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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 »

Filippo Caschera

Synthetic Biology

Filippo Caschera is a Research Associate working on synthetic biology with Professor Vincent Noireaux. Synthetic biology is a multidisciplinary field that combines physics, biology and chemistry. Caschera has a Ph.D. in chemistry, but has always worked in physics because he likes the approach. ‘We build things from the bottom up, like legos, using pieces to build a system that will evolve. We are building to understand.” More »

Rafael Fernandes

Finding the Glue in Unconventional Superconductors

Most metals, when cooled below a certain temperature, become superconductors. A superconductor not only carries electric current without dissipation but it also expels the magnetic field from its interior. "Microscopically we understand that the system is in a new quantum state where pairs of electrons form bound states, called Cooper pairs, in a coherent way, " says Rafael Fernandes, a theoretical physicist who studies superconductivity. More »

J J Nelson

JJ Nelson: Hardware Guy

JJ Nelson, a graduate student in the Allen Goldman’s Superconductivity Laboratory is what’s known as a hardware guy. Nelson’s work bench is stacked with parts of various machines he’s repairing or building. For all the hardware solutions Nelson finds to improve his research-- such as a thermometer that he “grew” on the same chip next to his superconducting sample-- he stresses the importance of understanding the measurement, of which the hardware is just one part. A hardware guy has to have a good sense of what’s going on in the whole laboratory as well as understanding the physics. More »

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