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Swigart Fellowship Program Provides Support for Grad Student Research

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Ten graduate students in Physics and Astronomy spent the summer conducting research with the support of the Swigart Fellowship program. The purpose of the program is to encourage students to explore research opportunities in the summer after their first year in the Department of Physics and Astronomy Ph.D. program. This year, Swigart Fellowship recipients created […]

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Joel Brownstein Receives Award for SDSS Work

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The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has given its 2021 Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD) Award to Joel Brownstein, research associate professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department.

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Yue Zhao Receives Physics Innovation Award

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Yue Zhao, assistant professor in Physics and Astronomy, has received a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Fundamental Physics Innovation Award, in association with the American Physical Society. This award supports extended visits between researchers to learn, develop, and share techniques or scientific approaches.

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In Memoriam: Emeritus Professor William D. Ohlsen

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Emeritus Professor William David Ohlsen died peacefully at his home in Salt Lake City on August 9, 2021, following a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He joined the University of Utah faculty in 1961, where he spent 36 years teaching physics and mentoring graduate students. We will miss him.

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Alumnus Spotlight: Bert VanderHeiden

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Bert VanderHeiden Bert VanderHeiden’s (BS Physics ’82, MS Physics ’84 and Ph.D. Physics ‘88) first passions were swimming and water polo. In fact, he won the state championship in swimming in 1975, representing Kearns High School. He was also gifted academically—he excelled in math and was interested in the one physics course that was offered […]

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Alumnus Spotlight: Jim Hanson

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Jim Hanson’s (BS Physics ’85) path to the University of Utah and college was different from most students. When he graduated from high school, Hanson had little interest in attending college and no clear goal as to what he wanted to do with his life. He worked odd jobs until he got tired of living out of his car.

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Cutting through noise for better solar cells

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As society moves towards a renewable energy future, it’s crucial that solar panels convert light into electricity as efficiently as possible. Some state-of-the-art solar cells are close to the theoretical maximum of efficiency—and physicists from the University of Utah and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin have figured out a way to make them even better.

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Cyri Dixon Named Outstanding New Advisor of the Year

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In recognition of her ability to “create, navigate, and graduate” physics students, the University of Utah Academic Advising Community has named Cyri Dixon, undergraduate advisor for the Physics & Astronomy Department, as the Outstanding New Academic Advisor for 2021. Dixon has proven to be a valuable resource to undergraduate students in all areas of academic […]

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New Effort to Map the Universe, Unravel Mysteries of “Dark Energy”

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A five-year quest to map the universe and unravel the mysteries of dark energy began officially on May 17, 2021, at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) will capture and study the light from more than 30 million galaxies and other distant objects, allowing scientists to construct a 3-D map of the universe with unprecedented detail.

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