Department of Physics and Asrtonomy faculty members Mohammad Maghrebi and Johannes Pollanen have received 2022 NSF Early CAREER Faculty Awards. Their cutting-edge research is pushing the limits of theoretical and experimental quantum science, while their devotion to education is preparing the next generation of scientists to propel their field even further. The Early CAREER Faculty Award is one of NSF’s most prestigious grants and is given to faculty members who demonstrate leadership in research and education and have a passion for integrating the two.
It is with sadness that we pass on the news that MSU undergraduate alumnus and renowned solar physicist Eugene Parker has died at the age of 94. Dr. Parker received numerous accolades over an incredibly distinguished career as a solar physicist, among them having NASA’s Parker Solar Probe named after him. Dr. Parker and his family have also supported the department in many ways over the years, and we are very grateful to have known him and for their support.
In a paper in Physical Reviews Letters, MSU Physics and Astronomy faculty member Stephen Hsu along with colleagues at the University of Sussex and the University of Pisa have shown that quantum gravitational effects allow black holes to have "quantum hair", that is to effect the properties of the universe outside of the event horizon. This overcomes No Hair theorems in classical general relativity, and may help resolve may resolve Hawking’s Black Hole Information Paradox, which has challenged physicists since 1976.
The Department of Physics and Astronomy has been selected by the American Physical Society for its 2022 Award for Improving Undergraduate Physics Education. This award recognizes a physics department at a U.S. university for its outstanding work in undergraduate physics education. At Michigan State we are grateful that the APS has recognized our work across the curriculum to deliver high quality physics education. This work follows a long history of physics and astronomy at MSU carrying out its land grant mission of excellence in research and teaching.
Beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year, MSU will host a new traineeship in the development of high-energy physics instrumentation, including coursework, a certificate program, and student support for instrumentation development work at MSU and at a DOE national-lab or other facility. Students enrolled in the program, available to MSU PhD students, will work with MSU faculty on topics including the ATLAS detector on the LHC, CMB-S4, DUNE, and at FRIB. The program includes dedicated mentoring and career opportunities, to help all students succeed in this exciting new frontier.
Michigan State University is hosting a major research conference—the 7th Conference on Photoinduced Phase Transitions and Cooperative Phenomena (PIPT7) this month. The conference is an international meeting bringing together leading experimentalists and theorists in the field of photoinduced phase transitions of quantum materials mediated by ultrashort laser pulses.
The Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP) of the American Physical Society (APS) has chosen Prof. Filomena Nunes for their Distinguished Service Award, citing “her exceptional and rich contributions toward making the DNP a place where all members can thrive, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups, including service as the inaugural chair of the Subcommittee on Harassment Prevention and the creation of the DNP Allies program”. Professor Nunes has appointments at the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), and is the Managing Director of the FRIB Theory Alliance.
Congratulations to Professor Paul Guèye for being selected as the 2022 Edward A. Bouchet Award winner by the American Physical Society in recognition of his “many seminal experimental contributions to understanding the structure of nuclear particles and decades of service to physics outreach, diversity and inclusion”. Paul Guèye holds appointments at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams and the Department of Physics & Astronomy. Prof. Guèye has a distinguished career in forefront research and research leadership in nuclear physics. He is currently both PI on a National Science Foundation group grant focused on isotope discovery science and PI of a Department of Energy funded institute called INSIGHT (Institute for Nuclear Science to Inspire the Next Generation of a Highly Trained Workforce), which serves to coordinate nationwide training for undergraduates in nuclear science, with a special focus on close collaborations with minority serving institutions.
Congratulations to Prof. Artemis Spyrou on her election as an APS Fellow. Professor Spyrou, who holds appointments both in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and at FRIB, received this recognition for her groundbreaking studies in experimental nuclear astrophysics. Her leadership in nuclear science and her efforts to inform the public has helped maintain the top ranking of our nuclear physics graduate program.
The new STEM teaching building was dedicated recently with many dignitaries and much emphasis on the critical role of STEM education for the future of the state and country. As the speeches and ribbon cutting were going on outside, Physics faculty were teaching introductory physics using new curricula that take full advantage of the new classrooms in the building. These innovative new curricula were developed using evidenced-based practices to better serve the students in these courses as part of the department's longstanding commitment to MSU's mission of excellence in both teaching and research.