Liviu Movileanu received a new R01 award from the NIH. This is a single-PI award from the National Nanotechnology Initiative Program for a project entitled "Engineered nanopores for Single-Molecule Stochastic Sensing".
Duncan Brown received a 2010 Meredith Teaching Recognition Award for his work in AST 101. The Teaching Recognition Award is a program sponsored by the Meredith Professors to benefit non-tenured faculty members. Its specific goals are to recognize excellence in teaching and to encourage a culture of collegial mentoring among faculty members. This is a University-wide award that recognizes excellence in teaching by untenured faculty and a great and fully deserved honor.  Since the award creation in 2000, it is the first time that a physics faculty is selected for this award (
PTRA (Physics Teaching Resource Agents) ( is an NSF funded program through AAPT. It’s really teachers helping teachers… Free one day workshop on November 14, 2009. Participants will get 2 books for free valued at $60 (The New Physics Teacher Manual (an AAPT/PTRA publication, and Ranking Tasks by Tom O’Kuma). For more information, contact Sam Sampere at
Undergraduate Research Day and Open House, November 14, 2009.
As part of the Syracuse Symposium 2009: Light, Dr. George Crabtree, Associate Division Director of the Materials Science Division of Argonne National Lab, will present a public lecture on "The Energy of Light" on Wednesday, October 28, 7:30 p.m Life Sciences Complex Auditorium, Room 001.

Physics in Your Future will be held on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009, from 9:45 a.m. to noon and is a special presentation on undergraduate programs in physics. Our purpose is to further knowledge of high school students and teachers on college programs in physics, including research opportunities for undergraduate students and careers. High school students considering a science major are encouraged to participate. A flyer on this meeting is in attachment PHYSICS IN YOUR FUTURE BW.pdf, for distribution and posting in high schools.  

Since the program intends to inform high school students, (as well as teachers), about college science programs, we request that teachers invite their students to participate in this part of the program. The students can come on their own volition or with parents, or, if permitted, with teachers or guidance counselors.

Bloomfield Lecture

Prof. Mark Bowick has been awarded the 2009 William Wasserstrom Prize for the Teaching of Graduate Students. The announcement was made March 23, 2009 at the College Faculty Meeting. The award will be given at the Doctoral Graduation Ceremony in May.

Gianfranco Vidali has been elected Secretary-Treasurer of the New York State Section of the American Physical Society ( ). The section, 2511 members strong - the second largest, organizes two symposia/year, provides travel grants for students attending the symposia, and awards physics outreach grants.
Physics Department is host to the International Conference on Soft Active Matter, May 17-21, 2009. The conference will include a free public lecture by French scientists Jean-Francois Joanny and Jacques Prost on "Physics at Work in Cell Biology and Cancer" at 7:30pm on  Tuesday, May 19 in the Auditorium of the Life Science Complex.  See article in SU News for more details.

Alumni News

Pierre Ramond, 1969 Syracuse Physics  Ph.D.,  was the recipient of the 2007 Lise Meitner Prize from the Fysikcentrum of Gothenburg, Sweden, for his groundbreaking discoveries in theoretical physics that led to superstring theory. Pierre Ramond is currently a Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Dr. David Bishop, BS 1973, has been awarded the 2009 George E. Pake Prize by the American Physical Society. Bishop's citation reads " For his effective leadership of AT&T/Lucent/Bell Labs research during an especially turbulent time in the telecommunications industry, and for his seminal contributions to low-temperature physics research."

Two physics majors to receive top honors at 2009 Convocation

Two of our majors, Avi Hameroff and Gavin Hartnett  will be receiving honors at the 2009 Convocation. Avi has been selected as a College Marshal. The principal criteria for selection are, in order of importance, service to the College, the University and the community, and academic achievement.  The College Marshals are part of the platform party at Convocation in May. One Marshal is selected to give the student address on that occasion, and all three lead the graduating class in the academic procession at Commencement. Gavin has been selected as a University Scholar, the highest form of academic recognition SU bestows on students graduating with a baccalaureate degree.  A group of 8 to 12 academically outstanding graduating seniors are designated each year as Syracuse University Scholar, selected by a University-wide faculty committee from candidates nominated by the schools and colleges.

Collin Capano Receives Unsung Hero Award Unsung Hero Award

Our own Collin Capano will be one of the recipients of an Unsung Hero Award at the 24th Annual Martin Luther King Jr Celebration to be held this coming Sunday, January 18, at the Carrier Dome.

Collin is being recognized for his role in funding and leading A Men's Issue (AMI) a student group that strives to dispel negative sexual stereotypes by leading discussions of what it means to be a male in a society where sexual violence is prevalent. More details can be found at

Having known Collin for many years, I have come to deeply appreciate his exemplary and persistent work as student and researcher and as one of our best and most caring Teaching Assistant. I am delighted that he was selected for this important award.

The SU Gravitational Wave Group has partnered with the New York State Education and Research Network (NYSERNet), the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee and Internet2 to deploy a high-speed Dynamic Circuit Network connection to Syracuse. This will be used to move data recorded by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) to the SUGAR cluster for analysis by the Syracuse group and their collaborators in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

Syracuse University researchers part of global scientific achievement in High Energy Physics

The experimental high-energy physics group, led by Profs. Stone, Artuso, Skwarnicki and Blusk, celebrated Wednesday, Sept 10 th as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) reached a major milestone after about 20 years of planning, R&D and construction. Proton beams were injected into the LHC and traversed the full circumference of the 17-mile accelerator. This is the first major step toward achieving the high intensity, high energy beams that will be used by the LHC experiments. The Syracuse group is a member of one of the four LHC experiments, LHCb, which is designed to search for new physics (beyond the Standard Model) associated with particles containing b quarks. Profs. Stone and Artuso are currently on academic leave, conducting research at CERN. For more information about the group and its activities, visit our web page at

Numerical and Relativity Data Analysis 2008 Conference

The past several years have seen tremendous advances in the fields of gravitational-wave physics and numerical relativity. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) has recorded one year of coincident data from three detectors operating at design sensitivity. While this data is being analyzed for the first gravitational waves to be seen, upgrades to improve detector sensitivity by a factor of two and, ultimately, ten are underway. Numerical relativists have simulated black hole binaries through 15 orbits, merger and ringdown. Simulations have been performed with spinning black holes and binaries of unequal mass ratios, providing a wealth of astrophysical information. Simulations of neutron star binaries and black holes tearing apart neutron stars are being performed, opening a window on new physics.

Today, we are poised to study two of the most dramatic predictions of Einstein’s theory of general relativity: gravitational waves and black holes. As we prepare to enter the age of gravitational-wave astronomy, it is crucial to strengthen the collaboration between the scientists analyzing data from gravitational-wave detectors and those studying the strong field phenomena our detectors will observe. The Numerical Relativity and Data Analysis 2008 (NRDA 2008) conference is intended to bring together scientists form these fields, and to continue to strengthen the interactions developed at conferences such as the NRDA 2006 conference (1) and the Interplay between Numerical Relativity and Data Analysis miniprogram
held at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (2).

The focus of the NRDA 2008 conference will be gravitational-wave science of binaries consisting of compact objects (black holes and neutron stars) in ground-based gravitational wave detectors. Topics that will be covered include: black hole simulations, searches for gravitational waves from bursts, compact binaries and ringdowns, simulations of neutron star-black hole and double neutron star binaries, errors, calibration and accuracies in detection and parameter estimation, comparison of post-Newtonian theory with results from results from numerical relativity and a summary of the status of the Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project (3).

The NRDA 2008 program consists of a mixture of longer invited talks and shorter contributed talks. Time is allocated for break-out discussion sessions in the afternoon. The conference is being organized by six member committee: three scientists with expertise in numerical relativity and three with expertise in gravitational-wave data analysis. The National Science Foundation has awarded Syracuse University $5000 to help fund the travel costs of graduate students attending the conference.

Syracuse University has a long history in the search for gravitational-waves. Prof. Peter Saulson, who joined the SU faculty in 1991, has been a member of the team developing the LIGO detectors for over 25 years. The Syracuse University Gravitational Wave Group (4) has recently expanded with the hiring of Assistant Professor Duncan Brown. Brown’s
research is in gravitational-wave astrophysics and analysis of LIGO data for binary black hole signals. Brown and his collegues on the scientific organizing committee developed the idea for the NRDA 2008 conference at the January KITP workshop and Brown offered to host the meeting at Syracuse University.


The American Physical Society Committee on Informing the Public, Gianfranco Vidali being one of its members, oversees APS¹s media relations and reviews and assesses public outreach activities. In the words of APS Associate Officer Alan Chodos "A public well-informed about physics and related science is essential for the well-being both of the physics profession and society at large." The committee is shown here at its latest meeting at
the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (May 2008) (Photo from APS News, Vol. 17, No.7 July 2008).

Single-molecule biophysics studies at Syracuse University are highlighted by VerticalNews (Atlanta, GA)

Recent research performed by Movileanu's group, which is at the interface of nanotechnology, and biological and soft condensed matter physics, was featured by VerticalNews from Atlanta, Georgia . VerticalNews publishes the largest weekly database of current news, research, and reports.

Avi Hameroff receives Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Scholarship

The Astronaut Foundation has awarded Avi Hameroff, a Syracuse University physics major, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Scholarship for 2008-2009.  This is a prestigious honor for one of our very best and most deserving students. As part of this award, it is planned that an astronaut will be joining us on campus in the fall to give a public lecture and present the award.  This presentation will be coordinated through the Soling Program.

Single-molecule detection of proteins using nanopores decorated with electrostatic traps

Research in single-molecule detection of proteins recently performed by Dr. Mohammad Mohammad in Prof . Liviu Movileanu's group was highlighted in a feature article of the American Chemical Society, " Threading proteins through a nanopore needle. Electrostatic traps control single-molecule interactions in a model pore system."

Five women among the new Physics PhDs marching at 2008 Commencement

Seven of our graduate students were awarded their PhD in Physics at the 2008 Commencement. From left to right: Rob Salgado (advisor: Rafael Sorkin), Bety Rodriguez-Milla (advisor: Alan Middleton), Homin Shin (advisor: Mark Bowick), Taviare Hawkins (advisor: Ed Lipson), Aphrodite Ahmadi (advisor: Cristina Marchetti), Weining Wang (advisor: Eric Schiff), Hongwei Ye (advisor: Ed Lipson). At the far right is Ganesh Srivastavan, who obtained a PhD in Electrical Engineering working under the supervision of physics professor Ken Foster. Homin Shin also received a Doctoral Dissertation Award from the Graduate School .

Six other students completed the requirements for their doctorate in Physics but did not participate in Commencement: Hachemi Benaoum (advisor: Paul Souder), Shabana Nisar (advisor: Steve Blusk), Babar Qureshi (advisor: Balachandran), Renata Jora (advisor: Joe Schechter), Alessandra Silvestri (advisor: Mark Trodden), and Nasra Sultana (advisor: Tomasz Skwarnicki).

Gavin Hartnett awarded 2008 Goldwater Scholarship

On March 28, it was announced that Physics major Gavin Hartnett had been awarded one of the 2008 Goldwater Scholarships. This scholarship, awarded in a rigorous national competition, will pay up to $7,500 of Gavin's expenses during his senior year. In addition to his coursework as a Physics major and Honors Program student, Gavin has performed research in cosmology with Prof. Mark Trodden and in the gravitational wave detection lab of Prof. Peter Saulson. He is currently carrying out research for his Honors Capstone project with Profs. Mark Bowick and Cristina Marchetti.

Prof. Liviu Movileanu was quoted in a recent feature article of the American Chemical Society regarding the breakthroughs in the emerging realm of nanopore biophysics: "Interest in nanoscale research has skyrocketed, and the humble pore has become a king."

VERTEX 2007 , the meeting recently hosted in Lake Placid by the  Syracuse University high-energy physics experimental group, was featured in the Jan 21, 2008 issue of  CERN Courier .

Images of paraboloid crystals by Luca Giomi and Mark Bowick were featured on the cover of the December 2007 issue of the journal Chaos.

Profs. Marina Artuso and Tomasz Skwarnicki have been selected to receive the "Chancellor's Citation for Faculty Excellence and Scholarly Distinction" in 2008.

Citing from the letter: This award reflects the thoughtful, determined, and sustained efforts of individual faculty to enrich the experience of students, our institution and community, and to make important contributions to the advancement of knowledge in their academic disciplines .

Marina and Tomasz were cited jointly for their work on the CLEO experiment and RICH project. They will be honored at an awards banquet to be held on March 17, 2008.

Peter Saulson Appointed First Martin A. Pomerantz '37 Professor of Physics

Thanks to the generosity of the family of Martin A. Pomerantz, Dean Cathryn Newton has established the Martin A. Pomerantz, '37 Professorship in Physics and the Molly B. Pomerantz Fellowship in Physics. Physics Professor Peter Saulson will be the first holder of the Chair.

Prof. Saulson is a distinguished scientist, who has been a member of the team developing the LIGO interferometer for the detection of gravitational waves, since he began a postdoc at MIT in 1981. He came to Syracuse in 1991, where his group of graduate students and postdocs have made important contributions to technology for Advanced LIGO and to the analysis of data from LIGO. In 1994, he published the only textbook on interferometric gravitational wave detectors. From 2003 to 2007 he served as the Spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Prof. Saulson is also a popular teacher at all levels and was the Syracuse University Scholar-Teacher of the Year in 2003.

Martin Pomerantz has been a leader in developing Antarctic astronomy. He obtained an AB in physics from Syracuse University in 1937, an MS from the University of Pennsylvania in 1938 and a Ph.D. in Physics from Temple University in 1951. He served as Director of the Bartol Research Institute from 1959 - 1985. Wh en the astronomical observatory at the United States Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station was opened in 1995, it was named the Martin A. Pomerantz Observatory (MAPO) in his honor. Pomerantz published his scientific autobiography, Astronomy on Ice , in 2004. In 1970 Pomerantz received a Centennial Medal from Syracuse University . He has received honorary doctorates from Swarthmore College , University of Uppsala , University of Delaware , and Syracuse University .

Martin Pomerantz was featured in our latest newsletter Physics Matters /PhysicsMatters/Volume2/Volume%202.pdf

A wonderful article on Martin Pomerantz can also be found on Wikipedia (the article was contributed by Eric Schiff).


Surface Analysis Facility

The ability to characterize and manipulate surfaces down to the nanoscale is crucial for many scientific disciplines. A new Major Research Instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation has enabled the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment for building a surface analysis facility in the Physics Department at Syracuse University for analyzing surfaces with multiple techniques over a wide range of length scales. The proposal was submitted by Profs. Britton Plourde and Gianfranco Vidali (Physics) and Profs. Tewodros Asefa and Karin Ruhlandt-Senge (Chemistry). The development of novel thin-film superconducting devices, the synthesis of various nanomaterials, the study of new precursor molecules for chemical vapor deposition of perovskite materials, and the investigation of molecule formation on simulated interstellar dust grains are only a few of the active areas of research on campus that will benefit from this new facility. An atomic force microscope (AFM), capable of multiple imaging modes in several different environments with the highest possible resolution, has been ordered from Pacific Nanotechnology with installation planned for mid-January 2008. A surface profilometer with three-dimensional scanning capabilities has been purchased from KLA-Tencor for imaging samples with larger surface features and wider areas than is possible with the AFM. These two instruments will join a scanning electron microscope (SEM) from JEOL, recently acquired by the Physics Department. In addition, the facility will have multiple optical microscopy techniques and image analysis software available.

Luca Giomi, who works with Prof. Mark Bowick, was selected as one of the finalists for the 2008 Student Speaker Award of the Group on Statistical and Nonlinear Physics (GSNP) of the American Physical Society.
The session on "Accelerating Universe" of the November Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium consisting of talks by  Mark Trodden  and three colleagues (Rachel Bean, Cornell; Sean Carroll, CalTech; Adam Riess, John Hopkins) has been selected  for presentation  at the Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, April 26-29, 2008, in Washington, DC.   The speakers will present their talks to Academy members, their guests, and members of the public. 
Prof. Mark Trodden and two collaborators from Cornell (Profs. Rachel Bean and Eanna Flanagan) were awarded a grant from NASA for a collaborative project on "Confronting the details of cosmology's dark sector".
Prof. Marina Artuso has been elected Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Prof. Gianfranco Vidali was quoted in recent articles in the Post Standard and the Wall Street Journal online on the current shortage of liquid helium. Prof. Britton Plourde was also mentioned.
Aaron Wolfe, a former undergrad from SUNY ESF working in Prof. Liviu Movileanu's team, is lead author on a paper recently published in the prestigious Journal of the American Chemical Society .

Prof. Sheldon Stone was elected to serve as CLEO experiments' Co-Spokesperson for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Prof. Liviu Movileanu receives NSF award

Prof. Liviu Movileanu has been awarded a NSF award by the Division of Materials Research through the new Biomaterials Initiative . Dr. Movileanu's award will fund interdisciplinary research at the interface of single-molecule biophysics with molecular engineering. The central objective of this work will be targeting new methodologies for the detection and exploration of biomolecules at high temporal and spatial resolutions using nanopores.

5th NY Complex Matter Workshop

The Physics Department hosted the 5th NY Complex Matter Workshop on December 14, 2007. About 70 researchers from the Upstate New York area participated. The Workshop was started in 2005 to promote collaborations and exchanges among researchers working in condensed matter physics  in the upstate New York area. 

Syracuse Physics Open House & Undergraduate Research Day

The second Syracuse Physics Undergraduate Research Day & Open House was held on December 1, 2007. This event was geared towards undergraduate physics majors at schools within a few hours driving distance from Syracuse. Our inaugural event last year was a great success, with 33 students from 10 institutions attending. See pictures of the event.

16th International Workshop on Vertex Detectors

The Departments' High Energy Physics Experimental group ran the 16th International Workshop on Vertex Detectors at Lake Placid, NY during Sept. 23-28, 2007. Profs. Artuso and Stone were the co-chairs. The purpose of this annual meeting to review progress on Silicon based Vertex detectors with emphasis on existing and future detectors, new materials, software, alignment, electronics, triggering, 3D devices, monolithic structures, new developments, and applications to medical and other fields. Over 70 physicists participated. One response we received said:

"I'd like to thank you again for carrying forward the flame for the VERTEX conference with a superbly arranged edition which was very much enjoyed by me and everyone I spoke to.
It really seemed to go like clock work, the timing and content of the talks and the discussion was perfect, and the location was spectacular. It was really quite a treat to be able to go and eat dinner in a new and awesome location every day, with no
3 hour group coach rides involved. It was an amazing conference and I can imagine a lot of hard work lay behind."

Prof. Jen Schwarz Receives NSF CAREER Award

Prof. Jen Schwarz has been awarded a CAREER award, NSF's most prestigious and competitive award for young faculty members. Schwarz's award will fund research on the jamming transition and correlated percolation.  Jamming occurs in condensed matter systems, such as glasses, granular materials and colloids,  as well as  in traffic models.

For full citation, see


Dr. Duncan Brown earned his Ph.D. in 2004 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He played a major role in LIGO's search for gravitational wave (GW) signals from the inspiral and merger of compact binaries (neutron stars and/or black holes). A native of England, Duncan received his Master of Mathematics with First Class Honors from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. His was a Postdoctoral Scholar in Physics at LIGO Laboratory and Theroretical Astrophysics and Relativity Group at Caltech.



Dr. Richard Schnee received his Ph.D. from University of California, Santa Cruz in 1996. Before joining SU he was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Case Western Reserve Physics Department. He continues his research and his work as coordinator on the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS), which aims to observe and identify the mysterious "dark matter" that makes up ~25% of the universe (the matter we know, in physics, is only about 5%.)



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