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Garrett Williams is a second-year PhD student in Department of Physics and the Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology (IQUIST) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He completed my B.S. dual-degree in Physics and Chemistry at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. His research is in ultracold atomic physics with the goal of investigating novel states of quantum matter for experimental approaches to quantum computing. He enjoys playing the piano and all kinds of formal writing from research-driven works to musical compositions.

  • In the Media

The goal of the experiment, Fermilab Muon g-2, is to better understand the properties of muons, which are essentially heavier versions of electrons, and use them to probe the limitations of the Standard Model of particle physics. Specifically, physicists want to know about the muons’ “magnetic moment”—that is, how much do they rotate on their axes in a powerful magnetic field— as they race around the magnet? 

  • Accolades

Physical Review B is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020. The journal emerged out of its revered parent, The Physical Review, in response to the explosive growth of specialized physics content. It has excelled in front-edge coverage of condensed matter and materials physics research. As part of the celebration, in 2020 the editors are presenting a Milestone collection of papers that have made lasting contributions to condensed matter physics. Selection of papers of such importance is not an easy task. It is inevitable that some very important work will not be featured because of the abundance of gems in the treasure trove of the largest journal for physics. The Milestones will be highlighted on the journal website and in social media throughout the year.

  • Accolades

Illinois Physics Professor James Eckstein has been selected for the American Physical Society’s 2021 James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials. This prize recognizes outstanding achievement in the science and application of new materials.

Eckstein shares the prize with two colleagues—Brookhaven National Laboratory Senior Scientist Ivan Bozovic and Cornell University Industrial Chemistry Professor Darrell G. Schlom—with whom he worked at Varian, Inc., in Palo Alto, CA, in the 1990s. There they developed atomic-layer-by-layer molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) as an effective method of growing artificially structured oxide materials in which each atomic-oxide layer can be individually specified.

The citation reads, “For pioneering the atomic-layer-by-layer synthesis of new metastable complex oxide materials, and the discovery of resulting novel phenomena.”

  • Research Funding

The University of Illinois Writing Across Engineering & Science (WAES) program has been awarded $599,999 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the research project Advancing Adaptation of Writing Pedagogies for Undergraduate STEM Education Through Transdisciplinary Action Research. This research program, which ultimately aims to incorporate effective technical writing as a core skill taught in STEM courses across the university, is funded through NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program: Education and Human Resources.

donor stories

Alumnus gift continues legacy of excellence at Illinois Physics

“We deeply appreciate Gary Kelly’s generosity and his investment in our department’s core missions of research, teaching, and outreach,” comments Head of Department and Professor Matthias Grosse Perdekamp. “Unrestricted funds such as these are applied where they will make the greatest impact. Through his generosity, Gary Kelly’s legacy at Illinois will include his support of important new opportunities directly in line with our core missions. A large portion of Gary’s gift will support the research of exceptional women faculty early in their careers, enabling Illinois Physics to attract and retain promising women physicists.”

Engineering Visionary Scholarships

Sara Shahid

Give to the Engineering Visionary Scholarship. EVS attracts the brightest students, ensures a diverse and talented class, and helps reduce student debt.

“The relief of financial burden this scholarship has lifted from my family‚Äôs shoulders is truly a priceless gift, and the generosity of donors that have made this possible inspires me to want to give others this same gift of relief, security, and most of all educational opportunity, as it has done for me.”

— Sara Shahid, Engineering Physics Class of '22, EVS Scholarship recipient

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