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Brian Andersson prepares a lecture demonstration

When physics goes "boom"

Ask Brian Andersson, assistant education specialist, in charge of the School of Physics and Astronomy lecture demonstration area, what his favorite demo is and he’ll tell you: “anything that explodes.” Which could describe a significant number of the over 1,000 demonstrations that Andersson has in his repertoire. More »

Lcuy Fortson

A Zooniverse of Astrophysics

Lucy Fortson is an experimental high-energy astrophysicist working on blazars, which means that she uses telescopes to try to understand how the highest energy gamma rays are being produced by celestial objects. More »


Physicists in training

When one imagines a room full of physicists in training, the image that comes to mind is perhaps not a group of students sitting around playing with Legos. But that is precisely the metaphor used by Kurt Wick to describe his classes in the Methods of Experimental Physics. The students do not play with actual interlocking colored bricks, but rather bits of computer systems that might fit together in larger experiments. More »

Allen Goldman

Ionic Liquids - Quantum Phase Transitions

Allen Goldman is a condensed matter experimentalist working on the properties of materials at low temperatures. His research involves the study of quantum phase transitions. These are transitions that are found at absolute zero with an external parameter of the system such as magnetic field, disorder, chemical composition or charge density, controlling the transition. More »

Sam Schreiner

Celestial Weather Man

Sam Schreiner is studying to be a weatherman of sorts. He is a student in the field of Heliophysics, the physics of the sun’s heliosphere and the objects (including the Earth) that interact with it. Specifically Sam been studying the “weather patterns” of particularly violent sun storms called Coronal Mass Ejections (CME). More »

Woods Halley

Alternative energy

J. Woods Halley has worked many years on problems associated with alternative energy. Halley applies his knowledge of the physics of electro-chemistry to energy-relevant problems. He has been working with chemists from 3M and Argonne National Laboratory on problems in hydrogen fuel cells proposed for use in cars that would refill at hydrogen stations. More »


EBEX in Flight

Launching a balloon-borne scientific experiment, or "balloon campaign" can be a long, intense operation where physicists work in isolated locations that can make a balloon experiment seem like a military campaign. Asad Aboobaker, a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota, working in Shaul Hanany’s Observation cosmology group, blogged the EBEX launch in Fort Sumner, NM. More »

Professor Robert Lysak

The Spell of the Northern Lights

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. More »

Ron Poling

International Charm offensive

In January, 2008 the Minnesota “Heavy Flavor” group led by Professors Ron Poling and Dan Cronin-Hennessy joined the BESIII experiment at the Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing, China. This expanded an already fruitful program of collaborative research in high energy physics between the United States and the People’s Republic of China that was initiated by T.D. Lee, “Pief” Panofsky and Bob Wilson in the 1970’s. More »

Oriol Valls

How to beat the Pauli Principle

Oriol T. Valls studies unusual properties of nanostructures consisting of layers of intercalated superconductor and ferromagnetic materials. Such structures are interesting for their applications in spintronics and because their physics are not completely understood. These structures exhibit what are called proximity effects: the superconductivity leaks into the magnetic layers and the magnetism into the superconducting ones. More »

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