News

  • In the Media
  • Research

A new model by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Professors Nigel Goldenfeld and Sergei Maslov helps clarify the limits of pandemic predictions, which are notoriously difficult for the near future and impossible for longer timescales.

APS has updated its criteria for the selection of future venues for its scientific meetings. Cities in which APS meetings might be held will be asked to report demographic statistics on police use of force, policies on strangleholds and other restraint methods, and the status of independent investigations into instances of deaths while in custody, among other issues.

According to Susan Gardner (University of Kentucky), chair of the APS Committee on Scientific Meetings, the change was primarily in response to a proposal to the Committee by Philip Phillips and Michael Weissman (both at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)—a proposal based on letters they had published in Science (June 19, 2020) and Physics Today (July 2020). The committee also considered other factors, including discussions at a recent APS webinar "From Passion to Action" hosted by APS President-Elect S. James Gates, Jr.

  • Accolades

The Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign presented three staff members with the second annual Gary Kelly Staff Excellence Award during a virtual reception on October 27, 2020. This year’s recipients are Janice Benner, Denise Donnelly, and Kelly Sturdyvin.

  • Graduate Student News
  • In the Media

In my last conversation with my dad, I expressed my disappointment that Donald Trump won the first election I voted in. My memory of our final talk has faded with time, but I remember he told me to never think my vote doesn’t matter. He was a proud voter, but did anything really change between his graduation and mine? I’ll vote again in just a few days, but by the time I finish my doctorate, will anything have changed? If I have children, will anything change by the time they graduate? Was the pride my dad had in this country ? and the hope that it would someday, finally, treat its Black citizens as truly equal and truly human ? for naught?

  • Events

On August 6 and 9, 1945, over 120,000 people were killed by the atomic bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Decade by decade, the billions of people at risk from direct and indirect effects of nuclear war continue to grow. The recent U.S. withdrawal from arms control treaties and the pursuit of new nuclear weapons capabilities by nuclear weapon states suggest submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

  • Outreach

Physicists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have made significant contributions to our understanding of dark matter, through their work on multiple large-scale collaborative experiments. In the past two years, several new faculty hires at Illinois Physics have added their expertise and insight to the search for this elusive particle. And now a newly founded campus center, the Illinois Center for Advanced Studies of the Universe (ICASU), has taken on dark matter as a main research focus, synergizing efforts and supporting collaboration across scientific disciplines at Illinois and beyond. 

  • Student News
  • Accolades

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.

  • Alumni News

I decided to pursue an MBA degree to switch from a very specialized IT consulting career track to a broader business management one. This decision was really the culmination of 10 years of thought about “what would be the perfect career for me?” This career would need to be one that I enjoy and excel at – and one that allows me to make the largest impact. I became convinced that this perfect career was business management from learning about the great business leaders who led the organizations that have shaped the way we live and work. I went for the MBA degree to get the education, training and the opportunities necessary to make that switch.

  • Accolades

Three University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faculty members have been elected Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS). Physics Professor Yann Chemla, Physics and Astronomy Professor Brian Fields, and Physics and Bioengineering Professor Sergei Maslov are among 163 APS Fellows in the 2020 class.

The APS Fellowship Program recognizes members who have made exceptional contributions to the field of physics, whether through original research, innovative applications of physics to science and technology, leadership in or service to the field, or significant contributions to physics education. Each year’s class of Fellows represents less than one half of one percent of the Society’s membership.

  • Alumni News

MIT associate professor of physics and biology Ibrahim Cissé, professor of biology and Whitehead Institute Director Ruth Lehmann, and Andria and Paul Heafy Whitehead Fellow Silvi Rouskin have been awarded 2021 Vilcek Prizes. The Vilcek Foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, who emigrated from the former Czechoslovakia. Their prizes honor the outstanding contributions of immigrants in the sciences and the arts. Prizewinners will be honored in an April ceremony.

  • Research

In April 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration published the first images of a black hole, the one at the center of the nearby galaxy M87. Now, a new analysis of unexplored archival data from as early as 2009 has shown that although the size and shape of the crescent-like asymmetry present in the original image is a consistent feature of the data, its orientation varies. The crescent wobbles.The full results have been published in The Astrophysics Journal.