News » Archives » March 2016

Continuing the search for gravitational waves

March 29, 2016 • Categories: News

LBT (Large Binocular Telescope)

In February, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration announced it had detected gravitational waves for the first time, confirming the last prediction of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Somewhat overlooked in the excitement that followed is the fact that scientists don’t know the exact location the waves were coming from. University of Notre Dame astronomer Peter Garnavich is leading a group of researchers who are hoping to more precisely locate where future gravitational waves originate.

Paul Chagnon

March 28, 2016 • Categories: News

Paul Chagnon, Emeritus Professor of Physics, passed away on Tuesday, March 22. 

Prof. Changnon retired from Notre Dame in 1995 after 32 years in the Physics Department doing research in the nuclear group. He was well known for his teaching and especially for his devotion and service to the Department. This was particularly evidenced when the Department chose to rename its award for outstanding service by a graduating physics major to the Paul Chagnon Award in honor of his years of service to Notre Dame and to Physics. Prof. Chagnon continued that commitment to service into retirement, volunteering with the AARP Tax-Aide program and Meals on Wheels. …

Astrophysicists catch two supernovae at the moment of explosion

March 21, 2016 • Categories: News

Credit: NASA, ESA, Armin Rest (STScI) and Peter Garnavich (University of Notre Dame)

Watch video video

For the first time, a “shock breakout” in an exploding supergiant star has been discovered at visible wavelengths. An international team of astrophysicists led by Peter Garnavich, professor of astrophysics at the University of Notre Dame, has caught two supernovae in the act of exploding.

Women lead: Profiles of six pre-eminent faculty members

March 09, 2016 • Categories: News

Women Lead: International Women's Day

The power to lead is the power to transform. Notre Dame is proud to celebrate women whose scholarship and leadership are leaving an indelible imprint on the global community.

Faculty selected as APS Outstanding Referees

March 03, 2016 • Categories: News



Freimann Professor Ani Aprahamian and Professor Stephan Frauendorf have been named Outstanding Referees by the American Physical Society for 2016. 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. Like Fellowship in the APS and other organizations, this is a lifetime award. In initiating the program, APS expresses appreciation to all referees, whose efforts in peer review not only keep the standards of the journals at a high level, but in many cases also help authors to improve the quality and readability of their articles—even those that are not published by APS.…

Kolata publishes elementary cosmology textbook

March 02, 2016 • Categories: News


Prof. Jim Kolata has always had an appreciation for the many ways in which the subfields of physics intersect, nowhere more so than in the field of cosmology. Though an experimental nuclear physicist and a long-time leader in Notre Dame’s radioactive beam program, Kolata developed in 1989 a course in elementary cosmology aimed at curious students wanting to understand the current developments in that rapidly advancing field. That course is today a stalwart of the Notre Dame Physics Department’s curriculum, taught to nearly 200 students a year. Kolata has now brought together his notes and insights from teaching that course, combined with the latest news from the field, and published a textbook on the subject. Entitled "Elementary Cosmology: From Aristotle's Universe to the Big Bang and Beyond” and published by the Institute of Physics, the book begins with an introduction to the concept of the scientific method. It then describes the way in which detailed observations of the Universe, first with the naked eye and later with increasingly complex modern instruments, ultimately led to the development of the "Big Bang" theory. Finally, the book traces the evolution of the Big Bang including the very recent observation that the expansion of the Universe is itself accelerating with time.…

Imaging trace element distributions in single organelles and subcellular features

March 02, 2016 • Categories: News

The chemical compositions of organelles within cells, and the relationship of the chemical compositions to the organelle morphologies and functions, are key for understanding biochemical processes in healthy and diseased cells. However, progress in the field has been hampered by limitations of the techniques commonly used for chemical analysis. Macro-analytical techniques analyze a large number of organelles of certain type, so the results represent the average composition of a population of organelles and cannot reveal compositional differences between single organelles. Most relevant micro-analytical techniques lack the required spatial resolution and/or elemental detection sensitivity to measure the chemical compositions of single organelles, including trace elements, with the exception of the nucleus.…