In the news

Ted Corcovilos Develops Portable Device to Test for Lead in Water

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 20 January 2016

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority officials will re-examine the treatment used to limit lead in customers' water as levels approach a federal warning threshold and a drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., intensifies worries across the country. Lead can cause irreversible brain damage in children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency say there is no safe level of lead exposure for children.

A team of local researchers includig PQI faculty Ted Corcovilos has developed a device to test for the presence of lead in water. This portable device is called Leadglow and is powered by two nine-volt batteries. Part of it was made on a 3D printer.

Visualizing Molecules in 3D

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 15 October 2015

Jeffry Madura and student Biran Adams created a software program which allows an individual to view molecular structures in three dimensions by looking through a specially-designed headset.

The project began last year when Madura noticed that there were not many affordable options for people to observe molecules in three dimensions. Madura reached out to the computer science professors and students to help design a solution, and Adams volunteered. According to Madura, Adams’ experience background in programming and algebra was perfect for the task. Madura and Adams developed the idea of using already-existing video game technology to create a virtual world of enlarged molecules. They used the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset originally funded through a Kickstarter campaign, and expanded its scope of use.

Chandralekha Singh Reflects on Fifth International Conference on Women in Physics

  • By Workstudy User
  • 27 April 2015

This month's APS Back Page features PQI faculty Chandralekha Singh who describes the Fifth International Conference on Women in Physics with participation from 49 countries around the world: 

In August 2014, I attended the 5th IUPAP International Conference on Women in Physics (ICWIP 2014) in Waterloo, Canada as part of the U.S. delegation. The conference was attended by approximately 215 female physicists and a few male physicists, all from 49 different countries. There were research talks, panels, workshops, breakout sessions and posters on issues related to women in physics.

Quantum Mechanics Identifies Link Between CO2 Recycling Catalysts and Bimolecular Enzymes

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 22 January 2015

Researchers at PQI have identified a promising design principle for renewable energy catalysts. Utilizing advanced computational modeling, researchers found that chemicals commonly found in laboratories may play a similar role as biological catalysts that nature uses for efficient energy storage.

The article, "Thermodynamic Descriptors for Molecules That Catalyze Efficient CO  Electroreductions" published in the journal ACS Catalysis, was authored by PQI faculty John A. Keith, PhD, and Aude Marjolin, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow.

Pitt and CMU to Explore Library Collaboration

  • By Workstudy User
  • 12 January 2015

Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University announced Dec. 2 that the two institutions’ library systems would “conduct a thorough review of options for collaboration” and “seek input from faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders from our two universities, the city and the region.” During the review, which will result in a preliminary report in March and a final assessment in June, the search to replace University Library System head Rush Miller upon his Dec. 31 retirement will be suspended temporarily. CMU also has placed on hold its search for a director of collections and information access services for its libraries.

 

New Discovery Could Pave the Way for Spin-based Computing

  • By Workstudy User
  • 25 December 2014

Electricity and magnetism rule our digital world. Semiconductors process electrical information, while magnetic materials enable long-term data storage. A research team led by PQI faculty Jeremy Levy has discovered a way to fuse these two distinct properties in a single material, paving the way for new ultrahigh density storage and computing architectures.

Levy and colleagues published their work in Nature Communications, elucidating their discovery of a form of magnetism that can be stabilized with electric fields rather than magnetic fields.

Conserving a Valuable Resource: System Will Recover Helium for Physics Lab Use

  • By Workstudy User
  • 17 September 2014

Pitt’s new physics department helium recovery system will put the campus at the forefront of U.S. university efforts to conserve the finite supply of this increasingly expensive laboratory gas.

With U.S. helium reserves being sold off and prices rising, Pitt has used the National Institute of Standards and Technology-funded renovation of mid-campus physics buildings, undertaken over the past five years, as an opportunity to install a new helium recovery system. It should be able to reliquefy at least 90 percent of the gas currently used and allow for experiments that might not otherwise have been affordable, says Patrick Irvin, faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Ken Jordan Featured in the Journal of Physical Chemistry

  • By Workstudy User
  • 11 September 2014

PQI faculty Ken Jordan was featured in the September 4th, 2014 issue of the Journal of Physical Chemistry A. 

This issue was dedicated to Ken Jordan on the occasion of his 66th birthday. The preface “From Quantum Mechanics to Molecular Mechanics: A Tribute to Kenneth D. Jordan” was written by his friend and fellow scientist Jack Simmons, former graduate student Feng Wang, and his longtime collaborator Mark Johnson. This special issue “The Kenneth D. Jordan Estschrift" includes his autobiography, a list of his colleagues and publications, and his Curriculum Vitae.

Hrvoje Petek Part of $20 Million Grant to Observe Molecules in Action

  • By Workstudy User
  • 28 August 2014

The UC Irvine Center for Chemistry at the Space-Time Limit has received a $20 million renewal award from the National Science Foundation to continue its groundbreaking work in pushing the limits of interrogating chemistry on ultrafast and ultrasmall scales. Ultimately, the goal is capture chemistry in the act on the single-molecule level.

Headed by V. Ara Apkarian of UCI’s Department of Chemistry, CaSTL is one of eight NSF-funded “Centers for Chemical Innovation” that are designed to tackle grand challenges in the field. A team of 12 faculty members from five different universities and nearly 60 researchers have joined CaSTL to build the “Chemiscope” – the chemist’s microscope – designed to visualize chemical transformations on atomic scales and in real time.

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