Norman Yao Awarded 2015 DAMOP Thesis Prize

July 1, 2015
Norman Yao

Norman Yao (PhD 2014) has been awarded the 2015 Prize for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Atomic, Molecular or Optical Physics (the DAMOP Thesis Prize) for his PhD dissertation.

Yao’s prize winning thesis, Topology, Localization, and Quantum Information in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Systems, was motivated by the interface between atomic, molecular and optical (AMO) physics, condensed matter, and quantum information science that has recently led to the development of new insights and tools that bridge the gap between macroscopic quantum behavior and detailed microscopic intuition.


Focus on the Rashba Effect

June 15, 2015
Figure 1.8: Properties of the Rashba energy spectrum

Figure 1.8: Properties of the Rashba energy spectrum. Panel a) Portion of the energy spectrum of a Hamiltonian containing a Rashba interaction (1.10). Panel b) The Fermi contours relative to the Hamiltonian (1.10), the spin states are indicated. Panel c) section of the energy spectrum for a free electron. Panel d) section of the energy spectrum for an electron in presence of a magnetic field ( Zeeman slitting). Panel e) section of the energy spectrum for an electron in presence of Rashba spin-orbit in teraction. [From D. Bercioux, Spin-Dependent Transport in Nanostructures.


‘A completely new life was beckoning’

May 8, 2015
Prof. Gerald Holton

Photo by Kris Snibbe

Gerald Holton, the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Professor of the History of Science Emeritus, was born in Berlin in 1922.

He spent his boyhood in Vienna playing piano, reading Westerns, watching American films, and studying Latin, Greek, and the classics of Western literature in a rigorous Gymnasium. The turmoil of the Nazi era soon overturned his life and that of his Jewish family. In March 1938, as a boy of 16 during Anschluss, Holton watched from a balcony as Hitler passed by in an open car and German troops were feted by joyous mobs of Austrians...


Altering Course: Why the United States may be on the cusp of an energy revolution

May 8, 2015
water pumping windmill in Iowa

An active water pumping windmill in Iowa; photograph by Ben Franske. [Published under the Creative Commons Attribution.]

Of the nearly 100 quadrillion British thermal units of energy (BTUs) used each year in the United States, 61 quads are wasted. That is not a moral judgment, or a commentary on insufficient conservation (poor insulation, idling cars, people failing to turn off lights when they leave a room). It is, as Mara Prentiss notes, predominantly fundamental physics: the fuel is burned, but less than 50 percent performs useful work...