Prof. Berndt Mueller gave a lecture at the 34th International School of Nuclear Physics at the Center “Ettore Majorana” in Erice/Sicily, which was founded by the well known Italian physicist Antonino Zichichi. The School brought together approximately 100 young researchers and many leading scientists in the field of hot QCD matter. Mueller gave a lecture on event-by-event fluctuations in relativistic heavy ion collisions. Detailed information about the school can be found on the website here.
Archive for the ‘Travel Notes’ Category
The Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society (SESAPS) annual meeting (SESAPS 2011) was held Oct. 19-22 in Roanoke, VA. The meeting was hosted by Virginia Tech and over 295 people attended. Prof. Roxanne Springer was the chair of the program committee as part of her duties as Chair-Elect of SESAPS.
The conference was held at an historic hotel, now called the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a favorite 19th and early 20th century meeting place for elegant society. In 1995 it reopened under part ownership of Virginia Tech. This made it a particularly hospitable place for the Virginia Tech local organizers of SESAPS 2011 to receive the attention they needed.
Two sessions were held to celebrate physics milestones: the 100th anniversary of the discovery of superconductivity, and the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the atomic nucleus. SESAPS 2011 was organized so that undergraduates were full participants in each session. Under this model, the young scientists interacted with graduate students, postdocs, and faculty, creating a more vibrant event for all. Awards were made for the “Best Undergraduate Poster” and the “Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation.” Each winner received $100 and is acknowledged on the SESAPS web site. (more…)
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Ernest Rutherford’s discovery of the atomic nucleus using alpha-particle scattering experiments. The event was celebrated at CERN in Switzerland on November 15 by an afternoon colloquium, which was webcast live worldwide. The full programme of talks can be found here.
Prof. Mark Kruse of Duke Physics closed the event with a talk on how Rutherford has inspired young physicists from New Zealand, where Rutherford was born, grew up and was educated (as was Kruse), before moving to England to pursue his doctorate and eventually carry out his ground breaking experiments.
Other talks included a family history by Rutherford’s great grand-daughter, Prof. Mary Fowler (Dean of Research at Royal Holloway University, London), the road to understanding the structure of the proton by Prof. Jerome Friedman (MIT, 1990 Nobel Laureate), and Rutherford’s legacy in Nuclear Physics by Prof. Sean Freeman of the University of Manchester where Rutherford’s alpha-scattering experiments were conducted.
In September, graduate student Abhiji Mehta travelled to Lausanne, Switzerland to attend a workshop on Continuum Quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) Methods sponsored by CECAM (the Centre européen de calcul atomique et moléculaire) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. His travel was supported by an NSF travel grant from the Materials Computation Center at UIUC and by CECAM. At this workshop, Mehta was able to meet QMC experts and learn about several techniques that he can apply to his research.
Since he was in the neighborhood, Mehta also took the opportunity to drop by CERN, where fellow grad student Kevin Finelli, who works on ATLAS, hosted him and showed him around.
Prof. Haiyan Gao, the new chair of Duke Physics, is working on several fronts to encourage collaboration among physicists in American and China—particularly among physicists who study hadrons, particles that interact through the strong force. The time is ripe because students and young scientists in China are jumping at the chance to do research in the United States, and scientific funding agencies in China—whose budgets are growing—are eager to support international collaboration in physics. Just this year, the National Science Foundation of China awarded two grants to support research being done at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Virginia by Gao and a team of 130 collaborators from 40 institutions and 8 countries—including China.
A paper describing some of that research was published in Physical Review Letters August 10, 2011. Xin Qian, who earned his PhD at Duke last year, is the lead author on the paper, which reports the results of an experiment exploring the three-dimensional motion of quarks inside a neutron. Qian is currently a Millikan Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. He is also the winner of the 2011 Jefferson Lab Thesis Prize. Gao, who was Qian’s advisor at Duke, is also one of the authors of the paper.
Earlier this month Profs. Albert Chang and Haiyan Gao attended an extremely successful conference, the 7th Joint Meeting of Chinese Physicists Worldwide – International Conference on Physics Education and Frontier Physics.
At the last plenary session on Education where Prof. Chang spoke, more than fifty high school students attended his very interesting and interactive lecture. The education program of this conference series has become more and more successful each year and Prof. Chang is the leader and originator of this highly successful program.
The overall Education program featured four plenary speakers, and a one and a half hour long Round Table Discussion. The discussion panel consisted of eight leading physics educators and included several of the plenary speakers as participants. The scope of the plenary talks and the round table discussion focused on new methodologies to measure students’ ability to reason and to draw conclusions based on acquired scientific knowledge, new and effective pedagogical methods, new tools for creating physics applets, as well as changes in educational systems to foster creativity.
View more photos from the conference on Flickr here.
Seven undergraduates from the Duke Physics department spent time this summer working and learning at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland: Alex Bodel, Alejandro Cortese, Will DiClemente, Laura Dodd, Andrew Ferante, Josh Loyal, and Zongjin Qian. In addition four others did LHC-related research at Duke: Travis Byington, Zach Epstein, Jake Sganga, and Ben Trautman.
The 19th Particles and Nuclei International Conference (PANIC11) is taking place this week in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from Sunday July 24th through Friday July 29th 2011.
PANIC2011 is special because it is also celebrating the centennial of the discovery of the atomic nucleus and the 150th anniversary of MIT.
600 or so physicists are at this conference from 35 countries and Duke has a strong presence at this conference. Prof. Haiyan Gao gave an invited plenary talk on the first day of the conference. Prof. Kate Scholberg, graduate students: Chenglin Cao, Christopher E. Coleman-Smith, and visiting assistant professor Hannah Petersen are at the conference and presented their work in oral presentations. Postdoc Qin Guangyou also attended the conference.
Prof. Daniel Gauthier was the General Co-Chair of the recent topical meeting of the Optical Society of America, Nonlinear Optics 2011 (NLO 2011), following his term at conference Program Co-Chair in 2009. The conference is usually held every two years on one of the islands of Hawai’i, where the 2011 meeting was the 10th time that it was held here. The location is ideal for fostering interactions, especially between scientists from the United States and the Pacific Rim countries. One highlight of the meeting was a special Symposium celebrating the 50th anniversary of nonlinear optics. In particular, the first observation of a nonlinear optical effect – second harmonic generation of a laser beam passing through a quartz crystal – was reported by Peter Franken and colleagues in Physical Review Letters in 1961. The Symposium brought together luminaries of the field of nonlinear optics, many of whom were deeply influenced by the Franken paper and who contributed substantially to the rapid development of this field. The Symposium speakers shared personal anecdotes of their early research in nonlinear optics as well as describing some of their recent work and vision for the future of the field. The conference remains very active with a record number of contributed submissions this year and a program including over 170 plenary, invited, and contributed presentations over five days. The conference banquet is a traditional Luau, where Prof. Gauthier enjoyed some time with his better half and the conference participants. Prof. Gauthier also enjoyed some vacation time before and after the conference, including taking hikes in the mountains of Kaua’i and snorkeling with sea turtles.