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Marco Peloso

Signatures of Inflation

Marco Peloso is a theorist working in the area of cosmology (the study of the early Universe). His research focuses on models of inflation, which is a period of accelerated expansion that took place very early in the life of the Universe. Observational cosmologists look for the signatures of inflation in the forms of gravitational waves and of density perturbations, which can be seen as small ripples in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) data. More »

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Exotic Phases of Matter

Fiona Burnell is a condensed matter theorist who studies exotic phases of matter. These are materials which do not display long-ranged order at low temperatures (which is typical of low-temperature behaviour in many materials, such as magnets), but are also not ordinary metals. One of the most bizarre examples of an exotic phase is a fractionalized system, where there appear to be particles that carry a fraction of the charge of the electron. “This seems very surprising because we know that you can’t subdivide an electron,” Burnell explains. More »

Tony Gherghetta

Going Beyond the Standard Model

Tony Gherghetta is a theoretical particle physicist whose research focuses on extensions of the Standard Model of particle physics. The Standard Model describes the nature and interactions of the elementary building blocks of the Universe. More »

Mikhail Shifman

At the Crossroads

Professor Mikhail Shifman, recent Pomeranchuk prize winner, says that particle physicists are experiencing a crucial time. And he ought to know. Shifman has written several books on the history of elementary particle physics. "We are at a crossroads, we will go to the left or to the right or nowhere" Shifman says, referring to the fact that supersymmetry, the theory that states that there are superpartners for every known particle, has not yet been discovered at the Large Hadron Collider. More »

Clint Young

Heavy Ion Collisions

Clint Young is a Research Associate at the School of Physics and Astronomy who studies ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions. In these experiments, atomic nuclei are accelerated to speeds exceeding 99% of the speed of light and then collide. More »

Jianming Bian

The Intensity Frontier

Jianming Bian is a research associate who works on both the BESIII and NOvA experiments. Both experiments operate at the so-called "Intensity Frontier" which means that they study fundamental particles and forces of nature using intense particle beams and highly sensitive detectors. More »

Anthony Villano

Super CDMS looks for WIMPs

Anthony Villano is a post-doc working on the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) and Super CDMS experiments. CDMS is looking for weakly-interacting massive particles (WIMPs) that are a possible dark matter candidate. Physicists have not convincingly isolated a WIMP signal, but their new, more-advanced WIMP detector, SuperCDMS-Soudan, has the best sensitivity of any detector they have ever made. More »

Qing Xu Ryan

Computer Coaches

Qing Xu Ryan is a graduate student in Professor Ken Heller’s Physics Education program. She has participated in designing and building computer coaches to help with problem solving in physics and conducted experimental studies to assess the effectiveness of these coaches on over 400 students. More »

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Starbursts in Dwarf Galaxies

Kristen McQuinn, Research Associate at the School of Physics and Astronomy, studies star bursts in dwarf galaxies. A starburst is a period of relatively active star-making in the normally quiet realm of dwarf galaxies. Starbursts are thought to be more common in the early universe, but Astrophysicists still do not understand the evolutionary connection between starbursts and their host galaxies. More »

Claudia Scarlata

Galaxy Evolution

Claudia Scarlata is an astrophysicist who studies the formation and evolution of galaxies. One question her research examines is the effect of galaxy formation on the so-called “reionization problem.” In the early universe, about 380,000 years after the Big Bang, free protons and electrons combined to form neutral hydrogen. This process produced a photon after-glow known as the Cosmic Microwave Background. A few hundred million years later, the neutral hydrogen was reionized—i.e. it absorbed high energy photons, released its bound electrons and became ionized hydrogen. More »

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