News » Archives » 2020

Aprahamian joins steering committee for Science Public Engagement Partnership

December 21, 2020 • Categories: News

Ani Dec 2020

Freimann Professor Ani Aprahamian has been invited to join the steering committee for a Department of Energy Office of Science and Kavli Foundation partnership, SciPEP (Science Public Engagement Partnership) to explore the special characteristics and challenges of public engagement in basic research, create tool kits and resources for scientists and researchers performing basic research to use to engage the broader public, and stimulate scholarship around public understanding and support of basic science. The steering committee has scientists, communicators, and scholars who study and practice science communication. The project had its beginnings in the observation that there is a gap between advances that are taking place in science communication and science public engagement.  The public engagement with basic, curiosity-driven, or fundamental research is rarely the focus of community conversations. The initiative is driven by an MOU signed on December 14, 2020 between the DOE Office of Science director, Dr. Chris Falls and the Kavli foundation President and CEO Bob Conn.…

Hildreth to serve as interim dean, McDowell as interim associate dean of research in the College of Science

December 02, 2020 • Categories: News

600x400 Hildrethmcdowell

Michael Hildreth, associate dean of research in the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame, will serve as interim dean of the College of Science beginning January 1, 2021. That day, Mary Ann McDowell

Newly developed risk chart identifies the hidden costs of health care during power failures

November 23, 2020 • Categories: News

A team headed by a University of Notre Dame researcher delved into the hidden costs of electrical failures in hospital settings and has created a new model, which can be used by countries around the world, for determining the probability of deaths based on the likelihood of electrical failure.

Undergraduate physics majors build and use a trebuchet

November 16, 2020 • Categories: News

Trebuchet Still For Web

After a long semester with limited opportunities to have fun as a group, the University of Notre Dame physics majors decided to use the surplus of pumpkins from Halloween as projectiles for a trebuchet they designed and built. A trebuchet is a type of catapult that uses a long arm to throw projectiles.

Phillips named Fellow of National Association of Black Physicists

November 12, 2020 • Categories: News

Arielle Phillips

L. Arielle Phillips, research assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Notre Dame, has been named a fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP).

She was primarily recognized for her work teaching an algebra-based physics program at Westville Correctional Facility through the Moreau College Initiative Physics Program, where students can obtain a degree from Holy Cross College. She was the only member elevated to fellow in 2020. …

Fighting to reach the next frontier in space

November 06, 2020 • Categories: News


CLICK HERE to view the What Would You Fight For? video and full story

Notre Dame physics professor Jay LaVerne is working with a multi-university team to design the next generation of materials allowing astronauts to safely explore deeper in space. The project  is led by Thomas Orlando

Garnavich receives NASA award for work on anonymous proposal team

November 02, 2020 • Categories: News

Peter Garnavich, professor and chair of the Department of Physics, was awarded a NASA Silver Achievement Award as part of a team that developed an anonymous proposal system that led to an increased number of women and younger researchers who successfully landed research time on the Hubble Space Telescope.

Physics graduate student one of 52 named to DOE research program

October 20, 2020 • Categories: News

Physics graduate student Patrick Fasano has been named a member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program (SCGSR). This biannual award will allow him to perform theoretical nuclear physics thesis research at the DOE-led Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LNBL).

Society of Physics Students (SPS) co-hosts the first-ever “Love Your Brain” event

October 13, 2020 • Categories: News

The Notre Dame chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS), in collaboration with Access-ABLE club, held the first-ever “Love Your Brain” event last Friday by the Clarke Memorial Fountain.

Coordinators handed out black and white bandanas with images of brains provided that read, “I love my brain.” Participants filled in the blank with a word describing their brain and then color their bandana with sharpies. The bandana was dipped in rubbing alcohol to blend the colors, symbolizing the beautiful messiness of our brains.…

Midwest Relativity Meeting 2020 to be hosted by Notre Dame

September 29, 2020 • Categories: News

The 30th Annual Midwest Relativity Meeting will be hosted by the Center for Astrophysics and the Department of Physics of the University of Notre Dame from October 21-24, 2020.

The Midwest Relativity Meetings aim to bring together researchers from across the Midwest and beyond to discuss General Relativity and a broad range of topics in gravitational physics, including classical and quantum gravity, numerical relativity, relativistic astrophysics, cosmology, gravitational waves, experimental gravity, and other related topics.…

Hsu, a condensed matter physics theorist, studies properties of superconductors

September 24, 2020 • Categories: News

Condensed matter physicist Yi-Ting Hs, a theorist, joined the Notre Dame faculty in the Department of Physics last month, and enjoys working with experimental physicists to dig beneath their applications and discoveries, unearthing the science behind how to improve them.

Graduate student Sensharma speaks at Michiana Science Cafe event

September 21, 2020 • Categories: News

Michiana Science Cafe

Nuclear physics graduate student Nirupama Sensharma will speak on Tuesday, September 29 at the Michiana Science Cafe on nuclear energy. Her talk "Nuclear Energy -- The Better Energy?" will be a Facebook live event. The United States depends on nuclear power to meet about one-fifth of its demand for electricity. This equals the combined total of the generation capacity of two leading nuclear power producing countries, France and Japan. However, we have been standing still for the last 30 years with absolutely no progress in this sector. Is the halt a result of economic, political or scientific reasons and how is this affecting the ever-escalating climate crises? Do we have an alternative?…

Toroczkai partners with Silicon Valley firm and others to explore continuous-time analog computing

September 16, 2020 • Categories: News

Zoltán Toroczkai, professor in the Department of Physics, will be working with NTT Research, Inc., to conduct joint research into the limits of continuous-time analog computing.

Wiescher and Manukyan author book summarizing scientific methods used to characterization of cultural heritage objects

September 14, 2020 • Categories: News

Book Cover

Experimental nuclear science faculty have published a book that summarizes scientific methods that are currently used to characterize objects of cultural heritage and archaeological artifacts. Authored by Friemann Professor of Physics Michael Wiescher

LoSecco selected as 2020-21 Jefferson Science Fellow

September 11, 2020 • Categories: News


Prof. John LoSecco was selected as a 2020-21 Jefferson Science Fellow. The program was established in 2003 as an initiative of the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State. The Jefferson Science Fellows Program is designed to further build capacity for science, technology, and engineering expertise within the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).…

Aprahamian presents at virtual conferences 

September 09, 2020 • Categories: News

Freimann Professor of Physics Ani Aprahamian recently presented at two virtual conferences in Armenia. 

The Armenia Medical International Committee (AMIC) virtual course was held July 12 and had over 650 participants. Aprahamian's presentation was "Isotopes for new pharmaceutical applications." The AMIC consists of representatives from Armenian healthcare associations throughout the Diaspora. Its purpose is to improve healthcare in Armenia through coordination of efforts among our member organizations.…

Mary Galvin to step down as dean of Notre Dame’s College of Science

September 09, 2020 • Categories: News

Mary Galvin, the William K. Warren Foundation Dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame, will step down from the position effective Dec. 31.

Galactic halos touching, comprehensive map of Andromeda halo shows

August 28, 2020 • Categories: News

A team of scientists led by Notre Dame Research Professor Nicolas Lehner, and utilizing NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, created a comprehensive map of the halo of plasma surrounding the Andromeda galaxy and discovered that it is already touching the halo of our own Milky Way.…

Here, or There?

August 13, 2020 • Categories: News


Check if you need to be in the department office, or if you can complete your task remotely. (Click for PDF)


Department staff are available during normal business hours each day, even if we are not in the 225 department office. This guide will help you to know who to contact for assistance.…

Physicist Tsai, a high energy theorist, joins Notre Dame faculty

August 07, 2020 • Categories: News

Yuhsin Tsai, a high energy theorist, is joining the faculty this month in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Physics.

Notre Dame nuclear physics professors receive $8.1M grant from NSF

July 20, 2020 • Categories: News


A team of Notre Dame nuclear physics professors was recently awarded a three-year $8.1M grant from the National Science Foundation to continue operation of the Nuclear Science Laboratory (NSL) and to continue their research in nuclear physics. The team consists of Profs. Dan Bardayan, Tan Ahn, Ani Aprahamian, Max Brodeur, Philippe Collon, Manoel Couder, Umesh Garg, Anna Simon, and Michael Wiescher. A particular focus of this proposal entitled "Nuclear Physics at the Notre Dame Nuclear Science Laboratory Providing a Window on the Universe" is the study of nuclei and nuclear reactions that are critical for interpreting observations of multi-messengers in astrophysics.  These messengers provide windows on the Universe and elucidate nuclear astrophysics processes occurring throughout.

General and Physics GRE scores not required for 2020/21 academic year graduate school applicants

July 15, 2020 • Categories: News

General and subject specific (physics) GRE tests will not be required for graduate student applications for the 2020/21 academic year. This decision was made in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the associated difficulties taking these test, in particular for international applicants.

The department will also review possible permanent changes to the GRE requirements. Recently, the value of the subject GRE test has been called into questions, and many programs have dropped the requirement altogether (see for example the recent article in Physics Today

Aprahamian appointed to JINR Scientific Council

July 06, 2020 • Categories: News

Aprahamian Dec 2014 Photo

The Committee of Plenipotentiaries of the Governments of the Member States of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) has appointed Freimann Professor of Physics Ani Aprahamian as a new member of the JINR Scientific Council. Her appointment runs through the end of its mandate in March 2023.…

Gear treated with ‘forever chemicals’ poses risk to firefighters

June 24, 2020 • Categories: News

Graham Peaslee’s team tested more than 30 samples of used and unused PPE from six specialty textile manufacturers in the United States and found them to be treated extensively with PFAS or constructed with fluoropolymers, a type of PFAS used to make textiles oil and water resistant.

Physics graduate student recognized with 2020 CRC Award for Computational Science and Visualization

June 15, 2020 • Categories: News

The Department of Physics is proud to announce that graduate student Trevor Sprouse has been recognized with a 2020 Center for Research Computing (CRC) Award for Computational Sciences and Visualization. This award recognizes outstanding contributions in the areas of computational sciences and visualization. Such contributions may include, but are not limited to: 1) applications of high performance computation and/or visualization technology; 2) development of algorithms, codes, software environments or other tools for better using high performance computing and/or visualization.…

Physics doctoral student champions nuclear energy through startup company

June 15, 2020 • Categories: News

Nirupama Sensharma, who plans to graduate in 2021 with her doctoral degree in physics from the University of Notre Dame, is passionate about nuclear science and wants to make sure the public understands the benefits of deriving energy from nuclear power. Her message: Be not afraid.

Curliss awarded 2020 Hichwa Fellowship

May 26, 2020 • Categories: News

Physics major Maeve Curliss has been awarded the 2020 Hichwa Fellowship. Curliss is advised by Prof. Jeffrey Chilcote. She will be working on the upgrade to the Gemini Planet Imager. As part of the upgrade, GPI is having two of its near infrared cameras upgraded to C-RED2 cameras from First Light Imaging. The cameras are part of GPI's internal alignment and part of the active tracking of stars to enable them to be precisely blocked by the chronograph. Maeve's summer research entails figuring out how to operate the cameras, then testing their performance characteristics in a variety of operating conditions and to confirm that they will meet the needs of the project. She will use this to understand and recommend the best way to operate them once integrated with GPI.…

2020 Undergraduate awards announced

May 19, 2020 • Categories: News

2020 Outstanding Senior Physics Major Award

The Outstanding Senior Physics Major award is given in recognition of academic performance, contributions to the major, and potential for future success.

2020 Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award…

College of Science faculty among those honored for undergraduate teaching and advising

May 19, 2020 • Categories: News

Twenty University of Notre Dame faculty members have received Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and three have been honored with Dockweiler Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.

Aprahamian appointed to Clark University Board of Trustees

May 06, 2020 • Categories: News

Freimann Professor of Physics Ani Aprhamian has been elected to serve on the Board of Trustees for Clark University. Aprahamian received her undergraduate degree from Clark in 1980. Aprahamian will serve a six year term starting July 1, 2020. Clark’s trustees draw on their expertise in the fields of business, law, and higher education to shape the policies that guide the University’s growth, enhance its reputation, and ensure its standing as a destination of choice for academically engaged students.…