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Graduate Program

Recent Accomplishments of the Physics and Astronomy Graduate Students

A list of (mostly department) awards and prizes for the graduate students can be found here. The department news page, which includes many notable achievements of the students and faculty, can be found here.

Prof. Tim Koeth of Maryland (PhD 2009, with Prof. Steve Schnetzer) was featured in a news story by NPR for his work looking into what happened to the 664 uranium cubes from the World War II era German B-VIII nuclear reactor project at Haigerloch - story here.

Graduate student Steven Clark (entered AY18-19) has won an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to support his work with Prof. Eva Halkiadakis on the CMS experiment at the CERN LHC. Angela Coe (entered AY16-17) previously was awarded an NSF GRF, which supports her work with Prof. Eva Andrei on graphene.

Graduate student Chad Ummel (3rd year student with Prof. Jolie Cizewski) is a Stewardship Science Graduate Fellow during AY18-19, one of only a handful in the country. He is working with scientists from Oak Ridge, Livermore, Argonne, and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs measuring a nuclear reaction important for understanding the synthesis of the heaviest elements in mergers of neutron stars or supernova explosions.

Graduate students Prasiddha Arunachalam (4th year student with Prof. Jack Hughes) and Adam Broussard (3rd year student with Prof. Eric Gawiser) won Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Awards for their posters at the 233rd AAS meeting in January 2019 in Seattle.

Dan Brennan (5th year graduate student with Prof. Greg Moore and Bevier Fellow) wrote a review paper on string theory with Federico Carta (Madrid) and extraordinarily influential string theorist Cumrun Vafa (Harvard) that, as of early 2019, has been cited over 80 times in the year since it was written.

Anshuman Panda (PhD Jan 2018, with Prof. Gyan Bhanot) was awarded the prestigious New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research Fellowship for on his PhD thesis work on immune checkpoint therapy, the cancer treatment method for which the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded. His work was published as four first author papers in high impact clinical journals: Journal of Clinical Investigation / Journal of Clinical Investigation-Insight, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and Journal of Clinical Oncology, Precision Medicine. It has resulted in changes in clinical therapy and the initiation of two clinical trials. Panda is now a post doc at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, working with Dr. Shridar Ganesan.

Sean Kung (PhD Jan 2018, with Prof. Girsh Blumberg) made a number of breakthrough contributions to condensed matter physics, including the first observation of broken reflection symmetry in the “hidden-order” phase of the enigmatic heavy-fermion material URu2Si2 [published in Science and Physical Review Letters], and discoveries of a novel collective mode, the chiral spin wave [published in Physical Review Letters], and a novel composite particle, the chiral exciton [published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences] in a three-dimensional topological insulator Bi2Se3, which adds to the potential of topological insulators as a platform for photonics, optoelectronics and spintronics devices. Each of the listed above discoveries merits an award on its own; to have three of them within one Ph.D. thesis is an unprecedented fit. Kung's work has been reported on in several Rutgers news stories, e.g., https://news.rutgers.edu/sea-spinning-electrons/20171001#.WdI4J1tSy70. His dissertation won the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools 2019 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award.

Michael Manhart (PhD Oct 2014, with Prof. Alex Morozov) received a very prestigious SNF Ambizione Fellowship and is now junior faculty (group leader) at ETH Zurich.

Adina Luican-Mayer (PhD 2013, with Prof. Eva Andrei), who was an Alexei Abrikosov post-doctoral Fellow at Argonne Natioanal Lab, is now an Assistant Prof. at Ottawa University.

Craig Fennie (PhD 2006, with Prof. Karin Rabe), now at Cornell, won a 2013 MacArthur "Genius" Award. Craig was a Lucent Fellow in the Department from 2004 to 2006, won the 2007 Graduate School Dissertation prize, an ARO Young Investigator Award in 2010, an NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) in 2011, and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2012.

Kam-Biu Luk (PhD 1983, with Tom Devlin), now at UC Berkeley, won the American Physical Society W. K. H. Panofsky Prize in 2014. He had previously been a Wilson Fellow of Fermilab in 1986-1989, and received a Department of Energy Outstanding Junior Investigator award in 1989-1991 and was an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in 1990-1994.


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Last revised September 17, 2019