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Archive for the ‘Faculty News’ Category
Physicist Phil Barbeau builds detectors to look for rare events in nuclear and particle physics. He says, “We use very standard particle-detection techniques that are taken to the extreme. In general, all of these experiments are so sensitive that a single fingerprint left behind on the detector can blind it.”
Barbeau, currently a post-doc at Stanford, will be joining the Duke Physics faculty and the Triangle University Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL) on August 1. He searches for neutrinoless double beta decay, coherent-neutrino nucleus scattering, and dark matter. “It can be difficult to get all three topics into one conversation,” he says, “until you realize that the underlying connection is really about innovative detector technology and development.”
Barbeau thrives on the creative thinking necessary to design and build new detectors, and is looking forward to sharing that with Duke students. “Wherever I’ve been I’ve enjoyed teaching physics in the laboratory and doing research with the students,” he says. “Detector development allows you to employ students at all levels—high schoolers, undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs—such that they can all have impact on the final results of the experiment.” An added benefit: “If you do a good job teaching students they become very powerful researchers in their own right and start to benefit your research in a very positive way.” (more…)
Duke University was well represented at the annual APS March Meeting this year: 60 contributed presentations plus 8 invited talks. The APS bills the March Meeting as “the largest physics meeting in the world, focusing on research from industry, universities, and major labs.” Using the “affiliation” search function, here is a webpage with a list of all of our papers. You can see that a wide variety of work from several departments at Duke is represented. In particular, the invited talks were:
Prof. Patrick Charbonneau: Session M42.00001 “High-dimensional surprises neat the glass and the jamming transitions”
Postdoctoral Associate Joshua Dijksman: Session Z2.00004 “Dilatancy and Diffusion in Sheared Granular Materials”
Prof. Henry Everitt: Session C23.00001 “Highly Efficient Defect Emission from ZnO:Zn and ZnO:S Powders”
Prof. Gleb Finkelstein: Session Y1.00003 “Observation of Majorana-like Behavior at the Quantum Critical Point in a Resonant Level Coupled to a Dissipative Environment”
Prof. Martin Fischer of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences: Session U11.00001 “Optical pump-probe microscopy for biomedicine and art conservation”
Prof. Robert Jackson of the Nicholas School at Duke: Session F9.00003 “Environmental Dimensions of Shale Gas Extraction and Stray Gas Migration”
Prof. Gabriel Lopez of Duke Biomedical Engineering: Session Y34.00001 “Acoustic Microfluidics for Bioanalytical Application”
Prof. Benjamin Yellen of Duke Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science: Session N10.00002 “Binary Colloidal Superlattices Assembled by Magnetic Fields”
Prof. Ashutosh Kotwal has been appointed the Physics Advisor of the US contingent on the ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. In this role he will be providing leadership on physics issues to US collaborators on ATLAS, numbering about 500 scientists and students from 44 institutions. One of the priorities is preparations for physics analysis of the new data starting 2014-15, to be collected at the substantially higher energy of 13 TeV compared to 8 TeV in 2012. Prof. Kotwal is also leading physics studies to motivate an upgrade of the LHC accelerator and detectors to collect ten times more data starting in 2022.
Prof. Mark Kruse, with graduate students David Bjergaard and Kevin Finelli, hosted an LHC Outreach event on March 16. It was well attended and DukeToday writer Ashley Yeager wrote an article “Local high-schoolers analyze real LHC data at Duke.” You can read it online here.
In recognition of his ongoing contributions to the KamLAND and KamLAND-Zen experiments in the Kamioka mine in Japan, Prof. Emeritus Werner Tornow has been named affiliate senior scientist of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU). Profs. Kate Scholberg and Christopher Walter also have appointments with the Kavli IPMU through their work on the Super-Kamiokande experiment.
On February 16, Prof. Dan Gauthier teamed up with Rebecca Vidra (Nicholas School of the Environment) and Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel (Statistical Sciences) to present “Integrating Team-Based Learning Across Disciplines: Ideas and Challenges” at the Lilly Conference for University Teaching and Learning in Greensboro.
The KamLAND-Zen collaboration (with Prof. Werner Tornow) reported in Phys. Rev. Lett. a new neutrino mass limit of mββ < (120 – 250) meV from a neutrinoless double-beta decay search of 136Xe. This limit is based on a range of representative nuclear matrix element calculations, and excludes the Majorana neutrino mass range expected from the neutrinoless double-beta decay claim of 76Ge by the Heidelberg-Moscow Collaboration at more than 97.5 % confidence level. Read the paper online here.
One of the department’s most distinguished alumni passed away on Feburary 19th at the age of 75. Prof. Robert Richardson obtained his Ph.D. at Duke in 1966 working with Prof. Horst Meyer. A long time faculty member at Cornell University, in 1996 he was awarded Nobel Prize for his work on superfluidity in helium-3. You can read more about his life in this article from Duke today. You can also read an obituary from Cornell’s site here and an article in the NY Times here.