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.


Greven named McKnight Professor

Martin Greven

Professor Martin Greven of the School of Physics and Astronomy has been selected as a Distinguished McKnight University Professor. The award recognizes Greven's research in the field of experimental condensed matter physics. Greven will receive a grant of $100,000 to be used over a five year period. More »

Dahlberg receives education award

Dan Dahlberg

Professor Dan Dahlberg of the School of Physics and Astronomy will receive the 2017-2018 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education by the University. Recipients of the award are made members of the University's Academy of Distinguished Teachers and are conferred with the title of "Distinguished University Teacher." Dahlberg will also receive a $15,000 award to go toward toward research support. More »

SPS Named Outstanding Chapter

Levi Walls at the Family Fun Fair outreach event

The School's chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) was named "Outstanding Chapter" by the national organization. Chapter President Levi Walls said that "despite being confined to Shepherd Labs due to the Tate remodel, SPS was able to increase the number of opportunities for members to volunteer within the department and community at large." More »

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 »


Friday, March 23rd
10:10 am:
Nuclear Physics Seminar in Tate 201-20
There will be a special nuclear physics seminar on Wednesday this week.
12:20 pm:
Interface symmetry and non-helical states in topological insulator-semiconductor heterostructures —
Daniel Sheehy, LSU
Note: this seminar is in addition to the one on Wednesday. Please note change of day, time and room, This week only.
12:30 pm:
Going with the flow: a solution to the sign problem —
Gokce Basar (U. Illinois, Chicago)
2:30 pm:
Thermal Infrared Probes of Exoplanetary Systems with LBTI —
Dr. Jordan Stone, U. Arizona
3:35 pm:
"Court-Ordered Cesarean Sections in 1980s America" —
Rebecca Kluchin, Department of History, California State University - Sacramento
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.
3:35 pm:
Piaget and Vygotsky as a Foundation for Physics Education —
Brita L. Nellermoe, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN
4:40 pm:
Special topics - auxiliary skills
Monday, March 26th
12:15 pm:
Liliya L.R. Williams, UMN
Tuesday, March 27th
3:35 pm:
Hyperbolic waves in Nature: from nano to Ter(r)a —
Michael Fogler, University of California, San Diego
Wednesday, March 28th
2:30 pm:
Synthesis as the Heart of New Materials Physics —
Paul Canfield (Iowa State)
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