August 2014:  Grad Student aims to improve particle accelerators

Particle accelerators, like the Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR), are involved in fields ranging from cancer research to archaeology, art and chemistry. New interdisciplinary research on a part of the accelerator called the photocathode by physics graduate student Siddharth Karkare has the potential to dramatically improve accelerator performance. Karkare has been studying the materials used to make the photocathodes. To read more about his findings, see this Cornell Chronicle article.


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August 2014: Prof. Yuri Orlov Celebrates 90th Birthday

On August 13, 2014, Professor Yuri Orlov celebrated his 90th birthday. The Voice of America recognized him by streaming a documentary about his life on its Russian-language website, and the National Security Archive at George Washington University mounted a major web posting in his honor (view it here). The Moscow Helsinki Group, the human rights organization Orlov founded in 1976, also hosted a birthday celebration in Moscow.

Yuri Orlov is a human rights champion and one of the oldest active professors in America. For even more information about his incredible life and career, visit the Cornell Chronicle article here.Yuri Orlov body of article

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August 2014:  Proof:  Magnetism makes ‘Cooper pairs’

For decades, many physicists have taken for granted a theory that electrons in high-temperature superconductors are nudged into “Cooper pairs” that can carry an electric current without resistance by their interaction with the magnetic fields of nearby atoms. Sensitive measurements at Cornell have finally supplied the first experimental proof of the theory.

Find the full Cornell Chronicle article here.

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August 2014: For Stable Flight, Fruit Flies Sense Every Wing Beat

In order to stabilize their flight, fruit flies sense the orientation of their bodies every time they beat their wings – one beat about every 4 milliseconds.

Using computational analyses of free flight, Cornell physicists led by Z. Jane Wang, professor of physics and mechanical and aerospace engineering, made these predictions in a study co-authored by Song Chang, Ph.D. ’13. The study was published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences July 21.

“We started by asking at what time scales a model fruit fly needs to sense and act in order to maintain its balance in air,” Wang said. “This led to our conjecture about a fruit fly’s sensing rate, and also a prediction about the function of one of its muscles.”

Find the full Cornell Chronicle article here.

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First results from Atacama Cosmology Telescope Polarimeter (ACTPol) announced

niemack image 2Measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) provide the foundation for modern cosmology: the study of the universe as a whole. Current CMB surveys extend beyond previous measurements by mapping the CMB temperature and polarization with better sensitivity and at smaller angular scales. There is a great deal of excitement surrounding recent CMB polarization measurements, which may provide information about the inflationary expansion that is believed to have occurred in the first millionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the big bang. Cornell’s experimental cosmology research group (including Prof. Michael Niemack, Dr. Francesco De Bernardis, Dr. Shawn Henderson, Brian Koopman, and Patricio Gallardo) recently announced the best measurements of the parity-symmetric (aka. “E-mode”) polarization on small angular scales. These measurements were made using the first 3-months of data from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope Polarimeter (ACTPol) with only one third of the ACTPol instrument installed. The data are consistent with the dark energy and cold dark matter dominated cosmological model and demonstrate the remarkable sensitivity of ACTPol. The ACTPol team is working on completing the ACTPol upgrade, which will enable measurements of the parity-antisymmetric (aka. “B-mode”) polarization that could lead to a better understanding of inflation in the early universe. Robust measurements of the “B-mode” polarization signal from inflation (if it exists) will probe physics at grand unification energy scales, a trillion times higher energy than is probed at the Large Hadron Collider. A copy of the preprint describing these exciting new results can be found at

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May 2014: Prof. Julia Thom-Levy Receives 2014 Kendall S. Carpenter Memorial Advising Award

Thom5-1Associate Professor of Physics, Julia Thom-Levy, was announced to win to the 2014 Kendall S. Carpenter Memorial Advising Award. She, along with three other faculty members, will be honored at a trustee-faculty dinner on May 24. Prof. Julia Thom-Levy serves as a physics major adviser,  mentors on gender and work-life issues, and regularly advises troubled students.

To read more of the article in the Cornell Chronicle, click here.

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May 2014: Doctoral Student, Mike Roman, Restores Antique Clock in Physics Department

Roman and Miner ImageThe antique floor clock, 1881 E. Howard & Co. No.  74 Astronomical Regulator, in the department office was losing time and dripping green ooze. Mike Roman, doctoral candidate, had done much research on this clock and was on a treasure hunt to find this clock. After finally finding the clock here in the Physics department, he asked to restore the clock. After a lengthy proposal, Roman was exhausted the opportunity to tune up the clock. The clock now shines and keeps excellent time.

To read more about the article in the Cornell Chronicle, click here.
To read more about the article in the Cornell Chronicle Blog, click here.


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May 2014: Prof. Eun-Ah Kim, Prof. Michael Lawler, and Prof. J.C. Seamus Davis Research in Superconductivity Highlighted in Quanta Magazine

The April 30, 2014 Quanta Magazine feature article highlights inter-related efforts among researchers at the leading edge of high-temperature superconductivity. The Cornell research team of Eun-Ah Kim, Michael Lawler, and J.C. Séamus Davis play a key role in advancing theoretical models and developing methods to directly observe superconductors on the atomic scale.

To read more about the article in Quanta Magazine, click here.
To read more about the article featured in the Cornell Chronicle, click here.

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