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Photo of Prof. David Nelson

Nelson Awarded Niels Bohr Medal of Honour

December 10, 2019

Prof. David R. Nelson has been awarded the Niels Bohr Institute Medal of Honour for 2019. He is a world-renowned theoretical physicist of remarkable breadth and he has made seminal contributions to the field of statistical mechanics and what became known as soft condensed matter.

The Niels Bohr Institute Medal of Honour was established in 2010 to mark the 125th anniversary of Niels Bohr’s birth. The medal is awarded annually to a particularly outstanding researcher who is working in the spirit of Niels Bohr: International cooperation and exchange of knowledge.

To...

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Jefferson Lab - old engraving

Preceptor in Physics Needed!

November 20, 2019

The Department of Physics at Harvard University seeks applications for a Preceptor in Physics. Working closely with faculty and staff in the Department of Physics, the preceptor will oversee all aspects of small-group instruction in both the laboratory and discussion section components of essential introductory Physics courses, targeted to a wide range of students and including applications in physical sciences,...

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Robert Schittko

Schittko's Essay Runner-Up in Nature's Competition

November 4, 2019

 

In May of 2019, as part of Nature's 150th anniversary, its editors asked readers aged between 18 and 25 to enter an essay competition. The task was to tell, in no more than 1,000 words, what scientific advance they would most like to see in their lifetimes, and why it mattered to them.

Grad Student Robert Schittko's essay, Power Play, which proposes that nuclear fusion could offer a solution to the climate crisis, was one of the two runners-up in the competition....

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Thermal Hall effect

Enhanced Thermal Hall Effect in the Square-Lattice Néel State

October 31, 2019

Common wisdom about conventional antiferromagnets is that their low-energy physics is governed by spin–wave excitations. However, new experiments on several cuprate compounds have challenged this concept. An enhanced thermal Hall response in the pseudogap phase was identified, which, remarkably, persists even in the insulating parent compounds without doping.  

In a recent paper by Rhine Samajdar, Mathias Scheurer, Haoyu Guo and Prof. Subir Sachdev at Harvard, together with collaborators...

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An artist’s drawing of Google’s quantum computer chip, called Sycamore

Riding the Quantum Computing 'Wave'

October 19, 2019

The computing world was abuzz last week after Google scientists announced they’d passed a key threshold in which an experimental quantum computer solved a problem in just minutes that a classical computer would take years —10,000 by Google’s count — to solve. The pronouncement, later disputed by scientists at rival IBM, was widely hailed as proof that quantum computers, which use the mysterious properties of matter at extremely small scales to greatly advance processing power, can — as theorized — exhibit “quantum supremacy” and vastly outperform even the world’s most powerful classical...

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Women+ of Color Workshop participants

Conference Encourages Women of Color to Pursue Doctorates in Physics

October 7, 2019
If there’s one thing LaNell Williams wants women of color interested in studying physics at top institutions to know, it’s this: You can do this.

Williams is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences working in the lab of Wagner Family Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Physics Vinothan Manoharan, and just the third African American woman to pursue a doctorate in physics at Harvard. When she graduates she will join a cohort of fewer than 100 African American women who have received doctorates in the field since 1973.

“When I tried to apply to...

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printed face

Shape-Shifting Structured Lattices

October 2, 2019

What would it take to transform a flat sheet into a human face? How would the sheet need to grow and shrink to form eyes that are concave, a nose that’s convex, and a chin that protrudes? 

How to encode and release complex curves in shape-shifting structures is at the center of research led by the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Harvard Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering. 

Over the past decade, theorists and experimentalists have found inspiration in nature as they sought to unravel the...

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Optical Tweezers

Optical Tweezers Give Harvard Scientists the Control to Capture Ultracold Molecules

October 2, 2019

For most people, tweezers are a thing you’d find in a medicine cabinet or beauty salon, useful for getting rid of ingrown hairs or sculpting eyebrows.

Those designed by John Doyle and Kang-Kuen Ni have more exotic applications.

Using precisely focused lasers that act as “optical tweezers,” the pair have been able to capture and control individual, ultracold molecules — the eventual building-blocks of a quantum computer — and study the collisions between molecules in more detail than ever before. The work is described in a ...

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