Focus on Physics - Fall 2022

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FOCUSon PHYSICS FOCUSon PHYSICS

CELEBRATING ALUMNI HANDS-ON LEARNING

Recentgraduatestellustheir stories:findingagreatrocketscientistjob,furtheringeducationapieceatthetime,a rewardingteachingcareer,and landingaresearchassistanshipin atopengineeringschool.

Undergraduateandgraduatestudentsareactivelyengagedinresearchprojectsinmanyfields: nuclearexperiments,materials development,computationalphysics,astronomy,andquantum computing.

SCIENCEat theFRONTIER

Physicsisaleaderoncampus andbeyondwhenconsidering theproductivityinresearch.It’s notjusttherecognitioninterms offundingandpublications,it’s thecontributiontothemission offurtheringknowledgeforthe commongood.

PAGE6 PAGE12 PAGE14 Forthefriendsofthe DepartmentofPhysics at CentralMichiganUniversity,Fall2022

Cardboardboatrace2022.Honorto Kimberly,Dalton,andJack.

DuringHomecoming2022,thePhysics’sboat sunkfasterthanlight.Thethreeherosgotwet butkepttheirsmiles.SeethejoyofJack, Kimberly,andDaltonaftertherace.

Batteryresearch:presentingatthePhyConinWashingtonDC.

IamCielo,aphysicsmajor(classof2023).In Fall2022,IpresentedmyresearchatthePhysConorganizedinDCbythe NationalSociety ofPhysicsStudents andtheSigmaPiSigma HonorSociety.Myresearchinvolvesthe computationalexplorationofmetal-ionelectrodematerialsforrechargeablebatteries, andIusethemethodsofcondensedmatter/ materialsscience/nano-science/surface.Iwas oneofthefinalistsfortheposterpresentationcontestandoneoftherecipientsofthe SPSStudentTravelAward.IthanktheDepartmentofPhysicsandDr.Baroneforthehelp andsupport.

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Finalistforthe2021CMU Goldwater Award.

Dakota(Physics/Astronomymajor,classof 2023)worksinthelaboratoryofDr.Redshaw and,amongmanytasks,usesmachinelearning algorithmstooptimizetheexperimentalsetupandprovideprecisemassmeasurements.

Multiferroicmaterialscombine anelectricalpolarizationand magnetismandhavebeen studiedfortheirpotential applicationsinfieldssuchas spintronics,transducers,and memory-storingdevices. Bismuthferrite isasingle-phase multiferroic;itexhibits aspin cycloidstructureandithasweak magneto-electriccouplingwhich hindersitsuseinpractical applications.Addingelements suchasLa,Sm,andEuduring synthesisdramaticallyimproves theproperties.UnderDr. Petkov’ssupervisionstudent

Transversalskills. Gettherightjobforyou.

Forseveralyears,Physicshasbeenoffering “CareerinthePhysicalSciences”,acourseto helpstudentsdesigningthebestpossiblecareerforthemanddevelopallthatisneeded tosucceed.

Fromthebasement

Theartandthescienceofmakingmaterialsfor practicalapplications.

Adeelsynthesizedseveral materialsintherecentlyupdated laboratory.Theylearnedtomake newchemicalcompoundsand characterizetheresultswith Xraydiffraction aswellas measuretheirmagnetic properties.

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TheDepartmentofPhysics providesawell-balanced educationandfostersintellectualgrowthtomeetthe globalsocietaldemandinall quantitativescienceswith strongemphasisoncritical thinking,problem-solving skills,anddata-drivenreasoning.ThemaingoaloftheDepartmentistoaddressthe needsofourfutureworkforceinbasicandapplied sciences,targetingtechnologicalareassuchasenergy, sustainability,and informationtechnology.Experientiallearningisthebedrockofallouracademic programsattheundergraduateandgraduatelevel. Physics undergraduatestudentsare

regularlyhiredonexternally fundedgrantsforsummerresearchexperiencesandengageinvaluablehands-onand mind–onlearninginfieldsat theforefrontofscience. Manyofthempublishinpeerreviewedjournalsandpresentatnationalconferences. Facultyandstudentscollaboratedailytopushthe frontiersinastronomyandastrophysics,discovertheoriginofthechemicalelements, aswellascharacterizeand designnewmaterials.

TheDepartment’svisionfor thefutureencompassesabalancedintegrationof academicrigor,researchexcellence,andsocietalrele-

vance.Asnewchairpersonof theDepartmentofPhysics,I haveembracedthisvision andIamproudtosummarize foryoutheaccomplishments ofthepastfewyears.Itisa pleasuretoreportthatover thelast5years, 97%ofPHY M.S.graduatesandabout84% ofPHYB.S.graduateswere placedineithergraduate, professionalschoolsorjobs relevanttotheirdegree.Studentsjoiningtheworkforce findjobsintechnologysectors(workingasdatascientists,qualityengineers,test engineers,technicians,etc.) orashigh-schoolteachers.All PhysicsPh.D.students

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ChairpersonDr.BaronewiththestudentsinductedintheSigmaPiSigmaHonorSociety.Fromtheleft:Luca,Ahmed,Jack,Dr.Barone,Nova,Dakota,andMickayla. V.Barone

graduatedtodatehavesecuredemploymentaspostdoctoralresearchassociatesin nationallaboratories.Weare veryproudofourmajors whooftenreceiveawards andrecognition.Forinstance, currentstudent,DakotaKeblbeckwasaCMUfinalistin the2021competitionforthe prestigiousBarryGoldwater Scholarship.

Wealsodidgreatinresearch: from2016,theDepartment’s publicationsreceived,on average,89%morecitations perpaperthanCentralMichiganUniversityasawhole. Additionally,60%oftheDepartment’spublications involveinternationalcollaborations.TheDepartment ofPhysicsbringstotheUniversityasubstantialpercapitadollaramountinexternal funding:inthelast5years,externalfundinginthedepartmentamountedtoapproximately$157,000pertenured/ tenure-trackfacultymember peryear.Thepercapita amountreceivedbyPhysics facultyduringthe5-year perioddoublesthecorres-

pondingamountintheCollegeofScienceandEngineeringand,accordingto NationalScienceFoundation, theexternalfundingprocuredperfacultybytheDepartmentofPhysicsin2019was about1.8timestheamount reportedforMichiganTecnologicalUniversityandmore than4timestheamountreportedforWesternMichigan University.Physicsfaculty haveestablishedstrongcollaborationswithNationalresearchfacilities,which enhancethequalityandvisibilityofCMUresearchand provideoutstandingeducationalopportunitiesfor CMUundergraduateand graduatestudents.Examples ofcollaboratinginstitutions includetheU.S.NavalObservatoryandLowellObservatory(astronomicalobservations),ArgonneNational Lab(AdvancedPhoton Source),ATLAS andtheNationalSuperconductingCyclotronLaboratoryandLosAlamosNationalLaboratory (nuclearphysicsexperiments),NERSC (computingtime

onDOEsuper-computer)and accesstoD-WaveandIBMstate-of-the-artquantum computingfacilities,the ArmyGVSC centerbasedin Warren(MI)andtheFRIB laboratoryinLansing.Asthe newacademicyearstarts,I lookforwardtocontinuing ourmissiontoengagestudents,furtherresearch,and advancethemissionofCentralMichiganUniversity.Physicsprovidesthefoundation forallthenaturalsciences anddrivesthetechnological progressforthebenefitofsociety.Withextensivetraining inabstractandcriticalthinkingcombinedwithstrong mathematical,data-science, andcomputationalskills,our studentswillbepreparedto championanunpredictable future.Welookforwardto workingwithDr.Ford,our newDean,Drs.Galarowicz andTycner,AssociateDeans toimproveourstudents’experienceevenfurther.Ithank allthefriendsofPhysicsthat supportourstudentsandour mission.

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Dr.BaronejoinedCMUin2007andsheiscurrentlyservingaschairpersonof theDepartmentofPhysics.Whileteachingcoursesattheundergraduateand graduatelevelanddirectingtheScienceinAdvancedMaterialsPh.D.program, sheestablishedastrongresearchprograminmaterialsforbatteriesusing quantummechanicalcalculationsandmachinelearning.Dr.Baroneservedalso asdiversity,equitity,andinclusionfellowandlaunchedaninitiativetoaddress genderandraceinequalityinscienceandengineeringfields. “Integrationofacademicrigor,research excellence,andsocietalrelevance”

ALUMNINEWS

Hi,mynameis Jessica Mondoskin (Physics/ Astronomymajor,2021)and I’maresearchtechnologistat PennStateUniversity.Iwork inthedepartmentof AstronomyandAstrophysics withthe McEntaffergroup Thefocusofthisgroupis instrumentation,astronomy andsoundingrockets.Asa researchtechnologist,Iwas broughtintosupportthe tREXSsoundingrocket project,whichstandsforthe rocketforextendedsourcexrayspectroscopy.Thegoalof thisrocketistoobservesoftx rayswithintheCygnusloop. Themethodofdetectionin ourpayloadisfairlynewto theastronomicalcommunity. Itinvolvespassivemechanical focusersandreflection

gratings,usedinconjunction withCMOSdetectors.The projectisfundedbyNASA andhasprovidedmany amazingopportunitiesfor undergraduates,graduate students,professors,and stafflikemyself.Thispast August(2022)wespenta monthatWallopsFlight FacilityinVirginia.Therewe wentthroughmanytests suchasalignment, integration,vibration,spin balance,andmomentof inertia.Allofwhichare importanttoverifythefuture successoftherocket.The launchisscheduledfor September25th,aslongas weatherconditionsarefair. Thepastninemonthshave beenhugeinmy developmentasascientist.I

havelearnedsomuchinthe timeI’vebeenwithPenn State.I’vegainedsomanynew skillsandexperiencesthat willhelpmeinanyfuture projectsIjoin.Ithasalso openedanewbranchof interestinastronomyand astrophysicsforme.Withthe experiencesI’vehad,Inow haveagreatinterestinthe development,and implementationof astronomical instrumentation.This providesmewithmore directioninmyfuturegoals asascientist.

Assomeonewhodidnotget intoagraduateprogramon theirfirstattempt,this positionhasstrengthenedmy resumeandexperiencesasa whole,andwillprovideme

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AlumnaJessicaMondoskinisworkingatPennStatetobuildthepayloadsforthe tREXSsoundingrocketproject,arocketforextendedsourceX-rayspectroscopy.

ALUMNINEWS

Thepastninemonthshave beenhugeinmy developmentasascientist.

withopportunitiesIdidnot expecttofindoutsideofa graduateprogram.Positions suchasthisarefantasticfor recentgraduatestogainnew skills,connections,andfind theirfootingasscientists.

MeganDubay (Physics/ Astronomymajor). Since graduatingin2019,I’vegotten myMSinPhysicsatPortland StateUniversity(PSU)andam currentlypursuingmyPhDin AstronomyattheUniversity ofNorthCarolina(UNC). WhileatPSU,Iwasworking withagroupatNASA’sJet PropulsionLaboratory.Our workfocusedonstudying bacteriainextreme environmentswiththegoalof sendingalife-detection missiontoEuropa.Instudying theseorganisms,Iwas awardedasummerinternship atJetPropulsoryLabandwas partofateamtostudy organismsinhotspringsin thecraterofMt.St.Helens. Hikinguptotheglacierinside thecraterwasoneofthe coolestthingsIhaveever done!Wealsobegan developingamicroscopeto sendtotheInternational

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SpaceStationtostudyhow micro-organismsareaffected bymicrogravity.Now,inmy workatUNC,Iampartofa teamdevelopingcurriculum forundergraduatestudents usingrobotictelescopesand workingonhardware/ softwareimplementationfor theSkynetRoboticTelescope Network.Andyes,itisnamed aftertheTerminatormovie! Ihadagreatexperiencein mytimeatCMU,andthatis largelyduetothefacultyin theDepartmentofPhysics. Thefacultywereso passionateandwantedto ensurewelearned.The smallerclasssizesmeantthat professorskneweach individualandIreceivedlots ofhelpfulguidance.Itwas clearthattheywantedusto thriveinwhateverwedid afterCMU.Aperfectexample ofsuchfacultyisDr.Aaron “Cluze”LaCluyze.Ibegan

MeganhikingintothecraterofMt.SaintHelens.Herresearchgroup receivedaspecialpermittogointothecraterviatheNorthernside, whichwasblownoutwheniteruptedin1980.

TEACHING

LoveCentral

Manygraduatestudents,whilelearningphysics, discoverthepassionforteaching

FahimAhmed (MSandPhDin Physics).Iamcurrentlya lecturerinthePhysics DepartmentofCentral MichiganUniversity.I receivedmyBSdegreein physicsin2008fromDhaka University,Bangladesh,where Bosedidhisseminalworkon Bose-Einsteinstatisticsback inthe1920s.Likemanyofmy

generation,myfascination withphysicsstartedwhile readingStephenHawking’s“A BriefHistoryofTime”.I continuedwithmygraduate studieshereatCentral MichiganUniversitywithProf. MihaiHoroi,workingon neutrinosanddoublebeta decay,obtainingmyPhDin August2022.Myresearch

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workingwithCluzeonhis variablestarresearchand helpingwiththemonthly observatoryopenhousesin 2017.Hispassion,enthusiasm, andmentoringinspiredmeat atimewhenIwasdebating whetherIwantedtocontinue majoringinphysics.Without thementoringandadviceI received,IknowIwouldnot havecontinuedinphysicsand myworkwouldlikelylook verydifferenttoday.

Ihadagreatexperienceinmytimeat CMU,andthatislargelyduetothe facultyintheDepartmentofPhysics.

AdamZettel (Physicsmajor, 2020andMS2022). Studying physicshasgivenmethe confidencetoknowthatwith enoughtimeandeffortIcan solveeventhemost confusingproblems.WhenI startedmydegree,IthoughtI wouldjustmemorize hundredsofequations. Instead,Ilearnedtokeepan openmindandstudyuntilI understand.

Ingeneral,theworldisa confusingplace,butphysics showedmethatworking throughtheconfusionto understand"how"and"why" makesallthedifference.

yearspeopleknewabout thesephenomena,butonlyin thelast300-400yearshavewe beguntounderstandthem. Scientistshadthecuriosity andpersistenceto understandhowandwhy,and nowwetakeforgrantedthe thermodynamicslearned overhundredsofyears.

Steampowerchangedthe world,andtothisdaymost powerisgeneratedwith steamenginesdesignedwith physicsprinciples.

CollectingsamplesatMammoth Lakes,CAinanareawheredeadly carbondioxidelevelsarepresent butmicrobiallifestillexists.

InmyeducationIlearnedthat thefactswetakeforgranted arebasedonsubtledetails. Takewater;itcanbehot,cold, turnintoice,steamorform droplets.Forthousandsof

Physicstaughtmethathaving curiosityandproblem-solving skillsarevaluable,moreso thananyspecificknowledge. Curiositywillgiveyou questions,andproblemsolvingskillswillgiveyouthe abilitytoanswerthose questions.NowwhenIhavea question,Iknowhowtousea

focusedonstudyingthe propertiesofneutrinos,a pivotalingredientofthe StandardModelofparticle physics.Morespecifically,I analyzetheimportant nuclearprocessof neutrinolessdoublebeta decay,whichwouldestablish thattheneutrinoisitsown antiparticle.Thiswouldhave significantramificationsfor theStandardModeland beyond.Inthebroader context,Iaminterestedin variousaspectsofnuclear andparticlephysics,like effectivefieldtheories,CP symmetryviolation, leptogenesisand baryogenesis.Iwouldliketo furthermyresearch experiencethroughpostdoctoraltrainingbutright nowIwanttogainteaching experience.

Iverymuchenjoy sharingtheexcitement ofphysicswithstudents throughteachingand classroominteraction. Asanewfacultyinthe PhysicsDepartment,I hopetocontribute towardsthestudent experienceandimprove onmyandstudents’ skills.Beyondphysics andmathematics,Itake anactiveinterestin subjectslikephilosophy, science-religion interaction,history,and theology.

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A

You learntoaskyourown questions,questionyourown answers,andansweryour ownquestions

A.Fulk

Dr.Tycnerdidn’treallyleave, he’sstillafacultyintheDepartment.SinceJune2022, however,heisalsoAssociate Deaninthe CollegeofScienceandEngineering;sowe don’tseehimoften.

book,articles,andasearch enginetolearnthe"how"and "why".Whileitmaynotbe obvious,theexercisein studyingeverythingfromthe quantumharmonicoscillator tothenuclearshellmodel cangiveyouthepotentialto understandjustabout anything.Solvingphysics problemsislikesolving puzzles.Andthemore puzzlesyousolve,thebetter youget. Irememberwatchinginawe asthephysicstutorswould explaintomewhymyanswer waswrongandthenina coupleyearswhenIbecamea tutor,Iwasseeingthe

mistakesthatstudentsmade. Theyseemed"obvious",but onlybyaskingquestionsand workingthroughproblems wasIabletolearnhowtosee thesemistakes.Additionally,I learnedtheconverseistrue: ifyoudon'taskanyquestion ordoyourhomeworkyouwill notunderstand.Inshort,you learntoaskyourown questions(curiosity), questionyourownanswers (curiosity+problem-solving), andansweryourown questions(problem-solving).

Now,IambeginningmyPhD inMechanicalEngineering andMaterialsScienceat DukeUniversityworkingwith the AFLOWgroup.Our group’sfocusison automatingthediscoveryof materials,withanemphasis onhigh-entropyceramics. Whilethisdegreewillno longersayphysics,Ican firmlysaythatIamstillpart physicist.EverydaywhenI havetosolveaproblemfor myresearch,Ifindmyself fallingbacktotheskillsI learnedasaphysicsstudent.I thoughtthattheonlythingsI wouldlearnwouldbeabout equationsandexperiments, butIwalkedawaywiththe knowledgethatisgained betweentheequationsand experiments.

Dr.Tycnertookachanceand broughtmeintotheDepartmentinOctober2017.Hetold me,inmyinterview,that Physicswasthebestdepartmentoncampus ittooklittletimeformetorealizethat thiswastrue.Beingadepartmentchaircanbetrying,but for9yearsDr.Tycnerwent abouthisdayswithgrace whilemaintainingintegrity, honesty,andkeepingaclear focusonPhysics’sgoals.Dr. Tycner’sdedication,guidance andadvicehasbeeninvaluableandhasplayedakeypart innotonlymyprofessional success,butthesuccessof ourstudentsandDepartment.Hehasbeenanexcellentbossandafriend.

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45yearsago

WayneOsborn,Emeritus

ThisyearIreachedamilestoneinlife–80 years.Thisisatimeonelooksbackonallthe thingsthathavehappenedandbeen witnessedovertheyears–somegood,some badandsomethatmakeanicestory.Hereare afew“look-backs”concerningthePhysics Department.

IarrivedatCMUinthefallof1976asanew professor.Changewasintheairasthe Departmentwasstartingitstransformation from“PhysicalScience,”withitsfocuson trainingscienceteachers,toamoreresearchbasedphysicsandastronomyorganization.As astart,threeyoungPh.Dhiresweremadethat falltoreplaceretirements–JoeCleveland, StanHirschi,andmyself.StanandIcompleted ourcareersatCMUandsawthefull transformation.Ireportedtothechair’soffice onmyfirstdayandwasgreetedwith“Whatdo youneed?”IwassoyoungChairCalman Levichhadmistakenmeforanundergraduate withaclass-schedulingproblem.Teaching assignmentswerefourcoursesasemester, andseniorprofessorJ.R.Gumphelpfully welcomedmewith“Hereisthebookweuse. Whatyouneedtocoverisunderlined.”How differentistheDepartment45yearslater.

Physics’spaceisupfromafewroomsin BrooksHalltoanentirewinginDow(thanks areduethelateProfessorDaveCurrentfor hisstrongfightforthis).Nomorecobbled together“research”equipmentinthecorner ofaclassroom,anexamplebeingthatmade forCMU’sfamousmagnetizedfish experiment(Prof.HeleneBrewerstudiedthe effectofastaticmagneticfieldonguppies raisedinafishtanksonarrowthefishwere forcedtoswiminonlyonedirection.See Brewer,H.B.,“Somepreliminarystudiesofthe

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effectsofastaticmagneticfieldonthelife cycleoftheLebistesreticulates”,Biophys.J., 1979,vol.28,pp.305–314). NowPhysicshaslabs equippedwithdedicatedapparatusfor experimentalphysicsandtop-level computingfacilities.Inturn,facultyresearch activityhasgrownfromessentiallynoneto activecutting-edgeprogramsinseveralareas. Papersareregularlypublishedandgrants receivedinsuchareasascomputational physics,nuclearphysics,polymers, astronomyandastrophysics,andatomicscalestructureofmaterials.Besides undergraduates,therenowareoveradozen graduatestudentsinPh.Dandmasters programscomparedtothe1980’sgraduate programoffourmastersstudents.What hasn’tchangedforthebetter,however,isthe numberoftenuretrackfaculty–then12and 11nowinspiteofincreasedresearch expectations. Yes,45yearsleadstomanychanges.ForCMU Physicsthesehavebeenverypositive.

TheSPS

Undergraduatestudentsareengagedin theNationalSocietyofPhysicsStudents. Theyorganizeenrichingactiviesandhelp theDepartmenttowarditsmission.

MickaylaDever,(Physics/Astronomymajor,classof2023).

Inthesummerof2022,the studentsintheDepartment ofPhysicsengagedinmany summeractivities.Manyof thesestudentsdidresearch, bothinandoutsidethe university.Ofthosethatdid researchwithinthe university,manychosetoget intoprojectsrelatedto classestheyhadtaken throughouttheir undergraduatecareer.Many oftheirprofessorstaughtthe

subjectthathadarolein theirresearch,soitwaseasy forstudentstoreachoutto themabouttheirworkand thepossibilityofsummer research.Thosethatdid researchoutsidethe universitywantedto broadentheirknowledgeof astronomy-relatedsubjects. Thisledthemtoapplyto REUs(aprogramofthe NationalScienceFoundation tosupportresearch experiencefor undergraduates)where

theirknowledgecanbe expandedbylearningthrough professionalsandfacultythey hadneverinteractedwith before.Whenaskedwhatthey hadlearnedfromtheir experience,most undergraduatesbroughtup coding;codingisahugepart ofphysicsandastronomy. Throughouttheyears,there havebeenmanydifferent codinglanguagesusedtodo physicsresearch,soitis essentialtolearnasmuchas possibleabouta programminglanguage.Each undergraduatestatedthat throughtheirworkthey learnedatleastonemore codinglanguageorbecame veryfamiliarwithalanguage fortheirproject.These includedPython, LabVIEW,TensorFlow,

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SPSengagesnewpotentialstudentsduringCMUandYOUday.

SigmaPiSigma,thenationalphysicshonorsociety,elects membersonthebasisofoutstandingacademicachievement.

MATLAB,andLaTeX.Each undergraduatealsoconveyed thattheylearnedmany hands-onskillsthatthey did nothavethechanceto experienceinaclassroom setting:thingslikegathering dataduringfieldtrips,coding simulationsoftwarefora specificexperience,hands-on approachestoexperiments atNationalfacilities,learning theinnerworkingsofa computer,andapplied quantumphysics.Someof theundergraduatesalso spokeupaboutsurprising partsoftheirprojectthat theydidnotexpect.Onesaid thattheywerepleasantly surprisedbythe collaborationbetweentheart studentsintheareaandtheir program.Theyhadnot expectedtheartistic representationsofcertain physicstopicstobeapartof theirprogrambutsaidthatit wasasignificantpartof gettingtheeverydayperson toalsoenjoytheirresearch. Anotherundergraduate spokeoutabouttheirmentor andhowwillingtheywereto continuetheirresearchwith

thestudentafterthesummer ended.Itwasverycommon formanytobeoffered extensionsontheresearch projecttheyweredoing. Somethingalsomentionedby alltheundergraduates interviewedwastheaspectof presentingtheirwork.Each studentwasabletopresent theirfindings,eitheratthe universitytheywere researchingatorat conferencesthatwillbe takingplacesoon,suchasthe AmericanPhysicalSociety

meetings.Overall,allofthe undergraduatesconveyed thattheyenjoyedtheir summerresearch,eventhe unconventionalpartsofit. Somespokeaboutthe greaterperspectiveitgave themonresearchteamsand beingaroundothersfrom aroundthecountry,while othersspokeaboutthe travelingthattheydidand theexperiencetheygained fromthemanyfieldsof physics.

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Undergraduateandgraduatestudentsparticipateinthetraditionalposterpresentation.

SCIENCE

AT THE FRONTIER

Thankstoa$1.8millionaward fromtheUS Departmentof Energy-ProgramofLow EnergyNuclearPhysics,a14personresearchgroupof threeCMUphysics undergraduatestudents,six graduatestudents,one postdoc,andfourfaculty (Horoi, Redshaw, Estrade, and Perdikakis)arespearheading newresearchintotheroleof unstableisotopesinthe Cosmos.Theteamofnuclear physicistsaimstofurtherour knowledgeofelusive neutrinoproperties,to decryptpuzzlingaspectsof theastrophysicaloriginofthe

chemicalelements,inform predictionsofhabitable exoplanetsinnearbysolar systems,andimprovethe predictionofquantum propertiesofhighlyexcited isotopesfornuclear applications.Atthesame time,thefundingwill establishanincreasedlocal experimentalcapabilityfor CMUstudents,withthe commissioningoftheunique CHIP-TRAP triplePenningtrap facility,andtheexpansionof theinstrumentation capabilitiesofourRadiation DetectorTestinglaboratory.

Dr.PerdikakisandDr.Redshawjoined CMUin2012,Dr.Estradein2015.Dr.Horoihasbeenapillarofnuclearphysics educationsince1995.Theyareengagedin experimentsandcomputationsand spearheadtheefforttotrainthenextgenerationworkforce.

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Studyphysicstounderstandthe propertiesofexoplanets,neutrinos, andtheoriginofelements.

Lastfallataboutthistime,the FLOSICCenter leadby JacksonandPeraltaatCMU washappytolearnthatits fundingfromtheU.S. DepartmentofEnergy had beenrenewedforasecond,4yeargrantcycle,coveringthe periodSept.2021–Aug.2025. Theprojectisaimedat removinganaggingflawin quantummechanical calculationbasedondensity functionaltheory(DFT):the problemofelectronselfinteraction.DFTisarguably thesuccessfulandwidely usedtheoryinsciencetoday. Itprovidesanapproximate solutiontothequantum mechanicalmany-electron problem,whichcannotbe solvedexactlyexceptfor

Study physicsto Discover newmaterials.

systemswithveryfew electrons.Bycontrast,DFT’s poweristhatitprovides usefullyaccurate descriptionsofthe propertiesofatomicmatter atalowcomputationalcost. Thisenablesresearchersto useDFTcalculationsto interpretandpredictthe propertiesofmatterinawide arrayofsettings,from catalyticchemistryto materialsscience.Vast numbersofcalculationsare beingperformedby thousandsofscientiststo screennovelmaterialsfor keyproperties,guiding experimentalgroupsto synthesizeonlythemostlikelycandidates.Andyet DFTapproximatestheexact quantummechanicsofa many-electronsystemand providesamassive mathematicalsimplification oftheexactproblemthatcan bethensolvedforthemost

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Dr.JacksonhasworkedatCentralMichiganUniversitysince1991.Hehasbeen astaunchsupporteroftheintegrationof researchandeducation.Dr.Peraltajoined thedeparmentin2007.Thesuccessofthe FLOSICCentreisonlyoneoftheirgreat accomplishments. K.A.Jackson K.A.Jackson

complexmoleculesor materials.However,this standardapproachincludes theeffectofeveryelectron interactingwithitself.This self-interactionisnormally insignificantwhenatomsare neartheirequilibrium positions,butcanbecome pronouncedwhenbondsare stretched,or,insome situationsinvolvingtransition metalorheavierf-electron elements.

TheFLOSICCenterishardat workfindingeffectiveand practicalwaystoremovethe effectsofself-interaction fromDFTcalculations.Inthe firstcycleoffundingthe FLOSICteamdemonstrated thatourideaswereontarget. Withthenewfunding,weare excitedtocontinueworkon thisproblemwiththegoal “efficientdensityfunctional theorycalculationswithout self-interaction”.Formore aboutFLOSIC,seeour websiteflosic.org.

Sinceitfirstemergedinthe 1980s,thefieldofquantum computinghaspromisedto transformthewaysinwhich weprocessinformation.The technologyiscenteredon thefactthatquantum particles–suchaselectrons–existin‘superpositions’of states.Quantummechanics alsodictatesthatparticles willonlycollapseintoone singlemeasurablestatewhen observedbyauser.By harnessingtheseunique properties,physicists discoveredthatbatchesof quantumparticlescanactas moreadvancedcounterparts toconventionalbinarybits–whichonlyexistinoneoftwo possiblestates(onoroff)ata giventime.Onclassical computers,wewriteand processinformationina binaryform.Similarly, quantumbits(alsoknownas ‘qubits’)arethenative informationcarrierson

Dr.Fornarihasbeenat CMUsince2001andtormentedgenerationsof studentsinPHY312.His researchinterestsarein condensedmatterphysics andmaterialsscience. Thisnewendeavorin quantuminformationis drivinghimcrazy.

quantumcomputersandcan existininfinite superpositions.The promisesofquantum computationareenormous: ifthetechnologywould reachmaturity,computers couldsolveproblemsfar beyondourcurrent capabilitieswithapplications rangingfromcryptography, tomaterialsprediction,to autonomousdriving.In collaborationwithUniversity ofSouthernCalifornia,Dr. Fornarireceivedfunding fromthe Departmentof Energy firstandfromthe DefenseAdvancedResearch ProjectAgency later.The workisfocusingonselecting outstandingproblemsthat couldtransformscienceand technologyandprovide greateconomicbenefitsto theworld.

Studyphysicsto understandandimprove quantumcomputing technologies.

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M.Fornari

Study ABROAD

Afteranunfortunatemishap withanoverseasinternshipin Chile,Idecidedtotakea studyabroadcourseinItaly. Whilemycoursefocusedon foodandwinepairings,Ihad thewonderfulopportunityto exploreasiteofphysics history.Iwasabletogosee thewonderfulGalileo Museum,famousforstoring theoriginalcopyofDialogue ConcerningtheTwoChief WorldSystems.NotonlydidI buyacopy,intheoriginal Italiannoless,Ialsosaw Galileo’stelescopeand celestialglobesoftheera. However,nothingcompared tothejoyoftakingaselfie withGalilei’spreserved finger.Iwasalsoabletotour theArcetriastrophysical observatory,whichholdsthe historicalAmiciTelescope (thelargestrefractorinItaly!). TheysaythePiazzale Michelangelogivesthebest viewsinFlorence,butI disagree.Theobservatory takesthecake,asitsdistance fromthecityallowsfora muchmorepeacefulviewof

Florence.Myclassonwine pairingwasn’tanentireloss either.Myprofessor,who worksinoneofthevineyards, wasfascinatedbymy knowledgeofphysics.We discussedandmodeledaset ofmirrorsthatwould increasethewinegrape’s exposuretosunlight.Wealso talkedaboutartificially botrytizedgrapes,whichhave adistinctdifferenceinflavor tonaturallybotrytized grapes.Hewasnotawareof thisuntilIaskedaboutit duringclass,andhasplansto addartificiallybotrytized winestofuturecourses. Sufficeittosaythat,Imay haveacareerinwinemakingif physicsdoesn’tworkout. Allinall,despitethe unfortunatebeginning,Ihada greattime.Ithinkmytripto Italyspeakstomyfiery personalityandpassionfor physics;ifIcouldn’thavea physicsinternship,thenIwas goingtomakeone.

NovaMooreisaPhysics/Astronomy, Music,andMathematicsmajor,class 2023.

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Computation inPhysics

Computersareanindispensabletoolinphysicsresearch andinmanyotherareas. Computationalthinkingand writingcodeareskillsthatall physicsmajorsshouldlearn. In2016,theAmericanAssociationofPhysicsTeachersissuedguidanceandrecommendationsfor incorporatingcomputational physicsintoundergraduate physicsprograms,whichincludesteachingageneralpurposeprogramming language,suchasPython, Fortran,C,Java,etc.Ideally, instructionshouldbeginatan earlystageinthecurriculum.

However,instructorseagerto implementcomputational contentintheircoursesface severalchallenges:Most incomingstudentshavenoor minimalcodingexperience, andthenecessarytoolsare notstandardsoftwareon mostcomputers.Evenif thesetoolscouldbegivento thestudents,providing softwaresupportforalarge classisadauntingtask. Inrecentyears, project Jupyter hasradically changedthissituation.Its open-source,web-based interactivecomputational environmentallowsstudents todevelopcodeonany devicethatrunsaweb browser.Itssubprojectnbgraderprovides instructorswithatoolthat facilitatescreatingand gradingassignmentsina Jupyternotebook. InAugust2017,physics

Web-basedinteractivecomputationalenvironment allowsstudentstodevelopcodeonanydevice

facultyDr.AxelMellinger attendedaPartnershipfor IntegrationofComputation intoUndergraduatePhysics workshop.ThisNSF-funded projectisrunbyacommunity ofeducators.Itprovides educationalresources, discussionforums,and strategiesandtacticsthat supporttheintegrationof computationintothephysics curriculum.Bytheendofthe workshop,Dr.Mellingerhad

setupaworking

JupyterHubserverandhad developedasetof computationalexercisesfor studentsintheUniversity PhysicsI)labcourse.Ayear later,CMU’sOfficeof InformationTechnologygot onboardandprovideda morepowerful,dedicated server.Withthistool, instructorscansetup assignmentswithboth automaticallyandmanually

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ConradWolfram
Therealworldchanged. Howshouldeducationreact?

gradedexercises.Usingamix ofmarkdownandcodecells, theycanprovideexplanatory richtext Python code examples,andanswerfields wherestudentsmustenter eithercodesnippetsor textualanswers.Then,the nbgradersystemkicksin, releasingtothestudentsa versionoftheassignment thathasbeenstrippedofthe answers.Italsocollectsand auto-gradesstudents’ submissionsandhasaweb interfacewhereinstructors cangradeassignmentsand providewrittenfeedbackto thestudents.TheCollegeof

Science&Engineering’s JupyterHubserverhas becomeaninvaluable teachingtool.Itisbeingused inagrowinglistofcoursesin physics,astronomy,and computerscience.

StudentsinPHY175usePythontoanalyzetheexperimentaldata.

Tomeetstudents’interest, theDepartmentdesigneda classtointroducethebasic ofcomputationsinscience. Thetopicsincludehardware explorationusingRaspberry

PIcomputers,the fundamentalsofoperating systems,computationaland algorithmicthinking,and codingusingthe Julia programminglanguage.In Spring2022studentslearned howtoimplementselfconsistentcalculations,how tographandfitexperimental data,evenhowtocompute thevolumeofaspherein manydimensionsusing MonteCarlomethods. Understandingthesesimple computationsbuildsthe fundationsforadvanced simulationsandfor experimentingthecurseof dimensionalityinartificial intelligenceapplications.

Physics@CMU |19NEXT
PHY294 PHY294

FromtheAstronomyTower

Afterbeinglargelydormantduringthepast coupleofyearsduetocampushealthrestrictions,the BrooksAstronomicalObservatory is onceagainsharingthewondersoftheUniversewithstudentsandvisitorsalike.Fourdifferentphysicsstudents,threeundergraduatesandonegraduatestudentareusing thetelescopethissemesterforresearchprojects.Weareparticularlypleasedtoannounce

thataspectrographwasrecentlyaddedtothe telescope,anditisbeingusedfortwoofthese studentprojects.Openhousenightshavealso resumed,takingplaceroughlyonceper monthwhileclassesareinsession.(Datescan alwaysbefoundonthewebsiteorcontactthe Department at 989-774-3321).

Formoreinformationonhowtosupportthe educationalandscientificendeavorsofthe

DepartmentofPhysicscontactthechairperson: v.barone@cmich.edu

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