Spotlight on new faculty: Yonatan Kahn, High Energy Physics

Jessica Raley for Illinois Physics

The Department of Physics at Illinois welcomes an extraordinary set of ten new faculty members this year. Eight of them have arrived on campus and have begun setting up their labs and settling into life in Champaign-Urbana. Two more faculty are set to arrive in January. We will feature each of them here over the next couple of weeks. Check back regularly to learn more about the exciting work these new faculty members are doing.

Professor Yonatan Kahn (center) talks with professors Patrick Draper (left) and Aida El-Khadra. Photo by L. Brian Stauffer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Professor Yonatan Kahn (center) talks with professors Patrick Draper (left) and Aida El-Khadra. Photo by L. Brian Stauffer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Professor Yonatan Kahn

Yoni Kahn is a particle theorist searching for dark matter. His research asks questions such as “What is the mass of the dark matter particle,” “What other particles that we know of does it interact with,” and “How was it created in the early universe”? In the field of dark matter detection, Yoni is best known for the ABRACADABRA experiment, in which theorists and experimentalists worked together to broaden the scope of experiments searching for axion dark matter. This experiment is an example of a project that went from sketches on paper to a real apparatus taking data on a three-year time scale. The quick pace for the development of new experiments is one of the reasons Yoni enjoys doing research on dark matter. He says, “I am optimistic that within my research lifetime we will know whether the most plausible models that we have for dark matter are correct or not.” Yoni also enjoys the fact that his work is inherently interdisciplinary and cites the spirit of collaboration as a key reason for his decision to join the Illinois Physics faculty. 

To learn more about Yoni's research, or to inquire about joining his group, please visit his webpage.


Recent News

  • In the Media

The smaller black hole would serve as a precise probe of the spacetime around the bigger black hole, revealing whether it warps and twists exactly as the Kerr metric dictates. An affirmative result would cement the case that black holes are what general relativity predicts, Yunes says. “But you have to wait for LISA.”

"We see surge after surge of the coronavirus disease plague the world. People driven out of homes, hungry, fearful, unable to bid their passing ones adieu. Science and much else is denied. Rampant hatred and prejudice tears us asunder. And we are left asking what there is to hope for, what will remain that we hold precious, sacred.

Yet, the nourishing oceanic waters of our planet continue their ebb and flow. We connect like never before in virtual space. Elephants and peacocks roam through newly emptied land and cleaner air. Strangers leaving care packages on doorsteps and other random acts of kindness abound. Grandparents feel the warmth of toddler palms kissing theirs across windowpanes."

  • research

Since it formed roughly 4.5 billion years ago, the Moon has been Earth’s nearest neighbor and constant companion. Though it is the most familiar object in the night sky, the Moon’s origin remains in many ways mysterious. Researchers at the Illinois Center for Advanced Studies of the Universe (ICASU) are the first to examine the role of magnetic fields in the formation of Earth’s Moon, offering new insights into how and when the Moon may have formed.