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Departmental News

See also RESEARCH NEWS for the latest research results from Department faculty and students, ARCHIVAL DEPARTMENTAL NEWS for old items, and the CAMPUS OBSERVATORY website for information on public viewing nights. 

P&A's Reiff wins inaugural Marjorie Corcoran Award  (4/23/18)
This year, five new awards have been established to honor outstanding members of the faculty. The recipients were nominated by faculty and staff members. 

P&A's Hulet named Fellow of the Optical Society  (12/23/17)
Rice physicist recognized for pioneering work with ultracold atomic gases 

P&A's Onuchic 1 of 2 at Rice named AAAS Fellow  (11/20/17)
Plant biologist Janet Braam, biophysicist José Onuchic to be honored in February 

US News ranks 4 Rice academic subjects among top 100 globally  (11/3/17)
U.S. News ranks 4 Rice academic subjects among top 100 globally 

Rice mourns the loss of Prof. Emeritus Freeman  (7/18/17)
Space weather expert designed experiments for Apollo, directed Glasscock’s Master of Liberal Studies program 

Prof. Geurts appointed deputy spokesperson for STAR  (7/17/17)
Frank Geurts, associate professor of physics and astronomy, has been appointed deputy spokesperson for the STAR Collaboration, a group of more than 600 high-energy nuclear physicists from 63 institutes in 13 countries. 

Rice mourns the loss of Professor Corcoran  (2/3/17)
She was ‘a great role model for women in physics.’ 

Alan Guth delivers Houston Lecture  (4/20/16)
Alan Guth delivered the W. V. Houston Memorial lecture on INFLATIONARY COSMOLOGY: Is Our Universe Part of a Multiverse? 

Pengcheng Dai wins award from Neutron Scattering Society  (Dai; 2/9/16)
Rice physicist is recognized for his sustained and foundational contributions which have elucidated the magnetic properties of iron-based superconductors, cuprates, and other correlated electron materials. 

Matthew Foster wins NSF CAREER Award  (Foster; 1/21/16)
Rice University Theoretical physicist wins five-year grant to study quantum materials 

Physics at Rice Ranked 33 in the World  (P&A; 10/14/15)
Rice research in two subject areas including physics ranked among world’s top 35 

Solar scientist gets CAREER boost  (Bradshaw; 4/13/15)
Rice U.’s Bradshaw is building model for mechanism that creates sun’s ultra-hot corona 

Rice University researchers recognized for pioneering nanophotonics  (Nordlander, Halas; 3/19/15)
The Optical Society has awarded Rice University researchers Naomi Halas and Peter Nordlander the prestigious 2015 R.W. Wood Prize for their groundbreaking work in nanophotonics. 

Professor emeritus Curt Michel dies  (2/27/15)
F. Curtis (Curt) Michel, the Andrew Hays Buchanan Professor Emeritus of Space Physics and Astronomy, died Feb. 23 at the age of 80. 

Wei Li Named Sloan Fellow  (Li; 2/23/15)
Rice University physicist Wei Li is among the 126 American and Canadian scholars awarded 2015 Sloan Research Fellowships. 

Bringing Space Down to Earth  (Alexander; 2/5/15)
The Rice Space Institute co-hosted a workshop exploring ways to bring commercial space-flight initiatives to Texas. 

Physics Grad Wins Prestigious Newton Prize  (1/28/15)
Recent Rice graduate student (PhD '14), Matthew Levy, who completed his these work as part of a collaboration between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Rice, received a prestigious Royal Society Newton International Fellowship for postdoctoral work at Oxford University. 

Rice professor is selected Woman Physicist of the Month  (Corcoran; 1/19/15)
Rice particle physicist, Professor Marjorie Corcoran, is selected as the Woman Physicist of the Month for January 2015 by the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics of the American Physical Society. 

Brockman Hall for Physics wins architecture prize  (1/12/15)
The Brockman Hall for Physics receives 2015 honor from the American Institute of Architects. 

Rice a top producer of physics PhDs  (10/2/14)
The American Physical Society recently published on its website a list of departments who have educated the largest numbers or fractions of physics degrees in a variety of categories. Rice is one of the top producers of physics PhD's in total and under-represented minority physics PhD's in particular. 

Rice condensed matter physicist wins Moore award  (Morosan; 8/12/14)
Associate Professor Emilia Morosan wins a prestigious award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to search for new magnetic and superconducting compounds. 

Rice physicist wins DOE award  (Li; 5/16/14)
Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy wins coveted DOE Early Career Award to look for 'quark soup' at CERN. 

Space physicist wins SPARC award  (Reiff; 3/27/14)
Space Plasma Physicist and Professor of Physics and Astronomy Patricia Reiff received the Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington (SPARC) Education and Public Outreach Award of the American Geophysical Union. 

Rice physicist wins Cottrell and CAREER awards  (Nevidomskyy; 3/15/14)
Physics and Astronomy Department faculty member Andriy Nevidomskyy wins awards for his work on superconductivity in strange metals. 

Rice physicist wins Sloan Fellowship  (Foster; 2/26/14)
Asst. Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Matthew Foster, wins a prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship. Foster is a condensed matter theorist, who has done pioneering work on graphene, topological insulators and superconductors. 

Rice physicist named Fellow of the American Physical Society  (Pu; 1/10/14)
Han Pu of Rice University was named a 2013 Fellow of the American Physical Society through the Division of Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics. 

2013 ARO Workshop on Heavy Fermion Materials and Quantum Phase Transitions  (11/4/13)
Rice is hosting an ARO Workshop on Heavy Fermion Materials and Quantum Phase Transitions, December 10-11, 2013, at the BRC. Further workshop details are available at the following website: http://kondo.rice.edu/Main.html

Halas, Nordlander win American Physical Society's Isakson Prize  (Halas/Nordlander; 10/14/13)
Rice University researchers recognized for pioneering photonics research. 

Nobel for the Higgs Prediction  (10/8/13)
Rice Physics and Astronomy Department contributes to this year's Nobel Prize in Physics. This year the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs "for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider" Details on the prize can be found at: www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2013. Rice's Physics and Astronomy department has made many important contributions to the CMS experiment, which has made this years prize possible. More details on those contributions can be found at: news.rice.edu/2012/07/04/rice-has-long-history-with-cern 

3rd Texas Astronomy Undergraduate Research Symposium  (10/4/13)
On Friday, October 4, 2013, the Departments of Physics and Astronomy and the Rice Space Institute hosted the 3rd Texas Astronomy Undergraduate Research Symposium at the BRC. Undergraduate researchers from Rice University, The University of Texas at Austin, Baylor University, Texas A&M University, and The University of Texas at Brownsville all presented their research. Students and their faculty advisers and other attendees also took time out to tour the National Space Biomedical Research Institute headquarters in the BRC. 

Rice P & A #4 worldwide in percentage of papers that are high impact  (8/11/13)
A recent ranking of Physics and Astronomy programs ranked Rice #4 worldwide, and #1 among universities. The ranking was produced by researchers at the Max Planck Society in Germany (arxiv.org/abs/1212.0304). The metric counts the number of papers produced by an institution in a given discipline and then counts the number of these that are among the top 10 per cent of most highly cited. Institutions are then ranked by discipline according to the fraction of papers that are in the top 10 percent. Over 29% of publications from our department earned this distinction. Note: website password is excellence

Endowed Prize in Memory of Kevin Strecker  (6/13/13) 
In memory of Kevin Strecker, who earned his Ph.D. from the Rice University Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2004, the Kevin E. Strecker Award has been established in the Department of Physics and Astronomy to recognize the most outstanding Master’s thesis each year. Funds are being raised to endow the award.

Congratulations, 2013 Physics and Astronomy Department Award Recipients! (5/13) 
Tom Bonner Book Prize: Seth M. Davis and Devin J. Mahon (Sophomore), Michael A DeMarco (Junior), Christopher D. White and Gaomi (Charles) Zha (Senior), Ang Cai and Thomas K. Langin (1st year graduate student)
William F. Marlar Scholarship: Jeffrey Reep
Distinction in Research in Physics and Astronomy: Michael W. Swift and Christopher D. White
Heaps Prize: Christopher D. White
Chuoke Award: no award (2nd year graduate student), Yajing Li and Xinyue Zhang (3rd year graduate student)
William and Elva Gordon Fellowship: Xin Liu
Umland Award: Eteri Svanidze and P. Wilson Cauley
Henry F. and Margaret Dunlap Fellowship: Joseph Butterworth and Alexander Henderson
Wilson Award: Lindsey Anderson.

Neal Lane wins 2013 Vannevar Bush award  (3/26/13) 
The National Science Board (NSB) announced on March 26, 2013 that physicist Neal Lane, a former Presidential Science Adviser and former National Science Foundation (NSF) director, is the 2013 recipient of its Vannevar Bush Award.

Peter Nordlander wins 2013 Willis E. Lamb award  (1/9/13) 
Rice physicist Peter Nordlander will share the 2013 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics. Professor Nordlander is recognized for pioneering theoretical contributions in the field of plasmonics.