News & Events

MNAAPT Annual Meeting

Basic Meeting Information

Who: Anyone in the Minnesota area interested in physics education at all levels

When: April 22nd 8:00 registration 9-12:30 meeting, optional lunch

Where: Augsburg University in person, option of outstate pods and individual zoom link

Cost: Suggested membership dues of $10, Optional lunch $10 payable in cash/check/paypal at meeting


Abstract Call

5 min tips/tricks/chalk talk shareouts

15 min longer talks related to physics education

Student posters

Other physics and physics education posters

Longer description located on website


Abstract submission due April 6th 5 pm

Meeting registration due April 19th 5 pm

Colloquium: Candy Hansen, Planetary Science Institute, Tucson

Abstract:  The Juno spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter carries a camera on its payload, JunoCam, used for both science and outreach.  Juno’s unique polar orbit yields polar perspectives unavailable to earth-based observers or previous spacecraft.  In a highly elliptical orbit Juno’s closest approach comes within 3500 km of Jupiter’s cloudtops.  Evolution of the orbit has allowed the spacecraft to pass close to Ganymede and Europa, with close Io passes in the near future.  Members of the public have been invited to process JunoCam images.    Contributions by artists yield products suitable for framing and help us all to appreciate the beauty of the largest planet in our solar system. 


Reception for MN Contingency to APS Meeting

The School of Physics and Astronomy will host a reception for people attending the APS meeting who currently are or have ever been affiliated with the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities and Duluth campuses).

 Please use this form at the following link to register for the event:

Colloquium: Jürgen Renn, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin.

This colloquium will mark the official dedication of the Roger and Helga Stuewer Library. There will be brief remarks in regards to this at the beginning of the colloquium.

Abstract:  The talk discusses the long-term evolution of physical knowledge, taking into account three dimensions of knowledge, its cognitive and social structures, as well as its material or symbolic representations. After a brief review of the roots of mechanical knowledge in antiquity, it focuses on the period of the early modern Scientific Revolution, in particular on the work of Galileo and his contemporaries, and on the emergence of modern physics, in particular on the work of Einstein and his peers. The aim is to understand the conceptual transformations occurring within a millenary transmission of knowledge that also includes globalization processes. The claim is that these conceptual transformations are not paradigm shifts but the result of reorganizations of shared knowledge, typically occurring not as isolated breakthroughs but as communal efforts involving the reinterpretation of existing representations.


Colloquium: Roger Rusack, UMN

Abstract:  Spontaneous symmetry breaking was first used in the late 1950’s to explain the phenomena of superconductivity. Applying the same idea to relativistic gauge theories eventually lead to the observation in 2012 of the Higgs boson at the LHC. In my talk I will briefly describe some of the steps taken going from an obscure idea to this observation. My talk will focus on the experimental challenges that were faced to find the Higgs boson and how a massive global effort to build the Large Hadron Collider to produce the Higgs boson and to construct the detectors to observe it, all came together to make the initial observation. I will outline how, since 2012, we have learnt much about the properties of the Higgs boson in the highly detailed studies conducted by the CMS and ATLAS Collaborations.

Colloquium: Patrick A. Lee, MIT

"An overview of quantum spin liquid: standing on the shoulder of a giant named Anatoly"

Abstract: I shall review the current status of quantum spin liquid, particularly the gapless variety which is described by emergent gauge fields and fermionic particles called spinons. The theory has benefited greatly by the insight of Anatoly Larkin on the role of gauge field fluctuations, leading to the famous Ioffe-Larkin rule. I shall review the status of several promising experimental candidates and describe some proposals to experimentally access the spinons as well as the gauge field.

Colloquium: Liang Fu, MIT

"Diodic quantum materials"

Abstract: The p-n junction is the key building block of modern microelectronics that underlies diodes and transistors. In recent years, it has been found that certain quantum materials can have a direction dependent electrical resistance and thus exhibit an intrinsic diode effect without any junction. In this talk, I will first describe diodic superconductors that exhibit zero (nonzero) resistance in the forward (backward) direction. Such superconducting diode effect generally appears when Cooper pairs in the ground state have finite center-of-mass momentum, as in the Larkin-Ovchinnikov-Fulde-Ferrell superconductor. Next, I will describe noncentrosymmetric conductors that exhibit a nonreciprocal Hall effect at zero magnetic field, with the transverse current quadratic in the applied voltage. This intrinsic nonreciprocity is a fundamental material property that originates from the quantum geometry of itinerant electron states in crystals. Potential applications of diodic quantum materials in high-frequency (THz) and low-power electronics will be discussed.

Colloquium: Radu Roiban, Penn State

Abstract: Quantum field theory is a common language of many areas of physics. By bringing together aspects of the traditional and formal approaches, modern scattering theory is an important probe of fundamental interactions. After reviewing some of the remarkable properties of scattering amplitudes, we will discuss examples where they played a critical role. They include applications to the general relativistic two-body dynamics and gravitational-wave physics, where they establish the state of the art in weak-field fully relativistic calculations, and the probe of high energy properties of maximally supersymmetric supergravity theory.

Colloquium: Nick Law, UNC, Chapel Hill

Abstract:  The recent consumer revolutions in digital imaging, computing and data storage have opened up a new frontier in optical astronomy: the ability to generate vast datasets to detect rapidly changing events in the sky. However, almost all telescopes are currently limited to looking at small patches of the sky. This limitation makes it very difficult to quickly find rare rapid events, such as the super flares that can destroy the habitability of exoplanets, or the electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational waves. In this talk I will introduce the Argus Array, the first large telescope able to observe the entire sky simultaneously. The 55 GPix telescope array, which we are currently prototyping, is designed to build the first million-epoch movie of the sky, at depths exceeding current sky surveys and cadences thousands of times faster. I will discuss the Array's science plans, how we will analyze its exabyte-scale dataset for interesting events in realtime, the status of our Argus Pathfinder prototype system, and prospects for the near-future construction of the full Argus Array.




Astronomy public viewing night

Join us every Friday night between February 3rd and the end of the semester (saving March 10 which is Spring Break) for rooftop observing through our historic telescope in the dome of the John T. Tate Hall. There will be a presentation followed by outdoor observing (weather-permitting). You will have the chance to observe some of the same celestial objects that have inspired sky-gazers throughout history!

Afterwards, if weather allows, attendees have the opportunity to view the sky through multiple 8-inch reflecting telescopes, operated by the staff and provided by the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics. Additionally, we provide free star maps (e.g. and are happy to show visitors how to use them. Throughout the evening, we encourage questions from the audience and enjoy discussing topics ranging from backyard astronomy to the latest scientific discoveries.

The presentation begins at 8:00 pm in the Tate Laboratory of Physics, room B50. Telescope observing usually begins around 8:25-8:30 pm upstairs in Tate 510.

The presentation and outdoor observing are free for all to attend!

School News

Supernova telescope image

Kelly leads first-of-its-kind measurement of the Universe’s expansion rate

Assistant Professor Patrick Kelly of the School of Physics and Astronomy led a team which used a first-of-its-kind technique to measure the expansion rate of the Universe, providing insight that
Fellowship and awards title

2023 Graduate Awards and Fellowships

There are 14 graduate award and fellowship recipients in the School for 2021.
Marron background with the words "scholarships and Awards

2023 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipients

There are 28 undergraduate recipients for 14 separate scholarships.
Boris Shklovskii

Shklovskii elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Professor Boris I. Shklovskii of the School of Physics and Astronomy has been elected as a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for his excellence in original scientific
Lindsay Gelsener and the image of a solar flare.

Glesener receives College Research Award

Professor Lindsay Glesener of the School of Physics and Astronomy has received the 2023 George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Research from the College of Science and Engineering at the University
Image from James Webb Space Telescope showing a galaxy cluster

Kelly part of group that discovers tiny galaxy with big star power using James Webb telescope

Using first-of-their-kind observations from the James Webb Space Telescope, a University of Minnesota Twin Cities-led team looked more than 13 billion years into the past to discover a unique,
Ali Sulaiman and the icy moons of Jupiter

Could Jupiter’s icy moons support life? Mission to Jupiter set to launch on April 13

Assistant Professor Ali Sulaiman of the School of Physics and Astronomy is part of the magnetometer instrument team that will study the icy moons of Jupiter. The European Space Agency’s flagship
Elias Puchner in his laboratory.

Puchner receives Biosensing grant

Professor Elias Puchner of the School of Physics and Astronomy received a 2023 grant from the University of Minnesota's International Institute for Biosensing (IIB). Puchner’s research group
Rafael Fernandes

Fernandes named Distinguished McKnight University Professor

Professor Rafael Fernandes of the School of Physics and Astronomy has been named a 2023 Distinguished McKnight University Professor. Fernandes is a condensed matter theorist and Director of
Image of X-ray observation of the sun

Student-planned NuSTAR observation reveals hidden light shows on the Sun

Students at the School played a key role in planning a NuSTAR solar observation which could help shed light on one of the Sun’s biggest mysteries. UMN physics grad students Marianne Peterson and Reed

School of Physics and Astronomy Seminar Calendar