Alllegheny Observatory work putting back missing pieces

Drs. Richard Maurer and Paul White receive Physics & Astronomy Department Distinguished Alumni Award

The Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Pittsburgh celebrated the achievements and service of two esteemed alumni, Dr. Richard Maurer (PhD '70) and Dr. Paul L. White (MS '64), through honoring them as recipients of the inaugural Physics and Astronomy Department Distinguished Alumni Award.

In recognition of their esteemed work, the recipients were invited to a luncheon with current graduate and upper-class undergraduate students, given a tour of the department to include visiting labs and various other facilities, followed by a formal dinner and award ceremony at the Physics and Astronomy Distinguished Alumni Awards Gala held at the Allegheny Observatory on Saturday April 2, 2016.

Though Dr. White was unable to attend, Dr. Maurer discussed his work during the luncheon with Physics and Astronomy students, discussing his experience as a Physics and Astronomy student and later his work NASA and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory regarding such projects as the New Horizons mission where his team's spacecraft design caught the first glimpses of Pluto last summer. Alumnus like Dr. Maurer and Dr. White, serve as an inspiration for students and others within the Physics and Astronomy community.



Emily Crabb Named 2016 Emma Locke Award Winner

Sandhya Rao Named Lambda Sigma Professor of the Month

Congratulations to Sandhya Rao on being named the Lambda Sigma Professor of the Month for March. Each month the Lambda Sigma Honor Society votes for a professor that has helped the members reach their academic success.

Fernando Salviatto Zago Wins Elizabeth Baranger Teaching Award

Congratulations to graduate student Fernando Salviatto Zago on being named a 2016 Elizabeth Baranger Teaching Award winner.

The A & S GSO Elizabeth Baranger Teaching Awards acknowledge excellence in graduate student teaching across the Arts & Sciences. Awards are presented to students nominated by faculty, fellow graduate students, and undergraduates, in each of the Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Humanities. This award is named after Elizabeth Baranger, former faculty member in the department and Dean and, later, Vice-Provost of the School of Arts & Sciences.

Prestigious Chinese Government Award

Congratulations to Zhen Liu, PhD 2015 (Tao Han), on receiving the 2016 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad. The Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad is a scholarship set up by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) to honor overseas Chinese students with outstanding academic accomplishments. Established in 2003, this award is developed to encourage research excellence and to recognize the achievements among Chinese students abroad. Thirty-six Chinese students selected from all disciplines in the ten-state jurisdiction are receiving the awards

Aaron Miller Receives 2016 DAAD RISE

Congratulations to undergraduate student Aaron Miller, junior physics major, on being one of five Pitt students to receive the nationally competitive 2016 DAAD RISE (German Academic Exchange Service Research Internships in Science & Engineering). Aaron will work at Max Planck Society on “Augmented Reality System for Controlling Swarms of Robots” for a period of two to three months this summer. Congratulations Aaron!

Emily Crabb is awarded the 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Congratulations to undergraduate student Emily Crabb who was recently announced as a 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Awardee. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.


Congratulations Emily!

David Snoke Chosen as a 2016 Outstanding Referee

The American Physical Society (APS) has named David Snoke one of the 146 Outstanding Referees for exceptional help in assessing manuscripts for publication in the Physical Review journals.

The selection this year was made from 30 years of records on over 69,000 referees who have been called upon to review manuscripts, including more than 37,200 that were submitted in 2015.

The 2016 honorees come from 27 different counties. The Outstanding Referees program annually recognizes approximately 150 of the currently active referees. Like Fellowship in the APS and other organizations, this is a lifetime award.

Sergey Frolov Named 2016 Cottrell Scholar!

Sergey Frolov was one of two-dozen top early career academic scientists named as 2016 Cottrell Scholars.

The designation comes with a $100,000 award for research and teaching. The Cottrell Scholar (CS) program champions the very best early career teacher-scholars in chemistry, physics, and astronomy by providing these significant discretionary awards.

Outstanding candidates are admitted to the ranks of Cottrell Scholars through a stringent peer-review process based on their innovative research proposals and education programs. Sergey’s proposal is Experimental Investigation of One-Dimensional Topological Phases.

Distinguished SPS Chapter

The University of Pittsburgh Chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has received national recognition, and has been named a “Distinguished SPS Chapter for 2014-2015.” The selection is based on an assessment of the depth and breadth of the activities conducted by our chapter.

The University of Pittsburgh Chapter of SPS is a student-led group started by Pitt's physics majors to encourage and assist students interested in physics to develop the knowledge, competence, enthusiasm, and social responsibility that are essential to the advancement of science. The group's goals include stimulating interest in advanced studies and research in physics, helping the department to connect physics students with faculty members and research opportunities, and promoting public interest in and awareness of physics and natural sciences in general. Membership is open to any interested undergraduate student, faculty member or staff. The members of the group meet every Tuesday at 5:00 pm in 102 Thaw Hall over pizza (and they occasionally have cookies too, so you are very welcome to join)!

Pitt Astronomers Helping to Design Next Space Telescope

Professors Jeffrey Newman and Michael Wood-Vasey are part of a team that has been selected to help prepare for the upcoming WFIRST space telescope. Professor Saul Perlmutter (2011 Nobel Prize winner) leads this Science Investigation Team.

The team’s work will focus on developing methods to study the mysterious Dark Energy using observations of Type Ia Supernovae, cataclysmic explosions of white dwarf stars whose apparent brightness allows us to determine their distances, and hence how the Universe has grown over time.  Scientifically, the WFIRST supernova program is unique in the broad range of cosmic time it will cover, reaching up to 10 billion years into the past.  This Science Investigation Team is helping to develop the Integral Field Unit (IFU) spectrograph on WFIRST, which will allow in-depth studies of the supernovae WFIRST will discover, with only minimal contamination from their host galaxies’ light.  Professor Newman will also use this instrument to explore galaxies themselves, helping to improve other probes of Dark Energy.  NASA recently announced that WFIRST will be NASA’s next major space telescope after the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018; it should begin operations in the first half of the next decade.


Dr. W. Vincent Liu Receives Grant to Investigate Condensed Matter and Atomic-Optical Physics

Dr. Wensheng Vincent Liu has received a five-year $1.42 million grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to predict and understand topological phases of quantum atomic matter (i.e., a cold ensemble of interacting atoms) under novel conditions, well beyond the standard regimes. Read More

PhD Defense--Mark Steger

Research Advisor: Dr. David Snoke


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Allen Hall, Room 219 at 11:00am