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News Archive: 2010-2013

Prof. Jenny Hoffman has been selected a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
During her fellowship year, she will pursue a project called "Enabling Nanoscale Imaging of Complex Oxides through Novel Film Growth Techniques.
The Simons Foundation has appointed Prof. Xi Yin a Simons Investigator.
The Simons Investigators program provides a stable base of support for outstanding scientists, enabling them to undertake long-term study of fundamental questions.
"Science of Sound and Music" Sound Fair! Thursday, May 9, 12-4pm
60 students who participated in Prof. Eric Heller's "Science of Sound and Music" class SPU13 will present their sound-related projects. Location: Science Center, Lab 302-306 (3rd floor).
Lee Historical Lecture in Physics by Prof. Roy Glauber
Recollections of Los Alamos and the Nuclear Era
Apr 30 @8:00pm, Science Center Hall D. For more information, please read the Gazette article.
Grad students Norman Yao and Nicholas Schade are this year's recipients of the Gertrude and Maurice Goldhaber Prize.
This prize, which will be awarded on April 30th at the Lee Historical Lecture in Physics, recognizes outstanding theoretical and experimental graduate students who have passed their qualifying oral examinations in the preceding year.
Grad student Elise Novitski was awarded a 2013/14 Harvard Merit Fellowship.
Merit Fellowships are available to outstanding GSAS students in all fields.
Congratulations to post doc Dr. Vivek Venkatachalam (Samuel lab) for receiving a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology!
Vivek will develop and apply new optical methods to read out as well as manipulate long-term memories in the C. elegans nervous system.
Grad student Alexander Isakov and colleagues from SEAS won the Grand Prize at the 2013 International Student Design Showcase
for a presentation "A Safer and More Efficient Laparoscopic Morcellator" at the Design of Medical Devices Conferences in Minneapolis, MN.
Prof. Gerald Gabrielse has been awarded The Trotter Prize in Information, Complexity and Inference.
The Prize, awarded annually by Texas A&M University, recognizes "pioneering contributions to the understanding of the role of information, complexity and inference in illuminating the mechanisms and wonder of nature".
Prof. John Huth has published a new book, The Lost Art of Finding Our Way (Harvard, 2013).
From the HUP abstract:
Long before GPS, Google Earth, and global transit, humans traveled vast distances using only environmental clues and simple instruments. John Huth asks what is lost when modern technology substitutes for our innate capacity to find our way. Encyclopedic in breadth, weaving together astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, and ethnography, The Lost Art of Finding Our Way puts us in the shoes, ships, and sleds of early navigators for whom paying close attention to the environment around them was, quite literally, a matter of life and death.

For more information, see the publisher's page and read the Chronicle of Higher Education review.
Jim MacArthur has received the 2013 SEAS Dean's Excellence Award.
The award is modeled after the FAS Dean's Distinction Award, and is designed to recognize high performing individual staff members who have consistently delivered superior results.
ATRAP experiment makes world's most precise measurement of antiproton magnetic moment.
Prof. Gerald Gabrielse, grad students Jack DiSciacca, Mason Marshall, Kathryn Marable, and Rita Kalra, and postdocs Stephan Ettenauer and Eric Tardiff, with colleagues from the ATRAP Collaboration, were able to measure the magnetism of an antiproton 1,000 times more accurately than any antiproton had been measured before. The measurement is reported in Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 130801 (2013), and the Viewpoint. Also read the Gazette article.
Prof. Xi Yin has been awarded Sloan Research Fellowship
which "seek to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise.  These two-year fellowships are awarded ... in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field."
Maggie McFee is a receipient of the 2013 Dean's Distinction Award.
This award honors the highest-achieving FAS staff members, whose critical contributions and skillful collaboration have delivered outstanding results for the FAS in 2012. Congratulations, Maggie!
Harvard Physics Research Scholar Poster Presentations
Friday, March 8, 2013, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Physics Library, Jefferson 450
The quantum field theory of antiferromagnetism in metals can be simulated efficiently...
by Quantum Monte Carlo methods. Erez Berg, Max A. Metlitski, Subir Sachdev, "Sign-Problem–Free Quantum Monte Carlo of the Onset of Antiferromagnetism in Metals." Science 338: 6114 (21 Dec 2012) | DOI: 10.1126/science.1227769.
String theory may provide some answers on the behavior of materials:
Prof. Subir Sachdev explains how the complex mathematics developed by string theorists can be used by condensed matter physicists to describe the web of quantum entanglement among the electrons. Read S. Sachdev, "Strange and Stringy," Scientific American 308: 44-51 | doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0113-44.
Professors Mikhail Lukin and Xiaowei Zhuang been named American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows...
"for distinguished contributions to quantum optics, quantum information processing, and atomic physics (Lukin) and to super-resolution optimal imaging and its application to cells (Zhuang)".
Prof. Richard Wilson received the 2012 Distinguished Educator Award...
at the annual meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis.
Principles of Scientific Inquiry: Physics 15C Poster Presentations:
How do you measure the "Ether wind", how do you make color holograms, how does a violin work, how can you visualize sound waves, and how do you precisely measure the speed of light? These are some of the questions that this years 15c students addressed independently in 14 experimental projects as part of the new lab component "PSI principles of scientific inquiry" of the intro courses. The students will present their results and apparatus on:

Thursday, Nov. 29, 5PM - 7PM in
Science Center, Rooms 301-306.
Prof. Markus Greiner has been awarded the 2013 I. I. Rabi Prize in Atomic, Molecular or Optical Physics...
"For seminal contributions to the field of ultracold atoms, including the observation of the superfluid-to-Mott-insulator transition, the study of the BEC-BCS cross over for fermions, and the development of imaging techniques for atoms in optical lattices with single-atom resolution."
Congratulations to senior physics concentrator Philip Yao for becoming a Rhodes Scholar!
read the Gazette article.
1st Annual Physics Research Week Open House: Oct 15 - 19.
For more information, see Poster and Schedule.
The Department of Physics seeks to appoint a Tenure-Track Professor in Theoretical Physics.
For more information and to apply, please see the Harvard ARIeS page.
Congratulations to David J. Wineland (Harvard Physics Ph. D. 1970) for the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics!
The Prize was awarded jointly to Serge Haroche and David Wineland "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems". (read the Harvard Magazine article.)
A prethermalized state has been demonstrated in experiments with ultracold atoms
following a theoretical prediction made by Prof. Eugene Demler's group. This is an astonishingly stable disequilibrium state, which results from the splitting of a one-dimensional quasicondensate of interacting bosonic atoms. See Science Report (Vol. 337 no. 6100 pp. 1318-1322; 14 September 2012 | DOI: 10.1126/science.1224953)
The Department of Physics seeks to appoint a tenured professor in the field of Experimental Quantum Condensed Matter Physics
For more information, please see Faculty Job Openings page.
Senior Research Fellow Susanne Yelin has been awarded the 2013 Willis Lamb Medal of the APS...
"for outstanding contributions to Laser Science and Quantum Optics". Please see the Award web page at  http://www.lambaward.org/.
New graduate student Yuliya Dovzhenko has been chosen by The American Physical Society as a recipient of the 2012 LeRoy Apker Award.
Two LeRoy Apker Awards are given annually "to recognize outstanding achievements in physics by undergraduate students, and thereby provide encouragement to young physicists who have demonstrated great potential for future scientific accomplishment".
Prof. Jenny Hoffman is the recipients of the 2012 Fannie Cox Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching.
Made possible by a generous gift from alumnus Gardner Hendrie ’54, the Prize recognizes exceptional teaching in introductory science courses.
Loeb Lectures: Philip Kim (Columbia University): September 21-25.
Lecture I (Sep 21 @3:00pm): Spin and Pseudospin in Graphene
Colloquium (Sep 24 @4:15pm): Bloch, Landau, and Dirac: Hofstadter's Butterfly in Graphene
Lecture II (Sep 25 @3:00pm): Materials in 2-Dimension and Beyond

All lectures will take place in Jefferson 250.
Prof. Jenny Hoffman and her group offer new insights into the "pseudogap" in high temperature superconductors.
Read the Science Report (337: 320, 20 July 2012) which describes the use of high resolution scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) to uncover the role of individual oxygen atoms in the a high temperature cuprate superconductor, Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+x, and the Nature Materials Letter (11: 585-589, July 2012) which reports on a novel analysis method to further increase the STM resolution to the picoscale, and uses this method to investigate a subtle structural distortion in the same material. See also the Gazette article.
Prof. Christopher Stubbs has been named Samuel C. Moncher Professor of Physics and of Astronomy
 
Collaboration between experimentalists from the Max Planck Institute in Munuch and theorists from Harvard and Caltech demonstrated Higgs type excitation in a two dimensional superfluid state of ultracold bosons in an optical lattice.
Read the Letter in Nature: M. Endres, T. Fukuhara, D. Pekker, M. Cheneau, P. Schauss, C. Gross, E. Demler, S. Kuhr & I. Bloch, "The 'Higgs' amplitude mode at the two-dimensional superfluid/Mott insulator transition." Nature 487, 454-458 (26 July 2012) | doi:10.1038/nature11255.
Congratulations to Professors Guimaraes da Costa, Huth, Morii and Franklin and their team of 20 post-doctoral fellows and students on the discovery of particle consistent with the Higgs Boson at 126 GeV.
Read the Gazette article.
The Department welcomes a new faculty member: Prof. Matthew Reece.
 
Congratulations to Jason Dowd and Emily Russell for receiving this year's annual AAPT Outstanding TA Award.
The award goes each year to two physics graduate students based on a comprehensive evaluation of their teaching accomplishments and their future promise in teaching.
Prof. Lisa Randall is the 2012 recipient of the Andrew Gemant Award,
which is given annually for "significant contributions to the cultural, artistic, or humanistic dimension of physics". Please read the AIP press release.
Dr. David Morin has received the Phi Beta Kappa Excellence in Teaching Award.
Prof Jenny Hoffman received the Roslyn Abramson Award "for outstanding undergraduate teaching"
Read the Harvard Magazine article.
Prof. Xiaowei Zhuang has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
 
Prof. Amir Yacoby and his group, in collaborations with the researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science, have taken a critical step toward building a quantum computer:
M.D. Shulman, O.E. Dial, S.P. Harvey, H. Bluhm, V. Umansky, A. Yacoby, "Demonstration of Entanglement of Electrostatically Coupled Singlet-Triplet Qubits," Science 336: no. 6078 (April 2012) | DOI: 10.1126/science.1217692. Read also the Gazette story.
Saturday, Apr 14: Hands-On Activities Expo for All Ages in the Science Center:
From 10am to 2pm. Come explore the science of how things build themselves!  From Instant Snow, Permanent Bubbles, and Butterfly Blues to DNA Capsules and Building with Sticky Spheres.  All events are free and open to the public! www.harvardscienceweeks.org. For images, click on the slideshow.
Friday, Apr 13:  Public Lecture "The New Science of Self Assembly: From Living Things to New Technology"
by Prof. Vinothan Manoharan in Hall D of the Harvard Science Center at  7pm. Reception to follow. www.harvardscienceweeks.org.
Lee Historical lecture: David Gross (KITP, UCSB), Apr 17, 2012:
"A Century of Nuclear Physics: From Rutherford to QCD and to String Theory" Science Center, Hall C @ 8pm.
Lecture by Dr. Hussain al-Shahristani, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy, Republic of Iraq.
The lecture, titled "The Arab Awakening: An Iraqi Perspective", took place on April 25 at 4:30 in Jefferson Lab, Rm 250. Watch the video.
Dr. Daniel Jafferis, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the High Energy Theory Group, has received the 2012 Henry Primakoff Award
for Early-Career Particle Physics from the American Physical Society, for his work in the construction and study of 3-dimensional supersymmetric quantum field theories.
Loeb Lectures: John Clarke, UC Berkeley
Mar 19, 2012: The Ubiquitous SQUID: Then and Now
Mar 20, 2012: Magnetic Flux 1/f Noise: A 30-Year Saga
Mar 22, 2012: Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Microtesla Fields: A New Clinical Modality?
Memorial Service for Professor Norman F. Ramsey was held on March 3, 2012.
 
Congratulations to Carol Davis for receiving the 2012 Dean's Distinction Award!
 
Loeb Lectures: Theodor Hansch, University of Munich, Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics
Mar 5, 2012: Laser Spectroscopy of Hydrogen
Mar 6, 2012: The Proton Size Puzzle
Mar 8, 2012: Laser Frequency Combs: Applications from the Atomic to the Cosmic Scale.
Congratulations to Prof. Markus Greiner for his promotion to the rank of Full Professor!
 
Professor Aravinthan Samuel and his team have shown that the lower animals are capable of making "left- and right-steering decisions based on sensory input."
Marc Gershow, Matthew Berck, Dennis Mathew, Linjiao Luo, Elizabeth Kane, John Carlson & Aravinthan Samuel, "Controlling airborne cues to study small animal navigation," Nature Methods (2012) | doi:10.1038/nmeth.1853. Read also the article in Harvard Gazette.
Prof. Eric Mazur has launched the Peer Instruction (PI) Network, a new global social network for users of interactive teaching methods.
PI is an innovative evidence-based pedagogy designed to improve student engagement and success. While originally developed for Mazur's introductory physics courses, PI is now used across multiple disciplines, from the sciences to the humanities.
Prof. Efthimios Kaxiras is to receive a grant from the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center
to apply computational science to the basic study of materials. Collaborating with two researchers from Northeastern University, Kaxiras will create multiscale models of tiny metal particles to study their dielectric and magnetic properties. Understanding the behavior of metals at this level will assist the development of precisely engineered materials with customized electromagnetic and physical properties.
The department welcome Christine Thurmond, Assistant Director of Faculty and Staff services!
A memorial minute was held for Prof. Michael Tinkham at the December 5 faculty meeting.
Please read the abridged version of the text here.
Prof. Lisa Randall's new book, Knocking on Heaven's Door, has been chosen as one of New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2011.  
Prof. Richard Wilson has been awarded the 2012 Andrei Sakharov Prize by the American Physical Society.
"For tireless efforts in defense of human rights and freedom of expression and education anywhere in the world, and for inspiring students, colleagues and others to do the same."
Prof. Lene Vestergaard Hau has received the Carlsberg Foundation's Research Award from the Royal Danish Society of Sciences and Letters.
For more information, please see Prof. Hau's website.

Harvard Book Store hosted Prof. Lisa Randall on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 6:00 p.m., in Brattle Theatre.
For more information, please see the Store's website.
The Department of Physics seeks to appoint a tenure-track professor in Theoretical Particle Physics.
For more information, please see Faculty Job Openings page.
Nature News highlighted Prof. Subir Sachdev's research:
Merali, Z., "Collaborative physics: String theory finds a bench mate", Nature 478: 302-304 (2011) | doi:10.1038/478302a.
Charles H. Holbrow, Associate of the Department of Physics, was named the 2012 Oersted Medal Recipient
For more than forty years Charles H. Holbrow has made significant and innovative contributions to physics education and physics research. The Oersted Medal, presented by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), recognizes these contributions by naming him as the 2012 recipient of this prestigious Medal. Please read the press release.
Harvard Physics preceptor Joon Pahk on Jeopardy!
 
Congratulations to Saul Perlmutter (Harvard S.B. 1981), Brian Schmidt (Harvard Ph.D. 1993) and Adam Reiss (Harvard Ph.D. 1996) for the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics.
Read the press release.
Prof. Lene Vestergaard Hau was named "2011 Distinguished Alum" by Aarhus University, Denmark, on September 9, 2011.
For more information, please see Prof. Hau's website.
Prof. Markus Greiner has won a McArthur genius grant.
Please read the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation press release and an article on boston.com.
The Department welcomes two new staff members:
Gerard Byrne, the Associate Director of Finance and Research Administration, and Jacob Barandes, the Lecturer on Physics.
Prof. Lisa Randall gave a lecture in the Museum of Science to mark the release of her new book, Knocking on Heaven's Door.
For details of the event, please see the Museum of Science announcement page.
Prof. Adam Cohen and colleagues from SEAS, MCB and CCB made a discovery which could provide a new way to study resistance of E. coli to antibiotics...
by electrically regulating its efflux machinery: J.M. Kralj, D.R. Hochbaum, A.D. Douglass, A.E. Cohen1, "Electrical Spiking in Escherichia coli Probed with a Fluorescent Voltage-Indicating Protein" Science 15 (July 2011) Vol. 333 no. 6040 pp. 345-348 | DOI: 10.1126/science.1204763.
President Obama has appointed Prof. Isaac Silvera to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Vietnam Education Foundation.
Recently, at the request of the Vietnamese government, Prof. Silvera served on a team of the National Academies of the United States to advise on enhancing higher education in science and engineering.  He has visited Vietnam several times to aid in selection of scholars supported by the Vietnam Education Foundation for studies in the US, and has lectured throughout Vietnam on advanced subjects in physics.
Huge congratulations to ChemPhys concentrators Sophie Cai and Darius Imregun and Physics concentrator Zachary Frankel for sharing the Sophia Freund Prize
with perfect 4.0 grade point averages! This prize is awarded to the student(s) in the senior class of Harvard College graduating summa cum laude with the highest grade-point average. It is most unusual to have three students with perfect records.
Pendulum Waves, a Harvard Natural Sciences lecture demonstrations, becomes a YouTube sensation
Fifteen uncoupled simple pendulums of monotonically increasing lengths dance together to produce visual traveling waves, standing waves, beating, and random motion. One might call this kinetic art and the choreography of the dance of the pendulums is stunning! Aliasing and quantum revival can also be shown.
Prof. Andrew Strominger has been inducted into the National Academy of Sciences
for his "distinguished and continuing achievements in original research".
The "Quantum Magnet"
Prof. Markus Greiner and grad students Jonathan Simon, Waseem Bakr, Ruichao Ma, M. Eric Tai, and Philipp Preiss published an article in Nature
(13 Apr. 2011 | doi:10.1038/nature09994), in which they demonstrate a route to quantum magnetism in an optical lattice. (Read also the Harvard Gazette article.)
Evidence on an unknown particle?
Profs. Melissa Franklin and Joao Guimaraes da Costa and the post-doc Pierluigi Catastini are part of the CDF collaboration which announced that it has evidence of a peak in a specific sample of its data. This peak might be explained by the production of a new, unknown particle that is not predicted by the Standard Model.
Congratulations to the winners of the Fall 2010 Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching:
Jacob Barandes, David Benjamin, Jonathan Bittner, Hugh Churchill, Logan Clark, Peter Hedman, Jennifer Hou, Gregory Kestin Douglas Mcclure, Joseph Peidle, Susanne Pielawa, Umang Shukla, Nils Sorensen, Vivek Venkatachalam, Tess Williams, and Zachary Wissner-Gross.
Zachary Wissner-Gross is the recipient of the 2011 Biophysical Society's Student Research Achievement Award
for his work on symmetry breaking in developing neurons.
Susanne Pielawa and Vivek Venkatachalam are the 2010-11 recipients of the Gertrude and Maurice Goldhaber Prize.
The prizes will be awarded at the annual David M. Lee Historical Lecture in Physics, which will be delivered by Prof. Dudley Herschbach on Wednesday, Mar. 9, at 8:00 p.m. in the Science Center Hall D.
Congratulations to Joe Peidle and Jess Martin for receiving the FAS Dean's Distinction Award!
The Award is an FAS-wide staff recognition program created to honor the achievements of FAS employees.
Prof. Lisa Randall is among the appointee to key Administration posts announced today, Jan 27, 2011, by President Barack Obama.
Prof. Randall has been appointed a member of President's Committee on the National Medal of Science.
Pulses of light control the behavior of a worm:
Prof. Aravinthan Samuel and the members of his group devised a way "to commandeer the nervous system of swimming or crawling nematodes using pulses of blue and green light - no wires, no electrodes": Harvard Gazette, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. See also: A.M. Leifer, C. Fang-Yen, M. Gershow, M.J. Alkema & A.D.T. Samuel, "Optogenetic manipulation of neural activity in freely moving Caenorhabditis elegans". Nature Methods (Published online 16 January 2011) | doi:10.1038/nmeth.1554.
The work of Prof. Markus Greiner and his group and collaborators was chosen by SCIENCE as one of the top ten breakthroughs of the year.
The ten breakthroughs are listed here. The Greiner group paper is W. S. Bakr et al., "Probing the Superfluid-to-Mott Insulator Transition at the Single-Atom Level," Science 329: 547 (2010).
Broken-Symmetry States in Doubly Gated Suspended Bilayer Graphene:
Prof. Amir Yacoby and members of his group published a report in Science: R.T. Weitz, M.T. Allen, B.E. Feldman, J. Martin and A. Yacoby, Science v 330: no. 6005, pp. 812-816 (5 Nov. 2010) | DOI: 10.1126/science.1194988.
The Harvard Physics Department receives top ranking in the National Research Council's assessment of Ph.D. programs in physics.
On September 28, 2010, the National Research Council released the long-awaited results of its study of doctoral programs in the United States. The data examined many characteristics of the faculty and students. Faculty were rated by publications, citations, grants, and awards. Student GRE scores, financial support, and employment outcomes were also used. The Harvard Physics department received the top ranking in both methodologies: in the survey-based and regression-based quality scores.
Prof. Subir Sachdev found a correspondence between the physical properties of black holes and strange matter.
Read S. Sachdev, "Holographic Metals and the Fractionalized Fermi Liquid", Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 151602 (2010) | doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.151602, and a news story in Nature (Reich, E.S., "String theory tackles strange metals", 19 October 2010 | doi:10.1038/news.2010.547).
The interaction between electrons leads to ordered phases in bilayer graphene that can be tuned using electric and magnetic fields.
The Coulomb interaction is one of the most basic interactions known in physics. Depending on the host system it lies at the heart of ordered phases such as magnetism or superconductivity. In bilayer graphene - two layers of graphene stacked on top of one another - interactions between electrons are known to be strong. The resulting phases are predicted to be of interesting nature but have been difficult to identify and analyze experimentally. Dr. R. Thomas Weitz, Monica. T. Allen, Ben Feldman, Dr. Jens Martin and Prof. Amir Yacoby report in Science their approach to reveal and investigate interacting phases in bilayer graphene.
Congratulations to Prof. Gerald Gabrielse  for winning the 2011 Julius Edgar Lillienfeld Prize!
The Prize, administered by APS, is awarded annually "for outstanding contributions to physics by a single individual who also has exceptional skills in lecturing to diverse audiences".
Stuart McNeil, the physics department's building manager, and Professor Cumrun Vafa will be honored today, Oct. 13, in Harvard's annual 25-Year Recognition Ceremony for their 25 years of service.
Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science:
A new General Education class will introduce Harvard undergraduates to the science of soft matter via the science of cooking: Science of the Physical Universe 27. Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science. Lead by Professors David Weitz and Michael P. Brenner (SEAS), the course will feature some of the world most innovative chefs as guest speakers. Read the NY Times article.
Graphene as a subnanometre trans-electrode membrane:
Jene Golovchenko's group has published the cover story of Nature (9 September 2010 | doi:10.1038/nature09379).
Prof. Lene Vestergaard Hau was named "World Dane 2010" ("Verdensdansker 2010") by global network Danes Worldwide.
The honor is awarded to a Dane who has made a special contribution to placing Denmark on the World map. Read more on Prof. Hau's website.
Congratulations to Jenny Hoffman and Markus Greiner on their promotions to the rank of Associate Professor.
 
The department would like to congratulate Prof. Melissa Franklin on her new position as department chair, and thank outgoing chair Prof. Christopher Stubbs on his three years of service.
Probing the Superfluid–to–Mott-Insulator Transition at the Single-Atom Level:
Prof. Markus Greiner with members of his group reported in Scienceon their investigation of the Bose-Hubbard model on a microscopic level using single atom–single lattice site imaging. Their technique enables space- and time-resolved characterization of the number statistics across the superfluid–Mott insulator quantum phase transition. (W.S. Bakr, A. Peng, M.E. Tai, R. Ma, J. Simon, J.I. Gillen, S. Fölling, L. Pollet, and M. Greiner, Science Published Online June 17, 2010; DOI: 10.1126/science.1192368).
Congratulations to Prof. Aravinthan Samuel for his promotion to the rank of Full Professor!
 
Self-Assembled Plasmonic Nanoparticle Clusters:
Vinothan Manoharan with colleagues from SEAS, Rice University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Houston, reported in Science on chemically synthesizing nanoparticle clusters which can be generalized to other two- and three-dimensional structures and can serve as building blocks for new metamaterials. (J.A. Fan, C. Wu, K. Bao, J. Bao, R. Bardhan, N.J. Halas, V.N. Manoharan, P. Nordlander, G. Shvets, F. Capasso, Science 28 May 2010: Vol. 328. no. 5982, pp. 1135 - 1138 DOI: 10.1126/science.1187949.
The Department of Physics regrets to announce that Robert Pound passed away on April 12 in Belmont, Mass.
Please read the obituary in The New York Times. The video of Prof. Pound's 1991 Lee Historical Lecture,"Weighing Photons-The Story of an Experiment", in which he described the Pound-Rebka experiment, is now available for viewing online.
Prof. David Weitz has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
 
As aqueous emulsions containing colloidal particles dry, two very different behaviors are observed:
Mixtures of immiscible fluids with colloids can be very complex but they are technologically important for industries such as paints and protective coatings, especially when such materials undergo drying. Emulsions containing colloidal particles are particularly interesting as controllable test cases of such systems, but they are difficult to image because these mixtures typically scatter light strongly. Dr. Lei Xu, Alexis Berges, Dr. Peter J. Lu, Prof. David Weitz and collaborators report in Physical Review Letters their ability to create a full 3D picture of what happens when these emulsions dry out. (Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 128303 (Published March 24, 2010).
Physics graduate students Anne Goodsell and Trygve Ristroph with Professors Lene Hau and Jene Golovchenko are publishing the cover story of Physical Review Letters, 31 March 2010:
In their experiments, laser-cooled atoms spiral to the surface of a carbon nanotube charged to hundreds of volts. In the high electric field, a captured atom's valence electron tunnels into the tube. The resultant ion is subsequently ejected and detected, and dynamics at the nanoscale are sensitively probed. (Anne Goodsell, Trygve Ristroph, J. A. Golovchenko, and Lene Vestergaard Hau, "Field Ionization of Cold Atoms near the Wall of a Single Carbon Nanotube." Physical Review Letters 104, 133002 (2010).
The recipients of the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Fall 2009 semester have been announced!
The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning awards this honor to outstanding teaching fellows, teaching assistants, and course assistants:
Nils John Sorensen, Elizabeth Anne Kane, Luiz Henrique Bravo Santos, Courtney Marie Peterson, Pierre-Emile Duhamel, Ryan James McGorty, Brian James Shuve, David Isaiah Benjamin, Yiqiao Tang, Joseph Peidle, Clay Alexander Cordova, and Jeronimo Maze.
Prof. Lisa Randall is the Laureate of the 2010 Erna Hamburger Prize.
EPFL-WISH Foundation (Women in Science and Humanities Foundation) annually acknowledges the accomplishments of a distinguished personality by attributing the Erna Hamburger Prize to a woman in science or engineering who has greatly influenced and shaped her field.
The department welcomes a new faculty member, Prof. Michael Desai!
 
Structures of Self-Assembled Clusters:
Vinothan Manoharan, Research Associate Guangnan Meng and colleagues from SEAS published a report in Science on experimental measurements of the structures and free energies of colloidal clusters in which the particles act as hard spheres with short-range attractions: G. Meng, N. Arkus, M.P. Brenner, V.N. Manoharan, "The Free-Energy Landscape of Clusters of Attractive Hard Spheres", Science (29 Jan. 2010): v. 327: no. 5965, pp. 560 - 563).
Prof. Lene Hau been named a 2010 National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow by the U.S. Department of Defense.
National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship program provides grants to top-tier researchers from U.S. universities to conduct unclassified, basic research that may transform DoD's capabilities in the long term.
The department welcomes a new Director of Administration, Ms. Anne Trubia!
 
Prof. Lene Hau has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)...
"for distinguished contributions to the field of interactions between atoms and light, especially for the achievement of 'slow light' in dilute cold atomic gases."

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