News » Archives » March 2012

New finding affects understanding of formation of the solar system

March 29, 2012 • Categories: News

A global collaboration including five University of Notre Dame researchers has revised the half-life of samarium-146 (146Sm), reducing it to 68 million years from 103 million years. Their finding is published in the journal Science today.

The revised half-life, which is 34 percent shorter than the previously adopted value, affects the understanding of processes leading to the formation of the Solar System, and dating of some major geological events in the mantles of Earth and other terrestrial planets in the early Solar System.…

New issue of Physics Tracks

March 27, 2012 • Categories: News


A new issue of Physics Tracks is posted. This issue's stories include:

  • Three-part lecture series Finding Our Way in the Cosmos
  • Faculty named AAAS Fellows
  • Research featured on journal covers

Physics graduate student to attend Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting

March 21, 2012 • Categories: News


Notre Dame physics graduate student Catherine Rastovski has been selected to attend the 62nd annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, an opportunity for young researchers and Nobel laureates to inform and inspire each other.

The annual meetings are held on the island town of Lindau, on Lake Constance in southeastern Germany. They focus alternately on chemistry, physics, and physiology, and began in 1951 with a meeting of seven laureates and around 400 physicians. This year's weeklong meeting will focus on physics. Its attendees include 550 young researchers and 32 laureates from years ranging from 1973 to 2011. Laureates are invited to lecture and lead discussions on topics of their choosing, with themes ranging from the retrospective to the speculative.…

Garnavich participates in ND Thinks Big

March 19, 2012 • Categories: News

ND Thinks Big will feature 10 of Notre Dame’s most exciting and engaging professors sharing the impact of their work in action-packed, accessible 10 minute talks. Special guest Mike Collins, the voice of Notre Dame stadium, will be hosting this evening of big ideas.…

Solar storm's effects measured

March 14, 2012 • Categories: News

John Poirier

An array of detectors at the University of Notre Dame recorded the expected cosmic reaction to the solar storm earlier this week, an event that actually deflects certain outer-space particles from reaching the Earth. John Poirier, a professor emeritus of astrophysics and elementary particle physics, said measurements after the relatively weak solar storm showed a dip in the number of muons, which are produced when protons hit the upper atmosphere "This eruption on the sun releases a charged plasma," Poirier explained. "It travels from the sun to us. It's not anything like the velocity of light. It takes a couple of days to get here," while light takes only about eight minutes.

Brian Greene to deliver sold-out lecture on space, time and string theory

March 05, 2012 • Categories: News

By Lisa Chin

Award-winning author, string theorist and physics professor Dr. Brian Greene will deliver a sold-out lecture on “The Fabric of the Cosmos” on Tuesday, March 6 at Notre Dame.  Greene took a moment to discuss his life, work, and the future of string theory with Notre Dame students.   

“My goal is to make science accessible, exciting, and wondrous, because that’s what it is,” said Greene concerning his unique interest in conveying matters of physics to the general public. …

Eskildsen research group reports results of their latest small-angle neutron scattering studies

March 05, 2012 • Categories: News


Among the materials with remarkable electronic and magnetic properties, few are more extraordinary than superconductors. When a superconductor is placed in a magnetic field, it is threaded by swirling whirlpools of electric current known as vortices which can serve as a unique probe into the nature of the superconducting state in the host material. It now appears that some of the most significant advances in superconductivity will be precisely in those materials which are the most complex to understand and control. …

Sapirstein named Outstanding Referee by APS

March 01, 2012 • Categories: News



Professor Jonathan Sapirstein has been named as an Outstanding Referee by the American Physical Society for 2012. The American Physical Society initiated the highly selective award program in 2008 to recognize scientists who have been exceptionally helpful in assessing manuscripts for publication in the APS journals. The basis for selection was the quality, number and timeliness of their reports, without regard for membership in the APS, country of origin, or field of research. This year 149 Outstanding Referees received this honor. The 2012 honorees come from 22 different countries, with large contingents from the U.S., Germany, U.K., Canada, and France.…