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News and Events

New University of Memphis Study Finds Galaxy Formation Theory Survives JWST Observations

Recent observations from NASA's new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have revealed many large galaxies forming in the first 500 million years of the Universe's existence.  These observations have called into question existing theories of cosmology and galaxy formation, as many of these galaxies appear to be too large to have formed at such an early time.  At the same time, these first detections have been rather uncertain, as they use a method to measure their distance called "photometry" that may contain large errors.  This may mean these galaxies are actually much closer to us than they seem, and thus formed much later in the lifetime of the universe. In December 2022, the first set of observations using a different, high-precision technique called "spectroscopy" confirmed the existence of 4 galaxies at distances of more than 30 billion light years.  With these observations, we now have the first robust detection of galaxies which formed in the first 300-500 million years of the universe.  In a new study, accepted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters, University of Memphis' Dr. Benjamin Keller has found that these galaxies match what has already been seen in large simulations of galaxy formation.  Using simulation data from 6 different simulation projects, Dr. Keller and his coauthors found that existing models for cosmology and galaxy formation predict the formation of galaxies with similar masses and star formation rates to those seen by the JWST.  This study suggests that the concordance cosmological model has survived the first possible challenge presented by new JWST observations.  As the JWST finds more confirmed galaxies in the very early universe, we may begin to discover where our understanding of galaxy formation fails, and where we might better understand how the universe came to contain the vast menagerie of galaxies it contains.  For more information, please see the preprint on the arxiv.  
 
Here is a link to the arxiv preprint for the paper.  I'll let you know when it's in press, and perhaps we can talk to the Media Room about putting together a news release.
 

UofM’s Dr. Francisco Muller Sanchez & ALMA Scientists Find Pair of Black Holes Dining Together in Nearby Galaxy Merger

Dr. Francisco Muller Sanchez was featured on the UofM News Releases regarding the recent discovery of two supermassive black holes growing simultaneously near the center of the newly coalescing galaxy.  From the press release:

These super-hungry giants are the closest together that scientists have ever observed in multiple wavelengths. What’s more, the new research reveals that binary black holes and the galaxy mergers that create them may be surprisingly commonplace in the Universe. The results of the new research were published today in The Astrophysical Journal Letters and presented in a press conference at the 241st meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Seattle, Wash.

For more information, please visit January UofM News Releases.

Remembering Dr. Michael, Garland Retird UofM Physics Professor and Former Chair 

Dr. Michael GarlandDr. Michael Garland, retired faculty member and former Chair of our Department, passed away on Jan 1, 2023 in Florida. He was one of the original Physics faculty members when the UM Department of Physics was established on July 1, 1966. Becky Garland, his wife of 44 years, asks that memorial donations be made to the Physics and Materials Science Department Foundation Funds at supportum.memphis.edu/physics and the obituary written by his family can be found here.

 Alums and faculty are invited to send photos and memories to Joanne Rhodes with subject line "Garland" for collection.

 

Dr. Benjamin Keller Explains the Physics of Fusion

Department of Physics and Materials Science Wins Award for Artemis-Themed Gingerbread House

The Department of Physics and Materials Science was awarded first place in the category of Innovative Use of Materials.  The gingerbread house contest was hosted by Human Resources and the R. Brad Martin Wellness Center for all UofM employees on December 7, 2022.  The ginger bread representation of the Artemis launch and adjacent structure was designed and built by several members of the faculty and staff of the Department of Physics and Materials Science including Courtney Paulino, Tzipora Hunter-Davis and Professors Samuel Mensah, Shawn Pollard, and Firouzeh Sabri. The theme of the gingerbread stucture celebrates the recent Artemis launch and expresses support and excitement for the continued preparation and launches of future missions to the Moon and Mars. Congratulations to all!

Dr. Shawn Pollard working on Artemis Gingerbread project.   Courtney Paulino, Dr. Samuel Mensah, and Dr. Firouzeh Sabri contributing to the Artemis Mission   The finished project.   The gingerbread house with the award.

 

Dr. Benjamin Keller

Dr. Benjamin Keller of the Presents Invited Lecture at Princeton and Flatiron Institute's Center for Computational Astrophysics

Dr. Benjamin Keller, an assistant professor, gave an invited lecture on  Star Formation/ISM Rendezvous (SFIR) on December 10, 2022 at Princeton & the Flatiron Institute's Center for Computational Astrophysics​.  Congratulations to Dr. Keller! For more information about Dr. Kellers research, please visit his faculty page.

UofM Physics and Materials Science Substantial Presence at SESAPS 2022

Many members of the UofM Department of Physics and Materials Science attended and presented results at the 89th Annual Meeting of the Southern Eastern Section of the American Physical Society (SESAPS) 2022 Meeting.  In particular, the following students attended:

  • Joseph Duncan (undergraduate) presented "Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition of few layer MoS2"  (Faculty Advisor: Dr. Shawn Pollard)
  • Sagar Ghimire (graduate) presented "Effect of low Earth orbit radiation levels of decay characteristics of thermographic phosphors" and
     "Computational approach to investigating acoustic response of aerogels to ultrasound waves in aqueous and non-aqueous environments (Faculty Advisor: Dr. Firouzeh Sabri)
  • Bryson Krause (graduate) presented "Periodic Nanohole Arrays with Enhanced Lasin and Spontaneous Emissions for Low-Cost Plasmonic Devices (Faculty Advisor: Dr. Thang Hoang)
  • Kyle Lam (undergraduate) presented "Low-Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition of Ni and NiMo Sulfides on Ni Foam for Electrocatalysis" (Faculty Advisor: Dr. Shawn Pollard)
  • Afsana Sharmin presented "Long Term Effects of Annealing Temperature, Storage Condition, and Antioxidants on Oxidative Behavior of Free Radicals in Medical Grade UHMWPE" (Faculty Advisor: Dr. Muhammad Jahan)

Physics and Materials Science Department Presents Booth at Pathways2Possibilities

The Department of Physics and Materials Science featured a booth at the Inaugural Pathways2Possibilities held in Memphis, TN on November 1 and 2, 2022. Professor Joanne Rhodes setup and designed of the booth.  Professor Rhodes, Emeritus Professor Robert Marchini, and Professor Gustav Borstad had to opportunity to talk with many students during the two-day event.  The event was held in the Memphis Renascant Convention Center, and the hands-on, interactive career expo was attended by about 8,000 8th graders.  If you are interested in more information about the Physics at UofM or pursuing a degree in Physics, please reach out to Dr. Gustav Borstad.

Booth at Pathways to Possibilities   Emeritus Professor Robert "Bob" Marchini and Dr. Gustav Borstad talking with students.

 

Dr. Shawn Pollard

UofM Physics and Materials Science Assistant Professor Published Article in High-Impact Nature Materials

Dr. Shawn Pollard, an Assistant Professor in the  Department of Physics and Materials Science at the UofM, published an article in March 2022 in the prestigious, high-impact journal Nature Materials.  The article, entitled “Building skyrmions through frustration," appeared in journal with an impact factor of 49. The topic explores mechanisms and materials for the next-generation data storage. For more information about Dr. Shawn Pollard and his research, please visit his faculty profile.

Physics and Materials Science Participates in Space Week Event with University Campus School

The Department of Physics and Materials Science participated in an event jointly with UofM University Campus School with focus on the Moon. DPMS Professors Joanne Rhodes, Firouzeh Sabri, and Ben Keller gave brief presentations on space exploration and astronomy.  Former NASA Flight Controller Bill Weppner shared information about past lunar missions and expressed his excitement for the future missions.  The students of the Campus School demonstrated their enthusiasm and investment in the effort through the design tools and items that would required for establishing a successful settlement on the Moon.  These designs were turned into 3-D printed objects.  

Physics and Materials Science Awarded Second Place for Table at 2022 Discover Your Major Day

The Department of Physics and Materials Science received the recognition for its table at the Annual Discover Your Major Day at the main UofM campus.  It is a day that provides an opportunity for all UofM students to learn more about the different majors offered at the UofM.  Physics provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about the world the surrounds us whether on Earth or to the farthest regions of space from which light reaches us.  It allows the combination of the most fundamental facts with applications to instruments and devices that are being produced and used today.  Physics plays a critical role in all aspects of the equipment used in medical diagnostics and treatment such as X-ray scanners and NMRs among others.  And supports the development and improvements of the materials used in devices, medical implants and space exploration.  Thank you to all the Physics faculty and students who contributed to making this event a success.

Discover Your Major Day 2022

 

Mae Jemison Day

Physics Faculty Share Knowledge and Enthusiasm for Space and Astrophysics at Local School for Mae Jemison Day

Members of the University of Memphis Department of Physics and Materials Science presented during the celebration of Mae Jemison Day at the Memphis School of Excellence--Mendenhall.  Professors Benjamin Keller and Joanne Rhodes presented and interacted with the students from K-8th, providing inspiration to the rising generation about the past, present and future of space exploration and our ever-expanding knowledge of an exciting frontier for humanity.  The picture to the right shows Professors Keller (center) and Rhodes (right) along with former NASA flight controller, Bill Weppner (left). 

 

Physics and Materials Science Graduate Students Contribution Recognized at UMRF Ventures' 5th Year Anniversary Celebration 

UMRF

We are please to announce that graduate students of the Department of Physics and Materials Science (DPMS) contributed to the to the success of the University of Memphis Research Foundation (UMRF). Graduate students Mason Ruby, Hunter Gore, and Kyle Edwards were in attendance at the 5th Anniversary Celebration of the UMRF.  The purpose of the UMRF is to benefit the University of Memphis by promoting its objectives of providing higher education, conducting research, providing public service and assisting in economic development in Tennessee. Its success depend on dedicated effort and contributions to his mission from the various academic departments, including the Department of Physics and Materials Science.

 

UofM Physics and Materials Science Graduate Student Selected for European School on Magnetism 

Liyan JacobCongratulations to Liyan Jacob for being selected to participate in the European School on Magnetism (ESM) is a yearly event organized by the European magnetism community, through the European Magnetism Association.  It is open to young scientists worldwide and consists of eleven-day training of lectures, teamwork and practical's provided by prominent scientists active in today's research, interactive question sessions, and student-lead projects. The theme of the 2022 summer school is using magnetism to address challenges in sustainable development. Liyan was the only applicant selected from the United States.

 

UofM Professor Give Talk at Museum of Science and History

Dr. Francisco Muller Sanchez, an astronomer in the Department of Physics and Materials Science presented during the Museum of Science and History (formerly, the Pink Palace Museum) Wonders of the Webb Telescope event.  Dr. Muller Sanchez has accepted proposals to utilize the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope in his research on supermassive black holes and active galactic nuclei.  In his talk he provided an update on his research involving the James Webb Space Telescope, and its promise to reveal phenomena beyond the capabilities of the previous generations of land-based and space telesopes.  The event also featured a planetarium show utilizing the recent photos from James Webb as well as a outdoor telescope observation session.  Pictures from the event are shown below:

Dr. Muller Sanchez presenting at the Wonders of James Webb at MOSH   Dr. Muller Sanchez presenting at the Wonders of James Webb at MOSH

 

Welcome to Dr. Benjamin Keller

Dr. Benjamin KellerWe are pleased to welcome Dr. Benjamin Keller to the Department of Physics and Materials Science at the UofM. He joins us from the Astronomisches Rechin-Institut at the University of Heidelberg and holds a Ph.D. in Physics and Astronomy from McMaster University. His research explores how new approaches in applying observational insight and a careful examination of the underlying physical processes involved in stellar feedback can improve the fidelity of simulations of galaxy formation. Welcome and congratulations, Dr. Keller!

 

2022 Physics Summer Camp at the UofM 

The Department of Physics and Materials Science hosted the 2022 Physics Summer Camp from July 25 to 29.  Camp attendees experienced the diversity of topics, instruments and applications of physics, featuring the department strengths in the areas of materials science and magnetic materials, biological and medical physics, soft robotics, space exploration, astronomy, galaxies and black holes, quantum materials and more. The students were able to explore hands-on activities, in particular, learning Cabout optics and the human eye through a laboratory model.  If you are interested in being involved in next year's Camp, please continue to monitor our website for the announcement in Spring 2023!

2022 Physics Summer Camp 2022 Physics Summer Camp 2022 Physics Summer Camp

 

Physics and Materials Science Students Refresh at Meeman Biological Station 

Several REU Student along with Dr. Firouzeh Sabri and Dr. Pollard at Meeman Biological Station.Some of the participants of the Physics and Materials Science 2022 Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) Students program at the UofM were able to take a brief break from the lab bench and computational desk to enjoy some fresh air at the beautiful Meeman Biological Station. Several of the students, along with Program Director Dr. Firouzeh Sabri, and Program Co-Director, Dr. Shawn Pollard. REUs are a great opportunity for undergraduate students to gain research experience, often visiting another department and focusing on a serious research problem for ten weeks.  At the completion of the program, the research results are presented in oral and written form.

 

 

 

 

 

UofM Physics Faculty Member Discussed Research on Local Television

Dr. Francisco Muller Sanchez, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Materials Science was interviewed by ABC24 Memphis regarding his research programs that utilized the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope.  Check it out below.

For more information, please visit Dr. Muller UofM webpage.

UofM Physics Graduate Student First Author of Article in High-Impact Journal

PhD student Bryson Krause, supervised by UofM Assistant Professor, Dr. Thang Hoang, was the first author of a recently published paper entitled, "Nonlinear Strong Coupling by Second-Harmonic Generation Enhancement in Plasmonic Nanopatch Antennas."  The article was published in the high-profile journal Advanced Optical Materials, which has an impact factor of 9.926.  The complete list of authors is Bryson Krause, Dhananjay Mishra, Jiyang Chen, Christos Argyropoulos, and Thang Hoang.  Congratulations to Bryson and Dr. Hoang.

UofM Physics Graduate Students Recipients of Awards

Juan Chen   Bryson Krause
Juan Chen   Bryson Krause

Congratulations to UofM Physics graduate students Juan Chen and Bryson Krause as they have received of the “Celebrate Student Success” Award. This award recognizes student accomplishments including publications, conference presentations, student leadership, and community service.

Juan Chen also received the following three awards:

  • “Dean's Award”. This award recognizes graduate students who have excelled academically and have either overcome tremendous odds to be successful or have consistently made contributions that benefit others.
  • “Provost’s Program/Track Outstanding Student Award”. This award recognizes students who have excelled academically and have made significant contributions to benefit others.
  • “GSA 20 under 35” Award.  Recognizing how difficult it is to complete graduate degrees consecutively or concurrently, this award recognizes 20 graduate students below age of 35 who have made a significant mark on the campus community through excellent teaching, innovative research, service to the campus and community, or general dedication above and beyond their performance in the classroom.

UofM Physics Faculty Members Drs. Chenhui Peng and Xiao Shen Receive Mentor Award from the Graduate Student Association 

Congratulations to Drs. Chenhui Peng and Dr. Xiao Shen for their efforts which have been recognized by the “Mentor Award” from the Graduate Student Association.  This award recognizes administrative and faculty members who have shown tremendous commitment to mentoring, advising, and supporting graduate students during the academic year. This award will be given to administration or faculty members who have made significant efforts in mentoring and advising graduate students to become professionals in their field, shape the graduate work of a graduate student, and/or provide exceptional personal support and development to a graduate student.

Dr. Chenhui Peng   Dr. Xiao Shen
Dr. Chenhui Peng   Dr. Xiao Shen

Congratulations to UofM Physics Undergraduate Students Joseph Duncan, Nicholas Nolen, and Cullen Rossmeissl

We are pleased to congratulate the Physics and Materials Science students listed below for their achievements and the award granted in recognition of their outstanding work.

  • Joseph Duncan for receiving the Highest Physics GPA Award as well as the Best Undergraduate Researcher Award, and Dr. Albert H. Woollett Scholarship in Physics
  • Nicholas Nolen for receiving Dr. Robert Marchini Scholarship in Physics!
  • Cullen Rossmeissl for receiving the Chi Beta Phi Science Award and the 2022 Outstanding Physics Student Award! 
Joseph Duncan, UofM Physics and Materials Science Student   Nicholas Nolan, UofM Physics and Materials Science Student   Cullen Rossmeissl, Student UofM Physics and Materials Science Student
Joseph Duncan   Nicholas Nolen   Cullen Rossmeissl

 

UofM Graduate Student Bryson Krause Receives Graduate Assistant Meritorious Teaching Award 

Bryson Kraus, Ph.D. Student at the UofM Physics and Materials ScienceOn April 26, 2022, PhD Candidate Bryson Krause was presented with the Graduate Assistant Meritorious Teaching Award. 

This awards acknowledges the importance of the instructional enterprise in the transmission, creation, and application of advanced knowledge by the university. Two awards are made annually to outstanding graduate teaching assistants (TAs) for their skill in transmitting knowledge in the classroom or laboratory. 

Bryson earned a BS in Physics (and another in Mechanical Engineering) from Mississippi State University in December 2018. He had a brief 2-year stint as an Industrial Engineer before moving to Memphis with his wife and 2-year old son, joining the program as a graduate assistant PhD student in August 2020. 

 

Samples Returned from the International Space Station

Dr. Sabri and her research group while receiving the phosphorus samples.

Dr. Firouzeh Sabri and her group received phosphor composite samples back from Aegis after flying on MISSE. The group traveled to their facility in Houston, and experienced exciting moments as they watched the de-integration of their samples.  Dr. Sabri and her group acknowledge Allison and Ian for their assistance during the visit.  This represents a wonderful learning opportunity for my students Jordan Darling  (UofM graduate student) and Grayson Nelms (UofM undergraduate student).

 

 

 

UofM Professor receives Grant from West Cancer Foundation

It is a pleasure to announce that Dr. Muhammad Shah Jahan has received a grant from the West Cancer Foundation to investigate “Freeing the Radicals: Enabling patients to better understand the care they need, through knowledge of free radicals and their relation to cancer.” These awards are very competitive, and we look forward to the results that we hope will provide insight for prevention of cancer-causing free radicals. Congratulations, Dr. Jahan!

UofM Assistant Professor Receives NSF-ERI Grant

We are pleased to announce that Dr Shawn Pollard has been awarded an NSF-ERI grant. Dr. Pollard is an Assistant Professor in the Department of  Physics and Materials Science at the UofM. The title of the proposal is "Compositionally modulated ferrimagnets for spin-orbitronic devices."  Congratulations, Dr Pollard!

Recognizing First Physics Ph.D. Graduate, Jiyang Chen

It a pleasure to recognize to recognize Jiyang Chen's completion of his Ph.D. degree in Physics under the supervision of Dr. Thang Hoang. Jiyang Chen defended his thesis, "Silicon-Based Nanostructures: Growth and Characterizations of Si2Te3 Nanowires and Nanoplates" in April 2021. His work developed a comprehensive understanding of properties of Si2Te3 nanostructures and to provide useful information on using these new nanomaterials as building blocks for RRAM devices, optoelectronic, and chemical sensing. In particular, it was demonstrated that the switching behavior of the Si2Te3 nanomaterials exhibit promise for applications in the Random Access Memory devices, while the anisotropic optical behavior is relevant in polarized sensor applications. Jiyang has accepted an offer from Bruker and will return to China, where he will work with various X-ray instrumentation that perform X-ray diffraction, and X-Ray fluorescence spectroscopy. His time and efforts at the University of Memphis have been greatly appreciated and he will be missed. Jiyang came to consider the people in the Department as a second family. He hopes to return to the United States in the future and would love to continue to support the Department of Physics and Materials Science at the University of Memphis in the future. On behalf of the Department of Physics and Materials Science, we wish Jiyang success in his future endeavours.

Fundraising Launch for Voyage Solar System Scale Model at Main UofM Campus; Please Follow Link to Explore and Donate

The Department of Physics and Materials Science is proud to announce UofM approval of a scale model of the solar system contingent on the funds being raised. The Voyage Solar System model is on a 10 billion-to-one scale, which corresponds to 2,000 feet from the Sun to Pluto for this model. It is envisioned that it would lie along a north-south walkway passing through the center of the main UofM campus as shown in the pictures below.  Please follow this link to learn more and donate.  Matching funds will be provided for up to $20,000 in donations.

Voyage Solar SystemVoyage Solar System

Dr. Meg Urry

Dr. Meg Urry of Yale University to Deliver 2021 Lois McGlothlin Donaldson Endowed Lecture in Physics (Register Here)

It is an honor to announce that Dr. Meg Urry will deliver the 2021 Lois McGlothlin Donaldson Endowed Lecture in Physics on the topic of Black Holes, Galaxies and the Evolution of the Universe. The lecture will be streamed online via Zoom on Friday, March 26, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. Dr. Urry is the Director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Yale University. This lecture will trace the development of black holes at the center of galaxies throughout the history of the universe as this influences galactic evolution. Descriptions of a black hole will be presented, and the process by which the universe evolved to its present state will be elucidated through the presentation of recent observations and computer simulations.

UM Physics Professor Discusses Nobel Prize Winning Work of his Ph.D. Advisor Dr. Reinhard Genzel

On December 8, 2020, the Nobel Prize Ceremony took place, in which Dr. Reinhard Genzel (along with Dr. Roger Penrose and Dr. Andrea Ghez) gave his Nobel Lectures and was awarded 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics. Please follow this link to see Dr. Muller Sanchez discuss the details of this scientific discovery. Additionally, Dr. Muller Sanchez shares what it was like to work with Dr. Genzel and the factors that contributed to his success.

Remembering UofM Emeritus Professor Narahari Achar

It grieves us to announce that Professor Emeritus Narahari Achar passed away on 23 April 2021. Dr. Narahari Achar joined the Physics faculty at the University of Memphis in 1984. He had a broad research interests ranging from topics in the electric properties of materials to applied fractional calculus to ancient astronomy and published prolifically in these areas. His wise, encouraging words and affable demeanor benefited his colleagues and students at the University of Memphis. He will be greatly missed.

We would invite you to visit Dr. Achar's online memorial, which is a testament to the positive impact his life had on faculty, staff, students--all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.

UofM Professor's Temperature Sensing Probe to be Tested in Space, currently on International Space Station

Dr. Firouzeh Sabri's research group at the UofM has been working on advancing the application of phosphor-based temperature measurements to space. This is a precise and low-cost technique for rapid temperature measurement over the range of 0°C to 1,200° C.  Nevertheless, materials outside of the protection of Earth's atmosphere must be resistant to the extreme temperatures and radiation of space, and thus they are now being tested in this environment on board the ISS. Results from this project will shed light on the radiation tolerance of phosphor powders and composites, providing critical information on the stability of the temperature-dependent properties of phosphor. This experiment will aid in determining the feasibility of using phosphor composite sensors for temperature measurements relevant to the healthcare, petroleum, and aerospace industries.  More information is available here

Assistant Professor leads two JWST studies of the inner workings of giant black holes 

Dr. Francisco Muller Sanchez is the PI of two successful James Webb Space Telescope proposals that will characterize the environments around supermassive black holes. The James Webb Space Telescope will be the world's premier space science observatory when it launches in 2021. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

NASA Office of STEM Engagement Grant awarded to Physics and Materials Science faculty member 

Dr. Firouzeh Sabri was awarded grant from NASA's Office of STEM Engagement (in collaboration with Dr. Stephanie Ivey) to convert content from her space sciences research into curriculum content for K-12. This will incorporate elements of Materials Physics at a suitable level for science classes. This work ties in nicely with Dr. Sabri's research in phosphor thermometry which was recently selected for investigation on board the International Space Station National Laboratory (ISSNL) and awarded a grant by ISSNL to conduct the work. Her project is currently scheduled for a February launch. Congratulations to Dr. Sabri and Dr. Ivey!

Physics and Materials Science faculty member among UofM faculty awarded a joint NSF ADVANCE grant

Dr. Firouzeh Sabri was awarded an NSF ADVANCE grant as a co-PrincipaI Investigator (co-PI) in collaboration with Dr. Esra Ozdenerol (PI) and fellow co-PIs Drs. Stephanie Ivey, Craig Steward, Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw, Jacob Allen, and CAS Dean Abby Parrill-Baker. The purpose of the supported work is the fostering of gender equity in STEM throughout the UofM. Specifically, the intended outcome is an increasingly inclusive campus environment reflected in recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing of STEM women faculty, especially underrepresented minorities. Congratulations to Dr. Sabri and all the project PIs!

Dr. Kelly Holley-Bockelmann of Vanderbilt University to Deliver the 2022 Lois McGlothlin Donaldson Endowed Lecture in Physics

Dr. Kelly Holley-BockelmannIt is an honor to announce that Dr. Kelly Holley-Bockelmann will deliver the 2022 Lois McGlothlin Donaldson Endowed Lecture in Physics e2022 Endowed Lecturentitled, "Bringing Gravity to Light. The  lecture will be held in the University Center Theatre on Friday, March 25, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. following a reception at 6:00 p.m. Dr. Holley-Bockelmann is an Associate Professor in Astronomy at Vanderbilt University and Co-Director of the Fisk-to-Vanderbilt Master's-to-PhD Bridge Program. The lecture will provide an engaging description of the concept of gravity waves and the information that they carry. The principles and practice of the Laser Interferometet Gravity-Wave Observatories (LIGOs) will be discussed as well as the exciting 2015 detection of the first gravity waves. Please join us for this

 

Remembering Emeritus Professor Dr. Don Franceschetti, Friday, January 28, at 3 p.m. in the U.C.

Dr. Donald FranceschettiFranceschetti AnnouncementIt is with regret and sorrow that we communicate the passing of Dr. Don Franceschetti which occurred on July 1, 2019. Unfortunately, due to issues related to the pandemic the memorial had to be postponed. Dr. Franceschetti left his mark on the Department and the University through his leadership, service, and excellent research contributions. The Department is grateful to him for his dedication to the success of our students and years of service in leadership roles.

There will be a memorial for Dr. Franceschetti on January 28, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. in the Shelby Room of the University Center (UC Room 342). For those unable to attend in person, it will be possible to register and attend via Zoom. A pdf version of this announcement is included to the right.

James Webb Space Telescope Launch

The upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope is an exciting event for the scientific community. We are pleased to hear from Dr. Francisco Muller Sanchez from the Department of Physics and Materials Science at the University of Memphis to describe what this event means for him and his group, and how the data they obtain will be used in their research. For more information, please visit Dr. Muller Sanchez's page.

 

Physics Alumnus Dr. Rex Gandy Discusses His Career and the Impact of Physics on It

Dr. Rex Gandy

Dr. Gandy shares that his course of study and mentors at the UofM influenced his career path, and we celebrate the achievements of an alumnus of the department. These insights into Dr. Gandy's thoughts about physics before, during and after his time as a student at the UofM provide helpful perspectives for students interested in or currently pursuing degrees or careers in physics. Read more here.

 

Remembering UofM Emeritus Professor Narahari Achar

It grieves us to announce that Professor Emeritus Narahari Achar passed away on April 23, 2021. Dr. Narahari Achar joined the Physics faculty at the University of Memphis in 1984. He had a broad research interests ranging from topics in the electric properties of materials to applied fractional calculus to ancient astronomy and published prolifically in these areas. His wise, encouraging words and affable demeanor benefited his colleagues and students at the University of Memphis. He will be greatly missed.

We would invite you to visit Dr. Achar's online memorial, which is a testament to the positive impact his life had on faculty, staff, students--all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.

UM Physics Professor Discusses Nobel Prize Winning Work of his Ph.D. Advisor Dr. Reinhard Genzel

On December 8, 2020, the Nobel Prize Ceremony took place, in which Dr. Reinhard Genzel (along with Dr. Roger Penrose and Dr. Andrea Ghez) gave his Nobel Lectures and was awarded 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics. Please follow this link to see Dr. Muller Sanchez discuss the details of this scientific discovery. Additionally, Dr. Muller Sanchez shares what it was like to work with Dr. Genzel and the factors that contributed to his success.

UofM Physics and Materials Science Department Recognized in AIP Survey

A recent report published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP), surveying Enrollments and Degrees in physics departments across the nation from 2016 to 2018, named the Uof M Physics and Materials Science Department among the top 12 percent of masters-granting departments for 15 bachelor degrees granted. For more information, please see the AIP report.

UofM Physics Student Participates in Prestigious Astronomy Summer Research Program

Savannah Woods

During summer 2020, student Savannah Woods participated in a summer research program at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Charlottesville, VA. Savannah--who is an undergraduate student at the UofM majoring in Physics with an Astronomy concentration--performed research at the NRAO studying Luminous InfraRed Galaxies (LIRGs). As their name suggests, these galaxies possess large luminosities in the infra-red portion of the electromagnetic spectrum due to enhanced star formation typically originating from galactic mergers. Savannah analyzed data from the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, and Herschel (a space-based, infrared observatory). The experience provided the opportunity to work closely with leading astronomers from University of Virginia, UMass Amherst, Universidad Nacional Autonóma de Honduras, and Caltech among others, as well as to meet other undergraduate and graduate physics and astronomy students from other institutions. Savannah will be continuing her summer project as a student intern with the NRAO throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. Savannah's research talk is available here. For more information about Astronomy at the University of Memphis, please visit Dr. Muller Sanchez's page.

Welcome to Dr. Shawn Pollard!

It is our pleasure to offer a warm welcome to Dr. Shawn Pollard who joins the University of Memphis Department of Physics and Materials Science as Assistant Professor. We look forward to working with him. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Pollard. Stop past Manning Hall to greet him, even if you have to wait until campus opens fully.

Congratulations to the 2020 MS Graduating Class

Graduates

The Department of Physics and Materials Science recognizes the wonderful accomplishments of the students who have graduated with MS degrees in August 2020. Congratulations to Dipendra Singh Khatri, Netra Dhakal, Yu Zhu, Kamal Ranabhat, Deepa Guragain, Juan Chen, Negar Charchi, Subash Bhandari, and Trae Staggers. We are proud of you, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Remembering Dr. Donald Franceschetti, Professor Emeritus at UM

In July 2020, we commemorate the one-year anniversary of the passing of Dr. Donald Franceschetti. Dr. Franceschetti was a valued member of the department faculty and made numerous contributions in teaching, research, and leadership. A memorial lecture and reception to honor him and his many contributions had been planned and scheduled; unfortunately, it had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. He is greatly missed, and we are grateful for all the ways in which he enriched the lives of his colleagues and students at the University of Memphis. We look forward to a time, when life returns to normal, in which we will be able to remember him together.

DNA Self-Assembled to Form UM Logo Featured in Peer-Reviewed Journal

DNA self-assembled into UM Logo

Command the DNA molecular self-assembly into the shape of the UM logo to represent the University of Memphis. This work was recently published in Physical Review Applied 13, 014026 (2020). The work was done by Mr. Netra Dhakal and Dr. Jinghua Jiang from Dr. Chenhui Peng's Active Soft Matter Laboratory.

Physics faculty member awarded NIH grant

Dr. Thang Hoang (in collaboration with Dr. Xiaohua Huang, Chemistry) has recently been awarded an NIH grant to support a project titled "Single exosome protein profiling with surface enhanced Raman scattering imaging". This project aims at developing a technique to detect cancer from single exosomes by using plasmonic nanoparticles. The main mechanism relies on the enhanced Raman scattering by the presence of metal nanoparticles such as gold nanostars and nanorods. Because of its very high sensitivity, this technique allows for the detection of breast cancer at early stages. The award total is $415,740 and runs from July 2020 until June 2023. For more information about Dr. Hoang's research lab, visit his webpage. His biographical information and publications can be found on his faculty profile pages. Congratulations to Dr. Hoang!

Physics faculty member awarded NSF grant

Dr. Mohamed Laradji was recently awarded an NSF grant to support a project titled "Membrane-Mediated Interactions between Anisotropic Nanoparticles". This project utilizes coarse-grained numerical simulations and theory to investigate effective interactions between anisotropic nanoparticles and their self-assembly, which are mediated by their adhesion on lipid membranes. The results of this project are important for the development of nanomaterials for a variety of biomedical applications, such as biosensing, diagnostics, drug delivery, magnetic hyperthermia and photothermal therapy. The award total is $309,367 and runs from January 2020 until December 2022. For more information, please visit Dr. Laradji's research webpage.

PhD program in Applied Physics approved by the state

On Jan 31st, 2020, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission approved the Department's PhD program in Applied Physics. The program will start in Fall 2020 and is now accepting applicants. The application deadline is April 1st. For more information, please visit the Prospective PhD student webpage.

Physics faculty awarded prestigious Ralph E. Powe Enhancement Award

Dr. Thang Ba Hoang has recently been recognized by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) with the 2018 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award in Physical Sciences. The Awards (35 faculty awarded nationwide) provide seed money for junior faculty at ORAU member institutions to conduct their research. These awards are intended to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty and result in new funding opportunities. For more information about Dr. Hoang's research lab, visit his webpage. Congratulations to Dr. Hoang! His bio and publications can be found on his faculty profile pages.

Physics faculty members receive NSF grants

Dr. Xiao Shen and Dr. Jingbiao Cui have recently been awarded an NSF grant to support a project titled "Silicon Telluride, A 2D Material with Unique Variable Structure." The research team combines theoretical and experimental studies to develop 2D materials with desirable properties and to achieve a fundamental understanding of the unique phenomenon in silicon telluride, which is expected to make significant impact on the field of low dimensional materials, electronic and optoelectronic industry. The research activities are integrated with educational efforts, augmenting the undergraduate and graduate curricula through hands-on projects, enriched course materials, and summer workshops on nanomaterials to inspire the students' interest in science, The total award is $392,679 and it runs from July 1st 2017 through June 30th 2020. For more information on the recipients' research, please follow their links on our Physics Faculty webpage.

Dr. Thang Ba Hoang has also recently been awarded an NSF grant  to support his project titled "Directional Superradiant Light Emission from Epsilon-Near-Zero Plasmonic Nanochannels." The project utilizes experimental and theoretical approaches to help realize new materials and structures that enable controlled light emission for use in next generation energy efficient electronics, such as nanoscale lasers, as well as well advanced optical communications and sensing technologies. The project supports undergraduate and graduate student involvement in research as a means of encouraging pursuit of advanced study and research careers in nanophotonics. The total award amounts $361,177 and it runs from July 1st 2017 through June 30th 2020. Read more on Dr. Hoang's research Electronic and Photonic Nanomaterials Laboratory.

Interested undergraduate and graduate students (Masters and Doctoral) are welcome to participate in these cutting-edge research projects. We encourage interested  students to apply. To get detailed information about these opportunities, contact Dr. Hoang, Dr. Shen or Dr. Cui to express your interest and learn more about their ongoing projects.

Congratulations to Dr. Hoang, Dr. Shen and Dr. Cui!  

Dr. Shen selected as Early Career Research Award (ECRA) recipient

Dr. Xiao Shen has been selected by the College's Graduate Council as one of the recipients of an Early Career Research Award (ECRA). The members of the ECRA subcommittee, who reviewed the materials, were highly impressed with both the quality and the amount of research productivity of Dr. Shen and all of the recipients. This award carries with it the sum of $500, available over the 2017-2018 academic year. The money can be used to purchase books, for professional travel, or in some way that furthers your research; however, it cannot be used as salary. Recipients will also be recognized during the CAS faculty meeting in August with a plaque. The other 2017 awardees are selected Inmaculada Gomez-Soler, World Languages and Literature; Kathryn Howell, Psychology. Read more about Dr. Shen's research at his faculty webpage.

The Lois McGlothlin Donaldson Endowed Lecture in Physics

Dr. Clifford Will will present "Black Holes, Waves of Gravity & Other Warped Ideas of Dr. Einstein," as the second Lois McGlothlin Donaldson Endowed Lecture in Physics for 2017. The event is March 31 in the University Center Theatre with a reception beginning at 6:00 p.m and lecture at 6:30 p.m. More on this event.

Congratulations on the great impact of Physics research team

Cumulative Downloads By Countries (Total: 1500) Microscopic Formulation of Fractional Theory of ViscoelasticityDrs. Narahari Achar and John Hanneken received notification from Intech, the World's largest Science, Technology & Medicine Open Access book publisher that their book chapter has been downloaded over 1500 times. The chapter titled, "Microscopic Formulation of Fractional Theory of Viscoelasticity" is published in the book, Viscoelasticity - From Theory to Biological Applications. The chapter was downloaded in Brazil, Germany, India, China and USA. Intech Article Stats

Physics professor receives award

Narahari AcharDr. Narahari Achar received the Donald E. Osterbrock Prize for his contribution to the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (2nd edition). The award is given to the author or authors of a book "judged to advance the field of the history of astronomy" by The AAS Historical Astronomy Division. View Certificate.

Dr. Achar also received the World Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES) 2016 Abhinandanam for Outstanding Service to the Vedic Studies, New Delhi, December 2016. See Award.

Dr. Naseeb Shaheen Scholarship Awarded to Physics and Biology Major

Martina RodriguezMartina Rodriguez Sala, Physics and Biology major, is the recipient of the 2016 Dr. Naseeb Shaheen Scholarship and is currently working on her research in Experimental Materials Physics under the supervision of Dr F Sabri. She is also the recipient of an Helen Hardin Honors Summer Research Fellowship. Congratulations Martina for receiving this award! This scholarship is awarded to students majoring in Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, or Geography who plan to become high school teachers in one or more of these subjects.

 

Faculty Member awarded Ralph E. Powe Enhancement Award in Physical Sciences

The Oak Ridge Associated Universities recognized Dr. Xiao Shen with the 2016 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award in Physical Sciences. The Awards provide seed money for research by junior faculty at ORAU member institutions. These awards are intended to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty and result in new funding opportunities. For more information about Dr. Shen's research, visit his webpage.

Physics Faculty Recognized for Exceptional Teaching and Research

Dr. Mohamed Laradji is the recipient of the Alumni Association Distinguished Research in Science, Engineering and Mathematics. The Alumni Association may make up to five awards annually to faculty who have brought honor and recognition to the University through their research or creative activities. 

Ms. Joanne Rhodes is the recipient of the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation Award for Teaching award. The Briggs Award recognizes teaching excellence at the undergraduate level and overall commitment to undergraduate education.

Both awards will be presented at the Faculty Convocation. (UofM press release, UofM Will Recognize Exceptional Teaching and Research at Faculty Convocation)

UofM Scholars Publish Paper in Esteemed Journal:

Congratulations to our very own Xiumei Geng and Weiwei Sun (both students of Dr. Jingbiao, Chair), who recently published an article in the leading journal Nature Communications. The article, entitled "Pure and stable metallic phase molybdenum disulfide nanosheets for hydrogen evolution reaction", reveals new possibilities for the synthesis of stable, two-dimensional metallic-phase MoS2 nanosheets in water. 

Internships and Fellowships

Kate MitchellKate Mitchell, an undergraduate Physics major, is the recipient of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) summer internship fellowship, to be held at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. During her internship she will be working on High Strength Structural Carbon Nanotube Composites for Spacecraft Structures. Kate is currently conducting materials research in the Bio, Nano, and Space Materials Laboratory under Dr Firouzeh Sabri's supervision. Kate is also the recipient of the 2015 Marchini Physics scholarship. Kate says, "I'm really honored to have been given these opportunities and look forward to spending my summer at NASA". Congratulations to Kate!

Scholarships

The 2016/17 Dr. Robert Marchini Scholarship was awarded to Jacob Hadley, a third year physics senior in our 3+2 accelerated master's program. His research concentration is in material physics. Past recipient of the scholarship is Ms. Katherine Elizabeth Mitchell.

Contributions

You may still make a contribution to the Physics Undergraduate Scholarships Marchini scholarship, the Woollett Scholarship.

50th Anniversary of the Department of Physics

Mr. Lewis O’Kelly was present when the University Of Memphis Department Of Physics was established, and he recently reminded us of our upcoming 50th anniversary. We will commemorate the milestone on 7/1 and host a celebration in fall.  More information will be sent soon.

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