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EBEX in Flight

Launching a balloon-borne scientific experiment, or "balloon campaign" can be a long, intense operation where physicists work in isolated locations that can make a balloon experiment seem like a military campaign. Asad Aboobaker, a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota, working in Shaul Hanany’s Observation cosmology group, blogged the EBEX launch in Fort Sumner, NM. More »

Professor Robert Lysak

The Spell of the Northern Lights

The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights have long been a subject of fascination in folklore and for those of us lucky enough to see them in northern latitudes. Professor Bob Lysak is a theoretician who has been studying the unique physics of aurora since the 1970’s. The classic model of the Aurora is that electrons trapped in the Earth’s magnetosphere are accelerated by quasi-static electric fields that form parallel to the Earth’s magnetic field and cause the light display. More »

Ron Poling

International Charm offensive

In January, 2008 the Minnesota “Heavy Flavor” group led by Professors Ron Poling and Dan Cronin-Hennessy joined the BESIII experiment at the Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing, China. This expanded an already fruitful program of collaborative research in high energy physics between the United States and the People’s Republic of China that was initiated by T.D. Lee, “Pief” Panofsky and Bob Wilson in the 1970’s. More »

Oriol Valls

How to beat the Pauli Principle

Oriol T. Valls studies unusual properties of nanostructures consisting of layers of intercalated superconductor and ferromagnetic materials. Such structures are interesting for their applications in spintronics and because their physics are not completely understood. These structures exhibit what are called proximity effects: the superconductivity leaks into the magnetic layers and the magnetism into the superconducting ones. More »

Alex Kamenev

Applying physics to epidemiology

What does epidemiology have to do with quantum physics? Condensed matter theorist, Alexander Kamenev has been using the tools of the quantum mechanic to help biologists further understand the behavior of diseases. “If you think about it, an epidemiologist tries to describe a large community of bacteria to determine their behavior statistically.” Kamenev says that task is not that different from what a condensed matter theorist does when studying interacting groups of particles. More »

C. C. Huang

Liquid crystals

For the past ten years, Cheng-Cher “C.C” Huang and his collaborators have been exploring properties of liquid crystals with a technique called resonant x-ray scattering. This is the most reliable and effective method for getting to the specific liquid crystal states that Huang and his group are researching. Liquid crystals, a phase of matter between a liquid and a solid, have been used in technologies from high-resolution camera viewfinders to large-area “liquid crystal displays” used in monitors More »

Marvin Marshak


MINOS, or the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search, is now on its third phase of data collection. According to Professor Marvin Marshak, the Fermilab Main Injector accelerator has now aimed more than 5 x 1020 protons at the target in the neutrino beam line. The protons create pions and kaons, which then decay to create the neutrino beam. MINOS has now observed more than 1,000 neutrino interactions in the Far Detector at Soudan MN. “MINOS is clearly in its precision measuring phase." More »

John Broadhurst

Now Hear this! Audio Templates

We compare every sound that we hear against the sounds that we have already heard and are stored in our memory. More »

Yong-Zhang Qian

Neutrino oscillations

"My laboratory is a supernova," Yong Qian states matter-of-factly with a smile. Qian is a theoretical physicist studying neutrino oscillations, the change from one "flavor" to another as a neutrino moves through matter and space. This phenomenon occurs because a neutrino is created in one of three flavor states (or simply “flavors”), with three distinct mass states. More »

Vuk Mandic

Gravitational waves

Professor Vuk Mandic is an observational cosmologist involved in the search for gravitational waves with LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory.) Gravitational Waves were predicted by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, but have yet to be observed in the natural world. More »

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