Nigel Goldenfeld with graduate student Hong-Yan Shih

Ecological extinction explains how turbulence dies

As anyone who has experienced turbulence knows, its onset and departure are abrupt, and how long it lasts seems to be unpredictable. Fast flowing fluids are always turbulent, but at slower speeds the flow transitions to smooth and predictable (laminar) with intermittent patches of turbulence. In the human body, transitional turbulence can be deadly. Near the transition to turbulence, violent oscillations between laminar and turbulent blood flow can lead to aneurisms that rupture the arteries in the heart.
Author: Siv Schwink
Published on 12/15/2015

Observation of transition form topological phase to electronic nematic phase, predicted by Fradkin

An ultrapure material taken to pressures greater than that in the depths of the ocean and chilled to temperatures colder than outer space has revealed an unexpected phase transition that crosses two different phase categories.

A Purdue University-led team of researchers observed electrons transition from a topologically ordered phase to a broken symmetry phase, as predicted by University of Illinois theoretical condensed matter physicist, Eduardo Fradkin.

Author: Elizabeth K. Gardner
Published on 11/15/2015
Peter Abbamonte

Peter Abbamonte, this week's News Gazette "high tech difference maker"

On Sundays, News-Gazette staff writer Paul Wood spotlights a high-tech difference maker. This week: University of Illinois physics professor Peter Abbamonte, who founded Inprentus Precision Optics in 2012 in the UI Research Park. It's the only company in the world making nanotech optics that work with X-ray and extreme ultraviolet light.
Author: Paul Wood
Published on 11/15/2015
Shinsei Ryuu

Professor Shinsei Ryu named amoung "10 scientists who are making their mark" in Science News

Shinsei Ryu, a University of Illinois assistant professor of physics, was named one of ten early-career scientists who are "on their way to widespread acclaim", in an article in Science News, an online publication of the Society for Science & the Public. In theoretical condensed matter physics, the systems can be so complex that the goal isn’t finding the right answers, Ryu says, “it’s asking the right questions.” Quantum applications such as computers rely on consistency — the same question should yield the same answer every time. But the quantum interactions between electrons are often unpredictable, so Ryu hunts for measurements that reliably return the same value again and again. He likens the systems to a doughnut shape. The curvature of the doughnut’s surface can change when external forces press in, but the number of holes in the doughnut stays the same. These kinds of robust properties will make accurate quantum computing possible, he says.
Published on 10/30/2015
Nigel Goldenfeld

Straight up, with a twist: new model derives homochirality from the basic requirements for life

A mathematical model developed by a group of physicists at the University of Illinois suggests that homochirality can be used as a universal biosignature
Author: Claudia Lutz, Carl R. Woese - IGB
Published on 10/30/2015

Karin Dahmen named the Woman Physicist of the Month

Karin A. Dahmen, professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is a world-leading theorist who studies noise and slip avalanches in disordered media far from equilibrium. Her work touches condensed matter physics, materials science, geophysics, and even neuroscience, and she is heavily involved in three research centers at the University of Illinois—the Institute for Condensed Matter Theory, the Center for the Physics of Living Cells, and the Institute for Genomic Biology.
Published on 10/1/2015
Tony Leggett

Professor Anthony Leggett to be inducted into Engeineering At Illinois Hall of Fame

Anthony Leggett, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois, will be inducted into the 2015 Engineering at Illinois Hall of Fame tomorrow. He is among six selected for this distinction this year for significant achievements in leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation of great impact to society.
Published on 10/1/2015

Physics Illinois tops Teachers Ranked as Excellent -Again

Physics Illinois takes great pride in the dedication, professionalism, and plain hard work of the scholars that meet one of our core missions—teaching. Each semester, the University's Center for Teaching Excellence polls our toughest critics—the students who take Physics classes—and asks them to assess the skills and effectiveness of their teachers. Only the very best make this list.
Published on 9/30/2015
Gordon Baym

Quantum Fluids From nK to TeV: An 80th Birthday Symposium in Honor of Gordon Baym

On October 16-17, 2015, there will be a Symposium in honor of Professor Gordon Baym's 80th birthday. "Quantum Fluids form nk to TeV" 
Published on 8/10/2015

Collaborative research team solves cancer cell mutation mystery

More than 500,000 people in the United States die each year of cancer-related causes. Now, emerging research has identified the mechanism behind one of the most common mutations that helps cancer cells to replicate limitlessly.   Approximately 85 percent of cancer cells obtain their limitless replicative potential through the reactivation of a specific protein called telomerase (TERT). Recent cancer research has shown that highly recurrent mutations in the promoter of the TERT gene are the most common genetic mutations in many cancers, including adult glioblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. TERT stabilizes chromosomes by elongating the protective element at the end of each chromosome in a cell. Scientists have discovered that cells harboring these mutations aberrantly increase TERT expression, effectively making them immortal. Now, a collaborative team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at the University of California, San Francisco, has uncovered the mechanisms by which mutations result in elevated TERT expression. The team’s findings, published in the May 14 issue of Science, have exciting implications for new, more precise and personalized cancer treatments with fewer side effects compared with current treatments.
Author: Susan McKenna, Alex Kreig, and Siv Schwink
Published on 5/20/2015