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A New Playground for Quantum Exploration: Magnetic Solitons Created in Bose-Einstein Condensate

Friday, July 24, 2020

This release by Christopher Crockett first appeared on APS Physics. It has been updated for College of Sciences audiences, and is followed by a brief interview with Chandra Raman, professor in the School of Physics at Georgia Tech.

Most waves lose their shape as they travel, but solitons defy that behavior. These self-reinforcing waves are ubiquitous in natural and artificial environments such as rivers, optical fibers, and even Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs; see Synopsis: Solitons of All Speeds). Now, two teams of researchers have independently created magnetic solitons in a BEC made from atoms with different spins. The experiments establish a new playground for further exploration of quantum solitons.

The teams were led by School of Physics professor Chandra Raman, and Giacomo Lamporesi of the University of Trento in Italy. While the details vary, both teams used similar experimental setups. They prepared an elongated BEC with a 50-50 mix of intermingled spin-up and spin-down sodium atoms. They then fired a laser pulse at the BEC. The laser’s illumination pattern and wavelength were chosen to “kick” the spin-up and spin-down atoms in opposite directions: for a particular choice of circular polarization, the spin-down atoms were drawn toward the light, while the spin-up atoms were repelled. This effect sent a slow-moving, self-reinforcing ripple through the spin-up atoms in one direction and a similar ripple through the spin-down atoms in the other direction.

Both teams also engineered ‘collisions’ between the magnetic solitons by altering the laser pulse to generate pairs of solitons at opposing ends of the BEC. When the solitons met in the middle, they passed right through one another. Raman says that he and his team hope to explore such scenarios in more detail, looking for situations where the solitons get distorted. They also plan to generate trains of magnetic solitons to see how they interact. Lamporesi’s group hopes to expand this research to 2D and 3D systems, where structures in the BEC, such as magnetic vortices, could be leveraged to mimic some phenomena in high-energy physics.

The groups’ research was recently published in Physical Review Letters.

The Raman Lab at Georgia Tech

Raman’s experimental atomic physics group manipulates atoms to discover new phenomena and to learn fundamental physics, with an ultimate goal to “harness the power of atoms to realize novel quantum sensors with new detection modalities beyond what is possible in classical physics”.

Two of Raman’s graduate students, Xiao Chai and Di Lao, were co-first authors on the Tech team’s work, which will now explore those collision scenarios where solitons get distorted, along with creating trains of magnetic solitons.

“Now that we can controllably create solitons, we can study their interactions,” Raman explains. “With a variant on the technique of laser beam magnetic shadowing that we have used, we can engineer one to multiple solitons at spatially distinct locations, and with controlled velocities, to see how they interact.”

“Ordinary theory predicts that solitons should pass through one another without getting distorted, something that we can test in the lab,” he adds. “One goal would be to eventually create ‘soliton matter’ — a large array of interacting solitons. In this regime, the solitons themselves might behave like their own fluid, by analogy with the individual molecules comprising an ordinary fluid. This is the main focus of our current work.”

Raman notes that “these solitons are very special because they occur in a quantum system — a Bose-Einstein condensate. Many solitary waves in nature occur within media — water waves, for example — for which there is no possibility of quantum behavior.”

He adds that, while people have suggested that quantum solitons might carry quantum information, “the results we have obtained in our system so far provide no signature of ‘quantum-ness’,” although, “it would be intriguing to look for quantum signatures in unusual places, as you never know what you may find and how it might be useful.”

Media Contact: 

Jess Hunt-Ralston
Director of Communications
College of Sciences at Georgia Tech

Summary: 

Teams led by School of Physics' Chandra Raman and University of Trento have independently created magnetic solitons in a Bose-Einstein condensate, made from atoms with different spins. The experiments establish a new playground for exploring quantum solitons.

Intro: 

Teams led by School of Physics' Chandra Raman and University of Trento have independently created magnetic solitons in a Bose-Einstein condensate, made from atoms with different spins. The experiments establish a new playground for exploring quantum solitons.

Alumni: 

Inaugural Seed Grant Partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory Yields 10 Recipients, with More Funding Available

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Two College of Sciences students are among 10 Institute recipients of a newly-established Georgia Tech-Oak Ridge National Laboratory (GT-ORNL) Collaboration seed grant. 

Jason Dark, a graduate student in the School of Physics, has received funding for his project, “Generation of Quantum States in Nanomagnet by Dissipation”. The principal investigator is associate professor Dragomir Davidovic

Caitlin Petro, a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Biological Sciences, received a seed grant for “Development of Cutting-Edge Approaches for Characterization of Root Microbiomes in Peatlands”. The principal investigator is professor and associate chair of research Joel Kostka

Immediate support, long-term research

Eight other graduate and postdoctoral students from the Schools of Mechanical EngineeringChemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Literature, Media and Communication were also the first to receive funds in the inaugural seed program. 

“Without the opportunity of collaboration and financial support that the Georgia Tech-ORNL seed grant provides, the doors of additional funding and research goals would be more difficult to open in the future. I consider this opportunity to be the tip of the iceberg, providing immediate support for long-term research outcomes and goals,” says Daniel Phelps, a seed grant recipient from the School of Literature, Media, and Communications.

Quantum mechanics, magnetic particles

Dark plans to use the funds to test sample fabrication from Dragovic’s lab in the newly installed Quantum Isolation and Observation System, with ORNL collaborator and staff scientist Thomas Zac Ward

Dark says the funding opportunity will allow him to probe the limits of quantum mechanics in a magnetic particle. “These results will help to confirm whether electron tunneling can be used to measure quantum correlations in a large spin-system, and whether rare earth metal doping can successfully adjust the environmental coupling of this system,” Dark says.

About our Oak Ridge National Laboratory strategic partnership

As one of the Oak Ridge, Tennessee lab's eight core university partners, Georgia Tech is in a unique position to partner with ORNL experts on collaborative research. ORNL also employs students in internships and serves as a superb career destination for engineers, scientists, computer scientists, energy policy experts, and others interested in applying technology to solving national and global problems.

Since 2017, more than 100 students, faculty, and staff have made trips from Georgia Tech to ORNL that have been funded through our ongoing partnership. The results of these trips include graduate research awards, collaborative funded grants, and newly recruited graduate students.

More GT-ORNL seed funding is available. Individuals at Georgia Tech who are interested in applying can fill out this form and contact Ashley Edwards at ashley.edwards@gatech.edu with questions.

Explore more GT-ORNL funding opportunities for faculty and students.

 

Media Contact: 

Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209 (office)

 

Summary: 

The inaugural round of a new Georgia Tech-Oak Ridge National Laboratory collaborative seed program has resulted in funding for ten Institute recipients, including two Sciences graduate students. More funding is available, and all Georgia Tech Ph.D. students and postdocs in good academic standing can apply.

Intro: 

The inaugural round of a new Georgia Tech-Oak Ridge National Laboratory collaborative seed program has resulted in funding for ten Institute recipients, including two Sciences graduate students. More funding is available, and all Georgia Tech Ph.D. students and postdocs in good academic standing can apply.

Alumni: 

Colin Parker’s Quantum Simulator Receives NSF CAREER Award

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Solid materials have all kinds of qualities, but not all of them are completely understood by scientists. Thoroughly analyzing some of the more complex and scientifically interesting things that materials can accomplish, such as superconductivity and magnetism, require going to the sub-atomic, or quantum level, and examining the dense gas of electrons holding the atoms together.

Colin Parker, an assistant professor in the School of Physics, proposes a quantum simulator, a method of reproducing systems that are hard to do in a laboratory, and can’t be done with a supercomputer. “We are trying to simulate situations that arise in quantum systems of interest, usually materials, using another quantum system, which is our laser-cooled atoms,” Parker says.

That idea has recently resulted in a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, a grant presented to early and mid-career scientists. Parker’s proposal, “A Versatile Quantum Simulator for Fermionic Ordering”, will be funded by the NSF for five years.

Lithium, lasers, and the physics of fermions

“Fermionic” refers to fermions, one of two types of fundamental objects in quantum physics, the other being bosons. The most commonly encountered fermion is the electron, “and the system we’d most like to understand is systems of electrons moving in solid crystals and displaying interesting properties – for example superconductivity, magnetism, or something called charge density wave, where material clumps its charge together instead of being uniform and electrically neutral,” Parker says. “Since the electrons are fermions, we need to use atoms that are also fermions to do the simulations.”

That is the reason Parker and his research team use a particular isotope of lithium in their work. The fermion structure of a lithium-6 atom is the perfect example; it has to have an odd number of fermions (bosons have an even number.)  A lithium-6 atom has 3 neutrons, 3 protons, and 3 electrons, adding up to 9. 

“The hard part is that to get a similar state as a material at room temperature, we have to cool to within one-millionth of the degree above absolute zero,” Parker says. “Fortunately, this is in fact possible using lasers, primarily by a method called Doppler cooling.” 

Lasers may conjure science fiction-style images of red-hot beams of light cutting through steel and melting other materials, but certain sections of the light spectrum can affect atoms in other ways that provide the type of functions Parker and his team are seeking. 

“Students will use one set of lasers to slow the atoms down to achieve the cooling, and another set of lasers to pin them in place,” Parker writes in the NSF CAREER abstract. “Critical to this award, scientists, including the awardee, have developed a technique to shake the pinned atoms, which coerces them into emulating a much larger range of materials than previously possible.”

Tunable materials and exploring the earlier universe

The advantage gained by using the simulator, rather than real material, is that all of the parameters are continuously tunable. “In real materials, there’s maybe a few chemical substitutions you can make, but otherwise you have to work with what nature allows,” Parker says. “We can vary continuously between different conditions, and even do this in the middle of an experiment.”

That could eventually lead to applications where the materials themselves could be tunable – as in, given new functions by scientists. 

“The better we can understand material properties from the ground up (sometimes called first principles), the better we can design and predict new materials with more desirable properties,” Parker says. “There is also a possibility, one day in the future, to use the kind of simulators I am building for other kinds of simulations beyond materials, perhaps to understand the earlier universe, neutron star cores, or certain molecules in chemistry.”

Another aspect of Parker’s NSF CAREER Award that has implications for the future is the educational component: In addition to training graduate students, the award will support high school students and teachers from the Atlanta area to work in the lab over the summer on mechanical and electronic automation tools to increase lab productivity. “The skills and knowledge of state-of-the-art laboratory set-up acquired will then be used to develop similar tools for the high school physics lab,” Parker says.

 

Henry (Pete) LaPierre, assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has also just received an NSF CAREER Award. Look for the forthcoming abstract and story on that research to be shared this summer.

See our other major FY20 grants here, including NSF CAREER Award announcements and stories for Jenny McGuire (School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences/School of Biological Sciences) and Lutz Warnke (School of Mathematics).

Media Contact: 

Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209
 

Summary: 

A School of Physics researcher's quantum simulator has earned a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for the potential to learn more about superconductivity and magnetism in solid materials. 

Intro: 

A School of Physics researcher's quantum simulator has earned a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for the potential to learn more about superconductivity and magnetism in solid materials. 

Alumni: 

College of Sciences Research: A Busy Year for Grants in FY20

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Despite the current worries and stressors facing researchers because of the Covid-19 pandemic, an overview of the grants awarded during the 2020 fiscal year shows the state of the College of Sciences research program remains strong, according to Julia Kubanek, Associate Dean of Research.

“This year, assistant professors among our six schools have been recipients of an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator award, a Cottrell Scholar award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, and four National Science Foundation CAREER awards,” says Kubanek, who is also a professor in the Schools of Biological Sciences, and Chemistry and Biochemistry. “Other early and mid-career faculty have been named Kavli and Scialog Fellows, experiences that will expose these faculty to additional collaborative and funding opportunities through engagement in elite research networks.”

Kubanek says multiple large-scale, broadly conceived proposals for center funding and graduate training grants, led by science faculty, are currently under peer review. “These future projects will grow our leadership and impact in research communities across psychology, biological sciences, chemistry and biochemistry, earth and atmospheric sciences, physics, and mathematics,” she says.

Here are the major grants and awards presented to College of Sciences faculty in FY20 (links lead to previous coverage of the announcements during the Spring 2020 and Fall 2019 semesters):

Collaborative Covid-19 Research Receives National Science Foundation RAPID Grant

Antibody testing research, led by Biological Sciences’ Joshua Weitz and Emory University professor Benjamin Lopman, earns an NSF urgent funding grant to further study Covid-19 ‘shield immunity’.

Rahnev Receives Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award

School of Psychology assistant professor Dobromir Rahnev is one of two Georgia Tech winners of the Office of Naval Research's Young Investigator Program Awards. Rahnev will research how the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps can use technology and science to update and enhance job skills training.

Elisabetta Matsumoto Is 2020 Cottrell Scholar for Research on the Math and Science Behind Knitting

Elisabetta Matsumoto, an assistant professor in the School of Physics, is a 2020 Cotrell Scholar thanks to her research on the mathematics and physics hidden in the knots and weaves of knitting.

Jenny McGuire, Lutz Warnke Receive NSF CAREER Awards

A pair of College of Sciences professors -- Jenny McGuire in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences/School of Biological Sciences, and Lutz Warnke of the School of Mathematics --  are receiving coveted National Science Foundation CAREER Awards, which will fund future research for five years.

Colin Parker, assistant professor in the School of Physics, and Henry (Pete) LaPierre, assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, have also just received FY20 National Science Foundation CAREER Awards.

Georgia Tech Faculty Awarded Research Fellowships by Sloan Foundation

Yao Yao, assistant professor in the School of Mathematics, is among 126 early career researchers selected to receive 2020 Sloan Research Fellowships. 

Scialog: Signatures of Life in the Universe Fellows Named

Four College of Sciences early career scientists – Jen Glass, Chris Reinhard, Gongjie Li, and Amanda Stockton – are named Scialog Fellows for a new research initiative, Signatures of Life in the Universe.

Pamela Peralta-Yahya to Collaborate with Caroline Genzale on NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Award

Pamela Peralta-Yahya, assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is part of the collaborative effort to study innovative aerospace concepts.

M.G. Finn to Collaborate with Susan Thomas on $3.2 Million National Cancer Institute Grant for Follicular Lymphoma Research

Susan Thomas, Woodruff Associate Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, collaborates with Professor and School of Chemistry and Biochemistry Chair M.G. Finn, to try to improve treatment of follicular lymphoma.

Dobromir Rahnev Awarded $2.2 Million by NIH to Study Architecture of Metacognition and a Promising Treatment for Neuropsychiatric Disorders: TMS-fMRI

An assistant professor in the School of Psychology will get more than $2 million in National Institutes of Health grants for two research proposals that focus on the brain's decision-making abilities, and on a promising treatment for neuropsychiatric disorders. 

Physics Researchers Awarded $2.3 Million to Develop NSF Einstein Toolkit for Astrophysics

NSF awards effort led by Pablo Laguna and Deirdre Shoemaker for the development of the Einstein Toolkit Ecosystem: Enabling Fundamental Research in the Era of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics

Georgia Tech Leads Team Effort to Reduce Georgia’s Carbon Footprint

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, incuding Kim Cobb with the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, are leading a first-in-the-nation effort to help identify solutions to help reduce Georgia’s carbon footprint in ways that are economically beneficial.

Georgia Tech Researchers Receive EPA South FL Initiative Award

One of the grant recipients is Neha Garg, an assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The funding will support the protection and restoration of water quality, corals and seagrass in South Florida. 

Fall 2019:

$1.7 M Grant for Robotic Soil Subsurface Explorer

An interdisciplinary research group from Georgia Tech, including School of Physics Professor Daniel Goldman, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to design an advanced self-propelled robot to explore the soil subsurface and record a range of signals as it advances.

Lachance Gets $1.88 million Award

The National Institutes of Health is supporting Petit Institute/School of Biological Sciences Assistant Professor Joe Lachance’s research strategy, which includes the analysis of ancient and modern genomes, mathematical modeling, and the development of new bioinformatics tools.

A Summer Bounty

When it rains, it pours. That’s how it felt last month when email after email from School of Psychology Acting Chair Mark Wheeler arrived in various inboxes, sharing the joyful news of a new award. The announcement of a $334,000 grant to Dobromir Rahnev in May has been succeeded by seven other research awards to eight faculty members.

Georgia Tech, Institut Pasteur Receive $2.5 M NIH Grant to Study Phage Therapy

Joshua Weitz of the School of Biological Sciences is part of a team of U.S. and French scientists who will research the interaction between bacteriophage, bacteria, and the innate immune response to enable use of phage therapy, even with patients with impaired immune systems. 

School of Mathematics Associate Professor Is Now a Kavli Fellow

A prestigious honor for young scientists is presented to Georgia Tech's Michael Damron, associate professor in the School of Mathematics. The Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium, part of the National Academy of Sciences, issued its invite to Damron, one of a long list of Georgia Tech researchers to receive the fellowship.

Media Contact: 

Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209
 

Summary: 

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the College of Sciences' research programs remain strong, with a number of faculty members receiving grants to pursue their scientific studies. 

Intro: 

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the College of Sciences' research programs remain strong, with a number of faculty members receiving grants to pursue their scientific studies. 

Alumni: 

Five Sciences Faculty Honored with Georgia Tech Center for Teaching and Learning Awards

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Michael Schatz, professor in the School of Physics, has won a 2020 award from the Center for Teaching and Learning for his work in online education. The honor arrives as Georgia Tech joins universities around the globe in teaching and learning remotely due to COVID-19, and Schatz believes this period will lead to more innovation regarding online teaching from his colleagues.

“Our current circumstances are forcing all of us to think more deeply about how we can operate as educators in an online environment,” Schatz says. “I fully expect that my Georgia Tech colleagues will come up with many novel approaches to enhance the learning experiences of our students.”

Schatz is one of five College of Sciences instructors receiving 2020 Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Faculty Awards:
 

CTL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award
This award, offered through the joint support of the CTL and BP America, highlights the excellent teaching and educational innovation that junior faculty bring to campus.

 

Geoffrey G. Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award
This annual award recognizes faculty who provide outstanding teaching to students in core and general education undergraduate courses.

  • Shana Kerr, Senior Academic Professional, Biological Sciences
  • Pamela Pollet, Senior Research Scientist, Chemistry and Biochemistry

 

Innovation and Excellence in Laboratory Instruction Award
This award is open to full-time faculty of any rank who have excelled in teaching in the laboratory. The “laboratory” can be broadly defined to include both traditional science labs and other formal courses that include experiential learning.

 

Teaching Excellence Award for Online Teaching
This award, offered in 2018-2019 for the first time, provides Georgia Tech with the opportunity to recognize full-time faculty of any rank for a strong commitment to engaged, online teaching and student success.

 

Media Contact: 

Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209

 

Summary: 

School of Physics Professor Michael Schatz is one of five College of Sciences instructors to win end-of-year accolades from Georgia Tech's Center for Teaching and Learning. 

 

Intro: 

School of Physics Professor Michael Schatz is one of five College of Sciences instructors to win end-of-year accolades from Georgia Tech's Center for Teaching and Learning. 

 

Alumni: 

What’s Creating Galaxy-Spanning Cold Gas Filaments in Galaxy Clusters? Research Points to Burps from Supermassive Black Holes

Monday, May 4, 2020

A galaxy’s size can be enough to stagger the imagination. Now try to imagine galaxy clusters, the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe, dotted with hundreds to thousands of galaxies and permeated by large amounts of hot, X-ray emitting plasma.

One of the mysteries inside those clusters is how super-hot and super-cold materials co-exist inside them — and a possible solution explaining the dynamic is the subject of a new research article in Nature Astronomy, co-written by two Georgia Tech researchers, Yu Qiu and Tamara Bogdanović, in collaboration with Yuan Li (UC Berkeley), Michael McDonald (MIT) and Brian McNamara (University of Waterloo). 

Galaxy clusters are filled with super-hot plasma, known as intracluster medium, that sends out a lot of X-rays. But astronomical observations show that a significant number of clusters also have large amounts of cold gas within their cores. These “cool-core clusters” feature wispy filaments of gas that can extend tens of thousands of light years from their center. Some could be “stellar nurseries” — birthplaces of stars. The article theorizes the causes of those filaments, which have captured the attention and imagination of astrophysicists, are supermassive black holes hidden within those clusters. 

The primary author of the paper “The Formation of Dusty Cold Gas Filaments from Galaxy Cluster Simulations” is Qiu, now a postdoctoral fellow at the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Beijing.  Qiu started the research while a Georgia Tech graduate student working with Bogdanovic, an associate professor in the School of Physics and the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics. Qiu received his Ph.D. in physics from Georgia Tech in 2019.

Bogdanović says the article addresses the “cooling flow problem” in galaxy clusters and is also related to the co-evolution of supermassive black holes within them. “For almost 30 years now, it has been argued on the basis of data from imaging X-ray telescopes that the intracluster medium (ICM) in the core regions of some clusters is radiatively cooling on time scales shorter than the age of these clusters,” Bogdanović says. But there’s been no evidence of complete cooling of that gas within those clusters. “The resolution of this contradiction has been sought in different heating mechanisms that could prevent the catastrophic cooling of the ICM.” 

Qiu’s research focused on the Perseus cluster, one of the largest galaxy clusters, located nearly 250 million light years from Earth. Are the gas filaments extending from the cluster capable of birthing stars, much like the Pillars of Creation dust and gas clouds, famously captured by the Hubble Space Telescope?

“They are very similar in the sense that both consist primarily of cold gas, less than several thousand Kelvin, and when cold gas gathers in clumps, it can lead to the formation of new stars,” Qiu says. “However, the cold gas filaments observed in galaxy clusters, such as the Perseus cluster modeled in this work, expand more than 100,000 light years beyond the nucleus, and are larger than the host galaxy.”

“Unlike the Pillars of Creation, which is likely created by an expanding bubble irradiated by a massive star, the vast scale and the prevailing radial structure of these filaments indicate that they are driven by a much more energetic source, which we think is the central supermassive black hole.” The research examines the process for how black holes could help create those filaments. 

That involves a closer look at what Qiu discovered to be an important part of the process: active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback. AGNs are active regions in the centers of galaxies, and they throw off a lot of light and gas. 

“It has been widely acknowledged that AGNs are associated with growing supermassive black holes,” Qiu says. As a black hole attracts matter from the surrounding material due to its gravity, that matter forms an accretion disk near the black hole. It can convert part of that energy into radiation and gas outflow.

Qiu’s research uses 3D radiation-hydrodynamic simulations and reveals a possible new mechanism, a combination of the cooling that happens to gas filaments as they flow outward from the cluster center, and what’s called ram pressure – the “headwind” that impacts those filaments as they race through the ICM plasma. 

This new mechanism, “naturally promotes outflows whose cooling time is shorter than their rising time, giving birth to spatially extended cold gas filaments. Our results strongly suggest that the formation of cold gas and AGN feedback in galaxy clusters are inextricably linked and shed light on how AGN feedback couples to the intracluster medium,” Qiu writes in the article.

“By accounting for these physical phenomena in the context of a galaxy cluster, Yu reproduced many of the observed properties of the cold gas filaments and the surrounding X-ray emitting ICM,” Bogdanović says.  “This gives us confidence that this model is on the right track and provides a more realistic description than some earlier models, where AGNs played a passive role or were unimportant altogether.”
Could this research tell us more about process of birthing stars, or even galaxies? 

“While there is evidence for star formation in some of the filaments, others seem to have suppressed star formation within the cold gas. So it is still under debate whether these filaments are fueling star formation directly,” says Qiu.

“What this study focuses on is how outflows powered by the central supermassive black hole facilitate the formation of these filaments,” he adds. “Because the creation and evolution path of the filaments have a great impact on the properties of the cold gas within, the ideas advanced in this work can in principle help us better predict how and when stars may form in them.” 

The formation of dusty cold gas filaments from galaxy clusters, Nature Astronomy, May 4, 2020

Funding source(s).
Y.Q. acknowledges support from the National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFA0400702), the National Science Foundation of China (11721303, 11991052), and the High-Performance Computing Platform of Peking University. T.B. thanks the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, in Santa Barbara, CA, USA, where one portion of this work was completed, for its hospitality. Support for this work was in part provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration through Chandra Award Number TM7-18008X issued by the Chandra X-ray Center, which is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory for and on behalf of the National Aeronautics Space Administration under contract NAS803060. This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. NSF PHY-1748958, and in part through research cyberinfrastructure resources and services provided by the Partnership for an Advanced Computing Environment (PACE) at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Illustration courtesy of the Chandra X-ray Observatory Center, which is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory on behalf of NASA, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Media Contact: 

Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209

 

Summary: 

Two Georgia Tech physicists may have come up with an answer for how cold gas filaments can stretch for tens of thousands of light-years from the super hot centers of galaxy clusters. 

Intro: 

Two Georgia Tech physicists may have come up with an answer for how cold gas filaments can stretch for tens of thousands of light-years from the super hot centers of galaxy clusters. 

Alumni: 

Moving Forward, Giving Back: Honoring Student Service Through Tech's Up with the White and Gold Celebration

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Two College of Sciences students are among dozens honored by their peers for helping to support and develop the Georgia Tech community during the Up with the White and Gold (UWWG) celebration hosted by the Division of Student Life and the Student Government Association.

Hemaa Selvakumar, a graduate research assistant in the School of Physics, was honored with the Graduate Student Excellence Award for Leadership and Service. The award is presented by the Office of Leadership Education and Development (LEAD). Selvakumar researches in the Curtis Group Cell Physics Laboratory.

Daniella Noronha received the Make A Difference Award, presented by the Women’s Resource Center. Noronha is a 2020 candidate for a B.S. degree in Applied Mathematics from the School of Mathematics.  

From the Student Organizations page on the Division of Student Life website:

From creating and building community and belonging, to winning local and international competitions, our students lead the Tech community in identifying and trailblazing ways to create the next entrepreneur, innovator, social change agent, big dreamer, and much more. The annual UWWG honors the achievements, hard work, and dedication of student leaders and student organizations. The event highlights the significant role that student leadership and involvement play on campus.

The event also honors faculty and staff and the role they play in student organizations, with a portion of the program dedicated to honoring outstanding employees and their work. SGA also presents a host of awards including 10 Burdell's Best awards and the Danielle McDonald Award. These honors are designed to encourage student organizations to host or participate in programs that are beneficial in the areas of organizational enrichment, team building, networking, service, and collaboration. Organizations can earn points by participating in various events and activities in certain categories.

Learn more and watch a recap of the 2020 virtual celebration.

Media Contact: 

Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209

 

Summary: 

Students in the Schools of Mathematics and Physics are recognized by their peers for service and support of the Georgia Tech experience during the Up with the White and Gold virtual celebration. 

Intro: 

Students in the Schools of Mathematics and Physics are recognized by their peers for service and support of the Georgia Tech experience during the Up with the White and Gold virtual celebration. 

Alumni: 

Carlos Silva Named Associate Editor of Science Advances

Friday, April 24, 2020

Carlos Silva, a professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and School of Physics, has been named an associate editor of Science Advances, an open-access journal that is part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) family of publications.

Silva will serve on the team of George G. Malliaras, deputy editor for physical sciences and engineering content.

“I am honored and very excited to take on this role as an associate editor of Science Advances because it gives me the opportunity to both provide an essential service to my community and to play an important role in its development,” Silva says. 

Science Advances is a digital-only, open access extension of Science magazine, according to the journal’s website. "Science Advances expands the quality of Science in an open access format, with the same rigorous standards for impact and peer review, but with a capacity to publish more content, with flexible formats for research articles (up to 15,000 words) and reviews, and reasonable open access charges," Silva added.

Science Advances editors oversee the review process of submitted manuscripts and are selected from an international pool of researchers with high levels of achievement and recognition in their fields. “Our editors not only have stellar reputations in their disciplines, but also have acknowledged breadth in recognizing and promoting interdisciplinary collaborations,” according to the website.

In his biography on the Science Advances website, Silva’s research topics include ultrafast spectroscopy, excitons, polarons, polaritons, conjugated polymers, and hybrid semiconductors (including perovskites). The Silva Research Group at Georgia Tech studies the fundamental chemical and physical principles that govern excited-state dynamics in complex materials for optoelectronics and photonics. “Our experimental toolbox is broad, but we primarily implement nonlinear ultrafast spectroscopy and quantum optics to understand the optical and electronic properties properties of molecular and hybrid semiconductor materials. While we do not like to be quantum-confined to a single box, we think of our work as a linear combination of physical chemistry, condensed-matter physics, materials physics, and materials chemistry,” says the Silva Lab website.

Silva spoke about his studies of organic and hybrid optoelectronics and semiconductors, and their impact on research and industry, in Season 3, Episode 7, of ScienceMatters, the podcast of the College of Sciences.

 

Media Contact: 

Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209

 

Summary: 

Professor Carlos Silva is a new associate editor at Science Advances, an open access journal from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

Intro: 

Professor Carlos Silva is a new associate editor at Science Advances, an open access journal from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

Alumni: 

Physics Researchers Awarded $2.3 Million to Develop NSF Einstein Toolkit for Astrophysics

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Two School of Physics professors are part of a multi-institution effort to provide scientists with the best computational resources for a new era of relativistic astrophysics – an era that now includes measurements of gravitational waves caused by black hole collisions.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $2.3 million through its Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovations (CSSI) program to an existing collaborative effort between Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Rochester Institute of Technology, Louisiana State University, and West Virginia University to further develop the Einstein Toolkit. The new funding will put UIUC as the lead investigating institution; Georgia Tech had been the lead during a previous funding round.

The project at Georgia Tech is led by co-principal investigators and School of Physics professors Pablo Laguna, who is also the school's chair, and Deirdre Shoemaker. Both are also with Georgia Tech's Center for Relativistic Astrophysics.

The Einstein Toolkit is a community-driven open source ecosystem that provides computational tools to solve Einstein’s equations of general relativity, and to advance research in relativistic astrophysics and gravitational wave physics.

The research team aims to address current and future challenges in modeling sources of gravitational waves such as the collisions of black holes and neutron stars. The main goal of the effort supported by this award will be to improve the scalability of the software and expand the science addressed with the toolkit. The project stems from a previous NSF grant for collaborative research in community planning for scalable cyberinfrastructure to support multi-messenger astrophysics (gravitational waves, neutrinos, gamma and X-rays, along with traditional observations from telescopes and space probes). That grant was awarded to Laguna in 2018.

The Einstein Toolkit is utilized by many groups across six continents, and is developed and supported in a distributed, collaborative manner. Its focus on community-based development has resulted in a large user base — to date, 282 registered users from 194 different groups and 40 countries. In addition, the toolkit supports simulations providing information on gravitational waveforms for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).

“OAC is pleased to support community-driven software platforms that advance research in relativistic astrophysics that are relevant to Multi-Messenger Astrophysics," says Dr. Manish Parashar, office director for the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (OAC) at NSF.

Read more about the collaborative frameworks research project, The Einstein Toolkit Ecosystem: Enabling Fundamental Research in the Era of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics.

 

 

Media Contact: 

Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209

 

Summary: 

Two Georgia Tech physicists, Pablo Laguna and Deirdre Shoemaker, are part of a new National Science Foundation award to continue development of the Einstein Toolkit, a collection of scientist-shared computational resources for advancing studies of relativistic astrophysics and gravitational wave physics.

Intro: 

Two Georgia Tech physicists, Pablo Laguna and Deirdre Shoemaker, are part of a new National Science Foundation award to continue development of the Einstein Toolkit, a collection of scientist-shared computational resources for advancing studies of relativistic astrophysics and gravitational wave physics.

Alumni: 

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