• Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award, 2013
Initiated in 1999 to recognize the quality and significance of graduate student scholarship, these awards may be given in five areas: Fine Arts, Humanities and Letters, Life Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Applied Studies.
• Robert C. Anderson Memorial Award, 2013
This award is given to recent Ph.D.s for outstanding research at the University or immediately after graduating. It is named for the late Robert C. Anderson, who served as UGA’s vice president for research and president of the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.
Ying Wai Li, a doctoral graduate in physics, was an outstanding graduate student researcher while at UGA, and her many accomplishments led to her current postdoctoral fellowship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. For her PhD research project, Li worked at the interface between physics, computational science and biochemistry. She carried out very detailed simulations of the hydrophobic-polar protein folding model, which examines how proteins become functional in space. Her painstaking work led to the identification of a small number of “universal classes” of protein folding behavior. Understanding the folding behavior of proteins under diverse conditions is key to interpreting their functional properties, and Li developed a number of novel approaches to speed up the simulations and to permit her to access system sizes necessary to reveal the relevant physics. Her work explores and maps new territory, and the conclusions she has drawn may lead to new design principles for proteins or peptides used in nanotechnology and a range of real-world applications.
• Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award, 2013
Astronomy professor Loris Magnani will present the first lecture as part of UGA's Origins Lecture Series. This series of six lectures explores the origin of life, Earth, and the universe itself. All lectures in this series are intended for general audiences. Dr. Magnani will be discussing the origin of the universe at the UGA Chapel On Wednesday, January 23 at 7:00 pm. From his Origins Lecture Page:
In this lecture I will describe how Einstein laid the foundations for the Big Bang Theory with his Theory of General Relativity and how these ideas were used to understand the expansion of the Universe in the 1930s. We will look at the predictions made by the classical theory and how some startling discoveries made in the last 20 years have been incorporated into the theory. In the process we will see how theories develop with time and new information, how particle physics has impacted cosmology and what are some of the major challenges facing the Big Bang Theory today.
Since mankind’s earliest days the story of our origins has been one of fascination and inspiration. In an effort to share that story six of UGA’s leading scientists have come together to present the latest scientific findings on everything from our humble beginnings on the plains of east Africa to the formation of the universe itself. The Origins Lecture Series is intended for the entire Athens community. In clear and plain language these talks are geared for those who want to know more about who we are, how we got here, and possibly, where we are going.
Graduate Assistantship for Research at the Interface of Computational Physics and Quantum SimulationPosted Thu, Jan 3rd 2013, 08:47
The past decade has seen tremendous growth in the application of efficient computational approaches to study chemical dynamics of large molecular complexes. However, such methods are currently limited to 6-atom systems, if the dynamics is treated in an essentially exact formalism. Concurrently, quantum computing technologies have advanced rapidly with the promise of being able to attack problems which are beyond the capabilities of current classical computers, including large molecule chemical dynamics. We are therefore at an exciting time in which quantum simulations of complex chemical dynamics problems can be envisioned and, in the near term, performed on physical quantum computing devices.
A graduate student is sought to carry out this high-profile interdisciplinary research which merges state-of-the-art approaches on high-performance computing architectures and algorithms for frontier quantum computing/simulation devices. The focus of the work will be on challenging problems in atomic, molecular, and chemical dynamics and involves four main areas: i) extension/development of reactive/non-reactive time-dependent scattering codes on massively parallel (classical) computers, ii) extension of i) to general-purpose graphical processing units and other accelerator based architectures, iii) development of algorithms to treat time-dependent chemical dynamics on quantum simulation devices, and iv) applications of the above techniques to other topical problems which can be described by time-dependent quantum Hamiltonians.
A motivated, ambitious, and talented graduate student who is a team player, but who can think independently would be the ideal candidate. The student should have extensive programming experience and a solid foundation in quantum mechanics. Experience or an interest in quantum computing, quantum simulation, computer simulation, numerical methods, and atomic, molecular, chemical, and/or solid state physics are desirable.
The student would join the research groups of Phillip Stancil (molecular collisions) and Michael Geller (quantum computing) and also be involved in the activities of the Center for Simulational Physics. The position is expected to be available by summer 2013.
Please connect me at email@example.com if interested.
Georgetown University physicist Francis Slakey will describe the decade-long journey that led him to become the first person to summit the highest mountain on every continent and surf every ocean during a University of Georgia lecture on Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. in room 202 of the physics building.
Slakey’s talk, “Science and the Journey of Extremes,” is hosted by the department of physics and astronomy in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and is free and open to the public.
Slakey, Upjohn Lecturer on Physics and Public Policy and co-director of the Program in Science in the Public Interest at Georgetown University, recounts his global journey in his best-selling memoir, To The Last Breath (Simon & Schuster, 2012). The book culminates in his recognition that “science is the most powerful tool we have to build a better world.”
As an associate director of public affairs for the American Physical Society, Slakey oversees APS legislative activities for the organization, specializing in energy and security policy. Slakey is a MacArthur Scholar, a Lemelson Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institute, a fellow of the APS and a fellow of the American Society for the Advancement of Science.
On August 23 David P. Landau, Distinguished Research Professor and Director of the Center for Simulational Physics, delivered an Invited Lecture at the American Chemical Society National Meeting held in Philadelphia. The title of his presentation was Monte Carlo simulations of homopolymer collapse transitions. This research was performed in collaboration with Daniel Seaton, a recent Ph.D. graduate now at M.I.T. and Thomas Wuest, a former postdoctoral research associate now at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL.
A group of astronomers, including UGA Professor Inseok Song, reported in Nature on July 4, that the dusty planet-forming disk that surrounds the star TYC 8241 2652 1 has rapidly disappeared in less than 2 years, an amazingly quick planet forming process. They also report that this quick creation of planets may have happened in our solar system.
Researchers had spotted the cloud of dust circling the young star in the Scorpius-Centaurus stellar nursery, 450 light years away, in data gathered by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite while it was was surveying the sky back in 1983. The dust cloud's size was found to be unchanged in 2008, but by 2010, it had all but disappeared. Scientists have long hypothesised that planetary formation takes place after hundreds of thousands of years of minute particles clumping together through weak electrostatic interactions and eventually gravitational forces.
But this observation could mean that planets can form very fast if the conditions are right.
"If what we observed is related to runaway growth, then our finding suggests that planet formation is very fast and very efficient," said Inseok Song, the study's co-author and assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Georgia.
"The implication is that if the conditions are right around a star, planet formation can be nearly instantaneous from an astronomical perspective."