News


NSF FY 2018 Budget Request to Congress

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 24 May 2017

National Science Foundation (NSF) Director France A. Córdova today publicly presented President Donald J. Trump's Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 NSF budget request to Congress.

The FY 2018 NSF budget request of $6.65 billion reflects NSF's commitment to establishing clear priorities in areas of national importance and identifying the most innovative and promising research ideas that will yield the highest return on investment for the nation. It supports fundamental research that will drive the U.S. economy, support our nation's security, and keep the U.S. a global leader in science, engineering and technology.

NSF expects to evaluate over 50,000 proposals in FY 2018 and, through its competitive merit review process, make nearly 11,000 awards, including 8,000 new research grants. 


Pitt's Dean of Engineering Gerald Holder to Return to Faculty in 2018

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 17 May 2017

Marking the culmination of more than two decades of leadership, Gerald D. Holder, the U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering, has announced his intention to vacate his position and return to the faculty in the fall of 2018. Holder, a distinguished service professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, has served as dean of the Swanson School since 1996 and been a member of the faculty since 1979.

Two words come to mind when I look back on Jerry’s incredible career as dean of our Swanson School of Engineering: tremendous growth,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “Under Jerry’s leadership, our Swanson School has seen record enrollment levels, and total giving to the school has topped $250 million. The school has also expanded academically to support new knowledge in areas like energy and sustainability — and also new partnerships, including a joint engineering program with China’s Sichuan University. And while I will certainly miss Jerry’s many contributions as dean, I am grateful that he will remain an active faculty member and continue to strengthen our Swanson School’s bright future,” Gallagher said.


PQI2017 Poster Award Winners

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 10 May 2017

Congratulations to the PQI2017 Poster Award Winners!

Ms. Amy Carlson (Evanseck Group, Duquesne Chemistry), Ms. Megan Briggeman (Levy Lab, Pitt Physics), Mr. Cheng Fang (Liu Group, Pitt Chemistry), Ms. Xing Yee Gan (Millstone Group, Pitt Chemistry), Mr. Devashish Gopalan (Hunt Group, CMU Physics),  and Mr. Gregory Houchins (Viswanathan Group, CMU Engineering/Physics) won a $1,000 travel award to a conference in 2017.

We warmly thank all the poster participants and judges as well as all the attendees for participating in this event!


Hot Electrons at the Interface between Silver Nanoparticles and a Graphite Substrate

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 8 May 2017

The interface between nano-sized precious metal clusters such as Silver (Ag) and a semiconductor such as graphite (Gr) is called a heterojunction (Ag/Gr). Heterojunctions have great promise in enhance solar energy conversion due to their unique and enhanced optical, electronic, and chemical properties. When excited with laser pulses, electrons in the system acquire a mean energy higher than its thermal equilibrium value and are referred to as "hot electrons". In fact, graphitic materials are model systems for the study of hot electron dynamics. An ineffective screening within the layers of graphite allows the hot electrons to reach temperatures comparable to that in the solar photosphere!

In a study supported by the Center for Chemistry at the Space-Time Limit recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Hrvoje Petek and his group modified the Gr surface with Ag nanoclusters (NC)s to investigate how the excitation of the plasmonic resonance of the Ag/Gr heterojunction affects the generation, spatial distributions, and relaxation processes of hot electrons. Plasmonic resonance is a prominent feature of precious-metal nanoparticles; it is a sharp and intense absorption band in the visible range that arise from a collective resonant oscillation of the free electrons of the conduction band of the metal called plasmon.


Graphane as an Efficient and Water-Free Hydrogen Fuel Cell Membrane

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 8 May 2017

Hydrogen powered fuel cell cars, developed by almost every major car manufacturer, are ideal zero-emissions vehicles because they produce only water as exhaust. However, their reliability is limited because the fuel cell relies upon a membrane that only functions in when enough water is present, limiting the vehicle’s operating conditions. 

Karl Johnson and his group have found that the unusual properties of graphane – a two-dimensional polymer of carbon and hydrogen – could form a type of anhydrous “bucket brigade” that transports protons without the need for water, potentially leading to the development of more efficient hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles and other energy systems. Graduate research assistant Abhishek Bagusetty is the lead author on their paper “Facile Anhydrous Proton Transport on Hydroxyl Functionalized Graphane”, recently published in Physical Review Letters. Computational modeling techniques coupled with the high performance computational infrastructure at the University’s Center for Research Computing enabled them to design this potentially groundbreaking material. 


Paul R. Cohen Named Founding Dean of School of Computing and Information at Pitt

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 8 May 2017

Paul R. Cohen is the founding dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information. The first new school or college established at Pitt since 1995, the School of Computing and Information is a multidisciplinary environment that supports discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship driven by data and technology. It is a key element in Pitt’s strategy to support research in data and computation-intensive fields across the University. The school will begin operations on July 1 and will enroll its first students in the fall 2017 term.Cohen’s deanship begins on Aug. 1, 2017.

Paul is a visionary leader who will quickly drive our School of Computing and Information to the forefront of academic excellence,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “He is also an expert collaborator and a leading authority on utilizing data, technology and information in new ways to solve some of the most challenging and complex issues facing society today.”


APS Topical Group on Quantum Information Becomes Division of Quantum Information

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 5 May 2017

The Topical Group on Quantum Information has officially become the Division of Quantum Information.

The mission of the Topical Group on Quantum Information is to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge concerning the physics of quantum information, computing, fundamental concepts, and foundations. The Topical Group will serve as a focus for theoretical and experimental research in these and related areas. Research topics of direct interest include quantum entanglement, quantum communication, quantum cryptography, quantum algorithms and simulations, physical implementations of qubits, quantum error correction, fault-tolerant quantum computation, quantum measurements, open quantum systems, quantum coherence, control of quantum dynamics, the quantum-classical correspondence, and the conceptual and mathematical foundations of quantum theory.

For more information, visit GQI’s official APS-based website. If you are already a member of the American Physical Society, you can join the Topical Group on Quantum Information here, and find out how to join the American Physical Society here.


Peng Liu to be Among Participants of the 2017 NIGMS Mentoring Workshop

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 3 May 2017

Peng Liu has been selected to participate in the 2017 Mentoring Workshop that will take place in Kansas City, MO, June 6-8, 2017.

The Mentoring Workshop for New Faculty in Organic and Biological Chemistry has been held annually and sponsored by National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) since 2005. Currently the workshop has trained around 330 new investigators. The workshop aims to mentor assistant professors at the early stage of their careers in NIH proposal preparation, establishment of unique and productive research programs, and development of skills for success in other academic and professional activities other than classroom teaching.


Kathleen M. Blee Named Dean of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences at Pitt

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 3 May 2017

Kathleen M. Blee has been named the Bettye J. and Ralph E. Bailey Dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and the dean of the College of General Studies. She currently is the Dietrich School’s associate dean and a distinguished professor in the school’s Department of Sociology. Blee’s deanship will commence on Aug. 15, 2017.

Of her appointment, Blee said: “The continued excellence of the Dietrich School and College of General Studies is essential to maintaining Pitt’s position as a world-class university. I’m humbled and honored by this opportunity to partner with the provost, chancellor and our outstanding community of faculty, students, staff and alumni to ensure that the school’s future builds on our long tradition of exemplary education, impactful research and scholarship, and significant service to the wider community.”

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