News & Events

Workshop: Scientific Ballooning Technologies

Following on the successful format of the last four workshops, the scope of the 2023 workshop includes (but is not limited to) gondola design, experiment-wide data acquisition and control systems, attitude control systems, on-board control software both for the attitude control and for the entire experiment, on-board computer hardware, power systems, telemetry systems, and thermal design and control.

This workshop should be particularly appealing for those who are designing and building hardware, and those interested in synergies between the activities of different ballooning groups. It is intended to provide an opportunity for all hands-on ballooning practitioners, from graduate students to senior investigators, to discuss the technologies we are all using to carry out our scientific investigations. 

For a better idea of the content expected at this event, please check out the previous workshops and presentations, available under the Past Events tab.

Wednesday, 5/17/2023, Times are CST Topic / Title      
    Chair:   Wednesday Morning 1 - Agency Reviews Presenter Affiliation Abstract
    0:50 8:00 8:50 Breakfast      
    0:10 8:50 9:00 Opening Remarks Hanany UMN None
    0:20 9:00 9:20 NASA Scientific Balloon Program, HQ Perspective Hams NASA HQ Abstract Link
    0:20 9:20 9:40 Updates from the NASA Balloon Program Office Roth BPO Abstract Link
    0:15 9:40 9:55 NASA's Balloon Working Group Kogut Goddard Abstract Link
    0:15 9:55 10:10 BPIRT update Jones Princeton To Be Posted
    0:20 10:10 10:30 Break      
    Chair:   Wednesday Morning 2 - Multi-Purpose Platforms Presenter Affiliation Abstract
    0:20 10:30 10:50 An update of the CNES stratospheric balloon projects Dubourg CNES Abstract Link
    0:20 10:50 11:10 NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program: Leveraging Flight Tests with Commercial Flight Providers to Advance Science and Technology deLeon

NASA Flight Opportunities

Abstract Link
    0:20 11:10 11:30 Panel (Young moderates): GHAPS (Tibor Kremic), BLAST (Erin Cox), SuperBit (Bill Jones), HASP (Chris Groppi/ASU), ESBO (Maier); Laflamme (CSA)  
    0:20 11:30 11:50  
    0:10 11:50 12:00  
    1:10 12:00 13:10 Lunch Break      
    Chair:   Wednesday afternoon 1 - Flight Programs Presenter Affiliation Abstract
    0:20 13:10 13:30 Developing GUSTO within the Explorer program Walker UArizona Abstract Link
    0:20 13:30 13:50 Developing PUEO within the Pioneer program Vieregg UChicago Abstract Link
    0:15 13:50 14:10 What's new in Timmins Vincent CSA Abstract Link
    0:15 14:10 14:25 Esrange Space Center for Scientific Balloning Abrahamsson SSC Abstract Link
    0:20 14:25 14:45 Opportunities for Middle to Lower Stratosphere Flights Smith Aerostar Abstract Link
    0:30 14:45 15:15 Break + Posters      
    Chair:   Wednesday afternoon 2 - Atmosphere Presenter Affiliation Abstract
    0:20 15:15 15:35 Polar Mesospheric Clouds - potential problems and opportunities for polar balloon experiments Kjellstrand ASU Abstract Link
    0:20 15:35 15:55 Radiative Consideration of Earth’s Stratosphere Modeled with MODTRAN and SAMM Corlies Spectral Sciences Abstract Link
    0:20 15:55 16:15 A Study on the Effects of Ambient Radiation on COTS Balloon-borne Instrumentation Romualdez StarSpec Abstract Link
    0:20 16:15 16:35 The effects of atmospheric scattering on balloon-borne X-ray/gamma-ray observations Shih Goddard Abstract Link
    0:20 16:35 16:55 An update on a balloon Trajectory Control System (TCS) for NASA standard balloons Yoder BPO Abstract Link
    0:40 16:55 17:35 Summary + Discussion (Moderator: Kierans)

Physics Force in Rochester

The Physics Force is an outreach program run through the University of Minnesota. Our greatest success is generating an interest in science in K-12 students. We go above and beyond to educate and entertain. The Physics Force does performances on a grand scale to bring excitement and wonder to the thousands of students who attend our shows every year. The show lasts approximately one hour and is appropriate for people of all ages.

Event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Clone of Quark Confiement Workshop

Wednesday, May 3rd

9:00 am – 9:30 am        Grant Remmen
9:30 am – 9:40 am        Questions

9:40 am – 10:10 am      Coffee

10:10 am – 11:10 am    Four 10+5 talks:

(1) TBD
(2) Gabriel Cuomo
(3) Maria Neuzil
(4) Yuan Xin

11:10 am – 11:25 am    Short talk questions

11:25 am – 1:30 pm      Lunch

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm        Georg Bergner
2:00 pm – 2:10 pm        Questions

2:10 pm – 2:40 pm        Coffee

2:40 pm – 3:10 pm        Etsuko Itou
3:10 pm – 3:20 pm        Questions

3:20 pm – 3:50 pm        Coffee         

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm        Colloquium by David Gross
                                      John T. Tate Hall
                                      116 Church St SE
                                      Room - B50

Registration is required for workshop and registration is now closed.

Erikson Lecture: David Gross, Kavli Institute, UCSB

ABSTRACT:  Quantum Chromodynamics is fifty years old this year. I shall discuss the past, present and future of this remarkable theory.

The strong nuclear force is responsible for existence and masses of the building blocks of matter, protons and neutrons.  Protons and neutrons are made of quarks, and the nuclear force between quarks is that it grows with distance, so that quarks are confined to be inside of protons and neutrons.  This phenomenon was first understood in a famous paper on April 27, 1973, and its groundbreaking nature led to a 2004 Physics Nobel Prize for its authors David Gross and Frank Wilczek, along with David Politzer.  On May 3, 2023, which is 50 years later, almost to the day, Professor David Gross will give a talk about Quark Confinement here at UMN, reviewing the present and future of quantum chromodynamics, the quantum field theory of the strong nuclear force.

Quark Confiement Workshop

Tuesday, May 2nd

8:50 am – 9:00 am        Welcome Remarks

9:00 am – 9:30 am        Raju Venugopalan
9:30 am – 9:40 am        Questions

9:40 am – 10:10 am      Coffee

10:10 am – 11:10 am    Four 10+5 talks:

(1) Shi Chen
(2) TBD
(3) Fedor Popov
(4) Bastain Brandt

11:10 am – 11:25 am    Short talk questions

11:25 am – 1:30 pm      Lunch

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm        Theo Jacobson
2:00 pm – 2:10 pm        Questions

2:10 pm – 2:40 pm        Coffee

2:40 pm – 3:10 pm        Ross Dempsey
3:10 pm – 3:20 pm        Questions

3:20 pm – 3:50 pm        Coffee

3:50 pm – 4:20 pm        Martin Kruczenski
4:20 pm – 4:30 pm        Questions

Registration is required for workshop and registration is now closed.

Methods of Experimental Physics Poster Session

Everyone is invited!

Colloquium: Nuh Gedik, MIT

Student scholarship/fellowship award ceremony before colloquium.

Abstract:  Materials typically undergo phase changes as a function of external parameters such as temperature, pressure or magnetic field. Light can also be used to both switch between equilibrium phases and to create new photo-induced states that may have no equilibrium counterparts. Even though there are fascinating examples of photoinduced phase transitions, the detailed microscopic mechanisms and overarching principles that govern these are still not known. In this talk, I will describe how we used ultrashort laser pulses to capture light induced melting and recovery of a charge density wave phase with femtosecond time resolution. During this process, a new state that does not exist in equilibrium is also transiently created. In a different material, I will show how circularly polarized light can induce and detect a chiral phase of electrons. Understanding light induced phase transitions could pave the way for optical engineering of new quantum states of matter.


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:

School News

Ben Margalit

Catching lightning in a bottle: new faculty member studies the physics of transient events

Ben Margalit is a new faculty member in the School and a theoretical astrophysicist who studies the fundamental physics of star explosions, collisions and other examples of intergalactic violence
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Liu group helps expand the search for new particle

A team led by Assistant Professor Zhen Liu of the School of Physics and Astronomy has discovered a new way to search for axions, hypothetical particles that could help solve some of nature’s most
Computer chip in Professor Pribiag's lab

Pribiag group creates new superconducting diode that could improve performance of quantum computers and artificial intelligence

Professor Vlad Pribiag of the School of Physics and Astronomy led a team that developed a more energy-efficient, tunable superconducting diode—a promising component for future electronic devices—that
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.
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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

School of Physics and Astronomy Seminar Calendar