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The farthest star helps probe dark matter

Assistant Professor Patrick Kelly led a team of researchers that set a distance record and discovered the farthest individual star ever seen. The star, nicknamed Icarus, is 9 billion light-years away--halfway across the visible universe--and would ordinarily not be visible even to the most powerful telescopes. Gravitational lensing allowed the Hubble Space Telescope to pick out Icarus, whose official name is MACS 1149+2223 Lensed Star 1. The unique opportunity to study Icarus also allowed researchers to rule out one of the theories about the mystery of dark matter. More »

Dan Dahlberg

When noise is a good thing

Physicists at the University of Minnesota are using very small, magnetic particles to answer questions in fundamental physics that have broad reaching implications in understanding some difficult real-world problems. More »

Greg Pawloski

Neutrino Mysteries

Physicists at the University of Minnesota are part of a collaboration that is trying to answer the remaining questions in neutrino physics. More »

Linday Glesener and Kendra Bergstedt

New Space Physicist to provide exciting research opportunities for students

Lindsay Glesener is a new faculty member in the School of Physics and Astronomy, studying high energy events in the Sun. Glesener uses x-rays to observe solar flares and coronal mass ejections. These events throw intense amounts of of plasma and radiation into space, causing the Earth’s aurorae and causing high radiation environments in Earth’s orbit, adversely affecting spacecraft. Glesener studies this topic from a fundamental physics perspective, trying to answer remaining questions about how these solar events are energized and the high-energy nature of the Sun. More »

Guichuan Yu

Master of Mercury Barium Copper Oxides

Researchers at the School of Physics and Astronomy are trying to solve a thirty year old mystery: what causes high-temperature superconductivity? Guichuan Yu is a postdoc in a lab that is entirely focused on the problem. Yu has been with Martin Greven’s superconductivity laboratory since he was a graduate student and has spent the past ten years refining the technique of creating one class of materials, Mercury Barium Copper Oxides. As a postdoc he is now in charge of growing the single crystal samples the group uses in their experiments. More »

Grad Phi Officers

Grad Phi helping students with work/life balance

Chris Conklin, current coordinator for Grad Phi says he joined the organization to help other students with work and life balance. Conklin, a fourth year student working with Professor Jorge Vinals on liquid crystals, felt he had a good support system. "I felt like there were people who don’t have that and I wanted to contribute." More »

Elias Puchner

Cellular signaling networks

A group of researchers at the School of Physics and Astronomy are working to uncover how cells and their signaling networks detect and respond to stimuli. Elias Puchner is new faculty member in the area of experimental biological physics. Through his research he intends to provide “a nano-scale view of cell communication.” More »


Looking for Exoplanets

A research team at the University of Minnesota has been using the power of the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona to search for planets outside our solar system in hopes of answering some questions about the evolution of our own. More »

Jonathan Garamella

Understanding Cell Membranes

Biological physicists at the University of Minnesota are breaking apart the components of a cell, taking out the molecular machinery responsible for protein synthesis from DNA to reconstruct specific cellular functions such as cytoskeleton-based cell division. The goal of this research is ultimately to create a synthetic cell in a test tube that can divide and evolve on its own. More »


Coarse-grain modeling of polymers

Physicists at the School of Physics and Astronomy are using modeling techniques to make things easier for chemists working with polymers. Taher Ghasimakbari is a graduate student working in theoretical condensed matter physics on diblock copolymers, a family of materials with wide range of applications from drug delivery to strengthening plastics. Spandex and polyurethane are examples of block copolymers in the same family of materials as diblock copolymers ever since. This class of polymers were invented in the 1950s and have been studied extensively. More »

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