physicist and has worked on a variety of projects offering physics support and doing validation and testing for different products. Gabriela has a Ph.D. in Experimental Nuclear Physics from the University of Cologne, Germany. Before joining Mirion, Gabriela held a Postdoctoral Research position at Yale University where she helped maintain and use a large array of HPGe Clover detectors for nuclear physics measurements and experiments. In the last few years, she has played an active role in promoting new technologies that help customers select the best radiation detection and instrumentation for their applications.
Jim Zickefoose is a Sr. Scientist and R&D Physics Manager at Mirion Technologies in Meriden CT. In these roles he concentrates on driving new technology development across the various Mirion divisions and incorporating those technologies in new or existing products. He joined Mirion in 2010 directly after earning a PhD in physics from the University of Connecticut with a concentration in experimental nuclear astrophysics. During his PhD research Jim studied carbon fusion reactions at accelerator facilities in Caserta, Italy and Bochum, Germany. Prior to his time at UConn Jim earned an Honors Degree in physics from the University of Adelaide.
Note: coffee and cookies at 3:00 outside the lecture room.
Dr. Christopher Hayward, Center for Computational Astrophysics, Flatiron Institute
Solving the puzzle of galaxy formation
Understanding the physics of galaxy formation has been a central goal of astrophysics for decades, but we have yet to solve this complicated problem. I will describe what makes understanding galaxy formation so challenging. I will detail how theorists work to decipher this puzzle using numerical simulations, highlighting the key physical processes involved. I will then discuss the idea of ‘forward modeling’, i.e. predicting synthetic observables from hydrodynamical simulations in order to more directly confront theory and observation, and highlight some recent important results of such work.
Imaging ultrafast and ultrasmall: Unraveling nanoscale electronic and magnetic behavior using time-resolved x-ray scattering
Ultrafast laser control of correlated materials has emerged as a fascinating avenue of manipulating magnetic and electronic behavior at femtosecond timescales. Ultrafast manipulation of these materials has also been envisioned as a new paradigm for next generation memory and data storage devices. Numerous studies have been performed to understand the mechanism underlying laser excitation. However, it has been recently recognized that spatial domain structure and nanoscale heterogeneities can play a critical role in dictating ultrafast behavior. In this talk, I will discuss methods and our recent results which capture material behavior at nanoscale lengthscales and femtosecond-nanosecond timescales. I will describe our recent experimental studies using emerging synchrotron techniques and free electron laser such as European XFEL and FERMI. In the first part of my talk, I will discuss our results on ultrafast magnetization dynamics where we uncovered a symmetry-dependent behavior of the ultrafast response. Labyrinth domain structure with no translation symmetry exhibit an ultrafast shift in their isotropic diffraction peak position that indicates their spatial rearrangement. On the other hand, anisotropic domains with translation symmetry do not exhibit any modification of their anisotropic diffraction peak position. In the second part of my talk, I will focus on x-ray imaging of correlated oxides and discuss spatially dependent ultrafast response observed in complex oxides such as rare-earth nickelates. These intriguing observation suggests preferential, texture-dependent paths not only for the transport of angular momentum, but also for structural rearrangements. These measurements provide us with a unique way to study and manipulate spin, charge and lattice degrees of freedom.
Speaker’s bio: Roopali Kukreja joined Materials Science and Engineering department at UC Davis as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2016. She received her B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in 2008 and then her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University in 2011 and 2014, respectively. Prior to her appointment at UC Davis, Kukreja worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the UC San Diego, with Profs. Oleg Shpyrko (Physics Department) and Eric Fullerton (Center for Magnetic Recording Research). Her research interests at UC Davis focuses on ultrafast dynamics in nanoscale magnetic and electronic materials, time resolved X-ray diffraction and imaging techniques, thin film deposition and device fabrication.
Prof. Abhay Pasupathy, Columbia University and Brookhaven National Laboratory
We understand that the phenomenon of superconductivity involves the formation of pairs of electrons that find a way to attract each other in a solid. We also know that in most known superconductors, pairs of electrons are formed between two electrons that have opposite momentum and spin. A magnet, on the other hand, is a material where there is a dominance of electrons of one spin with respect to the other. What happens if we put these two phenomena together in a single material? Such is the case in the curious compound EuRbFe4As4, which displays superconducting order at a temperature of 35 K, and displays magnetic order at a lower temperature of 16 K. In this compound, superconductivity lives in atomic planes of FeAs, while the magnetism lives in adjacent layers of Eu. Electrons can jump from from one layer to the other, coupling the superconducting and magnetic properties to each other. I will describe scanning tunneling microscopy measurements that probe the consequences of this coupling, including the formation of superconducting order that is modulated in space, as well as an unusual set of excitations that exist in the magnetic superconducting state.
Title: Quantum Metrology with Ultracold Atoms (and Optical Cavities)
In this colloquium, I will introduce the application of atomic, molecular, and optical (known as AMO) physics to the field of quantum metrology. I will show how atoms are used as probes of our universe and how to harness quantum effects to enhance their sensing capabilities.
I will then focus on a specific type of atomic sensor and one of my research interests: optical atomic clocks. State-of-the-art optical atomic clocks achieve mind-boggling stabilities and in many regimes are almost solely limited by quantum noise. Building upon recent results (mine and from other groups), I will illustrate how optical clocks’ performances can be pushed beyond current quantum noise limitations and how they can be/are deployed in the search for new physics and the testing of the fundaments of general relativity. Within this framework, I will finally overview the research activities I am developing at UConn.
Prof. Matthew Szydagis, Department of Physics, University at Albany SUNY
The First Dark Matter Search Results From the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) Experiment
The LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) experiment is a dark matter detector centered on a dual-phase xenon time projection chamber operating at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, SD, with significant contributions from UAlbany. I will report on results from LZ’s first search for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) with an exposure of 60 live-days using a fiducial mass of 5.5 tonnes. A profile-likelihood ratio (PLR) analysis shows the data to be consistent with a background-only hypothesis, setting new limits on spin-independent WIMP-nucleon, spin-dependent WIMP-neutron, and spin-dependent WIMP-proton cross-sections for WIMP masses above 9 GeV/c^2. The most stringent limit is set for spin-independent scattering at 30 GeV, excluding cross sections above 5.9 × 10^-48 cm^2 at a 90% confidence level.
Dr. Francisco Villaescusa-Navarro, Princeton University
Learning fundamental physics with machine learning and virtual universes
In this talk, I will discuss the need for numerical simulations as a powerful tool to study and learn physics. Starting from a cosmological context, I will first describe how large cosmological N-body simulations allow us to improve our knowledge of the laws and constituents of the Universe. Going to smaller scales, I will stress the need for full hydrodynamic simulations that account not only for gravity but also for hydrodynamic and astrophysical processes such as star formation and feedback from supermassive black holes. I will then introduce the largest set of cosmological hydrodynamic simulations ever run: the CAMELS project. Finally, I will show how recent advances in deep learning are enabling us to explore these virtual universes with a level of precision never seen before.