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.
It was the beginning of a grand experiment unlike anything the world had ever seen. Ten years ago today, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory fully opened its eyes for the first time. Dozens of intrepid technicians, engineers, and scientists had traveled to the South Pole to build the biggest, strangest telescope in the world. The purpose of the unconventional telescope was to detect signals from passing astrophysical neutrinos: mysterious, tiny, extremely lightweight particles created by some of the most energetic and distant phenomena in the cosmos. IceCube’s founders believed that studying these astrophysical neutrinos would reveal hidden parts of the universe. Over the course of the next decade, they would be proven right.
Dr. Gail Zasowski, assistant professor of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, has been named a 2021 Cottrell Scholar. The Cottrell Scholar program, run by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, honors early-career faculty members for the quality and innovation of not only their research programs but also their educational activities and their academic leadership.
Refugee youth are particularly vulnerable to being disenfranchised from science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The National Science Foundation has awarded University of Utah and Utah State University researchers $1.1 million over three years to study how refugee teenagers construct self-identities related to STEM across settings, such as physics research and creating digital stories, across relationships, such as peer, parent, and teacher, and across the languages they speak.
Professor Carsten Rott, who will join the Department of Physics & Astronomy in early 2021, has been appointed to the Jack W. Keuffel Memorial Chair, effective January 1, 2021. Rott will hold the chair through December 2025. The Jack W. Keuffel Memorial Chair in Physics & Astronomy was established to honor and continue the work the late Jack W. Keuffel, a professor and pioneer in cosmic ray research at the U from 1960-1974.