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Galaxy Zoo

Kyle Willett is a postdoctoral researcher working on the Galaxy Zoo experiment with Professor Lucy Fortson. Galaxy Zoo is a citizen science project in which hundreds of thousands of online volunteers help scientists sift through research data. The idea behind Galaxy Zoo and other citizen science initiatives is that there are certain types of identification tasks that it are very difficult to program a computer to do, but which people, even the general public with a small amount of introduction, can do readily. More »

Evan Frodermann

The Next Generation of Computer Coaches

Evan Frodermann is a post doc in the Physics Education Group, working with Ken Heller in a cross- discipline collaboration between the School and the College of Education and Human Development. Frodermann is helping to develop the second generation of computer coaches for use in physics classrooms. These computer coaches are designed to help teaching the skill of problem-solving in a physics context. More »

Vlad Pribiag

Towards Topological Quantum Computing

Vlad Pribiag is a condensed matter experimental physicist. His research focuses on novel low-dimensional semiconductors. He is particularly interested in materials with strong spin-orbit coupling, studying how the unique properties of certain materials can be used for information processing. Spin orbit coupling refers to the interaction between a particle’s spin and its motion. Physicists can control the spin by manipulating the motion of the particle. Physicists have found ways to encode either classical information or quantum information in the spin. More »

Eta Car

Eta Car: The Great Imposter

Two University astronomers, Kris Davidson and Roberta Humphreys have discovered that a massive binary star system, Eta Car is returning to its original state: that of a hot star easily visible in the sky of the Southern Hemisphere. Davidson and Humphreys have observed Eta Car since the Hubble Space Telescope first came online in 1990. This series of observations has given them solid evidence that Eta Car-- sometimes called the poster child for very massive stars, because it is the most massive star that is close enough to Earth to be easily observed—is experiencing dramatic changes. More »

Liliya Williams

Where is Dark Matter?

Liliya Williams is a Professor of Astrophysics working on the distribution of dark matter throughout the Universe. Using luminous matter such as stars and gas, Williams can trace dark matter and find patterns in the distribution. More »

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Searching for Gravitational Waves

Tanner Prestegard is part of the search for gravitational waves with Vuk Mandic. He is a graduate student working on the Laser Infermeter Gravitational Observatory (LIGO) experiment. Prestegard’s role is primarily in data analysis-- looking through data and trying to pick out anything that is an actual gravitational wave. More »

Andy Julin

Mysterious Charm

Andy Julin is a fourth year graduate student in experimental particle physics. He is part of the BESIII collaboration working under Professor Ron Poling and Dan Cronin-Hennessy. BESIII is an electron-positron detector located in Beijing, China which analyzes charm physics. Charm physics is the name given to the study of the charm or c quark, a subatomic particle that makes up other subatomic particles such as mesons and hadrons. More »

Marianna Gabrielyan

In Control

Marianna Gabrielyan is a postdoctoral researcher in the NOVA collaboration. Though she came on board the experiment to do data analysis, she has found herself responsible for quite a bit of the hardware on the NOVA project. Gabrielyan recently setup a control room in the Physics and Nanotechnology Building. This control room will eventually allow researchers at the U in the Twin Cities to take shifts monitoring both Near and Far detectors, a function that is presently done at Fermilab, outside of Chicago. More »

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Particle Reconstruction at High Pile-up

Sean Kalafut is a graduate student working on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN under the direction of Professor Roger Rusack. Kalafut’s research focuses on particle reconstruction in high pile-up. Kalafut uses a physical analogy to describe high pile-up. “Imagine two people are each standing four feet in front of you, and the distance between the two people is four feet. Each person is holding a camera with a flash, and each person takes a photo of you with the flash turned on. More »

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Building the right sandwich: novel magnetic tunnel junctions

Barry Costanzi is a graduate student in Professor Dan Dahlberg’s Magnetic Microscopy and Transport group. Costanzi’s research involves a novel method of creating magnetic tunnel junctions by using Electron Beam Induced Deposition (EBID). His work is in collaboration with the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and requires him to travel to Sweden every couple of months. More »

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