News

  • In the Media
  • Research
  • High Energy Physics

Sickles is a collaborator on the ATLAS experiment at CERN and studies what happens when particles of light meet inside the Large Hadron Collider. For most of the year, the LHC collides protons, but for about a month each fall, the LHC switches things up and collides heavy atomic nuclei, such as lead ions. The main purpose of these lead collisions is to study a hot and dense subatomic fluid called the quark-gluon plasma, which is harder to create in collisions of protons. But these ion runs also enable scientists to turn the LHC into a new type of machine: a photon-photon collider.

  • Giving

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s College of Engineering will become The Grainger College of Engineering, recognizing a new $100 million gift from The Grainger Foundation and more than $300 million in total support, after consultation with the Chancellor’s Joint Advisory Committee on Investment, Licensing, and Naming Rights and pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

The Grainger Foundation’s total support represents the largest amount ever given to a public university to name a college of engineering, with more than $200 million provided in the last six years.

The college will be named in recognition of the contributions of The Grainger Foundation to the excellence of the college and in honor of distinguished alumnus William W. Grainger.

  • Research
  • Astrophysics

The Event Horizon Telescope Project announced that it has captured the first image of a black hole. The feature is located at the center of Messier 87 – a giant elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo. News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian spoke with University of Illinois physics and astronomy professor Charles Gammie, who heads up the theory working group for the large, multi-institutional collaboration.

  • Research
  • Astrophysics
  • Astronomy

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)—a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration—was designed to capture images of a black hole. Today, in coordinated press conferences around the globe, EHT researchers revealed that they have succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.

The image reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87 (M87)1, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun2.

  • Accolades
  • Alumni News

Illinois Physics alumnus Richard Ahrenkiel has been selected for the College of Engineering Alumni Award for Distinguished Service. The citation reads, “For his seminal contributions to materials research, development, and device characterization for semiconductor and photovoltaic technologies, including the development of a unique technique to measure excess carrier lifetimes in materials, resonance-coupled photoconductive decay.”

Ahrenkiel and six other alumni from the College of Engineering will be presented with the award at a special ceremony at the I Hotel and Conference Center on Friday, April 12.

  • Accolades
  • Graduate Student

Illinois Physics graduate student Brianne Gutmann is one of two graduate students to receive special recognition in the Illinois Graduate College's fifth annual Graduate Student Leadership Award selection process. Gutmann is recognized for creating and leading the Illinois GPS physics mentoring program, including her work in diversity and creating LGBTQ+ spaces in Physics, and her work with the national Access Network for mentoring programs. Illinois Chemistry graduate student Elizabeth Neumann won the prize this year; and Illinois Anthropology graduate student Katharine Lee also received special recognition.

Gutmann was recently featured in an Illinois Physics Condensate article highlighting her experience in the physics education research group and her community-building efforts in the Department of Physics.

  • Outreach

A new performance that explores the world of quantum physics will feature the music of the Jupiter String Quartet, a fire juggler and a fantastical “Alice in Quantumland” scene.

Quantum Rhapsodies,” the vision of physics professor Smitha Vishveshwara, looks at the foundational developments in quantum physics, the role it plays in our world and in technology such as the MRI, and the quantum mysteries that remain unanswered.

 

  • Accolades
  • Condensed Matter Physics

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Emeritus and Research Professor of Physics Tai-Chang Chiang has been selected for the 2019 Arthur H. Compton Award of the Advanced Photon Source Users Organization (APSUO). The award recognizes a significant scientific or technical accomplishment at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a national synchrotron-radiation light source research facility housed at Argonne National Laboratory and funded by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The award will be presented to Chiang at the APS/CNM User Meeting in early May.

  • In the Media
  • Outreach

Since its beginning in 1994 at the University, the Physics Van has traveled across the United States, teaching young students science through exciting demonstrations and accessible explanations. For the past 25 years, undergraduate volunteers from a variety of majors have delivered over 800 shows to nearly 150,000 young children, reaching as far as New Mexico. Considered the most popular educational outreach in Illinois, the Physics Van and its volunteers continue to engage the next generation.

Mats Selen, professor in Engineering, played a vital role in bringing the Physics Van to life 25 years ago. Selen has also won several awards for his excellence in physics education and research, including the 2015 American Physical Society Excellence in Education Award and Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor of the Year.

  • Events

A symposium honoring the late Center for Advanced Study Professor Emeritus of Physics and of Electrical and Computer Engineering David Pines is taking place on March 29 and 30 at the Institute for Condensed Matter Theory (ICMT) of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At the David Pines Symposium on Superconductivity Today and Tomorrow, 20 invited speakers will cover today’s most pressing problems and most promising directions in superconductivity. Some of the talks will also address other research topics that were of special interest to Pines, including Fermi liquids and topics in nuclear physics and astrophysics.

  • In the Media

Lose the jargon. Be willing to give away your best ideas. Quality is everything.

These are tips from a trio of physicists on writing a great article for Reviews of Modern Physics—the world-renowned journal of topical reviews that turns 90 in July. At a celebration for RMP at the APS March Meeting in Boston, the researchers offered advice to future Reviews authors and reminisced about the publication’s influence on their careers.

  • Accolades

Thirty-eight research groups at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been allocated new computation time on the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This round of allocations provides over 17 million node-hours, equivalent to over half a billion core hours, and is valued at over $10.5 million, helping Illinois researchers push the boundaries of innovation and frontier science discovery.

  • In the Media
  • Outreach

Together with a team of five other physicists (the other interns in the lab), before entering the room I was handled information sheets covering some essential physics concepts laid out in a very digestible way. Indeed, the room, which is the brainchild of Paul Kwiat, a physics professor at the University of Illinois, is by all means not designed for physicists (even though it’s an absolute delight for them). It was created to provide an experience that demonstrates to the general public that physics is useful, permeates everyday objects and is, yes, fun.

  • Our History
  • Solid State Physics
  • John Bardeen

In 1951, physicist John Bardeen joined the University of Illinois, bringing with him a small music box. This Box was one of Bardeen's treasures, as it was a proof-of-concept of transistor technology he had developed at Bell Labs, with William Shockley and Walter Brattain. (The three would share the 1956 Nobel Prize for "their discovery of the transistor effect.") By the 1990s the Box stopped working, and now Bardeen's academic grandson John Dallesasse, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, leads the restoration of the Box to capture its notes for posterity.

  • In the Media

It was in 1957, while Cooper was at the University of Illinois, that he, John Bardeen, and Robert Schrieffer proposed the Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory of superconductivity, which attributes the phenomenon to the pairing of electrons caused by their interaction with phonons. Such Cooper pairs, as they are called, were first described by Cooper in 1956. For their revolutionary work, the three were awarded the 1972 Nobel Prize in Physics.

  • Video
  • CPLC

The Center for the Physics of Living Cells is an NSF Physics Frontiers Center. In true "Urbana style," theoretical and experimental scientists collaborating at the CPLC are elucidating the fundamental processes at the core of life in quantitative physical detail.  The CPLC Summer School is world renowned for its training of young scientists in leading-edge research methods, advancing this interdisciplinary physics frontier.