University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
Professor Robert Lysak
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The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights have long been a subject of fascination in folklore and for those of us lucky enough to see them in northern latitudes. Professor Bob Lysak is a theoretician who has been studying the unique physics of aurora since the 1970’s. The classic model of the Aurora is that electrons trapped in the Earth’s magnetosphere are accelerated by quasi-static electric fields that form parallel to the Earth’s magnetic field and cause the light display.


Minnesota space physicists make discovery that may help improve space weather predictions

Aaron Breneman

Dr. Aaron Breneman, researcher in the School of Physics and Astronomy, was lead author on a paper which helps explain the mechanism which causes highly energetic electrons that reach the Earth’s atmosphere. Such particles can cause the auroral displays--the Northern Lights in Northern Minnesota, for example, and can damage satellites and other spacecraft. One of the goals of this research is to help predict space “weather” which can adversely affect human activity and technology. More »

Real rocket science for undergraduates

Lindsay Glesener

Professor Lindsay Glesner and her research group were featured in an article about young scientists working on a NASA satellite project called EXACT. The article focuses on Abi Valero, a junior majoring in aerospace engineering and mechanics, who is part of Glesener's space physics research laboratory. More »

Wick wins Reichert Award

Kurt Wick

Senior Scientist, Kurt Wick will receive the American Physical Society 2018 Jonathan F. Reichert and Barbara Wolff-Reichert Award for Excellence in Advanced Laboratory Instruction. Wick has guided the Methods of Experimental Physics courses in the School of Physics and Astronomy for thirty years. More »

Olive to receive Bethe Prize

Keith Olive

Professor Keith Olive was named as the recipient of the 2018 Hans A. Bethe Prize from the American Physical Society (APS). Olive received the prize for his research across a number of disciplines including nuclear physics, particle physics, theoretical and observational astrophysics, and cosmology, and Big Bang nucleosynthesis and the properties of Dark Matter. More »

LIGO detects gravitational waves from Neutron Star collision

An artist's rendering of the collision of two neutron stars

For the first time, physicists have detected gravitational waves from the collision of two neutron stars. The observation was made by LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, a collaborative project with over one thousand researchers from more than twenty countries, including the University of Minnesota. More »


Thursday, December 14th
10:10 am:
Biophysics Seminar in 120 PAN
There will be no seminar this week.
11:30 am:
Thesis Defense in 301-20 Tate
Ryan Arneson
This is the public portion of Mr. Arneson's thesis defense. His advisor is Robert Gehrz.
3:35 pm:
There will be no colloquium this week.
Friday, December 15th
10:00 am:
Thesis Defense in 301-20 Tate
Much Ado About Blazars: Investigations of Extreme Variability Patterns in the Very High Energy Gamma-ray Blazar Emission —
Karlen Shahinyan
This is the public portion of Mr. Shahinyan's thesis defense. His advisor is Lucy Fortson.
2:30 pm:
No colloquium this week.
3:35 pm:
There will be no Colloquiium this week.
4:00 pm:
Thesis Defense in 110 PAN
Search for a WR boson and heavy neutrinos using the LHC and the CMS experiment —
Sean Kalafut, University of Minnesota
This is the public portion of Mr. Kalafut's Thesis Defense. His advisor is Roger Rusack.
4:40 pm:
To be announced.
Sunday, December 17th
12:00 pm:
Thesis Defense in 301-20 Tate
Integrating human and machine intelligence in galaxy morphology classification tasks —
Melanie Beck
This is the public portion of Ms. Beck's thesis defense. Her advisor is Claudia Scarlata.
Tuesday, December 19th
4:30 pm:
Experimental signatures of Majoranas —
Gino Graziano, University of Minnesota
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