News

9/16/2020

By Hannah Edelen and Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2020) — Yuanyuan Su, an assistant professor in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Physics and Astronomy, is finding new ways to analyze images of our universe.

“There are two milestones in the history of modern astronomy,” Su said. “The first was to put cameras on telescopes. Instead of sketching them, we can now take pictures of celestial objects. Astronomy thus develops from being subjective to objective. The second was to put telescopes in space, allowing us to look at the high energy (X-ray and gamma ray) part of

9/15/2020

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 1, 2020) — The University of Kentucky is part of a new Physics Frontier Center (PFC) that launched today at the University of California, Berkeley. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Network for Neutrinos, Nuclear Astrophysics, and Symmetries (N3AS) PFC seeks to improve understanding of the most extreme events known in the universe: mergers of neutron stars and their explosive aftermath, which includes ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves.

Susan Gardner, professor in the UK Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences, is leading the effort on behalf of UK.

“I am really enthusiastic about the new Physics Frontier Center and am

8/4/2020

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2020) — It’s not every day members of an international team of scientists find themselves perplexed over unexpected data results. And it’s even less likely the team will turn to a student to help make sense of the findings. But this was what happened with University of Kentucky student Maryam Dehghanian.

Dehghanian, a doctoral candidate in the UK Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences, has spent the last three years helping a team of NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) astronomers understand observations they made while studying a supermassive black hole at the center of NGC 5548, a nearby galaxy. The observations were made as part of NASA’s Space

6/22/2020
By Jenny Wells-Hosley
 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2020) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today approved the University Research Professorships for the 2020-21 academic year. Among them are Amy Murrell Taylor in the Department of History; and Renée Fatemi in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The purpose of the University Research Professorship program is to recognize and publicize research accomplishments of scholars across the full range of disciplines at UK. The award amount is $10,000 for one year, to be used to further the research, scholarship and creative endeavors of the awardee.  

“It is gratifying to recognize these distinguished experts who have made significant

6/11/2020

By Richard LeComte

Sumit R. Das, University research professor of physics and astronomy, has been named to the Jack and Linda Gill Endowed Professorship in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Kentucky. UK’s Board of Trustees approved the designation in December, and the appointment takes effect in July. 

The Gill Research Excellence Fund supports the Gill Professorships in Science and Engineering. The deans of the Colleges of Arts & Sciences and Engineering jointly administer the program. Professors are recommended by a committee based on a nomination letter. Das also is a College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor for 2019-20.

“Das has made major contributions in a range of different areas related to the branch of theoretical physics known as string theory, the unified theory of elementary particles and gravity that describes

6/5/2020

By Richard LeComte

Postdoctoral positions help launch the academic careers of Ph.D. graduates and bring acclaim to their doctoral-granting institutions. Several recent Ph.D. students in the College of Arts & Sciences’ Department of Physics and Astronomy have landed stellar postdoctoral positions:

Alina Aleksandrova (experimental nuclear physics) is working at the California Institute of Technology. Mark Broering (experimental nuclear physics) has started a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT. Ankur Das (theoretical condensed matter physics) has accepted a postdoctoral position at Weizmann Institute in Israel starting in September. Animik Ghosh (theoretical high energy physics) will serve as a postdoc at the University of Illinois, also starting in September. Aaron Jezghani (experimental nuclear physics) is working as a research scientist at Georgia Tech
6/3/2020

The College of Arts and Sciences is committed to learning and working environments that are diverse, inclusive, and equitable for students, staff, and faculty.

We stand in solidarity with those working to confront systemic racial injustice in our communities and in the United States. We recognize the disproportionate burden of racism and other forms of violence on many within our A&S community during this time. We affirm our support of faculty, students, staff, and alumni in standing against all forms of racism, discrimination, and bias.

During this time of pandemic and continued racism and violence that especially impact marginalized communities of color, we recognize the disproportionate impact on Black and African-American people. In the context of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and here in Kentucky, Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, we affirm that

5/26/2020

By Julie Wrinn

Maryam Dehganian earned her undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Kashan, one of the top universities in Iran and ranked first in the country in research productivity. When it came time to pursue graduate work, however, she was attracted to the University of Kentucky for the chance to work with Cloudy, one of the world’s most-cited astrophysical computer programs.

Cloudy is the creation of UK professor Gary Ferland, who began work on it during postdoctoral research at Cambridge University in 1978 and continued developing it after joining UK as an assistant professor in 1980. The program has been open source since 1982 and is updated every other year.

“Since I was interested in computational astrophysics,” Dehghanian said, “joining the Cloudy team was a great opportunity for me.”

Dehganian is also the recipient of the MacAdam

5/26/2020

By Jenny Wells and Alicia Gregory

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 2, 2019) — A team of researchers from the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences Department of Physics and Astronomy has made a discovery that has changed the "elementary textbook" description of protons.

Professors Keh-Fei Liu and Terrence Draper, along with postdoctoral scholar Jian Liang, are co-authors of a study titled "Proton Mass Decomposition from the QCD Energy Momentum Tensor" that was published this past fall in Physical Review Letters. Since then, the study has gained national attention in the world of physics, as its results have opened doors for more calculations and theoretical understanding.

5/14/2020
By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2020) — The University of Kentucky Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences has received its first Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This highly competitive program will help provide research opportunities for students from regional colleges.

“This REU award is an exciting milestone for our department and for UK,” said Al Shapere, chair of the department. “Just 60 other universities have REU programs in physics, none of them in Kentucky, so this is a distinction that raises our department’s status as a regional leader and sets us apart on a national scale. We are looking forward to partnering with

4/21/2020
An illustration of the Milky Way galaxy.

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

Austin Hinkel, a doctoral student in the University of Kentucky Department of Physics and Astronomy, is the lead author of a new paper that published today in the Astrophysical Journal.

The study, "Probing Axial Symmetry Breaking in the Galaxy with Gaia Data Release 2," was led by Hinkel along with co-authors Susan Gardner, professor of physics and astronomy in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, and Brian Yanny, a staff scientist and astrophysicist in the Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics in Batavia, Illinois.

"Using powerful ideas borrowed from nuclear and particle physics, we explore the axial symmetry, or

4/13/2020
A picture of the Gaines Center building.

By Gabriela Antenore

The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities has selected 12 undergraduate students as new scholars for the Gaines Fellowship Program.

The Gaines Fellowship is presented in recognition of outstanding academic performance, demonstrated ability to conduct independent research, an interest in public issues and a desire to enhance understanding of the human condition through the humanities. Founded in 1984 by a gift from John and Joan Gaines, the Gaines Center for the Humanities functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on UK’s campus. The Gaines Center is designed to enrich the study of the humanities at the University of Kentucky.

4/3/2020
An outdoors photo of Yuke Wang.

By Whitney Hale

The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that sophomore  Yuke Wang has received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. The UK College of Arts & Sciences student is among 396 students nationwide selected to receive the 2020-21 Goldwater Scholarship.

This year's Goldwater Scholars were selected based on academic merit from a field of 1,343 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of 461 of the nation's colleges and universities.

Wang, who calls Lexington home, is pursuing majors in physics and mathematics in the 

3/30/2020

By Ryan Girves

Before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 50 outstanding University of Kentucky undergraduate research students learned they were selected to present their faculty-mentored research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. The event was canceled, but UK's Office of Undergraduate Research is noting the achievement. Among them are more than a dozen students in the College of Arts & Sciences. 

The student conference, which would have been held this past weekend at Montana State University, is dedicated to promoting undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity in all fields of study. It provides models of exemplary research and scholarship and strives to improve the state of undergraduate

3/25/2020
This Living Learning Program gives freshmen a mentored head start on the way to majoring in the sciences and mathematics

By Richard LeComte

Started in 2015, the STEMCats Living Learning Program has helped students majoring within the many and varied areas of the sciences or mathematics find their way to success at UK. And STEMCats peer mentors are a big part of that effort. 

“I have a group chat with my mentees about how things are going,” said Keanu Exum, a STEMCats peer mentor majoring in biology and neuroscience. “I want to make myself known to my mentees — that I am a resource for them.” 

Getting students situated in STEMCats is having a positive effect on the academic careers of the participants, says a study conducted by Carol D. Hanley of International Programs in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. STEMCats is a program

3/25/2020
By Julie Wrinn

Robert Stokes (Physics BS '64) came of age in the 1960s as part of a generation of American astrophysicists who were energized by the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite. He grew up in Ravenna, Kentucky, a tiny city in Estill County built up by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in 1915.  

His father, a dispatcher for the railroad, passed away when Stokes was 16. Although his parents did not have much formal education, they had always hoped he would be able to go to college, and thanks to his mother’s dedication and a lot of help and encouragement from the close-knit community, Stokes managed to stay on track for college. 

“I had a lot of people who really cared about me,” Stokes said. “I had ‘extra’ parents, scoutmasters, and teachers who had an enormously positive impact on my life. During my junior and senior years in high school, I used to get

12/9/2019

By Ryan Girves

The University of Kentucky Office of Undergraduate Research recently recognized and awarded 19 students with the Oswald Research and Creativity awards. 

The Oswald Research and Creativity Competition was established in 1964 by then President John Oswald as part of the university’s Centennial Celebration. The program is intended to promote creativity in all fields of study and provides annual awards in seven categories. The competition accepts reports, of all forms of creativity, and scholarship by undergraduate students.

Categories include Biological Sciences; Design, including architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design; Fine Arts, including

11/8/2019

By Madison Dyment

After many years working at an institution, many faculty members come to feel like family. Having worked at the University of Kentucky for 30 years, one such family member, Michael Cavagnero of the Physics and Astronomy Department, has retired from UK to accept a position as Dean of the Division of Science and Technology at the City University of New York's Staten Island College.

Cavagnero began studying physics at the University of Connecticut, continuing this course of study at the University of Chicago graduate school. His interest largely lies in the physics of atoms and their interactions with one another and light. This interest began his junior year of undergrad.

“I read a book called ‘Basic Physics of Atoms and Molecules’ by authors U. Fano and L. Fano that was first published in the year I was born,

7/19/2019

By Jenny Wells

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 19, 2019) — Saturday, July 20, 2019, will mark 50 years since human beings first landed and walked on the surface of the moon. Nearly 650 million people around the world watched as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped down from the lunar module and left their footprints on the lunar surface. It was described by "CBS Evening News" anchor Walter Cronkite as "the greatest adventure" in man’s history, and remains one of humankind’s greatest symbols of achievement.

As the United States and the world reflect on this historic moment, the University of Kentucky is remembering its own people who played important roles in making it happen. From working on the Saturn V rocket, to designing the parachutes that deployed when the astronauts returned, to analyzing the

7/10/2019

By  Madelyn Chambers and Jenny Wells-Hosley

Tomorrow evening, the MacAdam Student Observatory at the University of Kentucky will celebrate the 50 year anniversary of America visiting the moon.

Tim Knauer, director of the observatory, will give a presentation as part of the Kentucky SkyTalks program at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 11, in Room 121 Jacobs Science Building. Afterward, attendees will have an opportunity to observe the moon through a powerful 20-inch telescope at the observatory across the street atop the Rose Street parking garage. The event is free and open to the public. Please note, the upper deck of the garage is under repair. Access instructions will be posted on Thursday afternoon at https://pa.as.uky.edu/skytalk.

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