Tag Archive for physics

Hsu ’10 Honored by American Physical Society

The Department of Physics hosted a reception Oct. 8 in the Walter Cady Lounge to honor Wade Hsu ’10 (pictured at left), who received the LeRoy Apker Award from the American Physical Society. Hsu was the only student from a Ph.D-granting institution in the country to receive the award. (Photos by Brian Stewart)

The American Physical Society awarded Chia Wei “Wade” Hsu ’10 with its prestigious LeRoy Apker Award for his achievements while at Wesleyan.

The American Physical Society awards the Apker Award to only one student from a Ph.D-granting institution each year. Reinhold Blümel, the Charlotte Agusta Ayres Professor of Physics, calls it a “mini-Nobel Prize.”

The award provides encouragement to young physicists who have demonstrated great potential for future scientific accomplishment.

“This means that Wade out-competed students from MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton and CalTech,” says Wade’s former advisor Francis Starr, associate professor of physics. “He’s the best of the best.”

On Oct. 8, the Physics Department hosted a reception in his honor.

“The celebration that people in physics department threw for me was a total surprise. I did not expect an event with such a scale, with so many professors, grads, undergrads and cheese and wine,” he says. “I felt like crying that so many people came, and that they seemed to be even happier than me. It was great. And certainly I had never felted as honored as on that day.”

The Apker award came with a $5,000 award,

Physics’s Christina Othon Expert on Membrane Protein Folding, Dynamics

Christina Othon

The Department of Physics welcomes Christina Othon as an assistant professor.

This semester, Othon is teaching a graduate level course called Advanced Topics in Condensed Matter. It is an introductory soft condensed matter physics course that encompasses the physical, mechanical and thermodynamic properties of liquids, colloids, polymers and biological systems.

She’s also teaching an upper-level undergraduate laboratory called Experimental Optics, where students learn about the propagation of light, diffraction and polarization.

In her own research, Othon uses ultrafast fluorescence spectroscopy to investigate changes in protein-solvent interactions during protein structural transitions. She has also investigated the modificatio

Morgan Published in The Physical Review A

Tom Morgan, professor of physics; John Wright Ph.D ’06; Jack DiSciacca ’07 and Jonathan Lambert (who attended Wesleyan 2002-2010) are the co-authors of an article published in The Physical Review A, June 2010.

The publication focuses on the first observation of the semi-classical scattering dynamics of a Rydberg electron with its molecular core. The system is molecular hydrogen veiled in a strong electric field.

Air Force Funds Kottos’s Microresonator Study

Tsampikos Kottos, assistant professor of physics, received a grant worth $116,634 from the Department of the Air Force for a study titled “Ab initio approach to nonlinear dynamics of collective excitations in networks of coupled optical Microresonators.” The grant will be applied through July 2013. The grant is shared with CUNY College.

West ’11, Kottos Published in Physical Review Letters

Carl West ’11, Tsampikos Kottos, assistant professor of physics, and Tomas Prosen of the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, are the co-authors of an article titled “PT-Symmetric Wave Chaos,” published in Physical Review Letters 104 in 2010.

“This work studied the universal properties of this crossover and demonstrated that a simple scaling function could embody the effects of such dramatically different changes as increasing the system size, varying the initial energy, or having varying degrees of imperfections / disorder in the system,” West explains. “While these results were obtained from a toy model, they carry direct applications to optics where the balanced use of gain and loss has become a booming field over the past years, yet general questions of the effects of disorder or system size scaling were as of yet unknown.”

Local Students Sample the Sciences at Wesleyan

Isaac Lichter-Marck '11 shows an eastern tiger swallowtail caterpillar to fifth grade students from Snow Elementary School on June 16. The Snow School students sampled the Wesleyan Sciences during a tour of Wesleyan’s biology, physics and scientific imaging departments.

Honor Thesis Students Present Research at NSM Poster Session

Wesleyan’s Natural Science and Mathematics hosted a “Celebration of Science Theses” April 16 in Exley Science Center’s lobby. BA and MA honors thesis students presented their research to peers and the community.

President Michael S. Roth listens to Wei Dai ’11 explain his research on “Effect of Valency on the Dynamics and Thermodynamics of DNA-linked Nanoparticles Materials.” Dai’s advisor is Francis Starr, associate professor of physics. Wei has conducted extensive computer simulations to show nanoparticles can be linked together using DNA as 'bridges'. The resulting nanostructured materials have unusual properties that may be applicable to energy storage, drug delivery, optical materials and nanoscale devices. Dai also has published a peer-review journal article titled “Valency Dependence of Polymorphism and Polyamorphism in DNA-Functionalized Nanoparticles.” (Photo by Roslyn N. Carrier-Brault)

David Boznick, dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, congratulates the BA and MA honors thesis students on their achievements.

Kottos Group Co-Authors Paper on Fidelity in Quasi Systems

Tsampikos Kottos, assistant professor of physics; Joshua Bodyfelt Ph.D ’09; and Mei Zheng ’10 are the co-authors of the paper “Fidelity in Quasi-1D Systems as a Probe for Anderson Localization,” published in Acta Physica Polonica A, Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Quantum Chaos and Localisation Phenomena, Warsaw, in 2009. They wrote the paper with Ulrich Kuhl, and Hans-Jürgen Stöckmann, who are collaborators from the University of Marburg.

This publication is part of the conference proceedings for a workshop at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw where Kottos presented this past summer. The combined theoretical and experimental work done in this project put forward a method for which the celebrated phenomenon of Anderson Localization could be detected through a measure known as Fidelity, which is typically thought of as probing the stability of a system against external perturbations. This work will constitute a large part of Zheng’s senior physics thesis.

Kottos, Ng ’08 Authors of Paper on Ultra-Cold Atoms

Tsampikos Kottos, assistant professor of physics, and physics and mathematics major Gim Seng Ng ’08 are co-authors of “Avalanches of Bose-Einstein condensates in leaking optical lattices,” published in New Journal of Physics, 11, 073045 in 2009. The paper is about novel properties of Bose-Einstein condensates (ultra-cold atoms) in open systems. This project constituted a large part of Ng’s senior honors thesis in physics.

Kottos Authors Article on Quantum Mechanical Systems

Tsampikos Kottos, assistant professor of physics, is the co-author of “Exponentially Fragile PT-Symmetry in lattices with Localized Eigenmodes,” published in Physical Review Letters 103,030,402 in 2009. The paper discusses the effects of disorder on a previously excluded class of quantum mechanical systems.

Physics Group Published in Physical Review Letters

Tsampikos Kottos, assistant professor of physics; Moritz Hiller, a former visiting scientist; and Katrina Smith-Mannshott BA ’08, MA ’09 are the co-authors of the article, “Occupation Statistics of a BEC for a Driven Landau-Zener Crossing,” published in Physical Review Letters, Issue 102, in 2009.