News » Archives » 2012

Physics graduate student earns Rodger Doxsey Prize

December 18, 2012 • Categories: News


Brian Hayden, a graduate student in the Department of Physics, has been awarded the Rodger Doxsey Prize from the American Astronomical Society (AAS). The prize, established in 2011, provides graduate students or postdoctoral researchers, within one year of receiving or receipt of their Ph.D., a monetary prize to travel to the AAS winter meeting to give an oral presentation of their dissertation.…

Notre Dame physicists part Top Ten Breakthroughs of 2012

December 14, 2012 • Categories: News

University of Notre Dame researchers were involved in two of the Top Ten Breakthroughs of 2012 announced today by Physics World magazine. The Higgs-like boson discovery was No. 1 on the list, and the BaBar experiment, the first direct observation of time reversal violation, was No. 3.…

Physics Tracks newsletter

December 03, 2012 • Categories: News


The Department of Physics newsletter, Physics Tracks, has just released a new issue. Features include: APS Fellows named, QuarkNet program renewal, NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship appointee, Furdyna and Liu collaboration, nuclear accelerator decidication, Graduate Physics Students group formed, and faculty news and notes.…

Faculty named AAAS fellows

November 30, 2012 • Categories: News

Three Department of Physics faculty have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in honor of their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. Honorees are Professors Stefan Frauendorf

Notre Dame researchers to lead new science data preservation effort

November 28, 2012 • Categories: News


One of the emerging, and soon to be defining, characteristics of science research is the collection, usage and storage of immense amounts of data. In fields as diverse as medicine, astronomy and economics, large data sets are becoming the foundation for new scientific advances.…

Jankó named advisory board member of Physica C

November 27, 2012 • Categories: News


Boldizsár Jankó, professor of physics and director of the Institute for Theoretical Sciences, has accepted an invitation to serve on the advisory board of Physica C: Superconductivity and its Applications

Faculty named 2012 American Physical Society fellows

November 20, 2012 • Categories: News


Two Department of Physics faculty members have been named 2012 APS fellows: Prof. Bruce Bunker and Prof. Zoltan Toroczkai.

Bunker has been a member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1983, and served as department chair from 1998-2006. His research interests lie in the use of x-rays and electrons for probing the structure of solids, liquids, surfaces, and interfaces. Specifically, his group is involved with using x-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and x-ray scattering to study the structure of random semiconductor alloys, solid-solid and solid-liquid interfaces, two-dimensional phase transitions at surfaces and interfaces, and structure of liquids, and systems of environmental interest. He currently serves as Chair of the Executive Committee of the International X-ray Absorption Society. He was recognized by the APS “For contributions to the development of X-ray absorption spectroscopy and applications to complex nanoscale materials.”…

SPS group tours Argonne National Laboratory

November 15, 2012 • Categories: News




On Wednesday, November 14, a group of undergraduate student members of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) visited the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) outside of Chicago. While there, they toured a variety of areas of the lab.…

Notre Dame represented at the 2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress in Florida

November 07, 2012 • Categories: News

Notre Dame’s Department of Physics will be represented at PhysCon, the 2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress, by Prof. Sylwia Ptasinska and Graduate Student Sarah Reiff. PhysCon is hosted by Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society. It is November 8-10 in Orlando, Florida.

Prof. Ptasinska and Ms. Reiff will be available to answer student’s questions about the physics graduate program at Notre Dame.…

Notre Dame researchers probe origins of the universe

November 02, 2012 • Categories: News


Using a new $4 million particle accelerator, University of Notre Dame researchers are probing the mysteries of the universe.

"We're focusing on the origin of the elements in the universe," physics professor Michael Wiescher said.

The 5MV vertical high-beam intensity accelerator was installed on campus this year. It's housed in a 40-foot-tall tower above the Nuclear Science Laboratory in Nieuwland Science Hall. Funding for the accelerator came from a $4 million National Science Foundation grant, with the university funding an additional $4 million to build the space to contain the device.

Physicists confirm first planet discovered in a quadruple star system

October 29, 2012 • Categories: News


Justin Crepp, Freimann Assistant Professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame, provided the high-contrast imaging observations that confirmed the first extrasolar planet discovered in a quadruple star system. He is a co-author on a paper about the discovery, “Planet Hunters: A Transiting Circumbinary Planet in a Quadruple Star System

The Inner Life of Quarks by Don Lincoln, Adjunct Professor of Physics

October 18, 2012 • Categories: News

The cover article of the November issue of Scientific American, "The Inner Life of Quarks," was written by Adjunct Professor of Physics Donald Lincoln. Dr. Lincoln is a research at FermiLab.

Exerpted from the Scientific American

Notre Dame researcher helps make Sudoku puzzles less puzzling

October 12, 2012 • Categories: News


For anyone who has ever struggled while attempting to solve a Sudoku puzzle, University of Notre Dame complex networks researcher Zoltan Toroczkai and Notre Dame postdoctoral researcher Maria Ercsey-Ravasz

Notre Dame student contributes to Higgs discovery

October 11, 2012 • Categories: News


Doug Berry is a sixth-year graduate student in high energy physics working with Professor Colin Jessop and Research Professor Nancy Marinelli at the University of Notre Dame. He is completing his dissertation on the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson at the European Particle Physics laboratory (CERN). He has been based at CERN for the past three years working on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment focussing on the commissioning and operation of the Electromagnetic calorimeter and using this device to search for the Higgs Boson.…

Undergraduate alumni feature: Jeff Drocco, '04

October 10, 2012 • Categories: News

Jeff Drocco, '04, is a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His affiliation with LANL began early: as an undergraduate, he joined a collaboration between Notre Dame physics professor Boldizsar Janko and LANL scientists Cynthia Olson Reichhardt and Charles Reichhardt, working on computational studies of vortices and granular matter.…

Celebrate Science Indiana

October 09, 2012 • Categories: News





On Saturday, October 6, the Notre Dame College of Science and Department of Physics was well-represented at the second annual Celebrate Science Indiana (CSI). CSI was a public event held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds intended to demonstrate the importance of studying science and the joy of discovery, the economic value of science, and its significance to society. The event provided an opportunity for individuals to conduct hands-on activities, interact with scientists, explore opportunities, and ask questions about educational and professional possibilities in STEM areas.

Faculty retirees gather

October 05, 2012 • Categories: News


Department of Physics retired elementary particle and nucular physics experimentalists gather monthly for brunch. This group photo was taken at the May 2012 gathering.

Pictured from left to right are: Paul Chagnon, Paul Kenney, Emerson Funk, Bill Schephard, John Mihelich, and Ed Berners. All are still local except for Prof. Mihelich who recently relocated to Fort Collins, Colorado.…

Ruggiero and Tanner part of team that receives EPA award to combat invasive species

October 04, 2012 • Categories: News


The University of Notre Dame has received a $599,931 Environmental Protection Agency grant under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to develop technologies for the early detection of invasive species using environmental DNA

Fall star party deemed a success

October 02, 2012 • Categories: News


The Fall 2012 star party was held on Monday, September 24. Over 450 participants attended, including students, faculty, and the general public. 

The 11-inch Cassegrain telescope with a CCD camera and four 8-inch Cassegrain telescopes from the JHS Observatory were set up by the Clark Memorial Fountain. The first participants to arrive were treated to exceptional views of the first quarter Moon. As the darkness grew deeper we could observe a few nebulae and globular clusters. The first 400 to look through the telescope received a commerative t-shirt and treated to Krispy Kreme doughnuts; these items were provided by the Dean’s Office of the College of Science. It was a truly memorable time for all in attendance.…

ND physicists collaborate to create a novel nanostructure that reveals a long-sought particle

October 01, 2012 • Categories: News

Two Notre Dame physicists, Xinyu Liu and Jacek Furdyna, collaborated with Purdue physicist Leonid Rokhinson on constructing a novel nanostructure that allowed them to observe a long-sought-after particle referred to as Majorana fermion.  The existence of this particle has been predicted by Ettore Majorana1

Notre Dame receives $6.1 million NSF award to advance QuarkNet program

September 27, 2012 • Categories: News

The University of Notre Dame has received a five-year, $6.1 million award from the National Science Foundation to support the continuation of the nationwide QuarkNet program, which uses particle physics experiments to inspire students, and provide valuable research, training, and mentorship opportunities for high school teachers.…

Art and nuclear astrophysics featured on Inside Science TV

September 21, 2012 • Categories: News


Using accelerators to probe the orgins of artwork is featured by Inside Science TV:

The program interviews Prof. Philippe Collon

Barger joins Notre Dame on prestigious NSF postdoctoral fellowship

August 31, 2012 • Categories: News


Dr. Kathleen Barger has joined Notre Dame’s Department of Physics on a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship. A recent Ph.D. graduate of the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Astronomy, Dr. Barger will explore the role gas in and around galaxies plays in galaxy evolution in collaboration with Professors Nicolas Lehner and J. Christopher Howk. …

Department welcomes new faculty

August 30, 2012 • Categories: News

The Department of Physics welcomes two new faculty members this fall. Justin R. Crepp and Kenjiro K. Gomes have each been appointed as Freimann Assistant Professors of Physics.


Crepp comes to Notre Dame from the California Institute of Technology. He completed his PhD in 2008 at the University of Florida. His research involves developing new technologies and observational techniques to detect faint substellar companions that orbit nearby stars. Specifically, he designs and builds instruments that operate at visible and near-infrared wavelengths to directly image and study brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets. He also uses the Doppler method to measure the radial velocity "wobble" of stars as they gravitationally interact with their planets. In the lab, he is working on a new instrument called "iLocater". The I

Senior Kevin McDermott spends the summer at CERN

August 29, 2012 • Categories: News


Kevin McDermott, a senior physics major at the University of Notre Dame, recently returned from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, where he spent nine weeks as a summer researcher. CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), most powerful particle accelerator in the world. McDermott was one of 10 students selected from the United States to work at CERN for the summer.…

Underground accelerator laboratory funding obtained

August 27, 2012 • Categories: News


The Nuclear Physics group has received a one year $1.6 Million grant from the National Science Foundation for continuing research and development of the first US based underground accelerator laboratory, the Dual Ion Accelerator for Nuclear Astrophysics, DIANA. This grant will allow the group to finalize the design and provide a budget baseline for the final NSF decision on funding and construction of the facility. Notre Dame is the lead institution of the DIANA project; other participating institutions are Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, The Colorado School of Mines, Michigan State University, the University of North Carolina, and Western Michigan University. The figure shows an artist conception of the facility as presently planned, consisting of two high intensity low energy accelerators. The low energy machine is a Cockroft Walton type providing milli-Ampere beams up to 400keV and the second one machine is a vertical Pelletron type accelerator generating beams with energies up to 3MeV.…

Physics Tracks newsletter

August 23, 2012 • Categories: News


The August 2012 edition of the Physics Tracks newsletter has been completed. Stories in this issue include highlights from 2012 Commencement in May, faculty promotions and honors, PhD alumni news, and graduate student honors.…

Bunker elected as Chair of International X-ray Absorption Society

August 15, 2012 • Categories: News


Bruce Bunker, Professor in the Department of Physics, has been elected to a three-year term as Chair of the International X-ray Absorption Society (IXAS). IXAS is an international scientific organization representing all those working on the fine structure associated with inner shell excitation (near edge and extended) by various probes (e.g. x-rays and electrons), and related techniques, and currently has over 1000 members. The purpose of the IXAS is to oversee activities which benefit the community as a whole, to establish operational committees, to provide for education in the field, to disseminate relevant information, to work with other related regional, national and professional organizations in promoting and developing XAS and related disciplines, and to act as representative for the community to other professional organizations.…

Collon named Kaneb Faculty Fellow

August 14, 2012 • Categories: News


Prof. Philippe Collon has been named a 2012-13 Kaneb Faculty Fellow. Each year, the Kaneb Center names faculty fellows in recognition of their records of teaching excellence. Kaneb Faculty Fellows share their teaching abilities and experiences through workshops, discussion groups, research, and individual consultation.…