ICMT News

New understanding of superconductor's 'normal' state may open the way to solving longstanding puzzle

Since the discovery two decades ago of the unconventional topological superconductor Sr2RuO4, scientists have extensively investigated its properties at temperatures below its 1 K critical temperature (Tc), at which a phase transition from a metal to a superconducting state occurs. Now experiments done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Madhavan and Abbamonte laboratories, in collaboration with researchers at six institutions in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, and Japan, have shed new light on the electronic properties of this material at temperatures 4 K above Tc. The team’s findings may elucidate yet-unresolved questions about Sr2RuO4’s emergent properties in the superconducting state.
Author: Siv Schwink
Published on 5/25/2017

Fradkin interviewed by Scientific American: "Bagels, Pretzels and the Nobel Prize in Physics"

The other half of the Nobel prize, awarded for “topological phase transitions,” also unites topology and physics, but “topology enters in a somewhat different way,” says Eduardo Fradkin, a physicist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  Relevant here is the fact that topological properties often cannot be determined locally. An ant sitting on a pastry can’t tell by looking around whether the perch is a bun, bagel, or pretzel.
Author: Evelyn Lamb
Published on 10/13/2016

Interdisciplinary sound-wave study holds promise for new technologies

Physics professor Taylor Hughes and mechanical science and engineering professor Gaurav Bahl of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are part of an interdisciplinary team that will study non-reversible sound wave propagation over the next four years, with a range of promising potential applications.
Author: Siv Schwink
Published on 8/17/2016

Fermilab neutrino experiment proves Leggett and Garg's theory in a new regime

Data from a massive neutrino experiment show that the elusive subatomic particles must literally be of two mutually exclusive types at once—poking a hole in our intuitive sense of reality. The result is bedrock quantum mechanics. But it's the sort of thing typically shown with highly controlled quantum optics experiments and not with nearly undetectable neutrinos. "If you had told me 10 years ago that we would use neutrinos to study quantum foundations, I would have said that you'd been smoking something very exciting," says Andrew White, a physicist at the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, in Brisbane, Australia, who was not involved in the work. "The result is utterly unsurprising and yet utterly attractive because it tells us that there's a new system for testing quantum foundations." Data from a massive neutrino experiment show that the elusive subatomic particles must literally be of two mutually exclusive types at once—poking a hole in our intuitive sense of reality. The result is bedrock quantum mechanics. But it's the sort of thing typically shown with highly controlled quantum optics experiments and not with nearly undetectable neutrinos. "If you had told me 10 years ago that we would use neutrinos to study quantum foundations, I would have said that you'd been smoking something very exciting," says Andrew White, a physicist at the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, in Brisbane, Australia, who was not involved in the work. "The result is utterly unsurprising and yet utterly attractive because it tells us that there's a new system for testing quantum foundations."
Author: Adrian Cho
Published on 7/19/2016

Watching 'jumping genes' in action: Real-time observation of transposon activity in living cells

Reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have observed jumping gene activity in real time within living cells. The study is the collaborative effort of physics professors Thomas Kuhlman and Nigel Goldenfeld, at the Center for the Physics of Living Cells, a National Science Foundation Physics Frontiers Center.
Author: Siv Schwink
Published on 6/14/2016

Van Harlingen receives Campus Executive Officer Distinguished Leadership Award

Professor Dale Van Harlingen, head of the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been selected to receive a Campus Executive Officer Distinguished Leadership Award by the Office of the Provost. The award recognizes exceptional academic leadership and vision by an executive officer within a college or campus unit.
Author: Siv Schwink
Published on 5/6/2016

Karin Dahmen One of Six Illinois Professors Named Guggenhiem Fellow

Six professors at the University of Illinois have been named 2016 Guggenheim Fellows, bringing to 13 the number of U. of I. faculty members who have been honored with the fellowship over the last three years. This year’s fellows are Dennis Baron, Karin A. Dahmen, Craig Koslofsky, Mei-Po Kwan, Ralph W. Mathisen and Rebecca Stumpf.
Author: Craig Chamberlain
Published on 4/14/2016
Jun Song

Song group predicts key-protein binding pattern involved in brain disorders

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of California-Davis (UC Davis) are combining in vivo experimentation with computation for highly accurate prediction of the genome-wide binding pattern of a key protein involved in brain disorders.
Author: Rick Kubetz
Published on 4/5/2016
Taylor Hughes

APS Physics publishes Q&A with Taylor Hughes

One thing is that it’s a new field. And because it involves “weakly correlated” physics, we can actually hope to make precise calculations about what is going to happen in experiments. It’s just a matter of asking the right question. That, to me, lends itself to more creativity, in a way that I feel can be rewarding. Whereas, if I came up with a new theory of high-temperature superconductivity, nobody would believe it but me.
Published on 1/30/2016
Philip Phillips

Professor Philip Phillips comments on value of diverse student body in Sun-Times opinion column

"Lots of people who come into physics can solve problems in a textbook," he said. "They want research to be cut-and-dried. Those who want ordinary don’t last long. Those who do original thinking have done so in other aspects of their lives. They already were confronted with differences early in life rather than floating through it." So, yes, Chief Justice, minority students can bring all kinds of vital, unique ideas to physics. The field depends on it."
Published on 1/30/2016