S&T Researchers involved in detection of most massive black hole merger

On September 2, 2020, astronomers announced the detection of a signal from the most massive black hole merger yet observed in gravitational waves. The signal was observed on May 21, 2019 with the National Science Foundation’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), a pair of identical, 4-kilometer-long interferometers in the United States, and Virgo, a 3-kilometer-long detector in Italy. The international team of scientists, who make up the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and the Virgo Collaboration, have reported their findings in two papers published today. One, appearing in Physical Review Letters, details the discovery, and the other, in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, discusses the signal’s physical properties and astrophysical implications. Missouri S&T is part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration through the Institute of Multi-messenger Astrophysics and Cosmology (IMAC) at the Physics Department. Three IMAC researchers and students are among the authors of the two papers.

The two merging black holes had a mass of about 85 and 66 times the mass of the sun and merged into an “intermediate-mass” black hole, with a mass of about 150 times that of the sun. The merger likely produced gravitational waves equal to the energy of eight suns. The two black holes were located roughly 15 billion light years away from Earth, making this event one of the most distant gravitational-wave sources detected so far.

For more information, see:

Picture caption:
Numerical simulation of the heavy black-hole merger observed by LIGO and Virgo (GW190521). The two black holes inspiral and merge, emitting gravitational waves. The black holes have masses of about 85 and 66 times the mass of the sun. Credit: N. Fischer, H. Pfeiffer, A. Buonanno (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics), Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) Collaboration.

Congratulations to our Spring 2020 Graduates

Congratulations to our Spring 2020 graduates: Elizabeth Caputa-Hatley, Cameron Maupin, Kyle McMillen, Vince Preis, Anzumaan Chakraborty (top l to r), Dominic Dalba, Ashley Pruett, Jonas Buxton, Brett Ballard, Zenon Klok (bottom l to r), Mark Myers, and Michael Ellis (not pictured). We are proud of you and wish you all the best.

graduates 2020

Fuller Prize Winners 2020

The 2020 Fuller Prize competition for undergraduate research took place via Zoom this year. First Prize has been awarded to Alex Warhover for  his research on Anomalous Diffusion with an Absorbing Wall (Advisor: Dr. Vojta). Second Prizes went to Elizabeth Caputa-Hatley for her project Highly non-stoichiometric amorphous oxide semiconductors:  the structure and electronic properties of defects in a-In2O3-x (Advisor: Dr. Medvedeva) and to Kyle McMillen for his work on Characterization of Supersonic Gas-jet Targets for Laser Wakefield  Accelerators (LWFA)  (Advisor: Dr. Daoru Han). Congratulations to all the competitors and to their advisors for an exceptional set of research presentations.

fuller prize winners 2020

Schulz receives Distinguished Scientist Award

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Schulz, Curators' Distinguished Professor of Physics, for receiving a Distinguished Scientist award from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Each year, only three recipients from all areas of physics and mathematics are selected to receive this award. Dr. Schulz will travel across China to give a lecture series at several institutes of the academy next summer.‌

Schulz portrait

Congratulations to Schearer Prize winners


Basu Lamichhane (right), Chandra Adhikari (center), and Ahmed Ibrahim (left), Ph.D. students in physics, are winners of this year’s Schearer Prize, the Missouri S&T Physics Department’s annual graduate research competition. It is held in memory of Laird D. Schearer, the department’s first Curators' Professor of Physics, and rewards graduate students for outstanding research performed during the course of their graduate study.

Basu Lamichhane won first place for his fully differential study of capture with vibrational dissociation in p+H2 collisions. Chandra Adhikari won second place for his work on long-range interaction of hydrogen atoms and oscillatory tails. Ahmed Ibrahim won third place for his Monte Carlo simulations of the disordered three-color quantum Ashkin-Teller model. Congratulations!


Story wins Sustained Excellence in Outstanding Teaching Award

Congratulations to Dr. Greg Story who received a Sustained Excellence in Outstanding Teaching Award, a special award for faculty who have earned Oustanding Teaching Awards for nine out of the previous ten years. Dr. Story is pictured here with CAFE director Dr. Irina Ivlieva and physics department chair Dr. Thomas Vojta.

Greg Story Sustained Excellence

Missouri S&T joins dark energy experiment

Missouri S&T has joined the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) as one of 11 international institutions that are collaborating to define the force causing the accelerated expansion of the universe.  “The cosmic acceleration is one of the biggest mysteries in our fundamental physics,” says Dr. Shun Saito, cosmologist, assistant professor of physics and leader of Missouri S&T’s HETDEX research group.

Read the full article here

 universe expansion schematic

S&T Faculty Win NSF Award for Supercomputer

A team of Missouri S&T faculty has won a $1.96 million award from the National Science Foundation's Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure. The award will be used to set up a supercomputer that will enable advanced computational science and engineering research and education at Missouri S&T and several partner institutions throughout the state. The team consists of Richard Dawes, Chemistry, who lead the initiative; Julia Medvedeva and Thomas Vojta from Physics; Stephen Gao from Geosciences and Geological & Petroleum Engineering; and Serhat Hosder, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering. Thomas Vojta will serve as Principal Investigator for the award while Richard Dawes is on leave from S&T.

Read the news article here 

NSF supercomputer award composite image

Jerry Peacher Celebrates 50 Years of Teaching

Prof. Jerry Peacher celebrated 50 years of teaching at our department.

Jerry Peacher portrait

Medvedeva co-PI on Multi-Million UM System Project

Prof. Julia Medvedeva is a co-PI on a multi-million project funded by the UM system to support Delbert E. Day Center for Glass Science and Technology and to significantly enhance research capabilities across the UM System. The project is lead by Dr. Richard Brow (S&T MSE) in collaboration with Dr. Ming C. Leu (S&T MAE), Yezaz Ghouri (UM Medicine), and Julie Semon (S&T Bio. Sci.). Julia Medvedeva will develop computational tools to study structural morphology and evolution, defect dynamics, oxygen diffusion, crystallization processes, and phase transformations in traditional and specialty glasses. Congratulations!

Julia Medvedeva portrait

Missouri S&T Physics team wins Silver medal in the University Physics Competition.

Congratulations to Alex Warhover and Nicholas Razo who shared the first prize in the Missouri S&T physics competition. The competition is focused on junior undergraduate students, with only the material covered in the introductory physics courses necessary for the solution of the problems.  Theoretical and experimental portions of the competition contained 3 problems total with the limited time to solve them and generate a report. 

Missouri S&T Physics team wins Silver medal in the University Physics Competition.

Nicholas Razo, Nicholas Parris, and Anzumaan Chakraborty, undergraduate students in physics, are members of a team that won a Silver medal in the University Physics Competition. The competition is a worldwide event with over 280 teams participating in the course of one grueling weekend in November of 2018, when each team had to research, solve and deliver a report on the open-ended physics problem. For their work on the "Sending a Light Sail Propelled Nanocraft to Alpha Centauri" problem, the Missouri S&T team received a Silver Medal, a distinction for the top 18%  of the field. 

Scheare Prize Graduate Research Competition Completed: Congratulation to Winners!

Jack Crewse and Yunsheng Qiu, Ph.D. students in physics, are winners of this year’s Schearer Prize, the Missouri S&T Physics Department’s annual graduate research competition. It is held in memory of Laird D. Schearer, the department’s first Curators' Professor of Physics, and rewards graduate students for outstanding research performed during the course of their graduate study.

Jack Crewse won 1st place for his work on quantum critical behavior of a three-dimensional superfluid-Mott glass transition. Yunsheng Qiu was awarded 2nd place for his work on the anomalous Hall effect in n-type CrxSb2Te3 topological insulators. Congratulations!

The Forty-Seventh Annual Harold Q Fuller Undergraduate Research Competition Completed: Congratulation to Winners!

First prize winner, Cameron Lerch (working with Thomas Vojta) for a project titled "Monte Carlo Simulations of the Magnetic Behavior of Diluted Hexaferrites"
Second Prize winner, Katrina Compton (Advisor: Dr. Daniel Fischer) for a project titled "Characterization of a Laser-Cooled Atomic Beam"
Second Prize winner, Zach Driemeyer (Advisor: Dr. Aleksandr Chernatynskiy) for a project titled "Thermal Properties of GaN and A1N from Classical Interatomic Potentials"
Third Prize winner, Jacob Moore (Advisor: Dr. Alexey Yamilov) for a project titled "Manipulating Time Dependent Propagation of Waves Through Multiple Scattering Media Via Wave Front Shaping"
Third Prize winner, Sean Welter (Advisor: Dr. Yew San Hor) for a project titled "Electric-Field Exfoliated Bi2Se3 Nanolayers"

Society of Physics Students in Argonne

Last weekend, April 14th,  the Society of Physics Students took a tour of Argonne National Lab.

From SPS to Sigma Pi Sigma

We celebrated on Apr 4th the induction of 17 of our best undergraduate students into Sigma Pi Sigma, the honor society of the Society of Physics Students. Congratulations!

Department of Physics welcomes new postdocs

Dr. Luigi Bagolini (left) comes to us from Rome, Italy, and will be working with Prof. Julia Medvedeva. Dr. Martin Puschmann (right) from Chemnitz, Germany, will be working with Prof. Thomas Vojta. We wish them a wonderful and productive time here in Rolla.

Dr. Julia Medvedeva receives The Faculty Excellence Award!

Dr. Julia Medvedeva, professor of physics, was among 4 faculty members at Missouri S&T who were honored with the Faculty Excellence Award on Feb. 13th.   The award recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated sustained excellence teaching, research, and service  and carries a monetary stipend funded by industry and alumni contributions. Congratulations!