Ohio University Department of Physics and Astronomy

Ohio University Department of Physics and Astronomy This is our online Common Room where we discuss topics and events relevant to our students, alumni, faculty, staff, and the greater science community.
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Our faculty members are recognized leaders in their fields. At the core of our research are our graduate students, whom we work alongside in order to unlock the secrets of nature. Whether you do theoretical or experimental work, and whether you do it in Athens or on another continent, the work that you, as a student, perform during your time at Ohio University will have an impact on your chosen field. The education you receive will be first-rate, and the professional connections you develop while completing your degree will serve you well throughout your career. OUR GRADUATE STUDENTS At present, approximately eighty students are pursuing a Ph.D. through our program. They come from Ohio, other states across the US, and 30 countries worldwide. SUCCESS IN RESEARCH AND CAREERS Annual grant support from multiple agencies has recently exceeded $5.8M. Many of our faculty members are Fellows of the American Physical Society. Graduates go on to careers at national laboratories, in industry, and in academia, with a significant number finding post-doctoral employment at major research institutions and universities. Our alumni include several very successful scientists, including one Nobel Prize winner. RESEARCH FACILITIES Major research facilities include a 4.5 MV high-intensity tandem Van de Graaff accelerator with unique capabilities, used by visiting scientists from domestic and foreign universities, as well as national laboratories; a helium liquefaction and recovery system; and extensive laboratories housed in four buildings. We employ over twenty technical and research personnel. This enables timely, forefront research pertinent to systems ranging from nanochips to neutron stars. Theoretical work is carried out using on-campus PCs, Macs, and clusters, as well as on the 75 tera FLOP, 1625-node IBM cluster at the Ohio Supercomputer Center. Ohio University is a member institution at the MDM Observatory on Kitt Peak, Arizona. Our department also has extensive partnerships and collaborations with scientists, national laboratories, and universities around the world.

Mission: We aim to equip our students with an education in the fundamentals of the discipline; instill in them the knowledge and techniques required to carry out original research; nurture their development as independent scientists; and provide them with opportunities to grow as teachers and communicators.

Congratulations to Ohio University doctoral student Abinash Pun who successfully defended his dissertation, ‘Measureme...
07/24/2019

Congratulations to Ohio University doctoral student Abinash Pun who successfully defended his dissertation, ‘Measurements of Di-Jet π0 − h± Correlations in Light-Heavy Ion Collisions at RHIC-PHENIX’!

Abinash has accepted a position as a postdoctoral associate at @Fermilab (NMSU) near Chicago to work on the SpinQuest collaboration. Best wishes!

Fawns chillin’ near Ohio University Edwards Accelerator Lab. Deer population rate accelerating...
07/24/2019

Fawns chillin’ near Ohio University Edwards Accelerator Lab. Deer population rate accelerating...

This week is a "two-for-two" in the Drabold group! Ohio University alumnus Kiran Prasai (PhD 2017) at Stanford Universit...
07/23/2019
High Precision Detection of Change in Intermediate Range Order of Amorphous Zirconia-Doped Tantala Thin Films Due to Annealing

This week is a "two-for-two" in the Drabold group! Ohio University alumnus Kiran Prasai (PhD 2017) at Stanford University and OHIO Distinguished Professor David Drabold published a paper today in ‘Physical Review Letters.’

A key limitation of the sensitivity of Gravitational Wave detection is the thin-film coatings on interferometer mirrors. In this paper, Prasai and his team explored a new amorphous thin-film coating and by joint experimental and modeling analysis, determined how the structure of the network affects thermal noise and therefore sensitivity, pointing the way to significant improvements in next generation LIGO.

Understanding the local atomic order in amorphous thin film coatings and how it relates to macroscopic performance factors, such as mechanical loss, provides an important path towards enabling the accelerated discovery and development of improved coatings. High precision x-ray scattering measurement...

Congrats!! Ohio University alumnus Bishal Bhattarai (PhD 2019) at Washington University in Saint Louis, OHIO physics doc...
07/23/2019
Ab initio inversion of structure and the lattice dynamics of a metallic glass: the case of Pd40Ni40P20 - IOPscience

Congrats!! Ohio University alumnus Bishal Bhattarai (PhD 2019) at Washington University in Saint Louis, OHIO physics doctoral student Rajendra Thapa and Distinguished Professor David Drabold published a paper this week showing that it was possible to invert diffraction data using their “Force Enhanced Atomic Refinement” (FEAR) method to determine the structure of complex metallic glasses. They also demonstrated that in addition to being at least as accurate as conventional modeling, it is about five times faster.

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Congratulations Alexander Govorov and our former postdoc Lucas Besteiro for your breakthrough, for publishing your resul...
07/22/2019
‘Fast and Furious’ Researchers Sheds Light on Nanostructures - Ohio University | College of Arts & Sciences

Congratulations Alexander Govorov and our former postdoc Lucas Besteiro for your breakthrough, for publishing your results in 'Nano Today', and for that catchy title 'The Fast and Furious..." #Nanostructures #UltraFastHotElectrons #BestPaperTitleEver

"Catching ultra-fast energetic (hot) electrons created by light photons in plasmonic nanodevices has been a nearly impossible task until now."

  Catching ultra-fast energetic (hot) electrons created by light photons in plasmonic nanodevices has been a nearly impossible task until now. A research team led by Ohio University Distinguished Professor of Physics Alexander Govorov has published a paper, “The fast and the furious: Ultrafast ho...

Job well done at the National Nuclear Physics Summer School this month in Knoxville, TN, Joey Rowley! #quarks #baryons
07/19/2019
Rowley Wins Praise at Poster Competition - Ohio University | College of Arts & Sciences

Job well done at the National Nuclear Physics Summer School this month in Knoxville, TN, Joey Rowley! #quarks #baryons

Ohio University physics graduate student Joey Rowley was selected from a poster competition to give a talk at the 2019 National Nuclear Physics Summer School (NNPSS), held this year in Knoxville, TN. The NNPSS is a two-week series of lectures for graduate students from across the country in the fiel...

Welcome back Pratheesh Jakkala!! It's so nice to have you in the department this summer, PJ!
07/15/2019
Jakkala Reflects on Physics Graduate Program Strengths - Ohio University | College of Arts & Sciences

Welcome back Pratheesh Jakkala!! It's so nice to have you in the department this summer, PJ!

By Kate Nichols NQPI editorial intern Dr. Pratheesh Jakkala graduated from Ohio University with his Ph.D. in physics in 2016. His research focused on the fabrication of solar cells and III-V Nitrides using a sputtering method and characterization of solar cells and thin films. Jakkala has most recen...

Congratulations to Sudhanva Shriram Lalit for successfully defending your dissertation, "The Role of the Equation of Sta...
07/01/2019

Congratulations to Sudhanva Shriram Lalit for successfully defending your dissertation, "The Role of the Equation of State in Core-Collapse Supernovae, Neutron Stars and their Mergers"! Well done! #neutronstars

Dr. Julie Roche quoted in Scienmag: “This year again, all applicants did an excellent job identifying compelling proje...
07/01/2019
Prized postdoc works to demystify process behind quark combination | Scienmag: Latest Science and Health News

Dr. Julie Roche quoted in Scienmag: “This year again, all applicants did an excellent job identifying compelling projects and writing competitive proposals. So, the choice was quite difficult for the selection committee,” said Julie Roche, the 2018-2019 Jefferson Lab User Organization chair and professor at Ohio University. “I want to thank the selection committee, led by University of Virginia Professor Kent Paschke, for its careful work. And I want to also thank JSA for funding the prize once again.”

Theorist Andrea Signori wins the 2019 JSA Postdoctoral Prize for work to explain how quarks build particlesCredit: DOE's Jefferson Lab A goal of the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility is to learn more about particles known as quarks. But those studies ...

Congratulations to Kashi Subedi, Kiran Prasai, M Kozicki, and David Drabold for your paper, published this week in Physi...
06/28/2019
Structural origins of electronic conduction in amorphous copper-doped alumina

Congratulations to Kashi Subedi, Kiran Prasai, M Kozicki, and David Drabold for your paper, published this week in Physical Review Materials! #ElectricalConductivity #Microstructure #TransportPhenomena

Drabold: "In this paper we determine the atomic structure and compute the conducting pathways for a novel computer memory device: copper-doped alumina. We show by direct computation how the device works on an atomistic level."

We perform an ab initio modeling of amorphous copper-doped alumina ($a\text{\ensuremath{-}}{\mathrm{Al}}_{2}{\mathrm{O}}_{3}$:Cu), a prospective memory material based on resistance switching, and study the structural origin of electronic conduction in this material. We generate molecular dynamics ba...

Ohio University Department of Physics and Astronomy
06/27/2019

Ohio University Department of Physics and Astronomy

Listen to a NEW podcast from Ohio University's alumni magazine 'Ohio Today', 2019 spring issue features astronomers Geor...
06/27/2019
Dark star - Ohio Today radio

Listen to a NEW podcast from Ohio University's alumni magazine 'Ohio Today', 2019 spring issue features astronomers George Eberts and Ryan Chornock in 'Dark Star'!

"Join us as we travel from backyard stargazing to the depths of interstellar space, where Chornock has potentially discovered a major missing piece of evidence relating to stars, supernovae, and the birth of black holes."

"In this episode of Ohio Today radio, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy Ryan Chornock leads us on an exploration of supernovae – the universe’s most spectacular events – showing how what humans have regarded as a vast, unchanging landscape is, in actuality, anything but."
#OHIOobservatory #OHIOastronomy #OHIOAlumni

OHIO astronomer Ryan Chornock has potentially discovered a major missing piece of evidence relating to stars, supernovae, and the birth of black holes.

Congratulations to doctoral student Ali Khaledi who successfully defended his dissertation, 'Collective Dynamics of Exci...
06/25/2019

Congratulations to doctoral student Ali Khaledi who successfully defended his dissertation, 'Collective Dynamics of Excitable Tree Networks'!! Dr. Khaledi Nasab has accepted a postdoctoral fellow position in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University. We are so happy for you, Ali!!

06/19/2019
Just another work day

Clippinger Lab window bird's eye view of new Chemistry & Biochemistry building site-- fun with zambonis (Credit: Emma Rice)

Congratulations Md Abdullah Al Mamun for successfully defending your doctoral dissertation 'Nuclei, Nucleons & Quarks fo...
06/10/2019

Congratulations Md Abdullah Al Mamun for successfully defending your doctoral dissertation 'Nuclei, Nucleons & Quarks for Astrophysical Applications’! Well done!!

Congratulations to Ohio University Honors Tutorial College Astrophysics senior Grant Merz and Engineering Physics senior...
05/23/2019

Congratulations to Ohio University Honors Tutorial College Astrophysics senior Grant Merz and Engineering Physics senior Graham Tupper for their recent induction into the Phi Beta Kappa Society!

Some PBK history: Phi Beta Kappa has pursued its mission of fostering and recognizing excellence in the liberal arts and sciences since 1776. The Lambda of Ohio Chapter received its charter from the national organization in 1928. Less than 10 percent of graduates from the College of Arts & Sciences and Honors Tutorial College are selected for membership.

Invitation to membership is a reflection of outstanding academic achievement and shows a commitment to the liberal arts and sciences and to freedom of inquiry and expression.

Kudos to astrophysics major Miranda Carver who received the 2018-19 Physics & Astronomy Outstanding Undergraduate Teachi...
05/17/2019

Kudos to astrophysics major Miranda Carver who received the 2018-19 Physics & Astronomy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Assistant award! Awards ceremony MC Dr. Sergio E. Ulloa presented her with a certificate.

Dr. Steve Goss said, "Miranda has been a great TA this year; her interactions with students are engaging and informative.” Congratulations, Miranda!!

Congratulations to graduate student Peter Williams who received a 2018-19 College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Teachin...
05/17/2019

Congratulations to graduate student Peter Williams who received a 2018-19 College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Teaching Assistant award!! Our awards ceremony MC Dr. Sergio E. Ulloa presents him with a certificate.

Dr. Steve Goss said, "“Peter adds a great deal to the dynamics of the lab; he relates well to the students and doesn’t hesitate to explain a concept when needed.” Keep up the good work!!

Congratulations to Dale Igram who successfully defended his PhD dissertation today, titled 'Computational Modeling and C...
05/17/2019

Congratulations to Dale Igram who successfully defended his PhD dissertation today, titled 'Computational Modeling and Characterization of Amorphous Materials'!! And thanks to you and Esperanza for a fabulous meal to celebrate.

Congratulations to Ali Khaledi Nasab who received an American Physical Society (APS) Division of Biological Physics 2019...
05/16/2019

Congratulations to Ali Khaledi Nasab who received an American Physical Society (APS) Division of Biological Physics 2019 Student Travel Award. His grant helped to defray costs to attend the annual APS meeting in Boston this past March where he presented a paper, 'Dynamics of excitable tree networks: Application to sensory neurons'.

He is pictured here with 2018 Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland.

Khaledi Nasab’s research is devoted to the understanding of dynamical principles of functioning and information processing in sensory neurons with a tree-like morphology of their myelinated terminals. “Examples of such neurons include the sensory innervation of muscle spindles, pain receptors, mechanoreceptors, and electroreceptors,” said Alexander Neiman, Professor of Physics and Khaledi Nasab’s dissertation adviser. “We use theoretical and computational approaches to understand mechanisms of spike generations and information coding in these neurons.”

Khaledi Nasab enjoyed the diverse talks and met well-known scholars in the field. “I made many new friends and had meals with some of the best physicists in my field. I visited one of our department’s colloquium speakers from MIT (John Bush) and even met the 2018 Nobel Laureates Donna Strickland and Gerard Mourou,” he said. “Dr. Strickland was very approachable and meeting her was a highlight. Attending these kinds of meeting allow graduate students a chance to meet top scientists and know where we stand with our research.”

Congratulations to Dr. Stephen Goss who received the Physics & Astronomy 2018-19 Outstanding Staff Award! Steve serves a...
05/16/2019

Congratulations to Dr. Stephen Goss who received the Physics & Astronomy 2018-19 Outstanding Staff Award! Steve serves as the Department’s Director of the Clyde and Karen Baker Physics and Physical Sciences Lab Facilities. Here our April Awards Ceremony MC Dr. Sergio E. Ulloa presents him with his certificate.

“Steve is a valued member of our staff,” said Wayne Chiasson, the Department’s Administrator. “He has been proactive at making changes and modifications to lab space. He recently coordinated the changes in Clip 043 and Clip 031 to better accommodate our advanced labs. Additionally, he steps in and covers for a TA or faculty member when needed. We are lucky to have Steve as a part of our team.”

Thank you message from Dr. Mark Lucas: The Department of Physics and Astronomy sponsors several awards at the State Scie...
05/14/2019

Thank you message from Dr. Mark Lucas: The Department of Physics and Astronomy sponsors several awards at the State Science Day held in Columbus. Last Saturday morning 24 stalwart Ohio University representatives left Athens at 5:45 AM for a full morning of judging 220 amazing projects from kids grades 5 through 12.
Pictured here is our army of judges, which includes representatives from Chemistry, Geology, Plant Biology and two local school teachers in addition to faculty and students from our Department. THANK YOU, JUDGES!

05/14/2019
Reasons to Join OHIO Society of Physics Students

The Society of Physics Students (SPS) Ohio University chapter President Kate Nichols shares why she invites physics and astronomy majors to join SPS during the school year-- meet other students at lunchtime once a week, learn about faculty research, get involved in science-based community activities, to name a few. #SocietyofPhysicsStudents

05/08/2019
HTC Senior Ryan Tumbleson Manipulates a Machine the Size of a Molecule

Ryan Tumbleson graduated from the Ohio University Honors Tutorial College in engineering physics. He also double-majored in electrical engineering. Ryan interned each summer during his undergraduate years at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, under the direction of Ohio University physics professor Saw-Wai Hla. Ryan used a scanning tunneling microscope to study the tiniest of machines.

The goal of the research team is to develop more complex and useful molecular machines. Sometime in the future, molecular machines may have the capability of increasing computing power, revolutionizing life-saving drug delivery, as well as other benefits to society.

Ryan begins his graduate school studies in September at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Dr. Venki Ramakrishnan's two-day visit included meeting Molecular & Cellular Biology faculty and students, Chemistry & B...
05/05/2019

Dr. Venki Ramakrishnan's two-day visit included meeting Molecular & Cellular Biology faculty and students, Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty and students, Honors Tutorial undergraduates, he gave a talk at a special biology colloquium, another talk at an evening public lecture, 'Gene Machine' book signings, and had some quieter moments with physics faculty. And that was Thursday.

On Friday, Venki received an honorary degree from Ohio University https://www.ohio-forum.com/?p=65583, and later toured the Konneker Research Center Edison Biotechnology Institute and met faculty and students. He topped the day with a get-together with physics emeriti faculty. One might say he came full circle back to his physics department roots.

Dr. Robert Kirshner's whirlwind visit to our campus culminated in receiving an honorary degree Friday morning. The day b...
05/05/2019
Kirshner Receives Honorary Degree from OHIO - Ohio University | College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Robert Kirshner's whirlwind visit to our campus culminated in receiving an honorary degree Friday morning. The day before (Thurs), Bob gave a riveting and informative talk at the Ohio University Astrophysics Institute colloquium, as well as met with many small groups of students, astronomy faculty, and administrators throughout the day. Many good discussions were had by all. #OHIOgrad2019

Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis conferred an OHIO Honorary Doctor of Science upon Dr. Robert P. Kirshner. Kirshner is Clowes Research Professor of Science at Harvard University and Chief Program Officer for Science at the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, where he leads a team responsible f...

05/04/2019
HTC Senior Anika Friedman’s thesis challenges 30 years of research

Ohio University Honors Tutorial College senior Anika Friedman double-majored in neuroscience and physics. Here she describes her neurofilament research and why it's important. Her immediate plans after graduation are to work with her thesis adviser, Distinguished Professor Peter Jung to prepare her paper for publication. #AxonalGrowth #Neurofilament #ComputerSimulations #SocietyofPhysicsStudents

Here is a review by NQPI student editorial intern and PhD candidate Amanda Marie Biederman (Biological Sciences, '19) ab...
05/04/2019
Nobel Laureate Venki Ramakrishnan Implores Students to Follow Their Own Path - Ohio University | College of Arts & Sciences

Here is a review by NQPI student editorial intern and PhD candidate Amanda Marie Biederman (Biological Sciences, '19) about lectures she attended this week by one of Ohio University's most distinguished alumni and honorary degree recipients.

By Amanda Biederman NQPI editorial intern Venkatraman “Venki” Ramakrishnan was 19 years old when he left his home in Baroda, India to join the Ohio University community in 1971. A first-year graduate student in physics, Ramakrishnan had never dreamed that he would one day earn the Nobel Prize in...

Behind the scenes! #OHIOgrad2019 Congratulations!
05/04/2019

Behind the scenes! #OHIOgrad2019 Congratulations!

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