News & Media Center

 

LIGO-Virgo Scientists Detect First Gravitational Waves from Neutron Stars

Discovery made at LIGO Livingston by LSU physicists marks first cosmic event observed in both gravitational waves and light

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MONDAY: New Gravitational-wave Discovery to be Announced

The Gravitational Wave Astrophysics conference sponsored by the International Astronomical Union will livestream the LIGO Laboratory, LIGO Scientific Collaboration, National Science Foundation and Virgo Collaboration press conference. Journalists are invited to watch the livestream of the press conference on Monday, Oct. 16, at 9 a.m. (CDT) from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The livestreamed press conference will begin with an overview of new findings from LIGO, Virgo and partners that span the globe, followed by details from telescopes that work with the LIGO and Virgo Collaboration to study extreme events in the cosmos.

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LSU Physicist Patents Wearable Device to Protect Doctors Who Use X-rays

The invention will enhance protection of radiation workers, such as radiologists. Those who work in radiation fields are at increased risk to develop cataracts, cancer, and other radiation effects. Our device accurately measures, records, and reports exposure to the user in real time, thereby providing the information needed to limit exposures to safe levels.

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LIGO Gravitational Wave Detection Wins Nobel Prize - LSU faculty and students critical in this groundbreaking discovery

oday the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to the pioneering leaders of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, for the first detection of gravitational waves. The detection confirmed a major prediction of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

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LSU Physicist Awarded New NSF Research Fellowship - Alumna and Assistant Professor Kristina Launey one of 30 to receive fellowship

The National Science Foundation, or NSF, announced new awards for non-tenured researchers through their Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR, Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-4 fellowship program. Kristina Launey, LSU Ph.D. ('03) alumna and assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, is one of 30 to receive the NSF Research Fellowship. These fellowships partner researchers with premier research centers, enhancing their ability to work at the frontiers of science and engineering.

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LSU Physicist's Research Reveals that the Most Energetic Particles in the Cosmos Originated from Outside our Galaxy

- In a paper published in the journal Science, the Pierre Auger Collaboration reports observational evidence demonstrating that cosmic rays with energies a million times greater than that of the protons accelerated in the Large Hadron Collider come from much further away than from our galaxy. LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Professor Jim Matthews, former co-spokesperson of the Auger Collaboration, works with more than 500 scientists from 17 countries on the world's leading science project for the exploration of the highest energy cosmic rays to elucidate the origins and properties of the most energetic particles in the Universe. The collaboration is reconstructing the path of the Universe's most energetic cosmic rays, bringing new insights into the origin and nature of this intergalactic phenomenon. 

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"Cell-shaped silicon-on-insulator microdosimeters: characterization and response to 239PuBe irradiations" by Mazza, Newhauser, etc.

This work tested the feasibility of a silicon-on-insulator microdosimeter, which mimics the size and shape of specific cells within the human body, to determine dose equivalent from neutron irradiation. The microdosimeters were analyzed in terms of their basic diode characteristics, i.e., leakage current as a function of bias voltage. Lineal energy spectra were acquired using two different converter layers placed atop the microdosimeter: a tissue-substitute converter made from high-density polyethylene, and a boron converter consisting of epoxy coated with boron powder. The spectra were then converted into absorbed dose and dose equivalent. Experimental results were compared to Monte Carlo simulations of the neutron irradiations, revealing good agreement. Uncertainty in the dose equivalent determinations was 7.5% when using the cell-shaped microdosimeter with the tissue-substitute converter and 13.1% when using the boron converter. This work confirmed that the SOI approach to cell-mimicking microdosimetry is feasible.

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"Impact of multileaf collimator configuration parameters on the dosimetric accuracy of 6-MV Intensity-Modulated radiation therapy treatment plans" by Petersen, Perrin, Newhauser and Zhang

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of selected configuration parameters that govern multileaf collimator (MLC) transmission and rounded leaf offset in a commercial treatment planning system (TPS) (Pinnacle3, Philips Medical Systems, Andover, MA, USA) on the accuracy of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) dose calculation. The MLC leaf transmission factor was modified based on measurements made with ionization chambers. The table of parameters containing rounded-leaf-end offset values was modified by measuring the radiation field edge as a function of leaf bank position with an ionization chamber in a scanning water-tank dosimetry system and comparing the locations to those predicted by the TPS. The modified parameter values were validated by performing IMRT quality assurance (QA) measurements on 19 gantry-static IMRT plans. Planar dose measurements were performed with radiographic film and a diode array (MapCHECK2) and compared to TPS calculated dose distributions using default and modified configuration parameters. Based on measurements, the leaf transmission factor was changed from a default value of 0.001 to 0.005. Surprisingly, this modification resulted in a small but statistically significant worsening of IMRT QA gamma-index passing rate, which revealed that the overall dosimetric accuracy of the TPS depends on multiple configuration parameters in a manner that is coupled and not intuitive because of the commissioning protocol used in our clinic. The rounded leaf offset table had little room for improvement, with the average difference between the default and modified offset values being −0.2 ± 0.7 mm. While our results depend on the current clinical protocols, treatment unit and TPS used, the methodology used in this study is generally applicable. Different clinics could potentially obtain different results and improve their dosimetric accuracy using our approach.

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Solving the Mystery of KIC 8462852—the Most Bizarre Star in the Universe

Since its discovery two years ago, a star that resides around 1,300 light years from Earth has gained a reputation as the most bizarre in the galaxy. Named KIC 8462852, the star gained worldwide attention when scientists suggested its weird behaviour could be explained by the presence of a huge shield built by an advanced alien civilization. Back then Tabetha Boyajian, from Louisiana State University, and her colleagues discovered that KIC 8462852 exhibited huge dips in its brightness at regular intervals using data from the Kepler Space Telescope—sometimes by as much as 20 percent.

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Dr. Gabriela Gonzalez: Scientist of the Future

Imagine taking a prediction made a hundred years ago by one of the greatest minds of the 20th century and finding the evidence to prove it to be true today. That’s what an Argentine-born female physicist did as part of a team of scientists in Louisiana. By validating Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, they are being showered with worldwide acclaim, and the near certainty of a Nobel Prize. John Zarrella spent time with Dr. Gabriela Gonzalez, who insists there is more to come.

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"A Clarion Call for Large-Scale Collaborative Studies of Pediatric Proton Therapy" by Gonzalez, A.; Newhauser, W. and Walsh, L. etc.

In 2010, there were 24 proton therapy centers operating around the world. During the past 6 years, 33 new centers have opened, 32 are under construction, and 17 are in the planning phase (1).

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LSU Health Physics graduate student replicates 1976 ‘Atomic Man’ incident

A pilot project this summer at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, or ORAU, hearkens back to the organization’s roots ...... A near-certain outcome is that the students will finish their internships with a head start on a project that could become their master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation. Such is the case for Daniel DiMarco from Marrero, La.

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Solar Eclipse 2017 on the LSU Parade Ground

On August 21, 2017, more than a thousand astronomy enthusiasts gathered on the LSU Parade Ground to view the Great American Eclipse. Physics & Astronomy Department Chair John DiTusa and WAFB chief meteorologist Jay Grymes emceed the event on the first day of class for the fall semester. While students, faculty and staff shared solar viewing glasses to look at the partial eclipse, faculty talked about the science and history of the eclipse, including Manos Chatzopoulos, Gabriela Gonzalez and Rob Parks. Attendees also experienced alternative ways to view the eclipse with a sun spotter, solar filter disk, pinhole cameras, and even viewing the eclipse on the ground through the oak trees.

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Dr. Chatzopoulos talks about the Eclipse & Einstein's Theory of General Relativity

WAFB Chanel 9 interviewed Dr. Chatopoulos's for Solar Eclipse event in LSU.

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The Sun, The Moon and a Balloon - LSU Students to Launch Weather Balloon To Record the 2017 Eclipse

On August 21, a solar eclipse will pass across the United States, first darkening Oregon and creating a path of totality all the way to South Carolina over the course of a few hours. Everyone along this path will experience a few minutes of complete darkness along with the spectacular features of a total solar eclipse. The rest of the nation will experience a partial solar eclipse. Those not along the path of totality may feel like they are missing out, but NASA’s Eclipse Balloon Project has a solution for that!

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Solar Eclipse at the Start

August 21, 12-2pm lsu parade ground rain location: union

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Summer 2017 Graduates

On Friday, August 4, LSU Physics & Astronomy welcomed 4 new PhD, 3 MS and 4 BS graduates who conferred their degrees at the Marvavich Assembly Center.

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Scientists Discover New Magnet with Nearly Massless Charge Carriers

Advances in modern electronics has demanded the requisite hardware, transistors, to be smaller in each new iteration. Recent progress in nanotechnology has reduced the size of silicon transistors down to the order of 10 nanometers. However, for such small transistors, other physical effects set in, which limit their functionality. For example, the power consumption and heat production in these devices is creating significant problems for device design. Therefore, novel quantum materials and device concepts are required to develop a new generation of energy-saving information technology. The recent discoveries of topological materials — a new class of relativistic quantum materials — hold great promise for use in energy saving electronics. Researchers in the Louisiana Consortium for Neutron Scattering, or LaCNS, led by LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Chair and Professor John F. DiTusa and Tulane University Professor Zhiqiang Mao, with collaborators at Oak Ridge National Lab, the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Florida State University, and the University of New Orleans, recently reported the first observation of this topological behavior in a magnet, Sr1-yMn1-zSb2 (y, z < 0.1). These results were published this week in Nature Materials (doi:10.1038/nmat4953).

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Total Solar Eclipse Teachers' Toolkit Tips and tools for teaching and viewing the eclipse safely on Aug. 21

BATON ROUGE - On August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible across North America, passing through the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's shadow passes over the Earth's surface, temporarily blocking the view of the Sun from the Earth. The last time a total solar eclipse occurred in the continental U.S. was 1979. This year, on Aug. 21, the eclipse will pass over the country again, with an 80% partial eclipse visible in Louisiana. With a grant from the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium (LaSPACE), Dr. Dana Browne, Professor and Associate Chair of the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy, led a small team of K-12 teachers to develop a website toolkit for educators to teach students about the solar eclipse.

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"Misconceptions associated with the Origin of Charge Density Waves," Xuetao Zhu, Jiandong Guo, Jiandi Zhang, and E. W. Plummer, Advances in Physics: X, 2, 622 (2017).

Charge density wave (CDW) is an important concept in condensed matter physics, germane to a number of physical phenomena. But the origin of CDW is still under debate, partly because the origin and properties of CDW are highly material-dependent. The concept of a CDW has been applied to many materials without a clear definition of the fundamental nature of CDW. As a result, misconceptions about CDW can be seen in literature. In this review, we will try to describe and explain the possible existing misconceptions associated with the origin of CDWs.

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Louisiana Space Grant Teams Up with NASA to Livestream Total Solar Eclipse

A team of students and faculty from the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium, LaSPACE, led by LSU and including Delgado Community College, or DCC; Louisiana Tech University, or LaTech; and McNeese State University, or MSU, will launch two high-altitude balloons on Aug. 21 as part of a NASA-sponsored project to live-stream aerial video footage of the “Great American Eclipse.”

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“Non-Trivial Berry Phase in Magnetic BaMnSb2 Semimetal,” Silu Huang, Jisun Kim, W. A. Shelton, E. W. Plummer, Rongying Jin, Proceedings National Academy of Sciences, 114, 6256 (2017).

Among topological materials, experimental study of topological semimetals that host Dirac/Weyl fermions has just begun, even though these topological concepts were proposed nearly a century ago by Dirac and Weyl. Our work shows magnetic-semimetal BaMnSb2 exhibits nearly zero-mass fermions with high mobility and a non-trivial Berry phase. What is unique is the magnetic ordering, indicating the system is Weyl type due to time-reversal symmetry breaking. Theory shows that the spin order is very fragile, so it is expected that the application of magnetic field or uniaxial pressure could drive the material to be a type-II Weyl semimetal.

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“Interface-induced multiferroism by design in complex oxide superlattices,” H.W. Guo, Z. Wang, S. Dong, S. Ghosh, M. Saghayezhian, L. Chen, Y. Weng, A. Herklotz, T.Z. Ward, R. Jin, S.T. Pantelides, Y. Zhu, J. Zhang & E.W. Plummer Proceedings of the Nation

Developments in synthesis and characterization of artificially structured materials has greatly advanced the possibility to explore new states of matter in material science. Recent discoveries show that new quantum states can be achieved at hetero-interfaces with various electromagnetic and mechanical boundary conditions. It remains an open question on how to design ultrathin layers with properties inaccessible in bulk phases, which is amenable to technological applications. In this work, we grow heterostructures with extremely high quality interfaces, characterized by state-of-the-art atomically resolved electron microscopy and spectroscopy. This combination allows us to identify an interface-induced structure that stabilizes ferromagnetism. Coupled with theory, we provide conceptually useful recipe to design low-dimensional materials with novel functionalities, in line with the loop of “make, measure, model”.

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Stephen Hawking Invites Gabriela González to Speak at 75th Birthday Symposium

Professor Gabriela González is one of four high-profile speakers invited to share the stage with Stephen Hawking for his 75th birthday public symposium on Sunday July 2, from 7 a.m. to noon (CST). The public event at Cambridge University will be livestreamed by Discover Science on Facebook and YouTube.

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“Surface Sum Frequency Generation Spectroscopy from non-centrosymmetric Crystal GaAs (001),” Zhenyu Zhang, Jisun Kim, Rami Khoury, Louis H. Haber, and E. W. Plummer, Surface Science, 664, 21 (2017).

Femtosecond broadband sum frequency generation (SFG) spectroscopy is applied to surface studies of the archetypical non-centrosymmetric semiconductor GaAs (001). Azimuthal angular dependence studies in reflection geometry under eight possible polarization configurations reveal strong surface-bulk interference owing to heterodyne amplification. The crystal symmetry and the surface quadrupole contributions need to be considered to properly interpret the resulting nonlinear spectroscopic signals. In addition, over bandgap excitation by one of the incident beams brings the semiconductor surface to a transient excited state, enabling enhanced sensitivity of broadband SFG to probe the surface electronic properties of non-centrosymmetric semiconductors. These findings suggest that this technique can be generally applied to surface studies of other non-centrosymmetric crystals.

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“Mn-induced magnetic symmetry breaking and its correlation with the metal-insulator transition in bilayered Sr3(Ru1-xMnx)2O7,’ Qiang Zhang, Zhenyu Diao, Rongying Jin, Jiandi Zhang, and Ward Plummer, etc.

Bilayered Sr3Ru2O7 is an unusual metamagnetic metal with inherently antiferromagnetic (AFM) and ferromagnetic (FM) fluctuations. Partial substitution of Ru by Mn results in the establishment of metal-insulator transition (MIT) at TMIT and AFM ordering at TM in Sr3(Ru1-xMnx)2O7. Using elastic neutron scattering we determined the effect of Mn doping on the magnetic structure and in-plane magnetic correlation lengths in Sr3(Ru1-xMnx)2O7 (x = 0.06 and 0.12). With increasing Mn doping (x) from 0.06 to 0.12 or decreasing temperatures for x=0.12, an evolution from an in-plane short-range to long-range double-stripe AFM ground state occurs. For both compounds, the onset of magnetic correlation with an anisotropic behavior coincides with the sharp rise of the electrical resistivity and the specific heat. Since it does not induce measurable lattice distortion, the double-stripe magnetic order with anisotropic spin texture breaks the symmetry from C4v crystal lattice to C2v magnetic sublattice. These observations shed new light on an age-old question of Slater versus Mott-type MIT.

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“Manipulating the Polar mismatch at LaNiO3/SrTiO3 (111) Interface,” M. Saghayezhian, Zhen Wang, Hangwen Guo, E.W. Plummer, Jiandi Zhang, Phys. Rev. B (2017).

Heteroepitaxial growth of transition-metal oxide films on the open (111) surface of SrTiO3 results in significant restructuring due to the polar mismatch. Monitoring the structural and composition on an atomic scale of LaNiO3/SrTiO3 (111) interface as a function of processing conditions has enabled the avoidance of the expected polar catastrophe. Using atomically resolved transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy as well as Low energy electron diffraction, the structure of the thin film, from interface to the surface, has been studied. In this paper, we show that the proper processing can lead to a structure that is ordered, coherent with the substrate without intermediate structural phase. Angle-resolved X-ray photoemission spectroscopy shows that the oxygen content of thin films increases with the film thickness, indicating that the polar mismatch is avoided by the presence of oxygen vacancies.

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“Delicate competing electronic states in ultrathin manganite films,” Zhaoliang Liao, Rongying Jin, E. W. Plummer, Jiandi Zhang, Phys. Rev. B, 95, 085130 (2017).

The coupling between the electrical transport properties of L a 2 / 3 S r 1 / 3 Mn O 3 (LSMO) thin films and structural phase transitions of SrTi O 3 (STO) substrates at T s = 105 K has been investigated. We found that the electrical resistivity of LSMO films exhibit a “cusp” at T s , which is greatly amplified by tuning films to the verge of metallic and insulating phases, i.e., to the boundary of two delicate competing electronic states. Our results demonstrate that small amounts of strain can tip the subtle balance of competing interactions and tune the electronic properties in correlated electron materials.

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Alum Edward Montiel Soars to New Heights to Explore our Universe

LSU alum Edward Montiel graduated with his PhD from LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy in August, 2016 and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, Davis. He helps process data for guest investigators using the world's largest flying telescope SOFIA and deliver science-ready data to them for their analyses.

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Joyoni Dey awarded innovation (LIFT2) grant

Technology that will improve X-rays and medical imaging is one of the 13 innovations the LSU Board of Supervisors recently selected to support through its innovation and technology transfer grant. LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Assistant Professor Joyoni Dey, along with a Ph.D. student and colleagues at the LSU Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices, have established the technology to create more detailed X-rays that will aid doctors analyzing lung and bone joint scans. This technology will also provide higher contrast images for mammograms.

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Jonathan Dowling on the implication of quantum physics

The Newsweek interviewed Jonathan Dowling on the implication of quantum physics:"Cybersecurity Attacks Are a Global Threat. Chinese Scientists Have the Answer: Quantum Mechanics"

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Dr. Adams recent paper "Research Team Studies SC in Ultrathin Al Films" on the Zeeman PD of epitaxial Al films was featured in Superconducting Week.

Researchers with LSU, UT Asutin, and Forschungszentrum Jülich have completed a study of the Zeeman-mediated superconducting phase diagram in ultrathin crystalline aluminum films.

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Baton Rouge imaging collaboration strives to combat obesity and improve cancer treatment

In a state with the highest obesity rate in the nation - 36 percent - researchers in Louisiana are pushing to find new and better ways to combat this chronic disease. The battle against such a prevalent health problem is no small task. It requires scientists to uncover countless mysteries which still surround how and why our bodies work the way they do before they can begin to develop targeted therapies aimed at preventing and treating obesity.

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LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves for Third Time

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, has made a third detection of gravitational waves, which are ripples in space and time, demonstrating that a new window in astronomy has been firmly opened. As was the case with the first two detections, the waves were generated when two black holes collided to form a larger black hole.

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Kristina Launey Receives Socolofsky Award

Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy Kristina Launey is the recipient of the 2017 Dr. Marion D. “Soc” Socolofsky Award for Teaching Excellence. Launey was presented with the award during a surprise visit to her classroom earlier this month by College of Science Dean Cynthia Peterson and Chair of the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy John DiTusa.

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LSU Physicist Ivan Agullo Awarded Top Gravity Research Prize

LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Assistant Professor Ivan Agullo has received the first place award from the Gravity Research Foundation for his essay titled "Gravity and Handedness of Photons," which he co-authored with his colleagues Adrian del Rio and Jose Navarro-Salas, professors at Spain's Universidad de Valencia.

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"Plan a future of science that is best for China” An interview with Dr. Earl Plummer, winner of the 2016 CAS Award for international scientific cooperation

In this interview, Dr. Plummer shared his decades-long experiences of working with CAS, and his insights on the research future in China.

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The Most Mysterious Star in the Galaxy

It has been dubbed the most mysterious star in the galaxy. The star, more than 1,200 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus the Swan, flickers and dims in a way never seen before.

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Spring 2017 Physics & Astronomy Graduates

On Friday, December 16, LSU Physics & Astronomy welcomed 4 new PhD, 1 MS and 10 BS graduates who conferred their degrees at the Marvavich Assembly Center and Maddox Fieldhouse. Kundan Kadam, PhD (advisor: Dr. Geoffrey Clayton ) Jiayum Pan, PhD (advisor: Dr. Rongying Jin) Mohammad Saghayezhian, PhD (advisors: Dr. Ward Plummer and Dr. Jiandi Zhang ) Marissa Walker, PhD (advisor: Dr. Gabriela González ) Anthony Ramon Davila, MS Daniel Joseph DiMarco, MS Kyle Joerres, MS Brandon Michael Luckett, MS William Craig Jones, BS Sean Michael Laughlin, BS Lucas Chad Lavoie, BS Simon Gabriel Lorenzo, BS Dylan Beckley Ottea, BS Patrick Lee Quebedeaux, BS Irene Vargas-Salazar, BS

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“Energy Calibration of CALET Onboard the International Space Station”, Y. Asaoka, N. Cannady, M.L. Cherry, T.G. Guzik, A. Javaid, J.P. Wefel et al., Astroparticle Physics 91, 1 (2017)

In August 2015, the CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET), designed for long exposure observations of high energy cosmic rays, docked with the International Space Station (ISS) and shortly thereafter began to collect data. CALET will measure the cosmic ray electron spectrum over the energy range of 1 GeV to 20 TeV with a very high resolution of 2% above 100 GeV, based on a dedicated instrument incorporating an exceptionally thick 30 radiation-length calorimeter with both total absorption and imaging (TASC and IMC) units.

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Alumnus Donald Kniffen named to College of Science Hall of Distinction

The LSU College of Science inducted four exceptional individuals into the Hall of Distinction on March 31, 2017, among them Donald Kniffen, 1959 LSU Physics & Astronomy alumnus and NASA research scientist. Kniffen, a magna cum laude graduate, is an accomplished astrophysicist and more than 40-year veteran of the NASA space program. He has been a leader in the national and international high-energy astrophysics community, and is one of the scientists who developed the field of high-energy gamma-ray astronomy. Gamma rays are emitted characteristically by the most energetic and exotic objects in the Universe, and gamma-ray astronomy is now one of the highest priority fields of astronomy.

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Gabriela González Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences announced today that LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Professor Gabriela González has been elected as a member to the academy. González is one of the 84 new members recognized for her distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. She is an experimental physicist with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, who contributed to the detection of gravitational waves in 2015 predicted by Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.

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Kirby Awarded Economic Development Assistantship to Study iMQC MRI to Help Detect Brain Tumors and Fight Obesity

Krystal Kirby, a third-year PhD student working under Dr. Owen Carmichael at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, has been awarded an Economic Development Assistantship by the LSU Graduate School. Kirby is enrolled in the medical physics program in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, and is currently performing her research at the Pennington Biomedical’s Imaging Facility, which was opened in 2014.

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"Primordial power spectra for scalar perturbations in loop quantum cosmology" by Daniel Martín de Blasa and Javier Olmedob, Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, Volume 2016, June 2016

We provide the power spectrum of small scalar perturbations propagating in an inflationary scenario within loop quantum cosmology. We consider the hybrid quantization approach applied to a Friedmann-Robertson-Walker spacetime with flat spatial sections coupled to a massive scalar field. We study the quantum dynamics of scalar perturbations on an effective background within this hybrid approach. We consider in our study adiabatic states of different orders. For them, we find that the hybrid quantization is in good agreement with the predictions of the dressed metric approach. We also propose an initial vacuum state for the perturbations, and compute the primordial and the anisotropy power spectrum in order to qualitatively compare with the current observations of Planck mission. We find that our vacuum state is in good agreement with them, showing a suppression of the power spectrum for large scale anisotropies. We compare with other choices already studied in the literature.

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"Observations of V0332+53 during the 2015 Outburst using Fermi/GBM, MAXI, Swift, and INTEGRAL" by Zach Baum, Mike Cherry, and James Rodi, Monthly Not. Royal Astron. Soc. 467, 4424 (2017)

We present the light curves, spectra and hardness-intensity diagram (HID) of the high-mass X-ray binary V0332+53 using Fermi/GBM, MAXI, Swift/BAT and INTEGRAL through its 2015 Type II outburst. We observe characteristic features in the X-ray emission (2-50 keV) due to periastron passages, the dynamical time-scale of the accretion disc, and changes within the accretion column between a radiation-dominated flow and a flow dominated by Coulomb interactions. Based on the HID and the light curves, the critical luminosity is observed to decrease by ∼5 per cent to 7 per cent during the outburst, signalling a decrease in the magnetic field.

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2017 Annual Physics & Astronomy Awards Ceremony

Congratulations to the award recipients at the Annual Physics & Astronomy Awards Ceremony College of Science Outstanding Junior – Derek Walker Tiger Athletic Foundation Undergraduate Teaching Award- Dalgis Mesa Keen-Morris Award – Simon Lorenzo Keen-Morris Award – Irene Vargas-Salazar Student Scholarships awarded by the College of Science: Margarite Laborde - Willie Belle Shockley Scholarship Chris Abadie – Annie and Willie Austin Scholarship Rory Bentley – Frank J. and Phyllis Heroy Scholarship Zach Bradshaw - Tiger Athletic Foundation Scholarship Megan Chesal - Tiger Athletic Foundation Scholarship Jonah Hoffman - Tiger Athletic Foundation Scholarship Departmental Awards Dept. Undergraduate Research Awards Ivan Hidrovo – working with Joyoni Dey Jonah Hoffmann – working with Mike Cherry Sean Laughlin – working with Kristina Launey Graduate Teaching Awards – Chris Greenley; Tyler Ellis; and Zhihao Xiao. Undergraduate Learning Assistant – Derek Walker Graduate Faculty Teaching – Jonathan Dowling Undergraduate Faculty Teaching – Ivan Agullo

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Lorenzo and Olivier Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

The National Science Foundation, or NSF has recognized Simón Gabriel Lorenzo, of Baton Rouge, La. and Andrew Paul Olivier, of Houma, La., as 2017 Graduate Research Fellows. NSF named 2,000 individuals as this year's recipients of the graduate fellow awards, which provide three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period - a $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution. That support is for graduate study that leads to a research-based master's or doctoral degree in STEM fields, STEM education and social sciences.

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Six LSU Students Receive NRC Scholarship in Health Physics

A recent grant from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been established at LSU to support undergraduate students to explore careers in the radiation sciences through the field of health physics. LSU's Department of Physics & Astronomy has announced the first recipients of the scholarship program in health physics: • Joshua Campbell, chemical engineering • Daniel DiMarco, physics • Angelle Leger, mechanical engineering • Brandon Luckett, physics • Devin Manning, chemical engineering • Gregory Martini, chemical engineering

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Alison Dreyfuss Receives U.S. Department of Energy Graduate Research Award

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research, or SCGSR, has awarded doctoral candidate Alison Dreyfuss of Keene, N.H. with funding to conduct part of her Ph.D. thesis research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The award will support six months of collaborative research with LLNL physicist Jutta Escher, who is also an LSU alumna. Dreyfuss will work on a project titled "Understanding nucleosynthesis from a symmetry-informed ab initio perspective."

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"Cosmological dynamics in spin-foam loop quantum cosmology: challenges and prospects" by David A Craig and Parampreet Singh. Class. Quantum Grav. 34 074001 (2017)

We explore the structure of the spin foam-like vertex expansion in loop quantum cosmology and discuss properties of the corresponding amplitudes, with the aim of elucidating some of the expansion's useful properties and features. We find that the expansion is best suited for consideration of conceptual questions and for investigating short-time, highly quantum behavior. In order to study dynamics at cosmological scales, the expansion must be carried to very high order, limiting its direct utility as a calculational tool for such questions. Conversely, it is unclear that the expansion can be truncated at finite order in a controlled manner.

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