News » Archives » 2016

Physics graduate student attends 2016 Lindau Nobel Laurete meeting

June 29, 2016 • Categories: News

Allison Cern

Notre Dame physics graduate student Allison Reinsvold Hall has been selected to attend the 66th 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. Its attendees include 400 young scientists from 80 countries and 29 laureates from years ranging from 1973 to 2015. Laureates are invited to lecture and lead discussions on topics of their choosing, with themes ranging from the retrospective to the speculative.…

Michael Hildreth is the next Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies

June 29, 2016 • Categories: News

Mike Hildreth, Associate Dean

Michael Hildreth is appointed the next Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies effective July 1, 2016. He replaces Brian Baker, who steps down as associate dean after three years of leadership.

Notre Dame hosts the 2016 NSF REU Physics Olympics

June 23, 2016 • Categories: News

Physicsolympics 250

The annual Physics Olympics, hosted by the Notre Dame Physics Department and the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program returned to the Jordan Hall of Science this week. The event brings together students from Michigan State University, Purdue University, and Notre Dame, who work collaboratively to solve physics problems.

Astrophysicists release new study of one of the first stars

June 20, 2016 • Categories: News

Timothy Beers

No one has yet observed the first stars that formed in the Milky Way. In all likelihood, they will never be directly observed, because the first stars are massive, ending their lives only a few millions years after their birth.

Surman elected to FRIB Theory Alliance Executive Board

June 10, 2016 • Categories: News

Surman Rebecca

Professor Rebecca Surman has been elected as a new member of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) Theory Alliance Executive Board.

The FRIB Theory Alliance is a coalition of scientists from universities and national laboratories who seek to foster advancements in theory related to diverse areas of FRIB science; optimize the coupling between theory and experiment; and rejuvenate the field by creating permanent theory positions across the country.…

Physicists create first metamaterial with rewritable magnetic ordering

May 24, 2016 • Categories: News

Yong-Lei Wang

University of Notre Dame Visiting Research Assistant Professor Yong-Lei Wang and his collaborators have produced the first rewriteable, artificial “magnetic charge ice.” The research, described in a paper published May 20, 2016, in the journal Science, shows strong potential for technological applications from data storage and memory to reprogrammable magnonics to spintronics. Magnetic charge ice has potential to allow for smaller, more powerful computers in the future.

Astroblast!: this year's final Our Universe Revealed series event

May 20, 2016 • Categories: News

Astroblast Poster

This semester's final Our Universe Revealed lecture series event will be held on Tuesday, May 24 at 6:30 pm. The event is Astroblast!, and it is a free, all-ages event. The Notre Dame astronomers will take over Jordan Hall of Science on campus for an astronomy-fueled evening of planetarium shows, live demonstrations, science craft projects and hands-on demonstrations.…

Physics doctoral degrees awarded at graduate commencement

May 19, 2016 • Categories: News

The Department of Physics was proud to celebrate the achievements of many doctoral degree recipients at the graduate commencement ceremony held Saturday, May 14. Graduates from August, January, and May are all recognized at the May event. We wish them each the best of luck.

August 2015

  • William Bauder (Advised by Prof. Philippe Collon and Dr. Richard Pardo)

Simon receives ORAU junior faculty award

May 18, 2016 • Categories: News

Simon Anna Web Photo

Prof. Anna Simon has been selected to receive one of thirty-five Ralph E. Power Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards from ORAU (Oak Ridge Associated Universities). The award is intended to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty and result in new funding opportunities.…

2016 physics commencement celebration

May 17, 2016 • Categories: News


On Sunday, May 15, the Department of Physics celebrated the 2016 commencement with 25 physics majors. Prof. Christopher Kolda, Chair of the Department of Physics, and Prof. Philippe Collon, Director for Undergraduate Studies, led the ceremony. We wish them each the best of luck on their future endeavors.…

Matta receives Springer Thesis Award in Physics

May 16, 2016 • Categories: News

Matta James With Garg Umesh Phd 7 13 15

The Ph.D. thesis of James Matta has been selected for publication as a book by the well-known science publisher Springer under the "Springer Theses" series.

Described as the "best of the best", the series recognizes "Outstanding Ph. D. Research". Each thesis is chosen for its scientific excellence and impact on research. For greater accessibility to non-specialists, the published versions include an extended introduction, as well as a foreword by the student’s supervisor explaining the special relevance of the work for the field.…

Dr. Albert receives Distinguished Alumna Award

May 13, 2016 • Categories: News

Ralbert Port

Dr. Réka Albert (2001, Physics), Distinguished Professor of Physics and Biology at Pennsylvania State University, will be recognized as this year’s Distinguished Alumna Award winner by the Notre Dame Graduate School. Considered one of the founders of network theory, Dr. Albert was advised by Professor Albert-Laszlo Barabasi while at Notre Dame. She continues to contribute significant, groundbreaking research to the study of networks in diverse disciplines, including biological networks and systems biology. She will receive the award at the Saturday, May 14 Commencement Ceremony.…

Undergraduates recognized with departmental awards

May 06, 2016 • Categories: News

Each year the Department of Physics recognizes outstanding undergraduate students with a variety of awards. Here are the 2016 recipients:

Patrick James Fasano has been selected to receive the Outstanding Physics Major Award. This award is given to a physics graduate selected by a number of criteria including academic performance, contributions to the major, and potential for future success. It is the highest honor the Department of Physics can award to one of its graduates.…

2016 physics graduate student awards announced

May 05, 2016 • Categories: News

Physics graduate students have been recognized with multiple awards.

Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Award: Dr. MacKenzie Warren received the Graduate School's Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Award at this year's graduate commencement. This award is given annually to one graduating Ph.D. student from the College and is the highest honor bestowed on graduate students by Notre Dame. The award recognizes MacKenzie's exceptional research into the roles of neutrino mixing and interactions during supernova explosions as well on-going outreach and mentoring activities. MacKenzie will soon be joining the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University as a postdoc, continuing to study the explosion of core-collapse supernovae.…

Warren named 2016 Shaheen Award Recipient

May 04, 2016 • Categories: News

MacKenzie Warren, PhD, has been selected as a recipient of the 2016 Shaheen Award.

About the award: The highest honor bestowed on Notre Dame graduate students, the The Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Awards were established in 1990 and are named for two long-time benefactors of the University. They recognize the superior academic achievements of a graduating student in each of the four divisions of the Graduate School—Engineering, the Humanities, Science, and the Social Sciences. Nominated by their departments, Shaheen Award winners are chosen for their superior ability as exhibited by grades, research, and publication records, fellowships, and other awards received during the course of study at Notre Dame, as well as teaching ability.…

2016 Sigma Pi Sigma Induction

May 03, 2016 • Categories: News

The Department of Physics at the University of Notre Dame inducted 13 undergraduate physics majors into Sigma Pi Sigma on Friday, April 22. Professor Peter Garnavich, faculty advisor of the Society of Physics Students, and Professor Chris Kolda, Department Chair, presented the inductees with their honor cords and pins.…

Eskildsen named Joyce Award recipient

May 02, 2016 • Categories: News


Prof. Morten Eskildsen is the recipient of a 2015-16 Rev. Edmund Joyce Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. The awards, which were established in 2007, recognize annually four faculty in the College of Science for their profound influence on undergraduate students through sustained exemplary teaching. In particular, the Joyce award recognizes faculty who: create environments that stimulate significant student learning; elevate students to a new level of intellectual engagement; and foster students’ ability to express themselves effectively within the discipline.…

Physics graduate student Bryce Frentz receives Kaneb Center award

April 29, 2016 • Categories: News

English Seal Gold

Twelve graduate students who are instructors and teaching assistants in the College of Science received the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award from the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning. The recipients are Bide Xiong of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics; Jenifer Gifford, Sheri Sanders, Kimbra Turner, and Victoria Zellmer of Biological Sciences; Michael Brennan, Clyde Daly, Ruth Nelson and Emily Shangle of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Edward Burkard and Brian Stoyell-Mulholland of Mathematics; and Bryce Frentz of Physics. 

Sensing Our World: Mission to Mars summer camp open for registration

April 28, 2016 • Categories: News

Sow Banner

The 2016 Sensing Our World summer camp program for middle school students is now open for registration. This camp gives students the opportunity to learn about science through hands-on activities. This year we will be exploring Mars! Together, we will discover the challenging environmental conditions that scientists will have to overcome to undertake a successful manned mission to Mars. We will imagine

Researchers begin high-tech study of Vatican courtyard

April 26, 2016 • Categories: News


Vatican City, both the smallest sovereign state in the world and the administrative headquarters of its largest Christian Church, is also a United Nations World Heritage site. Among the series of architectural restoration projects planned or under way there, few are more significant than that of the Cortile del Belvedere, or Belvedere Courtyard, where a team of Notre Dame faculty and graduate students from the University’s School of Architecture and Department of Physics have begun an unprecedented study.

Capdevilla awarded Ganey Community-Based Research Graduate Stipend

April 21, 2016 • Categories: News


Notre Dame Physics Graduate Student Rodolfo Capdevilla has been awarded a 2016 Ganey Community-Based Research Graduate Stipend. The project "Inspiring High School Students to Enter STEM Careers Using Quantum Physics Demos" is the product of Capdevilla’s training at the "Social Responsibilities of Researchers Program" (SRR) with the Reilly Center. SRR is a NSF-funded program which aims "to equip and motivate emerging scientists and engineers to be cognizant of the connections their research has with society." Capdevilla was mentored at the SSR program by Prof. Don Howard

Notre Dame family to celebrate third annual Notre Dame Day

April 19, 2016 • Categories: News

225 Nd Day Bottlecap Logo

The celebration will launch at 18:42 (6:42 p.m. EDT), referencing the University’s founding year, on April 24 and end at midnight on April 25. The 29-hour live broadcast from LaFortune Student Center will share inspiring and entertaining Notre Dame stories from around the world through interviews and celebrity guests. It also provides members of the Notre Dame family the opportunity to give back to areas of the University they love most through an online fundraising competition. 

Astrophysicists find triple star system with 'hot Jupiter'

April 12, 2016 • Categories: News

Kelt 4

Crisp, clear images of a “hot Jupiter” system captured by a University of Notre Dame physicist were vital in determining that a newly found planet inhabits a three-star system, a phenomenon documented only a few times before. Justin R. Crepp, Freimann Assistant Professor of Physics, was part of the team that discovered KELT-4Ab, a so-called “hot Jupiter” because it is a gas giant that orbits extremely close to one of the stars in its solar system.

Notre Dame to Host a National Panel on STEM Education

April 08, 2016 • Categories: News


The University of Notre Dame will host a panel discussion titled “STEM Education for the 21st Century” on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. Mary Galvin, Dean of the College of Science, will moderate this national panel which features Sylvester James Gates, Jr., Maria Klawe, Anne Petersen, and Abigail Wozniak. The event is hosted byMulticultural Student Programs and Services

Graduate student Erica Gonzales contributes to rare brown dwarf discovery

April 07, 2016 • Categories: News


Erica Gonzales, a graduate student in the Department of Physics at the University of Notre Dame, was conducting her first telescope observations in California in October 2014 when she helped to discover and photograph a rare brown dwarf– an object with mass in between that of stars and planets. Working with her advisor, Prof. Justin R. Crepp, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Physics, Gonzales was able to identify HD 4747 B as an important benchmark for studying objects somewhat smaller than stars. 

Notre Dame physicists discover rare brown dwarf, essential for testing theoretical models

April 06, 2016 • Categories: News

Justin Crepp, Assistant Professor of Physics, in the Digital Visualization Theater

A team led by Justin Crepp, the Frank M. Freimann Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame, has discovered a rare brown dwarf, a faint object with properties in between that of a star and planet. In addition to taking its picture for the first time, Crepp’s team also determined the brown dwarf’s mass, age and composition — essential information that can be used to “benchmark” the study of these elusive objects.

Unearthing the secrets of a star

April 04, 2016 • Categories: News


Copernicus. Galileo. Hubble. For ages, humans have looked up at the night sky to ponder the secrets of the universe. The flickering stars have been the stuff of fascination and research for millennia, from men and women who mostly turned their gaze ever upward to study the vastness of space. Yet today, a group of University of Notre Dame astrophysicists is going down — way down — in a new attempt to gain an understanding of the evolution of stars.

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.