Departmental News Archive 2009
Rice Professor named Fellow of American Physical SocietyDr. Junichiro Kono, Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Professor of Physics and Astronomy, has been elected fellow by the Council of the American Physical Society (APS) “for contributions to optical processes in semiconductor nanostructures, including magneto-optical studies of Aharonov-Bohm physics in carbon nanotubes.” Former Rice Professor Frank James Low, dead at 76 His Obituary appeared in the March 2010 issue of Physics Today. On 11 June 2009 Frank James Low, one of the founders of infrared astronomy, died in Tucson, Arizona, following a long illness. “His influence on astronomy was so large that simply mentioning ’Frank’ with no surname was sufficient for many years to identify him unambiguously,” said the University of Arizona’s announcement of his passing. Physics Professor mentioned in Science Magazine articleDr. Qimiao Si is mentioned in an article titled "Ironing Out Consensus on the Iron-Based Superconductors" from the March 12 2010 Volume 237 of Science Magazine. Brockman Hall for Physics reaches its maximum height The new Brockman Hall for Physics was crowned with the Stars and Stripes and a live oak tree in a topping-out ceremony last week as Facilities, Engineering and Planning marked a major milestone in the facility's construction. Alumni to spend six months on International Space StationDr. Shannon Walker who received her PhD from Rice in 1987 will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in June 2010 for a six-month stint aboard the Internationa Space Station (ISS).Related Article from Houston Chronicle: Space City finally sends one into space
Physics and Astronomy Professor to receive Athelstan Spilhaus Award forEnhancement of the public understanding of Earth and Space ScienceDr. Patricia Reiff, Director of the Rice Space Institute will receive the Athelstan Spilhaus Award for Enhancement of the Public Understanding of Earth and Space Science this Spring. The award will be presented to Dr. Reiff at the AGU meeting in Toronto in May 2009. The Athelstan Spilhaus Award recognizes members of the American Geophysical Union who have devoted portions of their lives to expressing the excitement, significance, and beauty of the Earth and space sciences to the general public.
Physics professor published in the March issue of Physics TodayDr. Thomas C. Killian co-authors a article called "Ultracold Neutral Plasmas" in the March 2010 issue of Physics Today.
Bill Gordon, former provost, father of Arecibo Observatory, dead at 92WilliamE. "Bill" Gordon, who conceived, built and ran the famed AreciboObservatory in Puerto Rico prior to joining Rice University for a20-year career as both dean and provost, died Tuesday at his home inIthaca, N.Y., at the age of 92.
Physics & Astronomy professor receives 2010 Sloan Research FellowshipDr.Adilet Imambekov, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy,focuses on quantum mechanical condensed matter theory. "Since I dotheoretical research, I don't have much equipment," Imambekov said, "soI'm not sure how I'll spend the grant. But I'm honored to have theaward." He joined Rice last summer after serving two years as apostdoctoral researcher at Yale.
Rice physicist is appointed to three-year visiting professorship at Zhejiang UniversityDr.Qimiao Si of the Physics and Astronomy department has been appointed toa three-year visiting professorship at The Chang Jiang Scholarsprogram, sponsored by China's Ministry of Education. This appointmentis through a nation-wide competition based on nominations made byChinese universities.
Rice physicists kill cancer with 'nanobubbles'Usinglasers and nanoparticles, scientists at Rice University have discovereda new technique for singling out individual diseased cells anddestroying them with tiny explosions. The scientists used lasers tomake "nanobubbles" by zapping gold nanoparticles inside cells. In testson cancer cells, they found they could tune the lasers to create eithersmall, bright bubbles that were visible but harmless or large bubblesthat burst the cells
Houston Chronicle interviews Rice physicist Paul Padley about new fusion research developmentsBeyondsmaller research projects there are two major efforts afoot to developcommercial fusion power, tokamaks like the large ITER facility beingbuilt in France, and another called inertial confinement fusion. Thenew Science paper concerns this latter approach, which is being testedby the National Ignition Facility in California, the world´s largestand highest-energy laser.
Rice alumni officially named president of Texas A & M UniversitySevenmonths after its former president resigned under fire, Texas A&MUniversity is close to having a new leader. The school's governingboard on Thursday capped months of campus turmoil by agreeingunanimously to name R. Bowen Loftin the sole finalist to become its24th president. He received his MA from Rice in 1973 and then his PhDin 1975 also from Rice. Related articlesA&M's Loftin says he's learned from IkeLoftin sole finalist to be A&M president
Randall G. Hulet was named among the 157 APS Outstanding Referees for 2010Initiated in 2008, the Outstanding Referee program expresses appreciation for the essential work thatanonymous peer reviewers do for our journals. Each year a small percentage of our 42,000 refereesareselected and honored with the Outstanding Referee designation.Selections are made based on the number, quality, and timeliness ofreferee reports as collected in a database over the last 20 years. Theprogram will recognize about 150 referees each year, although largergroups were selected in 2008 and 2009.
Rice professor Emilia Morosan wins NSF CAREER awardEmilia Morosan's career is starting to heat up. The Rice physicist, who usesfurnaces in her lab to create compounds with novel magnetic properties,has landed a highly coveted CAREER Development Award from the NationalScience Foundation (NSF).
Rice Professor participated in a discussion of life-prolonging researchNaomiHalas, the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and ComputerEngineering and professor of chemistry, of biomedical engineering andof physics and astronomy, participated in a discussion oflife-prolonging research. Halas is also quoted in a story and articleon her research to use nanoshells to fight cancer. Amit Joshi, adjunctassistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, ismentioned.
New airport screeners could save time, energyUsingseveral new advances in T-rays, or terahertz radiation, airportscanners could soon determine if a vial of white powder in a suitcaseis common sugar or illegal drugs.
Former Rice Space Physicist publishes autobiographyTheformer Andrew Hays Buchanan Professor of Astrophysics, anoriginal member of the university's pioneering Department of SpacePhysics and Astronomy has published an autobiography that details hisprofessional and personal growth through decades of rapid advancementsin his field.
Has Dark Matter finally been detected on Earth?Forthe past six years, the CDMS, the world's most sensitive dark matterdetector, sat deep beneath the Minnesotan countryside, watchingsuper-cooled Germanium crystals for evidence of material abundant inthe Universe, but almost non-existent on Earth. Today, rumors areflying on the Web that the team has finally found the weaklyinteracting particles (WIMPs) that physicists have long searched for,which could be the key to understanding the fundamental makeup of theuniverse.
Rice awarded $5M for light-based crystal simulator ARice University-led team of physicists at seven U.S. universities haswon $5 million from the Department of Defense to build a simulatorcapable of tackling high-temperature superconductivity, one of the mostvexing mysteries of modern physics. Click on title for full article.
Physics & Astronomy Graduate receives Research Experience for Teachers GrantSarahNagel, who received her PhD from Rice in 2008 and was a WeissInstructor from 2008-2009, received a Research Experience for Teachersgrant to work with Associate Professor Tom Killian. She developedcourse materials for AP High School Physics based on ultracold atomsand lead a three week summer camp on lasers for four students from YesPreparatory High School, where she is the physics instructor. Thestudents, Sussy Aguirre, Nayeri Rodriguez, Nancy Nieto, and EdgarUmanzor learned the basics of optics, electronics, and experimentalscience, and presented a poster at the RQI Summer Research Symposium.
Rice Alumni is awarded the National Medal of ScienceInan October 7, 2009 ceremony President Obama awarded James E. Gunn,former recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship, the National Medal ofScience in recognition of his contributions to the field of Astronomy.Dr. Gunn received his Bachelor's degree in Physics & Astronomy fromRice in 1961. Related Article
Physics & Astronomy Professor's book about the Sun is published by Greenwood Press
Physics Professor's article is published in June 2009 issue of Physics World In the June 2009 issue of Physics World there is a article entitled "Towards the ultimate transistor" written by Rice Associate professor Dr. Doug Natelson.
2008-2009 Physics and Astronomy Student Awards Tom Bonner Book Prizes: Sophomore Recipient--Wooyoung Hong Junior Recipient--Brian ScottHenderson Senior Recipients-- Jeffrey Russom and Dvir Kafir 1st Year Grad Student Recipient--Jedediah Pixley Alexander J. And Lorraine H. Dessler Award In Space Physics: Lauren Ilsedore Cleeves Sigma Pi Sigma Inductees: Andrew David Altheimer, Paul W. J. Anzel, Lauren Ilsedore Cleeves, and Jeffrey N. Russom Heaps Prize: Andrea Albert and Lauren Ilsedore Cleeves Chuoke Award: Second Year Graduate Student Recipients--Pedro Duarte-Gelvez and Liang Zhao Third Year Graduate Student Recipients--Yen Sun and Jorge Zuloaga Umland Award: Kristjan Stone Wilson Award: Deirdre Wendel William F. Marlar Scholorship: Deirdre Wendel William And Elva Gordon Fellowship: Jian Yang