PhD Defense

Mr. Xiaopeng Li

Research Advisor: Dr. W. Vincent Liu

"Theory of ultra-cold matter"

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 4:00 pm

Room: 103 Old Engineering Hall


PhD Defense

Mr. Yanjun Ma

Research Advisor: Dr. Jeremy Levy

"Nonlinear Optical Properties of Semiconductor and Oxide Structures"

Thursday, March 28, 2013 10:30 am

Room: 362 Thackeray (located within 350 Thackeray)


Connecting the (Quantum) Dots

New spin technique moves the researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Delft University of Technology closer to creating the first viable high-speed quantum computer.

Read the full story here

Professor Chandralekha Singh Co-Chairs the Conference on Graduate Education in Physics

Professor Chandralekha Singh was the co-chair of the second conference on graduate education in physics, organized by the American Physical Society and American Association of Physics Teachers at the American Center for Physics (ACP) in Maryland from January 31-February 2, 2013. The conference was a forum for presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions on how physics graduate education must respond to the challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. The 107 participants included department chairs and/or directors of graduate studies from 74 Ph.D. granting physics departments, representatives from industry, national laboratories, and professional societies and graduate student leaders. The participants discussed how to spur innovation and creativity in our approach to graduate education in physics, and shared best practices. Dr. Singh also co-organized the first conference on graduate education in physics which took place in January, 2008 at ACP.

Research Article Coauthored by Sergey Frolov Named Best Article of the Year by Science

A paper in the prestigious journal Science coauthored by Sergey Frolov has garnered him and his colleagues the 2012 Newcomb Cleveland Prize, an annual honor awarded to the author or authors of the best research article or report appearing in Science.



Congratulations to Two Recent PhD Graduates

Ms. Sui Chi Woo successfully defended her thesis “Constraining the Geometry, Size Scale and Physical Conditions of Outflowing BALR in Quasars” on December 12, 2012. Sui Chi’s research advisors are Dr. David Turnshek and Dr. John Hillier. Mr. Chengdong Li successfully defended his thesis “A Comprehensive Study of Supernovae Modeling” on January 22, 2013. Chengdong’s research advisor is Dr. John Hillier. Congratulations to both students!

Professor Sergey Frolov receives CAREER Award

Professor Sergey Frolov has received an NSF CAREER Award which will support the discovery of a new type of quantum particle statistics. Particles that comprise our world at the microscopic scale are divided in two classes: fermions and bosons. They obey strange rules of quantum mechanics. For example, two electrons, which are fermions, cannot be at the same place at the same time, while for photons, which are bosons, this is perfectly allowed. This project will attempt to demonstrate a new, third class of particles called the non-abelian anyons. All electrons are indistinguishable, which means that our world looks exactly the same if two of them change their places. But if two non-abelian particles are interchanged the Universe transitions into a different state dictated by the laws of topology. The particular class of anyons that will be studied here are Majorana quasiparticles, which are their own antiparticles and can be created in nanoscale devices similar to transistors. The success of this proposal will lay a foundation for future topological quantum computation which relies on interchanging, or "braiding" of non-Abelian particles. The demonstration of non-Abelian particles will have an impact on science education at the basic textbook level and bring deeper awareness by the society at large of the fundamental laws governing the quantum world. The project will train a graduate student, which develop fundamental and practical skills such as nanofabrication and laboratory techniques at low temperatures. A new course on Quantum Transport aimed at graduate students and senior undergraduates will be developed with a special emphasis on topological effects. To aid in broad dissemination and sharing of scientific knowledge, websites for rapid discussions of new results, as well as for access to raw data and talks will be developed.

Xiaopeng Li selected as a 2013 KITP Graduate Fellow in Santa Barbara

Graduate Student, Xiaopeng Li, was selected as a 2013 Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) Fellow. His advisor, Vincent Liu, nominated him for this fellowship. The purpose of the Graduate Fellowship Program is to offer a unique opportunity for a select group of physics graduate students in the United States to spend a period of 5-6 months at the KITP (University of California, Santa Barbara), participate in KITP research programs, and broaden their understanding of physics in areas of current research. Click here for more information on the KITP.

Top Ten Physics Breakthroughs of 2012

Physics World Magazine named its Top Ten Physics Breakthroughs of 2012

Faculty members in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh contributed to four of the ten.

  • Discovery of the Higgs boson (ATLAS and CMS Collaborations): Joe Boudreau, Jim Mueller, Vittorio Paolone, Vladimir Savinov
  • Neutrino communication (MINERVA Collaboration): Steve Dytman, Donna Naples, Vittorio Paolone
  • Galaxy cluster velocities (ACT and BOSS Collaborations): Arthur Kosowsky
  • Majorana fermions in solids: Sergey Frolov