News


PQI Quantum Day 2017

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 11 April 2017

Quantum Day 2017 for Taylor Allderdice High School Students

PQI organized its first Quantum Day this past Thursday, April 6, 2017 for the students of Taylor Allderdice High School; a day full of activities, talks, lab tours, and of course pizza. About 15 students, mostly juniors and seniors, from Dr. Janet Waldeck's physics classes were present, and PQI faculty from Physics, Chemistry, and Engineering departments participated in many ways. Students and faculty alike had a good time learning or talking about research in quantum science and engineering, and through Quantum Day 2017--the first of hopefully many more--PQI has certainly fulfilled its mission statement of helping unify and promote quantum science and engineering to high school students in Pittsburgh.


Gurudev Dutt at Science on Screen, April 19, Row House Cinema

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 11 April 2017

Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville will be hosting Science Fiction Week from April 14 to April 20 with four movies: District 9, Starship Troopers, Total Recall, and Westworld: The Original Movie. On Wednesday, April 19 at 7:20 p.m., Row House will present its first Science on Screen with the 1990 Science Fiction classic "Total Recall". Before the movie, Gurudev Dutt will host a short presentation discussing the question:

"How much of what we see in science fiction is based on real science and how much is pure fantasy?"

Get your ticket here.


Highlights from the NSF Division of Materials Research Newsletter

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 11 April 2017

Below are some highlights from the Winter 2017 NSF DMR Newsletter; also check out the updated DMR website here.

New mid-scale instrumentation program: Two Platforms, one at Pennsylvania State University (2DCC-MIP) and another led by Cornell University (PARADIM-MIP), focus on advancing the discovery of new two-dimensional (2D) electronic materials in thin film and bulk crystal form, with 2DCC focusing on chalcogenide materials and PARADIM-MIP focusing on heterostructures that include oxides, chalcogenides, graphene and other materials that enable novel electronic and magnetic functionalities. These two initial Platforms focus on 2D materials for electronic applications and will serve as a nexus of expertise where users will gain access to not only mid-scale level tools, but expertise in synthesis, characterization, and theory to help design and conduct experiments. Access to the Platforms are via a three page scientific proposal reviewed by external experts.

National Strategic Computing Initiative: On July 29, 2015, a Presidential Executive Order created a National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI). The overarching goal of NSCI is to maximize the benefits of high-performance computing (HPC) research, development, and deployment. NSCI strongly couples to the “The Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution” Big Idea at NSF. Specifically, Objective 3 of NSCI centers around materials development for quantum science and engineering to enable quantum-based computation. Objective 4 revolves around ecosystems, and also includes training the new “quantum workforce.” Objective 5 encourages the close collaboration of industries and research required for deployment of quantum technologies.


John Keith Awarded MCSI Seed Grant for Sustainability Research

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 5 April 2017

The Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) has announced the recipients of 2017-2018 MCSI seed grant funding. John Keith is one of the four awardees, for his proposal entitled "Toward machine learning blueprints for greener chelants".  

MCSI developed the research seed grant program to provide faculty with funding support to allow students to participate in high-quality research, teaching, outreach and creative endeavors. The goals of the grants are: (1) seed funding to develop ideas to the point where external funding can be obtained; (2) awards to support scholarship in areas where external funding is extremely limited; (3) resources to introduce curricular innovations into the classroom; or (4) tools or techniques to encourage community outreach and education. The annual seed grant program engages a core team of researchers who are passionate about sustainability. Seed grants support graduate student and post-doctoral fellows on one-year research projects.


Kevin Chen and Peyman Givi Among 2017 Carnegie Science Awards Honorees

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 5 April 2017

Among the 2017 Carnegie Science Awards honorees are Kevin P. Chen, who is the winner in the Innovation in Energy category, and Peyman Givi, who received an honorable mention in the University/Post-Secondary Educator category. The Carnegie Science Center established the awards program in 1997 to recognize and promote outstanding science and technology achievements in western Pennsylvania, and the winners will be honored May 12 at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.


Chandralekha Singh Receives the 2017 University/Post-Secondary Educator Carnegie Science Center Award

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 22 March 2017

Chandralekha Singh is the 2017 winner of the Educator Awards/University Post-secondary Education which recognizes innovation in science and technology education at each of the following four levels: Elementary Educator; Middle Level Educator; High School Educator; and University/Post-secondary Educator.


Venkat Viswanathan's Research Featured in MIT News

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 22 March 2017

Venkat Viswanathan was featured in MIT News for his research in battery technologies. In collaboration with researchers from MIT, Viswanathan is studying a new kind of electrolyte for "self-healing" lithium battery cells, which could lead to longer driving range, lower cost electric vehicle batteries. 


The Scientific Community Mourns the Passing of Jeffry Madura

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 15 March 2017

The scientific community is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Jeffry Madura, professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences of Duquesne University. He was 59. He is survived by his wife Colleen and sons Brandon and Peyton.

Jeffry Madura first joined Duquesne in 1998 and served as chemistry and biochemistry chair from 2000-2010. He was well known among his students and highly respected by his colleagues. "Jeff Madura was a talented teacher, mentor and scholar, and-first and foremost-a consummate professional in every sense of the word," said BSNES Dean Dr. Philip Reeder. "He will be deeply missed, but his legacy will live on through his students."

Some of Jeffry Madura's various honors include the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award in 1997; the 2002 BSNES award for Excellence in Service; the 2007 BSNES Award for Excellence in Scholarship; and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 2007. In 2013, he was selected as Duquesne's inaugural Lambert F. Minucci Endowed Chair in Engineering and Computational Sciences.


David Waldeck's PNAS Article Highlighted in C&EN

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 15 March 2017

Quantum effect could explain how chiral molecules interact: Electron spin polarization promotes recognition between molecules of similar chirality.

Biomolecules from small amino acids to large DNA helices are chiral, and how they interact depends on their chirality. A newly identified quantum effect could help explain how biomolecules’ chirality persists. When two molecules interact, their electron clouds reorganize. In chiral molecules, that reorganization is accompanied by electron spin polarization that enables molecules of the same chirality to interact more strongly than molecules of opposite chirality, reports a research team led by Ron Naaman and Jan M. L. Martin of the Weizmann Institute of Science and David H. Waldeck of the University of Pittsburgh (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2017).

The mechanism that they have demonstrated is different from any that was previously reported,” comments David N. Beratan of Duke University. “If the idea holds up, it could entirely change the way we think about molecular recognition in biological and organic chemistry.”

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