News & Events

Colloquium: Quantum Matter out of Equilibrium

Quantum Matter out of Equilibrium

Abstract: A central goal of condensed matter physics is to study the universal emergent properties of macroscopic quantum systems with large numbers of interacting particles. Due to a variety of conceptual and experimentally motivated reasons, the traditional approach of many-body physics is largely built around the study of low-temperature and near-equilibrium properties of time independent Hamiltonians.  A confluence of developments across a range of subfields --- particularly experimental advances in building programmable quantum devices --- have opened up a vast new territory of studying many-body phenomena in completely novel regimes: highly excited, "post Hamiltonian", and far from equilibrium.  A unifying theme in this enterprise has been the study of many-body quantum dynamics in systems ranging from electrons in solids to cold atomic gases to black holes.  I will describe some highlights of an active research program to advance many-body theory beyond the regime of near-equilibrium time-independent Hamiltonians, with a view towards uncovering novel emergent phenomena in the non-equilibrium dynamics of many-body systems. I will show that not only can non-equilibrium systems exhibit a sharp notion of phase structure, but that some of these phases are completely novel and unique to the out-of-equilibrium setting. For example, certain phases of matter that are forbidden in equilibrium, such as quantum time crystals, have found new life in the out-of-equilibrium setting.  I will describe the theoretical formulation of this phase, some of its many fascinating properties, and its recent experimental realization on Google's quantum processor.


Physics Force Public Shows

Physics Force is back and ready for some fun new shows in January 2022! The auditorium shows will feature all the fun big demos, bringing the wonders of physics to life in an educational and spectacular display.

There will be two public shows: 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 15, 2022.

Intended for all ages, the shows are free and open to the public. Registration/tickets are required.

Physics Force is supported by the School of Physics and Astronomy, the Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, and the University of Minnesota's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). Physics Force is sponsored by a gift from the 3M Company. 

Workshop: Open Challenges in the Theory of Strongly Correlated Electron Systems

Organized by Professors Andrey Chubukov, University of Minnesota and Professor Dmitrii Maslov, University of Florida.

Colloquium: A Physicist Gets Down to Business: From Quarks to Improving Healthcare

Abstract: I was doing pretty well in my particle physics research when something happened to change everything: Former students came back to ask me to work with them in industry. They wanted me to help solve problems using physics skills they knew I had from the classes they took with me. I will detail examples of how we solved problems largely involving the magnetic field physics of MRI, and in performance optimization with rather old-fashioned analytical modeling of hardware coil products. One example is going from the functional analysis of quantum field theory to the manufacturing of optimized gradient magnetic field coils. It will be fun to intersperse stories such as how this industrial problem solving and successful start-up businesses fed back into my teaching, textbook writing, getting jobs for more students in more ways than I can count, and understanding the need for “soft skills.”

Colloquium: Michel Janssen on The Einstein-Besso manuscript on the perihelion of Mercury

Abstract: Last week, a stack of about 50 sheets with scratchpad calculations by Einstein and his close friend Michele Besso sold at auction in Paris for a record 11.5 million dollars. I prepared this manuscript for publication in the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein in 1995 and wrote an essay about it for the auction catalog the first two times it changed hands (for $360K in 1996 and $500K in 2002). In this talk I'll cover the most important calculations in this manuscript and trace its journey from Zurich in 1913 to Paris in 2021. 
The link to a short radio interview about the sale of this manuscript on BBC radio. 

This colloquium will have a remote option via zoom: 

Colloquium: Jie Shan, Cornell University

Abstract:  When two van der Waals materials of slightly different orientations or lattice constants are overlaid, a moiré pattern emerges. The moiré pattern introduces a new length scale, many times the lattice constant of the original materials, for Bragg scattering of Bloch electrons in each layer.  This gives rise to moiré minibands and rich emergent quantum phenomena. In this talk, I will discuss recent experiments on angle-aligned semiconductor heterobilayers, which exhibit remarkable correlated insulating states [1,2,3]. I will also discuss the prospect of using moiré superlattices as a quantum simulator.  1. Y. Tang et al., Nature 579, 353-358 (2020).
2. Y. Xu et al., Nature 587, 214–218 (2020).
3. C. Jin et al., Nat. Mater. 20, 940-944 (2021). 

Women in Astronomy and Physics Lecture Series (WAPHLS): Cacey Bester, Swarthmore College

Abstract: Examples of granular materials exist in abundance, from rice and cereal to sand and rocks. These particulate systems seem simple; they consist of dry, rigid grains interacting by contact forces. However, granular materials present complexities that are not well-understood, such as disordered force networks that transmit forces among grains and flow behavior that can readily change between solid-like rigidity and fluid-like flow. Impact of a granular target by a solid projectile illustrates both of these aspects. In this talk I will discuss impact experiments in which we use high-speed video photography to probe the unique features of a granular medium.

Zoom and Viewing Party: The speaker will be on Zoom, but WIPA will have a viewing party in Tate 301-20 with coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and stroopwafels. Zoom here:

Colloquium: Looking for new physics with neutrinos

Looking for new physics with neutrinos:  MicroBooNE first results and beyond

Abstract: Pioneering results from the MicroBooNE experiment shed new light on perplexing anomalies observed in short-distance neutrino physics. These new results from MicroBooNE answer some questions and raise others. MicroBooNE has launched us into a new era of liquid-argon-based new physics in the neutrino sector.


Colloquium: NASA's Juno Mission to Jupiter – Extended!

Abstract: Juno’s principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter. Underneath its dense cloud cover, Jupiter safeguards secrets to the fundamental processes and conditions that governed our solar system during its formation. As our primary example of a giant planet, Jupiter can also provide critical knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being discovered around other stars. With its suite of science instruments, Juno is investigating the interior structure, mapping Jupiter's intense magnetic field, measuring the distribution of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere.  JUNO is also the first spacecraft to fly over Jupiter’s aurora and measuring both the energetic particles raining down on the planet and the bright “northern & southern lights” they excite. A huge bonus is the small public outreach camera that is taking fantastic images of Jupiter’s beautiful clouds. The images – some science, some art – are processed and shared by the public around the world. NASA’s JUNO mission was launched in August 2011 and has been in orbit over Jupiter’s poles since 4th July 2016. This spring the mission was extended until late 2025. In this talk I will present the main scientific results to date and what we might might expect to come in the extended mission.

About the speaker: Dr. Fran Bagenal is a research scientist and professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder and is co-investigator and team leader of the plasma investigations on NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Juno mission to Jupiter. Her main area of expertise is the study of charged particles trapped in planetary magnetic fields and the interaction of plasmas with the atmospheres of planetary objects, particularly in the outer solar system. She edited the monograph Jupiter: Planet, Satellites and Magnetosphere (Cambridge University Press, 2004). Born and raised in the UK, Dr. Bagenal received her bachelor degree in Physics and Geophysics from the University of Lancaster, England, and her doctorate degree in Earth and Planetary Sciences from MIT (Cambridge, Mass) in 1981.  She spent five years as a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College, London, before returning to the United States for research and faculty positions in Boulder, Colorado. She has participated in several of NASA's planetary exploration missions, including Voyager 1 and 2, Galileo, Deep Space 1, New Horizons and Juno.

Public Lecture: New Science from Merging Neutron Stars

New Science from Merging Neutron Stars

From the generation of gold to the expansion rate of the Universe: With the detection of compact binary coalescences and their electromagnetic counterparts by gravitational-wave detectors, a new era of multi-messenger astronomy has begun. In this talk, Professor Coughlin will describe how GW170817, our first example in this new class, is being used to study a diverse variety of dense matter in the Universe and how fast the Universe is expanding. He will then discuss how we are using telescopes to look for more of them and developing models to test what we find. Professor Coughlin will close with future prospects for this new field.

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