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Rochester group involved in an interesting new result in neutrino physics
20110615: The Tokai-to-Kamiokande (T2K) experiment recently released a result showing a strong indication of a new type of neutrino oscillation which is causing a buzz in the neutrino physics community. T2K, whose primary purpose is to study neutrino interactions at a large distance from their source, has observed neutrino interactions in the Super-Kamiokande detector on the western side of Japan coming from neutrinos produced at the J-PARC laboratory on the eastern coast of Japan. T2K announced recently that they have observed an indication that muon neutrinos are able to transform into electron neutrinos over a distance of 295 km through the quantum mechanical phenomena of neutrino flavor oscillations. Assuming this result holds up as more data is collected, it means that physicists in the future should be able to probe the properties of neutrinos searching for the origin of the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe.
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Prof. Tang receives the 2011 Wolf Prize
052911: On May 29, 2011, Professor Tang, the Doris Johns Cherry Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Physics and Astronomy and of Chemistry, received the 2011 Wolf Prize in Chemistry from the President of the state of Israel in a ceremony at the Knesset in Jerusalem. The prize was awarded "for deep creative contributions to the chemical sciences in the field of synthesis, properties and an understanding of organic materials." Prof. Tang was one of the three reciepients of the 2011 Wolf Prize in Chemistry.
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Scott Barenfeld receives Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship
051711: Rochester junior Scott Barenfeld '12 (B.S. Physics & Astronomy and minor in Mathematics) has been selected as a 2011-12 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar. He is one of 275 Scholars chosen from an applicant pool of nearly 1100 undergraduate math, science, and engineering majors nominated by colleges and universities nationwide. The Goldwater scholarship provides a maximum of $7,500 for educational expenses. Selection factors include a stellar academic record, demonstrated passion and talent for scientific research, and commitment to pursuing an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering and engaging in a research-oriented career. The application requires candidates to write a two-page essay on a scientific problem on which they have done significant independent research or on a research problem of particular interest to them.
Barenfeld's interests in astrophysics have led him to Professor Eric Mamajek's lab, where he has worked during the academic year since fall 2009. He spent summer 2010 conducting research at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico through the NSF-funded REU program; his work included writing computer code to help analyze data from the GALFACTS sky survey. He has been a teaching intern for courses in astronomy and mechanics, is a member of both the Society of Physics Students as well as the Society of Undergraduate Math Students, and plays trombone in the Pep Band. Barenfeld aspires to a Ph.D. in Astrophysics and a career of teaching and research in a university setting.
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Aran Garcia-Bellido wins Department of Energy's Early Career Research Award
051011: Assistant professor Aran Garcia-Bellido has been selected for this year Department of Energy's Early Career Research Award. The selection of this prestigious award by the Department of Energy is based on peer review by outside scientific experts. A total of 65 scientists from a pool of 1,150 university- and national laboratory-based applicants received this award this year. The program provides funds to young professors to develop the proposed research during five years.
The title of Prof. Garcia-Bellido's proposal is "Precision physics and searches with top and bottom quarks". The goals of the proposal are (1) to measure with high precision how top quarks interact with bottom quarks in the Standard Model of particle physics, and (2) to search for new heavy particles that decay into top and bottom quarks. Prof. Garcia-Bellido proposes to use the large available data from Fermilab's Tevatron proton‐antiproton collider and the high‐statistics data from CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) proton‐proton collider to comprehensively exploit the different production mechanisms and conditions in the two colliders. Final states with top and bottom quarks provide a promising avenue to look for physics beyond the Standard Model because top quarks can couple easily with new heavier particles or exhibit anomalous couplings. Additionally, this project aims to develop new electronics to read out the light signals from the hadronic calorimeter detector in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment.
More information about the Early Career Research Program can be found here.
MINERvA Receives Energy Secretary's Award of Achievement
041611: Profs. Manly, McFarland, and Bodek have a new reason to smile. Their experiment to study neutrino scattering from nuclei, MINERvA, received the 2011 Secretary of Energy's Award of Achievement.
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Rochester B.S. in Physics '70, presented the award to representatives of the MINERvA experiment and the Department of Energy Office of Science at a ceremony on April 4, 2011.
The original proposal for the MINERvA experiment was written by Profs. Bodek and McFarland in 2002. The ensuing collaboration has fifteen members, faculty, postdoctoral researchers, students and technical staff, from the University of Rochester neutrino group. Prof. McFarland and Dr. Deborah Harris, a former postdoctoral researcher in Prof. Bodek's group who is now a staff scientist at Fermilab, serve as the experiment's scientific spokespersons.
The citation for the award reads, in part,
"The MINERvA team demonstrated outstanding dedication and ingenuity in developing and implementing an extremely successful prototyping campaign that successfully integrated primary detector components fabricated at multiple, geographically diverse universities... The project team is to be commended for a job well done."
Read more about the award in Fermilab Today.