Experts in the News

To request a media interview, please reach out to School of Physics experts using our faculty directory, or contact Jess Hunt-Ralston, College of Sciences communications director. A list of faculty experts and research areas across the College of Sciences at Georgia Tech is also available to journalists upon request.

The science world is remembering W. Jason Morgan, who in 1967 developed the theory of plate tectonics — a framework that revolutionized the study of earthquakes, volcanoes and the slow, steady shift of the continents across the earth’s mantle. Morgan, who died July 31 at his home in Natick, Mass., attended Georgia Tech and received his B.S. from the School of Physics in 1955. 

The New York Times 2023-08-11T00:00:00-04:00

Researchers have developed a method to construct solid objects that roll down pre-determined paths, which they reckon could have applications in quantum mechanics and medicine. To get a ball of malleable clay to roll down a simple path, you can force it down a specific path once, squashing it as you go. Take it to the top again, restart it from the initial starting point on the ball's surface, and it will roll down the same path. The researchers took this principle to develop an algorithm that could produce a shape capable of following almost any pre-determined path, even making the weird-shaped solids out of 3D-printed plastic and solid ball-bearings (for weight) to prove the point. Elisabetta Matsumoto, assistant professor in the School of Physics, co-wrote an accompanying article to the study saying "future work developing for more precise mathematical understanding of the issue would help to connect this work to applications, as well as to open up more purely mathematical veins of research."

The Register 2023-08-09T00:00:00-04:00

J. Robert Oppenheimer, now the protagonist of a much-anticipated film, is today most known for his scientific leadership of the U.S. Manhattan Project, the World War II–era crash program to build the first-ever atomic bombs. But just a few years earlier, Oppenheimer had found himself pondering very different “weapons” of mass destruction: black holes — although it would be decades before that name arose. “It was influential; it was visionary,” says Feryal Özel, professor and chair of the School of Physics, of Oppenheimer’s work on black holes and neutron stars, the superdense corpses of expired massive stars. “He has a lasting impact.” Özel is a founding member of the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, which released the first-ever image of a black hole in 2019 — 80 years after Oppenheimer co-authored a paper theorizing that such objects could exist.

Scientific American 2023-07-21T00:00:00-04:00

The heart’s electrical system keeps all its muscle cells beating in sync. A hard whack to the chest at the wrong moment, however, can set up unruly waves of abnormal electrical excitation that are potentially deadly. The resulting kind of arrhythmia may be what caused the football player Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills to collapse on the field after he took a powerful hit during a 2023 National Football League game. In this Quanta podcast, Flavio Fenton, a professor in the School of Physics who studies the electrical dynamics of the heart, tells host Steve Strogatz about a new method under development for treating arrhythmias by stimulating the heart with mild, precisely timed shocks — or possibly even with light.

Quanta Magazine 2023-07-12T00:00:00-04:00

Human beings for millennia have gazed with awe at the vast torrent of stars — bright and dim — shining in Earth's night sky that comprise the Milky Way. Our home galaxy, however, is now being observed for the first time in a brand new way. Scientists said on Thursday they have produced an image of the Milky Way not based on electromagnetic radiation - light - but on ghostly subatomic particles called neutrinos. They detected high-energy neutrinos in pristine ice deep below Antarctica's surface, then traced their source back to locations in the Milky Way - the first time these particles have been observed arising from our galaxy. "This observation is ground-breaking. It established the galaxy as a neutrino source. Every future work will refer to this observation," said Ignacio Taboada, professor in the School of Physics and spokesperson for the IceCube research collaboration in Antarctica that produced the image. (The story was also covered in NPR, Popular MechanicsSmithsonian Magazine, Yahoo! News UKYahoo! News CanadaThe Jerusalem, APS (American Physical Society), Vice, El Pais, VOA Learning Englishbdnews24, SciTechDaily, PetaPixel, and Sinc.)

Reuters 2023-06-29T00:00:00-04:00

Georgia Tech researchers have been selected by NASA to lead a $7.5 million center that will study the lunar environment and the generation and properties of volatiles and dust. The Center for Lunar Environment and Volatile Exploration Research (CLEVER) will be led by Thomas Orlando, professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry with an adjunct appointment in the School of Physics. CLEVER is the successor to Orlando’s pioneering REVEALS (Radiation Effects on Volatiles and Exploration of Asteroids and Lunar Surfaces) center, and both are part of NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) program. 

India Education Diary 2023-06-26T00:00:00-04:00

Researchers at Seton Hill University, Pennsylvania State University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology looked to the mudskipper, the amphibious fish that spends more than half of its adult life on land to study the evolution of blinking. The study, published in an April edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that blinking may be one of the overlooked and yet important traits that allowed for the successful transition to life on land. Simon Sponberg, Dunn Family Associate Professor in the School of Physics and the School of Biological Sciences, was one of the researchers for the study. (The study was also covered in the Los Angeles Times High School Insider.)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2023-06-10T00:00:00-04:00

In this story about the puzzling behavior that goes on inside black holes, Quanta Magazine uses the 2017 first-ever image of the black hole at the heart of the M87 galaxy captured by an Event Horizon Telescope research team. That team included EHT founding members Feryal Özel, professor and chair of the School of Physics, and Dimitrios Psaltis, a professor in the School. The story also includes the recent machine learning-enhanced version of the image. 

Quanta Magazine 2023-06-06T00:00:00-04:00

After a three-year hiatus, scientists in the U.S. have just turned on detectors capable of measuring gravitational waves — tiny ripples in space itself that travel through the universe. Unlike light waves, gravitational waves are nearly unimpeded by the galaxies, stars, gas, and dust that fill the universe. This means that by measuring gravitational waves, astrophysicists can peek directly into the heart of some of these most spectacular phenomena in the universe. Since 2020, the Laser Interferometric Gravitational-Wave Observatory — commonly known as LIGO— has been sitting dormant while it underwent some exciting upgrades. These improvements will significantly boost the sensitivity of LIGO and should allow the facility to observe more-distant objects that produce smaller ripples in spacetime. Faculty and students in the School of Physics and Georgia Tech's Center for Relativistic Astrophysics were part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration when the observatory made the first direct observation of gravitational waves. Laura Cadonati, professor in the School of Physics and associate dean for Research in the College of Sciences, served as LIGO deputy spokesperson and was on its data analysis team.

Inverse 2023-05-28T00:00:00-04:00

A team of mechanical engineering students and alumni at Georgia Tech began developing and testing ForageFeeder, a $400 machine partly inspired by deer feeders that can disperse gorillas’ their meals at random intervals and locations throughout the day. Much like modern humans, zoo animals frequently deal with obesity due to a lack of activity. Tools and techniques such as the ForageFeeder not only promote Zoo Atlanta gorillas’ movement, but better simulate their natural foraging world. David Hu, professor in the School of Biological Sciences, the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, and the School of Physics, was faculty advisor for this project. (Read more about the story here.) 

Popular Science 2023-05-26T00:00:00-04:00

A small but growing group of researchers is fascinated by an organ we often take for granted. We rarely think about how agile our own tongue needs to be to form words or avoid being bitten while helping us taste and swallow food. But that’s just the start of the tongue’s versatility across the animal kingdom. Without tongues, few if any terrestrial vertebrates could exist. The first of their ancestors to slither out of the water some 400 million years ago found a buffet stocked with new types of foods, but it took a tongue to sample them. The range of foods available to these pioneers broadened as tongues diversified into new, specialized forms — and ultimately took on functions beyond eating. This examination of how animal tongues shaped biological diversity includes research from David Hu, professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Physics

Science 2023-05-25T00:00:00-04:00

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Regina Barber and Emily Kwong, hosts of the Short Wave podcast, about the top science stories of the week, including the mysteries of multicellular organisms as researched by William Ratcliff, associate professor and co-director of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Quantitative Biosciences program in the School of Biological Sciences. Ratcliff and several colleagues, including research scientist Ozan Bozdag, used snowflake yeast to initiate the first long-term evolution experiment aimed at evolving new kinds of multicellular organisms from single-celled ancestors in the lab. Other College of Sciences researchers involved include Seyed Alireza Zamani Dahaj, computational biologist, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Quantitative Biosciences, and the School of PhysicsThomas C. Day, Ph.D. candidate, School of Physics, and Peter Yunker, associate professor, School of Physics.  Anthony J. Burnetti, research scientist; Penelope Kahn, research technician; Dung T. Lac, research technician; Kai Tong, postdoctoral scholar; and Peter Conlin, postdoctoral scholar, are all from the School of Biological Sciences. (This segment was also run on Connecticut Public Radio and Georgia Public Broadcasting.) 

National Public Radio 2023-05-18T00:00:00-04:00


Dec 04

School of Physics Colloquium

Kirsty Wan (Exeter AC UK)

Dec 05

School of Physics Seminar - Prof. Guna Rajagopal

Opportunities for Innovation in the Search for Safe & Effective Medicines.

Dec 05

School of Physics Thesis Dissertation Defense

Research focusing on developing technology by incorporating graphene field-effect transistors (gFETs) with monoisotopic hexagonal boron nitride (hBN).  

Jan 18

GT Observatory Public Night: January 2024

A monthly occurrence of the GT Observatory's Public Night open to all who are interested in viewing celestial objects through our many telescopes here on campus.

Feb 15

GT Observatory Public Night: February 2024

A monthly occurrence of the GT Observatory's Public Night open to all who are interested in viewing celestial objects through our many telescopes here on campus.

Mar 09

The 2024 Atlanta Science Festival

Returning March 9–23, 2024, the Atlanta Science Festival is an annual public celebration of local science and technology.

Experts in the News

Georgia Tech scientists will soon have another way to search for neutrinos, those hard-to-detect, high-energy particles speeding through the cosmos that hold clues to massive particle accelerators in the universe—if researchers can find them. "The detection of a neutrino source or even a single neutrino at the highest energies is like finding a holy grail," says Nepomuk Otte, professor in the School of Physics. Otte is the principal investigator for the Trinity Demonstrator telescope that was recently built by his group and collaborators, and was designed to detect neutrinos after they get stopped within the Earth.

Science X 2023-11-18T00:00:00-05:00

The American Physical Society (APS) recently honored five MIT community members for their contributions to physics. The recipients include MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics postdoctoral scholar Chao Li, who received his Ph.D. from the School of Physics in 2022. He was awarded the Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Beam Physics Award from the APS.

MIT News 2023-11-16T00:00:00-05:00

For the undergraduate students who interned in quantum science laboratories and research groups as part of the second cohort of the Chicago Quantum Exchange’s (CQE) Open Quantum Initiative (OQI) Fellowship Program, this summer was a chance to immerse themselves in a fast-growing field — one that is driving the development of cutting-edge technology by harnessing the properties of nature’s smallest particles. Eight of the 18 fellows contributed to Q-NEXT, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Quantum Information Science Research Center led by DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory. One of the fellows is Anais El Akkad in the School of Physics, whose research this summer focused on studying the phenomenon of superradiance in a rare-earth doped crystal, which has potential applications to the development of quantum memories.

Argonne National Laboratory 2023-11-16T00:00:00-05:00