Two Cornell alumni win Nobel Prize in Chemistry

moerner10-8betzig10-8Eric Betzig, M.S. ’85, Ph.D. ’88, and William Moerner, M.S. ’78, Ph.D. ’82, have shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry for groundbreaking achievements in optical microscopy.

Betzig, a researcher at the Janelia Farm Research Campus, part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, received his master’s and Ph.D. in applied and engineering physics from Cornell’s College of Engineering. Moerner, the Harry S. Mosher Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University, received his master’s and Ph.D. in experimental physics from the College of Arts and Sciences. The two Americans shared the Nobel with German scientist Stefan Hell, director of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, the Nobel committee announced Oct. 8 in Sweden.

Find the full Cornell Chronicle article click here.

 

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Watch Bethe Lecturer Juan Maldacena’s Public Lecture: Quantum Mechanics and the Geometry of Spacetime

Quantum mechanics is important for determining the geometry of spacetime. Juan Maldacena of the Institute for Advanced Study reviews the role of quantum fluctuations that determine the large scale structure of the universe, September 22, 2014, as part of the Department of Physics Bethe Lecture Series.

Click this link to watch the lecture.

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Nanoscale facility ‘open for business,’ leaders say

The latest and greatest scientific achievements at the nanoscale were on display at the 2014 Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF) annual meeting, Sept. 18, which featured a lineup of speakers in materials science, biomedical engineering and more, and a research poster session and vendor show. Attendees also heard a brief update on the facility’s long-term future.

Professor Marko Loncar of Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences kicked off the day’s presentations with the plenary lecture, “Diamond – Engineer’s Best Friend.” Loncar studies diamond nanophotonics and quantum optics, and he shared recent achievements in devices like ring resonators and nanowires made out of single-crystal diamond that exploit the material’s physical and chemical properties. Loncar’s devices can generate, manipulate and store optical signals at the single-photon level.

Find the full Cornell Chronicle article click here.

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Cosmic Inflation: Q&A with the Theorists

Four decades ago, the 2014 Kavli Prize Laureates in Astrophysics — Alan Guth, Andrei Linde and Alexei Starobinsky — developed a simple and elegant explanation for why the universe is so uniform over vast distances. The theory, which remains the only viable explanation today, postulates that our infant universe expanded in a sudden and violent burst, doubling in size more than 60 times in less than a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second. The sudden inflation explains not only why the universe is so homogeneous, but also how quantum fluctuations during the sudden expansion led to the formation of galaxies and other large-scale structures .

As part of this month’s Kavli Prize celebration, The Kavli Foundation hosted the laureates in a conversation about the process of developing the theory of inflation and its implications on our understanding of the universe as a whole. The conversation has been amended and edited by the laureates.

Find the full Space.com article here.

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big bangCosmologists probe beyond the Big Bang

A long tradition of cosmology research in Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences has given birth to a vigorous effort by a new generation of cosmologists to understand the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the thermal radiation left over from the Big Bang.

“A large portion of all knowledge about the history of the universe as a whole is revealed when you fully understand the CMB,” says Michael Niemack, assistant professor of physics, whose work centers on CMB measurements.

Cosmology, the study of the nature and evolution of the universe, has progressed enormously during the past 30 years, says Jeevak Parpia, professor and chair of physics. “We are in an era of ‘precision’ cosmology.”

“This is a time of very rapid advances in the field,” agrees Liam McAllister, associate professor of physics and a specialist in string theory. “You don’t know on any given day what new discovery you’re going to see posted that night on arXiv.”

Find the full Cornell Chronicle article here.

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Higgs9-15aCornell theorists continue the search for supersymmetry

It was a breakthrough with profound implications for the world as we know it: the Higgs boson, the elementary particle that gives all other particles their mass, discovered at the Large Hadron Collider in 2012.

For many scientists, it’s only the beginning. When the LHC fires up again in 2015 at its highest-ever collision energy, theorists like Csaba Csaki, Cornell professor of physics, will be watching.

To read this story, visit the Cornell Chronicle article here.

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September 2014: Bethe Lecturer Explores Spacetime

On September 24, 2014 at 7:30 PM in Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall, Juan Maldacena will present a public lecture titled, “Black Holes and the Structure of Spacetime.” A leading theorist in quantum gravity, Maldacena will explore the connection between black holes and quantum field theories. As part of the Hans Bethe Lecture series,  Maldacena will also present the physics colloquium on Monday, September 22, 2014 at 4:00 PM in Schwartz Auditorium.

To read more about the Hans Bethe Lecture series and Juan Maldacena’s career, visit the Cornell Chronicle article here.

 

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August 2014: Memorial Service for Dean Emeritus Geoffrey Chester Scheduled for 9/20

Geoffrey V. Chester, professor emeritus of physics and dean emeritus of Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences, died June 27 at age 86 in Ithaca. A professor at Cornell since 1964, he was an authority on liquid helium. His research group was one of the first to carry out simulations of a wide range of condensed-matter systems. Much of his work focused on the liquid and solid phases of helium three and four. In addition he was interested in classical and quantum spin systems, order and disorder in solids, two-dimensional melting and problems in materials science. “Geoffrey Chester’s work pioneered the use of computational methods to elucidate the nature of the ground state of helium,” said Jeevak Parpia, professor and chair of physics. “He also was a willing member of many experimental Ph.D. students’ special committees (including mine) and was known and sought after for his deep insight.” A campus memorial service for Arts and Sciences Dean Emeritus Geoffrey Chester will be held Saturday, September 20 at 2 p.m. in Anabel Taylor Chapel.

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