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Congratulations to Dr. Chen-Ting Liao for Being Accepted into the 2023 American Physical Society Career Mentoring Fellows Program

The APS Career Mentoring Fellows Program has accepted Dr. Chen-Ting Liao into their 2022-2023 cohort! The Career Mentoring (CM) Fellows program seeks physicists working in industry, government/national labs, or academia, who are interested in mentoring undergraduate students, learning and teaching about diverse career paths of physics degree holders, and establishing a stronger connection with the physics community.

Congratulations to Bin Wang for Receiving the 2022 SPIE BACUS Scholarship

Congratulations to Bin Wang for receiving the 2022 SPIE BACUS Scholarship! The SPIE BACUS Scholarship was set up in 1998 to reward the most qualified students who wish to work in the fields of photomask and microlithography manufacturing for the semiconductor industry. This award will partially assist with pursuing Bin’s career goals in the fields of microlithography, photomask technology and/or optical/EUV photolithography technologies.

The BACUS Steering Committee, in concert with the SPIE Scholarship Committee, will work with institutions of higher learning to identify candidates and award scholarships to help prepare them to make significant contributions to industry.

Colorado’s quantum revolution

In the 17th Century, a Dutch merchant named Antony van Leeuwenhoek began experimenting with making new microscope lenses and, in the process, plunged humanity into a new world—this one teeming with previously-undiscovered life, from small bacteria to single-celled algae and more.

More than 400 years later, scientists are in the midst of an equally-important revolution. They’re diving into a previously-hidden realm—far wilder than anything van Leeuwenhoek, known as the “father of microbiology,” could have imagined. Some researchers, like physicists Margaret Murnane and Henry Kapteyn, are exploring this world of even tinier things with microscopes that are many times more precise than the Dutch scientist’s. Others, like Jun Ye, are using lasers to cool clouds of atoms to just a millionth of a degree above absolute zero with the goal of collecting better measurements of natural phenomena.

Congratulations to Fort Lewis College, University of California Irvine, and Florida International University for Receiving Awards and Recognition from the NSF COVID-19 Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Challenge

Congratulations to Fort Lewis College, University of California Irvine, and Florida International University for being awarded and recognized in the NSF COVID-19 Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Challenge.

  • Fort Lewis College received $25,000 from the National Science Foundation in the four-year STEM undergraduate category of awards.
  • UC Irvine received $15,000 in the STEM Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar category of awards.
  • Florida International University received honorable mention.

Fort Lewis College, a Native American serving, non-tribal institution, awards more undergraduate degrees to Native American students than any other college in the U.S. Prior to COVID-19, first-to-second year retention rates among native students increased from 55% to 67% between 2015-2019; however, for the 2020 first-year cohort there was a 20% decline to 47%. The short-term impacts of COVID-19 revealed challenges in student academic preparedness. Many of the challenges have been exacerbated among Native American students, all of whom are pursuing STEM degrees, and at a stage where college readiness is critical. The Fort Lewis College Taking Action submission describes three evidence-based and system efforts (first-year launch course, foundational mathematics support, and holistic student support services) to increase student success, retention and ultimately in the long-term, conferral of STEM baccalaureate degrees.

At the University of California, Irvine (UCI), 20% of the student population is Hispanic, Latino, or Pacific Islanders. Surveys demonstrated that COVID exacerbated the already existing challenges for many of these students working as teaching assistants, especially with pivoting to remote learning. In support of these students, the UCI developed three different initiatives. Fellowships were provided for students to conduct contact tracing. A Summer Fellows program was also developed to train graduate students in inclusive pedagogy, with a focus on cultural competency, and innovative technologies. Assessment of the program demonstrated improved outcomes for undergraduate students from underrepresented populations taught by Fellows. In addition, UCI offered funding for summer research to graduate students from underrepresented populations who had a record of participation in DEI activities such as mentoring other students from underrepresented populations. Support for Graduate Inclusive Excellence Fellows continued in 2021 and is expected to continue in the future. All of these initiatives are undergoing iterative improvement through assessment and evaluation.

Congratulations to Gordana Dukovic for Being Selected as a Finalist for the 2022 Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists

The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences announced 31 finalists today for the 2022 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists, the world’s largest unrestricted prize honoring early-career scientists and engineers. From that exceptional group, three winners—in life sciences, chemistry, and physical sciences & engineering—will be named on June 29, each receiving $250,000 as a Blavatnik National Awards Laureate. The honorees were chosen from a highly competitive pool of 309 nominees from 150 leading universities and scientific institutions from 38 states across the United States.

UC Berkeley researchers awarded Pew Innovation Funding

The Pew Charitable Trusts has announced the 2020 grantees of the Pew Innovation Fund which supports research collaborations among alumni of their biomedical programs. This year, six pairs of researchers will partner on some of the most complex questions in human biology and disease. From neuroscience and virology to biophysics and computational biology, the 2020 Innovation Fund teams are combining their expertise to explore a variety of research areas.

Pew Scholars Polina Lishko, from the University of California, Berkeley and Buck Institute for Research on Aging and Ke Xu, from the University of California, Berkeley and a Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator, will collaborate to investigate the role of steroid hormones in Alzheimer’s, a disease affecting more than 5.8 million Americans aged 65 or older in 2020.

Ripples in Space-Time: Nano-Imaging Functional Materials at their Elementary Scales

Functional materials—like molecular electronics, biomaterials, light-emitting diodes, or new photovoltaic materials—gain their electronic or photonic properties from complex and multifaceted interactions occurring at the elementary scales of their atomic or molecular constituents. In addition, the ability to control the functions of these materials through external stimuli , e.g., in the form of strong optical excitations, enables new properties in the materials, making them appealing for new technological applications. However, a major obstacle to overcome is the combination of the very fast time (billionths of a second) scales and the very small spatial (nanometer) scales which define the many-body interactions of the elementary excitations in the material which define its function. The extremely high time and spatial resolutions needed have been extremely difficult to achieve simultaneously. Many physicists have, therefore, struggled to visualize the interactions within these materials. In a paper recently published in Nature Communications, JILA Fellow Markus Raschke and his team report on a new ultrafast imaging technique that could solve this issue.

Congratulations to Naomi Ginsberg for Receiving the Carol D. Soc Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award for Later-Career Faculty

The Carol D. Soc Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Awards are administered by the Graduate Division in collaboration with the Graduate Council of the Academic Senate, funded by a generous bequest from the estate of Carol Soc, a former employee of the Graduate Division. The mentoring awards were a part of the Sarlo Awards Teaching for Excellence program, established in 1997 to honor outstanding faculty at outstanding Northern California colleges and Universities.

The Prime Suspect: Hot Band Absorption

In a new paper published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, Jimenez and his team report a new experimental setup to search for the cause of a mysterious fluorescent signal that appears to be from entangled photon excitation. According to Jimenez: “We built a setup where you could use either a classical laser or entangled photons to look for fluorescence. And the reason we built it is to ask: ‘What is it that other people were seeing when they were claiming to see entangled photon-excited fluorescence?’ We saw no signal in our previous work published a year ago, headed by Kristen Parzuchowski. So now, we’re wondering, people are seeing something, what could it possibly be? That was the detective work here.” The results of their new experiments suggested that hot-band absorption (HBA) by the subject molecules, could be the potential culprit for this mysterious fluorescent signal, making it the prime suspect.

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