Craig Pelissier successfully defended his PhD dissertation entitled “Rho meson decay into two pions from lattice QCD” on 15 June 2012. Here’s a picture taken right afterwards. Front row: Prof. Allena Opper (presiding) and Prof. Harald Griesshammer (examiner). Back row: Prof. Ron Workman (reader), Craig Pelissier, Prof. Andrei Alexandru (adviser), Prof. Gerald Feldman (examiner), Prof. Paulo Bedaque (external examinar, University of Maryland), and Prof. Frank Lee (reader, via Skype).
On Tuesday, June 5, in the late afternoon, Venus will pass between Earth and the Sun. This won’t happen again until 2117, so don’t miss it! With suitable equipment, you can see a tiny dot on the sun’s disc (3% of the disc size).
“First Touch” is at 18:03:59 EDST. Point of contact is NE on solar disc, i.e. if you read the disc like a clock , it’s about at “1 o’clock”. Don’t forget that telescopes project N up but E to the left, not right — so through a telescope, it’s at “11 o’clock”.
At 18:21:30 EDST, Venus completely enters the solar disc, and depending on “seeing” conditions, it may look “tear-drop shaped” for a moment.
Unfortunately, the sun sets over DC before we can see the maximum of the eclipse.
Do not stare into the sun without certified viewing equipment. Sunglasses do not shield you from the sun’s glare. Without proper attire, damage to your eyes is most likely permanent. Check out public viewing, e.g. at U. of Maryland.
Historically, Venus transits created the first large international collaborations because they can be used to determine the distance between Earth and Sun — if viewed from different parts of the globe. The most famous of these efforts occurred for the transit of 1769. During a period of relative political quiet in Europe, the European powers agreed on a network of expeditions to the farthest reaches of the globe, including an expedition by Captain Cook to the South Sea.
Congratulations to Prof. Andrei Alexandru who has been awarded the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation. It will support his research and educational activities over the next five years. Here’s the title and abstract of the project:
“Nuclear physics from lattice QCD in the chiral regime”
A primary challenge of Nuclear Physics today is to understand the internal structure of hadrons and their complex interactions as they emerge from Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), the fundamental theory of the strong force. The objective of this proposal is to explore the effects of chiral dynamics on hadron spectrum and structure. In particular, I will focus on electromagnetic polarizabilites, the masses of the lightest hadrons and the behavior of dense nuclear matter at high temperature. To investigate the properties of quarks in the energy region where hadrons are the dominant excitations, I will use a numerical approach, lattice QCD.
On the educational side, I am developing a seminar series, “Modern Physics for Science Teachers” and an undergraduate “Computational Physics” course. The seminars will be designed to help teachers connect the K-12 science curriculum to modern Physics research. The seminar series will constitute a valuable educational opportunity to science teachers and local K-12 students, in a area where the socio-economic and educational indicators are particularly low.
From a broader perspective, this proposal is part of an effort to understand the properties of visible matter in the universe. Complementing a rigorous experimental effort, my research explores the properties of nuclear particles as predicted by QCD. This will help answer questions relating to the composition of the early universe, exotic phases of matter inside neutron stars, charge distributions inside hadrons, origin of nuclear forces, etc. A significant part of my research involves developing numerical methods for QCD that exploit the tremendous computing power of graphics cards (GPUs). The expertise gained in using GPUs to solve nuclear physics problems will have direct applicability to all scientific and engineering fields that use finite-difference methods.
Professor Gerald Feldman’s work to improve physics education here and across the country is featured in the most recent edition of GW Today. Click here for the full article.