News & Events

Events Calendar

Jan 14 Sat 11:00am

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: William O'Brien 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

Light from supernova

Kelly leads study of Red-supergiant supernova images

School of Physics and Astronomy Professor Patrick Kelly led a team that has measured the size of a star dating back more than 11 billion years ago using images that show the evolution of the star
Sauviz Alaei

Alaei named Apker Finalist

Sauviz Alaei, B.S. Physics, 22 was named a 2022 Leroy Apker Award Finalist by the American Physical Society. The LeRoy Apker Award recognizes outstanding achievements in physics by undergraduate
Vlad Pribiag

Pribiag group creates first few-mode multi-terminal Josephson junction

Professor Vlad Pribiag from the School of Physics and Astronomy led a group effort that has experimentally realized a long-theorized few-mode multi-terminal Josephson junction.
Marie Lopez del Puerto

Lopez Del Puerto wins Excellence in Physics Education Award

Marie Lopez del Puerto, (Physics PhD, ‘08), currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, was a recent recipient of the American Physical
Maxim Pospelov

Pospelov named APS Fellow

Maxim Pospelov, Professor of the School of Physics and Astronomy, has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Anatoly Larkin

2022 Larkin Awards announced

The inaugural Fine Theoretical Physics Institute Larkin Awards have been announced.
TURBO telescope

Kelly receives $1 million grant to build superfast ‘TURBO’ telescopes

A team led by School of Physics and Astronomy Assistant Professor, Patrick Kelly, is constructing two sets of telescopes that will open a new window into the collisions of neutron stars and black
Ben Messerly

Messerly wins Postdoc Award

Dr. Ben Messerly, postdoctoral researcher in the School of Physics and Astronomy, won a 2022 UMN Postdoc Award for Teaching and Mentoring.
Alexander McLeod

McLeod receives Young Scientist Prize

Assistant Professor Alex McLeod of the School of Physics and Astronomy has received the 2022 International Union of Pure and Applied Sciences Young Scientist Prize.
Ali Sulaiman

Ringleader: New faculty member is expert in planetary physics

This fall, the School will welcome Ali Sulaiman to the space physics group.

School of Physics and Astronomy Seminar Calendar