Welcome to the January 2012 Newsletter Happy New Year and welcome back! The spring semester is underway with members of the Physics Department busy w

Duke-Physics-hEADER 02

Welcome to the January 2012 Newsletter

Happy New Year and welcome back! The spring semester is underway with members of the Physics Department busy with research publications, awards, events and upcoming new roles. We hope you enjoy reading this latest update.

Do you have news? Please send your updates to the News Team.


Faculty News

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Prof. Robert Behringer featured in Nature and Duke Today

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Prof. Matthew Hastings’ Paper Featured Widely

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Prof. Calvin Howell to Chair Search Committee for New Grad School Dean

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Prof. Ashutosh Kotwal’s Thesis Famous

Click the images above to read more about each story.


New Faculty Roles

Prof. Ashutosh Kotwal has agreed to take the leadership position of Associate Chair for Teaching (ACT) in Physics starting July 1, 2012. Thank you to Prof. Stephen Teitsworth for doing a terrific job as ACT in the last three years.

The APT Committee has recommended, and Provost Lange agreed, that Prof. Kate Scholberg be promoted to Full Professor beginning July 1, 2012.

Warm congratulations to Profs. Kotwal and Scholberg!


Research News

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KamLAND-Zen Started Zero-Neutrino Double-Beta Decay Search

After discovering reactor neutrino oscillations, determining the heat produced by radioactive decays in the interior of the Earth, determining the extraterrestrial high-energy anti-neutrino flux on Earth, and studying solar neutrinos with the KamLAND detector, on October 12, 2011 a subgroup of the original Japanese-US KamLAND collaboration commenced its search for the zero-neutrino double-beta decay of 136Xe. For this purpose, a 3.4 m diameter nylon balloon filled with about 400 kg of 136Xe absorbed in scintillator fluid and viewed by about 2000 phototubes was immersed in September into the original 1 kilo-ton KamLAND liquid scintillator detector (see Figure).

Please click here or on the image at left to read the rest of the story.

Theoretical Physics Research on RENCI Site Research done by the Theoretical Nuclear and Particle Physics group is currently being featured on the homepage of RENCI, the Rennaissance Computing Institute at UNC and the International Science Grid This Week (ISGTW) site. Click here to read more.

T2K Oscillation Results Chosen in the Top 10 Physics Breakthroughs of 2011 The electron neutrino appearance results from the Tokai-to-Kamioka experiment reported in June have been selected as one of the top 10 breakthroughs in physics by Physics World magazine. Read the story here.

Duke-JLab Plant Instrumentation R&D Featured on DOE Pulse TUNL’s instrumentation development work done in collaboration with the detector group at Jefferson Laboratory was recently featured in the DOE Pulse. The DOE Pulse is an online newsletter that highlights science and technology at DOE National Laboratories. You can read more here.

Click the links above to read more about each story.


Alumni News

We have put together a collection of alumni profiles. Browse them all here.


Student News

Grad Students Win Duke Fellowships Every year the graduate school uses various types of endowments to give out fellowships to outstanding graduate students. These fellowships are both merit and need based. This year four graduate students from the physics department were nominated by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) based on requests from the faculty and students. Read the full story here.

Undergrads Receive Silver Medal An undergraduate team of three students, Zongjin Qian, Peter Zhu, and Josh Loyal won a silver medal in the “University Physics Competition,” which is described here.

Read more grad student news here and more undergraduate news here.


Upcoming Events

Event details may change at any time. Always click "More Info" to retrieve contact info for event organizers when planning to attend events.

Department Colloquium The next event will feature Jonathan Simon of Harvard University's "Building Synthetic Materials from Ultracold Atoms: Quantum Magnetism in an Optical Lattice" on February 2nd at 3:30PM in French Family Science Center room 2237.

Public Stargazing will meet on Friday, February 3rd at 6:30pm. Watch for updates to the schedule here.

Triangle Nuclear Theory Seminar The next TNT Seminar will be with Christine Aidala Los Alamos National Laboratory discussing "The Electron-Ion Collider: Tackling QCD from the Inside (of Nucleons and Nuclei) Out" on Tuesday, February 21st at 3:30pm in Physics Building, Room 298.