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The farthest star helps probe dark matter

Assistant Professor Patrick Kelly led a team of researchers that set a distance record and discovered the farthest individual star ever seen. The star, nicknamed Icarus, is 9 billion light-years away--halfway across the visible universe--and would ordinarily not be visible even to the most powerful telescopes. Gravitational lensing allowed the Hubble Space Telescope to pick out Icarus, whose official name is MACS 1149+2223 Lensed Star 1. The unique opportunity to study Icarus also allowed researchers to rule out one of the theories about the mystery of dark matter. More »

Dan Dahlberg

When noise is a good thing

Physicists at the University of Minnesota are using very small, magnetic particles to answer questions in fundamental physics that have broad reaching implications in understanding some difficult real-world problems. More »

Yangmu Li

Electron-doped high-transition-temperature superconductors

Yangmu Li is a graduate student in Martin Greven’s high-transition-temperature superconductor research lab. Li manages two lab rooms and leads a subgroup that focuses on electron-doped copper oxide (cuprate) superconductors. The cuprate superconductors are ceramic materials mainly made up of copper-oxygen layers with other chemical elements forming charge reservoirs in between. By adding extra electrons/holes into the materials through chemical manipulations, novel physics properties, such as unconventional superconductivity and charge/spin modulations, emerge in these materials. More »

Greg Pawloski

Neutrino Mysteries

Physicists at the University of Minnesota are part of a collaboration that is trying to answer the remaining questions in neutrino physics. More »

Linday Glesener and Kendra Bergstedt

New Space Physicist to provide exciting research opportunities for students

Lindsay Glesener is a new faculty member in the School of Physics and Astronomy, studying high energy events in the Sun. Glesener uses x-rays to observe solar flares and coronal mass ejections. These events throw intense amounts of of plasma and radiation into space, causing the Earth’s aurorae and causing high radiation environments in Earth’s orbit, adversely affecting spacecraft. Glesener studies this topic from a fundamental physics perspective, trying to answer remaining questions about how these solar events are energized and the high-energy nature of the Sun. More »

Guichuan Yu

Master of Mercury Barium Copper Oxides

Researchers at the School of Physics and Astronomy are trying to solve a thirty year old mystery: what causes high-temperature superconductivity? Guichuan Yu is a postdoc in a lab that is entirely focused on the problem. Yu has been with Martin Greven’s superconductivity laboratory since he was a graduate student and has spent the past ten years refining the technique of creating one class of materials, Mercury Barium Copper Oxides. As a postdoc he is now in charge of growing the single crystal samples the group uses in their experiments. More »

Grad Phi Officers

Grad Phi helping students with work/life balance

Chris Conklin, current coordinator for Grad Phi says he joined the organization to help other students with work and life balance. Conklin, a fourth year student working with Professor Jorge Vinals on liquid crystals, felt he had a good support system. "I felt like there were people who don’t have that and I wanted to contribute." More »

Tobias Gulden

Topological Edge States

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have closely examined the evolution of topological edge states, a phenomenon that occurs in materials physics. Tobias Gulden, a graduate student working with Professor Alexander Kamenev of the Fine Theoretical Physics Institute, studies the problem of topological phase transitions to determine how the transition from bulk to edge state occurs. More »


Mapping the Cosmic Microwave Background

Physicists at the University of Minnesota are getting close to having workable maps of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). The CMB is a remnant of the Big Bang and understanding it in depth will help cosmologists piece together how the Universe began and evolved. One of the outstanding questions about the Universe involves an inflationary period right after the Big Bang, in which the Universe expanded at a much faster rate than it is expanding today. This period has been theorized but direct evidence for it has not yet been found. More »

Elias Puchner

Cellular signaling networks

A group of researchers at the School of Physics and Astronomy are working to uncover how cells and their signaling networks detect and respond to stimuli. Elias Puchner is new faculty member in the area of experimental biological physics. Through his research he intends to provide “a nano-scale view of cell communication.” More »

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