News & Events

VENUE CHANGE: Kick-off Picnic and Welcome Event

Menu: Hamburgers, Hot dogs, Black bean burgersPotato Salad, Coleslaw, Potato chips and Mini Cupcakes.

Venue change to PAN, due to predicted rain. Masks will be required in the food line and in PAN.

Colloquium: Claudia Felser on Magnetic Materials

Claudia Felser, Max Planck Institute For Chemical Physics of Solids

Magnetic Materials and Topology

Abstract:  Topology, a mathematical concept, recently became a hot and truly transdisciplinary topic in condensed matter physics, solid state chemistry and materials science. All 200 000 inorganic materials were recently classified into trivial and topological materials: topological insulators, Dirac, Weyl and nodal-line semimetals, and topological metals [1]. Around 20% of all materials host topological bands. Currently, we have focused also on magnetic materials, a fertile field for new since all crossings in the band structure of ferromagnets are Weyl nodes or nodal lines [2], as for example Co 2 MnGa and Co 3 Sn 2 S 2 . Beyond a single particle picture and identified antiferromagnetic topological materials [3].

1. Bradlyn et al., Nature 547 298, (2017), Vergniory, et al., Nature 566 480 (2019).
2. Belopolski, et al., Science 365, 1278 (2019), Liu, et al. Nature Physics 14, 1125 (2018), Guin, et al.
Advanced Materials 31 (2019) 1806622, Liu, et al., Science 365, 1282 (2019), Morali, et al., Science
365, 1286 (2019)
3. Xu et al. Nature 586 (2020) 702.

Women in Astronomy and Physics Lecture Series (WAPHLS): Elena Caceres, UT Austin

Elena Caceres, UT Austin
Holography, black holes and the nature of spacetime
Abstract: Understanding the microscopic nature of spacetime is one of the central questions in theoretical physics.  In this talk, I will review a development in string theory  known as the holographic principle, The holographic principle points to an amazing connection  between spacetime, quantum entanglement and black holes. This connection might hold the key to uncovering the ultimate nature of spacetime.

Colloquium: Roberta Humphreys will introduce "the most interesting stars I know"

Professor Roberta Humphreys of the School of Physics and Astronomy will deliver the first colloquium of the 2021-2022 school year on the topic of Luminous Blue Variables (LBVs), rare, extremely large stars known as Hypergiants and their imposters.

Abstract: The most massive stars end their brief lives dramatically as supernovae when their massive cores collapse to black hole or neutron stars. Prior to their terminal state though, massive stars experience high mass loss episodes that alter their evolution and their eventual fate. Forty years ago, our comparison of the most luminous stars in our region of the Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud revealed comparable populations of massive stars and the recognition of an empirical upper-luminosity boundary that was not predicted by theory or models at that time. Up until that time it was generally accepted that red supegiants were the end produce of massive stars evolution. But the lack of red supergiants above a certain luminosity implied an upper mass for stars that could evolve to red supergiants with important implications for stellar evolution. We suggested then that the upper luminosity boundary was due to mass loss, including high mass loss episodes near the Eddington limit. Today, observations in the Galaxy and nearby resolved galaxies have revealed evolved stars of different types experiencing high mass loss, stars that characterize the upper luminosity limit, and provide clues to the origin of their high mass loss events prior to their terminal state. These include the Luminous Blue Variables (LBVs), warm and cool hypergiants, B[e] supegiants, and “superpnova impostors”. I'll just have time to introduce you to some of the most interesting stars I know.

Physics Force at the State Fair

The Physics Force will preform two back-to back shows, at 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Physics Force at the State Fair

The Physics Force will preform two shows at 10:00 and 11:00 a.m.

Physics Force at the State Fair

The Physics Force will preform two shows. There will be a morning show at 10:15 a.m., and an afternoon show at 2:15 p.m.

UMN Compact Muon Solenoid group symposium

The Cmpact Muon Solenoid (CMS) group at Minnesota will hold a mini-symposium where some of the current work going on in the group is highlighted.  On Monday August 16th there will be short descriptions of our work both here and at CERN, which will be followed by a some talks by group members working on applications of machine learning projects. On Tuesday there will be talks about some of our hardware projects and lightening 5 minute (elevator) talks by our new grad students.

Universe in the Park: Lake Maria State Park

Description:The Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics (MIfA) invites you to join us at our free outdoor Universe in the Park events this weekend. At these events, attendees will be able to look through telescopes set up and directed by graduate students from MIfA, weather allowing. Our graduate students will also give a short (~20 minute) outdoor talk about space science or astronomy to set the scene. 

Please check this link for the schedule of locations:

Universe in the Park: Afton State Park

Universe in the Park is a summer outreach program hosted by the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics and area state and local parks. This annual program is headed by faculty member Evan Skillman and graduate student Nico Adams.

At our events, representatives of the Institute will present a short (~20 min) outdoor public talk and slide show. Presentations cover a variety of astronomical topics such as: the history of matter, how astronomers "see," and a journey through our solar system. For our 2021 season, we will be giving these talks outdoors to ensure they are as safe as possible.

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.

Through these events, we hope to convey the excitement of modern astronomical research while simultaneously providing an enjoyable introduction to amateur astronomy. Although a vehicle permit is usually required to enter the parks, the events are free to the public. Please join us!

School News

Above is an illustration of an intermediate polar system, a type of two-star system that the research team thinks V1674 Hercules belongs to. A flow of gas from the large companion star impacts an accretion disk before flowing along magnetic field lines onto the white dwarf

Woodward research takes a look at the fastest nova on record

A research report, co-authored by Professor Charles Woodward of the School of Physics and Astronomy describes the unusual quirks of V1674 Hercules, the fastest nova ever on record.
Rajdeep Chatterjee

Chatterjee receives Young Researcher Prize

Rajdeep Mohan Chatterjee received the 2022 Young Researcher Prize from the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland.
Ramanakumar Sankar

School leads citizen science effort to study Jupiter's atmosphere

Ramanakumar Sankar, a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Physics and Astronomy is leading the latest Zooniverse project, Jovian Vortex Hunter.
group of theoretical physicists standing together in front of the mississippi river on a sunny day

New grant will expand FTPI programs

The William I Fine Theoretical Physics Institute (FTPI) has received a Simons Grant of over half a million dollars to help bolster the Institute's mission of being one of the regional centers
Jenna Freedburg

Freedberg Receives Student Leadership Award

Jenna Freedberg, graduate student in the School of Physics and Astronomy, received a 2022 President's Student Leadership and Service Award.
Scholarship and Awards

2022 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipients

There are 31 undergraduate recipients for 14 separate scholarships.
fellowships and awards

2022 Graduate Awards and Fellowships

There are 11 graduate award and fellowship recipients in the School for 2021.
Man sitting at a table outside with his hands folded in front of him

Hanany Receives Collegiate Service Award

Professor Shaul Hanany of the School of Physics and Astronomy has received the 2022 College of Science and Engineering George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Service.
Smiling woman with dark hair and glasses

Hameed receives NSSA Prize

Sajna Hameed (PhD 2021), now a postdoc at the MPI, Stuttgart, Germany, was recently selected as a recipient of the biennial Neutron Scattering Society of America (NSSA) Prize for Outstanding Student
Claudia Scarlata

Scarlata named Distinguished McKnight Professor

Claudia Scarlata was named as a 2022 Distinguished McKnight Professor. She was recognized for her significant contributions to the study of the sources responsible for the last major transformation

School of Physics and Astronomy Seminar Calendar