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.

A recent publication from the group of Prof. Dan Goldman made it to the Cover of Physical Review Letters vol. 132, issue 8 (https://journals.aps.org/prl/covers/132/8). The research article “Probing Hydrodynamic Fluctuation-Induced Forces with an Oscillating Robot”, by Steven W. Tarr, Joseph S. Brunner, Daniel Soto, and Daniel I. Goldman, Phys. Rev. Lett. 132, 084001 was published on 20 February 2024, and was also selected as an Editor’s Suggestion (https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.132.084001).

Physical Review Letters 2024-02-23T00:00:00-05:00

Ph.D. Robotics Student in Robotics Tianyu Wang and Postdoctoral Physics Scholar Christopher Pierce are developing snakelike, limbless robots. The robots could come in handy in search-and-rescue situations, where they could navigate collapsed buildings to find and assist survivors — and could readily move through confined and cluttered spaces such as debris fields, where walking or wheeled robots and human rescuers tend to fail.

The Conversation 2024-02-14T00:00:00-05:00

Scientists have been trying to build snakelike, limbless robots for decades. These robots could come in handy in search-and-rescue situations, where they could navigate collapsed buildings to find and assist survivors. Georgia Tech researchers Tianyu Wang, a robotics Ph.D. student, and Christopher Pierce, a postdoctoral scholar in the School of Physics, recently shared how they go about building these robots, drawing inspiration from creatures like worms and snakes. Wang and Pierce work with Daniel Goldman, Dunn Family Professor in the School of Physics. This story has been republished in Know Techie, IOT World Today and The Good Men Project.

The Conversation 2024-02-14T00:00:00-05:00

A new theory allows researchers to create easy-to-solve mathematical models using cables, a previously challenging mathematical problem — offering key insights into the behavior of deformable solids, with applications spanning from engineering and biology to nanotechnology. The work, also shared on Phys.org, was led by School of Physics Assistant Professor Zeb Rocklin and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mirage News 2024-02-12T00:00:00-05:00

Brandon Pries is a graduate student in the School of Physics who researches computational astrophysics with Professor John Wise, using machine learning to study the formation and evolution of supermassive black holes in the early universe. Pries has also done extensive research with the NSF IceCube Collaboration. Pries recently shared a deep dive on neutrinos with astrobites, a daily literature journal (an "astro-ph reader's digest") supported by the AAS.

astrobites 2024-02-08T00:00:00-05:00

Atlanta Science Festival (ASF) presented by Delta Air Lines, the city’s ultimate celebration of all things science and one of the largest of its kind in the country, returns March 9-23. All ages can experience more than 100 interactive and educational events. The Exploration Expo, a giant science bash in Piedmont Park, returns as the grand finale of the Festival. The Festival will kickstart with the Science and Engineering Day at Georgia Tech. An array of hands-on STEAM activities, exhibits, and demonstrations will feature robotics, brains, biology, space, art, nanotechnology, paper, computer science, wearable tech, bioengineering, chemical engineering, systems engineering, and more. 

Atlanta Daily World 2024-01-29T00:00:00-05:00

This story about three alumni from Ohio Northern University's School of Science, Technology, and Mathematics who are making a mark in the world of physics and mathematics include Matthew Golden, who is now a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Physics. Golden's research in the Extreme Astrophysics lab focuses on the interface of machine learning and physics.

Ohio Northern University 2024-01-22T00:00:00-05:00

Silicon has long reigned as the material of choice for the microchips that power everything in the digital age, from AI to military drones. Silicon chips have been bumping against the limits of miniaturization for years, dividing chip makers on whether Moore’s law, the longstanding assumption that transistors will steadily get smaller and computers more powerful, is already dead. But the global semiconductor industry is still under just as much pressure to produce ever more powerful chips, and keep up the pace of technological progress. This month, researchers at Georgia Tech, led by Walter de Heer, Regents' Professor in the School of Physics, created the world’s first functional graphene-based semiconductor, marking what de Heer dubbed a “Wright brothers moment” for the next-generation materials that could make up the electronic devices of the future.  (This research was also covered at Physics WorldTech Briefs, TechSpot, Freethink, McGill Daily, and Fudzilla.)

Politico 2024-01-16T00:00:00-05:00

In the 21st century, there is a need to develop electronic devices that are both smaller and faster, whether for applications in the medical sector or robotics. Experts have been busy working on producing advanced materials for modern electronic devices to meet this demand. A significant milestone in this endeavor has been achieved by a team of researchers at Georgia Tech, who have successfully engineered the world's first functional semiconductor using graphene. "To me, this is like a Wright brothers moment," said Walter de Heer, Regents' Professor in the School of Physics, who led this development. Silicon, commonly used in semiconductors, is nearing its limits in the face of increased demand for quicker processing and smaller electronic devices. Graphene is a two-dimensional honeycomb-like structure formed by a single layer of carbon atoms organized in a hexagonal lattice. It is well-known for having strong electrical conductivity, mechanical strength, and flexibility. "It's an extremely robust material, one that can handle very large currents and can do so without heating up and falling apart," said de Heer. (This story was also covered at Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, Fox5 AtlantaLiveScienceScienceDailySemiconductor Engineering, Chemistry WorldGlobal TimesScienceX, The Print, New ScientistTechnology NetworksTom's Hardware, South China Morning Post, AZO Nano, SystemTek, Gearrice, ConnexionblogInnovation News Network, EENewsMedriva, MintLoungeEngineering and TechnologyInceptive MindBNN Breaking, Cosmos Magazine, TechXplore, JagranJosh, ABPLive, ChinaDaily, WinBuzzer, and Sportskeeda. ) 

Interesting Engineering 2024-01-12T00:00:00-05:00

In the cosmos, the rhythm of seasons is a dance choreographed by the distinct axial tilt of each planet. The study of these celestial ballets has been the focus of astrophysicist Gongjie Li, assistant professor in the School of Physics. Funded by NASA, Li’s research delves into the reasons behind seasonal patterns, centering on the effects of a planet’s axial tilt or obliquity. Earth has an axis tilted about 23 degrees from vertical, a feature that triggers the varying intensity of sunlight across different hemispheres, resulting in changing seasons. Li articulates that planets ideally aligned axially with their orbit around the sun, assuming a circular orbit, wouldn’t bear witness to seasons due to a constant influx of sunlight.

BNN Breaking 2024-01-10T00:00:00-05:00

Spring, summer, fall and winter – the seasons on Earth change every few months, around the same time every year. It’s easy to take this cycle for granted here on Earth, but not every planet has a regular change in seasons. So why does Earth have regular seasons when other planets don’t? Gongjie Li, assistant professor in the School of Physics, explains about axial tilts of planets, which have big implications for everything from seasons to glacier cycles, since that tilt can determine just how much sun a planet will get. The magnitude of that tilt can even determine whether a planet is habitable to life. (This article by Li was also reprinted in in IFL Science, Qrius, and the Longmont (Colorado) Leader.

The Conversation 2024-01-10T00:00:00-05:00

Systems consisting of spheres rolling on elastic membranes have been used to introduce a core conceptual idea of general relativity: how curvature guides the movement of matter. However, such schemes cannot accurately represent relativistic dynamics in the laboratory because of the dominance of dissipation and external gravitational fields. A new study from School of Physics researchers demonstrates that an “active” object (a wheeled robot), which moves in a straight line on level ground and can alter its speed depending on the curvature of the deformable terrain it moves on, can exactly capture dynamics in curved relativistic spacetimes. The researchers' mapping and framework facilitate creation of a robophysical analog to a general relativistic system in the laboratory at low cost that can provide insights into active matter in deformable environments and robot exploration in complex landscapes. Researchers includes Hussain Gynai and Steven Tarr, graduate students; Emily Alicea-Muñoz, academic professional; Gongjie Li, assistant professor; and Daniel Goldman, Dunn Family Professor. 

Nature Scientific Reports 2023-12-07T00:00:00-05:00

Experts in the News

Robotics engineers have worked for decades, using substantial funding, to create robots that can walk or run with the ease of animals. Despite these efforts, today’s robots still cannot match the natural abilities of many animals in terms of endurance, agility, and robustness. Seeking to understand and quantify this disparity, an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers from top research institutions, including Dunn Family Associate Professor at the School of Physics and the School of Biological Sciences Simon Sponberg, conducted a comprehensive study to compare various aspects of robotic systems designed for running with their biological counterparts. (This also appeared at The Jerusalem Post, TechXplore, and SciTechDaily.)

Earth.com 2024-04-26T00:00:00-04:00

A group of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created the world’s first functional semiconductor made from graphene, a development that could lead to advanced electronic devices and quantum computing applications. Seen as the building block of electronic devices, semiconductors are essential for communications, computing, healthcare, military systems, transportation and countless other applications. Semiconductors are typically made from silicon, but this material is reaching its limit in the face of increasingly faster computing and smaller electronic devices, according to the Georgia Tech research team who published their findings in Nature earlier this year. In a drive to find a viable alternative to silicon, Walter de Heer, Regents' Professor in the School of Physics, led a team of researchers based in Atlanta, Georgia and Tianjin, China to produce a graphene semiconductor that is compatible with microelectronics processing methods.

Gas World 2024-04-26T00:00:00-04:00

In an opinion published in the May 2024 edition of APSNews, School of Physics Professor Andrew Zangwill reflects on the debate on the boundaries of physics and its impact on the discipline. Zangwill states “for more than a century, physicists have been drawing and redrawing the borders around the field, embracing and rejecting subfields along the way.”

American Physical Society News 2024-04-12T00:00:00-04:00

The stars aligned to give a Georgia Tech undergraduate student and an alum the moment of a lifetime during the recent solar eclipse. Corinne Hill is currently majoring in physics with a concentration in astrophysics. Nathaniel Greve graduated in 2023 with a degree in computer science. The couple met in 2021 when they both played alto saxes in the Georgia Tech marching band. After being unable to experience totality in 2017, Greve said the pair made plans to go to Wapakoneta, Ohio, for 2024′s eclipse. Hill’s friends in the Astronomy Club went to the Ozarks to experience the eclipse, but Hill agreed to go to Ohio instead.

Atlanta News First 2024-04-11T00:00:00-04:00

Crowds in Georgia and people across the U.S. are gearing up to watch the 2024 Great North American Eclipse. The eclipse’s path of totality stretches across 13 states in the U.S. Georgia is not included in the path of totality, but Atlanta is expected to experience the effects of a partial eclipse. Show host Rose Scott speaks with Georgia-based astronomy expert Jim Sowell, a principal academic professional with the School of Physics and an astronomy expert who serves as the director of the Georgia Tech Observatory.

WABE Closer Look with Rose Scott 2024-04-08T00:00:00-04:00

It’s been 10 years since the Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, successfully launched the astronomy outreach program called Aloha Explorations at the Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing site, or AMOS, in Maui, Hawaii. This STEM outreach project uses an 11-inch Celestron telescope, also known as the Aloha Telescope, to provide students in grades K-12 the ability to view live images from their classrooms and remotely control the telescope via an internet connection. The idea for this project originated from Dr. James Sowell, an astronomer and observatory director at the School of Physics. (This story also appeared at Los Alamos Daily Post and Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.)

Air Force Research Laboratory 2024-04-04T00:00:00-04:00