News


Scott Dodelson Appointed Head of Department of Physics at CMU

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 30 August 2017

Renowned physicist Scott Dodelson has been named the head of the Department of Physics in Carnegie Mellon University’s Mellon College of Science.Dodelson conducts research at the interface between particle physics and cosmology, examining the phenomena of dark energy, dark matter, inflation and cosmological neutrinos.   
Under Dodelson’s leadership, the physics department will partner with other departments within the Mellon College of Science through a new theory center and continue to collaborate with colleagues in statistics, computer science, and engineering. Dodelson also hopes to increase the department’s partnerships with other universities and research initiatives worldwide and bring physics to the community through outreach programs.

 


Venkat Viswanathan Remains Skeptical of Tesla's Self-Driving Trucks

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 30 August 2017

When will we see electric trucks appear on major roadways? Potentially in September. Tesla is currently developing driverless, long-haul electric semi-trucks that can move in “platoons,” or closely knit packs. But some scientists, like Venkat Viswanathan, doubt that Tesla can fulfill its promises. According to Viswanathan, electric trucks are not economically feasible yet because they would require massive batteries to power their long distance road-trips across the country. “Your cargo [would] essentially become the battery,” he says in an article for the New York Times. And because of that, there would be little room to carry goods.

 


Giannis Mpourmpakis and His Colleagues Revealed the Mystery Behind Formation of Metal Nano-particles at Specific Sizes

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 30 August 2017

Nature Communications, co-authored by Giannis Mpourmpakis, and PhD candidate Michael Taylor, offers a possible way to unravel these mysteries, with the help of computer simulations. “In applying our new theory, we aim to accelerate discovery and application,” said Mpourmpakis. From molecular carriers for targeted drug delivery to systems for energy generation and storage to solar cells, this research could help.


PQI Members Receive 2017 Kaufman Awards

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 8 August 2017

The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation, a supporting organization of The Pittsburgh Foundation, has awarded eight grants totaling $1.8 million to support research at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, The Pennsylvania State University, Swarthmore College and University of Pennsylvania.

The Kaufman Scientific Advisory Board received 229 letters of intent from 30 academic institutions seeking funding in two categories: New Investigators and New Initiatives.

Noa Marom won a New Investigators Award, i.e., a grant of $150,000 for two years ($75,000 per year), for research on “Singlet Fission: Deriving Fundamental Insights from Computation.”

Michael Hatridge and Roger Mong won a New Initiatives Award, i.e., a grant of $300,000 for two years ($150,000 per year) for research on “Protecting Quantum Wires for Quantum Computing.”


Chandralekha Singh Leads the US Team at the 6th International Conference on Women in Physics

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 8 August 2017

Chandralekha Singh was one of the two team leaders of the US delegation to the 6th International conference on Women in Physics (ICWIP) in Birmingham, UK, in July 2017. She is also a co-editor of the American Institute of Physics Proceedings for this ICWIP 2017 conference to be published in 2018. This picture of Dr. Singh is with Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel peace prize winner, who was a presenter at the conference and Shamima Choudhury, a Physicist from Bangladesh. 


Computational Study of Ni-Catalyzed C−H Functionalization: Factors That Control the Competition of Oxidative Addition and Radical Pathways

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 2 August 2017

To guide the development of a more diverse set of Ni-catalyzed C−H bond functionalizations, a thorough understanding of the mechanisms, reactivity, and selectivity of these reactions is required. Peng Liu and his student Humair Omer have undertaken a computational study of the functionalization of the C−H bonds in molecules that contain the N,N-bidentate directing group with Ni catalyst and various coupling  partners, e.g. phenyl iodide (Ph−I), which has been published in the July 26, 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.


Uncovering the Connection Between Negative Stiffness and Magnetic Domain Walls

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 19 July 2017

Nature doesn't like having interfaces—this is why bubbles like to be round, and the surface of a pond settles to flat as long as it's not disturbed. These trends minimize the total amount of interface (or surface) that is present. As an exception to this behavior, certain materials are known to have a property, called negative stiffness, where the interface prefers to become distorted, or wavy, even without any external stimulation. Interfaces with negative stiffness have been considered in crystals before, but the characteristic has now also been found in modern magnetism.


The Center for Research Computing Acquires New, Powerful Computing Systems

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 19 July 2017

The new Center for Research Computing (CRC), formerly known as the Center for Simulation and Modeling (SaM), is among the first in the nation to have access to Intel’s powerful new computing systems. The system will dramatically increase the speed of computation available to researchers through Pitt’s Center for Research Computing, said Ralph Roskies, associate vice provost for research computing.


Kevin Chen Receives $1.275 Million to Improve Sensor Technology

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 28 June 2017

Kevin Chen received $1.275 million to develop radiation-hard, multi-functional, distributed fiber sensors, and sensor-fused components that can be placed in a nuclear reactor core to improve safety and efficiency. The grant is from the Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies (NEET) program as part of the DOE’s Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP).

This NEET grant will allow our lab to continue its partnerships with leading technological companies and national laboratories to develop solutions to some of the most pressing issues affecting nuclear energy production,” said Chen. “Advances in sensor technology can greatly enhance the sensitivity and resolution of data in harsh environments like a nuclear reaction, thereby improving safety operations.”


2017/2018 GSR Award Winners

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 14 June 2017

Congratulations to the 2017/2018 PQI Graduate Student Research Award Winners!

Ms. Lucy Chen (Levy Lab, Physics), Mr. Yanan Dai (Petek Group, Physics), Ms. Xing Yee Gan (Millstone Group, Chemistry), Mr. Kevin Gasperich (Jordan Group, Chemistry), Mr. Jianan (Arthur) Li (Levy Lab, Physics), and Mr. Li Zhi (Mong Group, Physics) won one term of graduate funding for the year 2017/2018.

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