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Nikhil Ajgaonkar (Yan) – “Constraining the Star Formation Histories of Galaxies in the Swift/UVOT+MaNGA (SwiM) Value-added Catalog”. Now a PTD Module and Integration Yield Engineer at Intel (Oregon).

Mojtaba Behzadipour (Plaster) – “Simulation and Data Analysis of nEDM@SNS Experiment in Presence of Time-Varying Magnetic Field”. Now a Postdoc at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Jared S Brewington (Plaster) – “Design of the B0 and Spin-Transport Magnetic Field Coils for the Los Alamos National Lab Neutron Electric Dipole Moment Experiment”. Now a Senior Electromagnetics Engineer, Resonant Link (Vermont, but working remotely in Greensboro, NC).

Abel Manuel Lorente Campos (


Professor Susan Gardner was awarded the University of Kentucky’s Albert and Elizabeth Kirwan Memorial Prize. The prize is bestowed each year to a faculty member in recognition of their outstanding contributions to original research or scholarship, with an emphasis on work produced four years prior to the award. Below is Professor Gardner’s description of her recent research. 

I thank my faculty colleagues for recognizing my research accomplishments with the 2022 Albert and Elizabeth Kirwan Memorial Prize. My research concerns the theoretical investigation of "fundamental symmetries,'' and their violation, to the end of identifying and interpreting new physical phenomena. In the last years, my


In 2023, Professor Gary Ferland, already a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society, was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the first member of our faculty to receive this honor.  AAAS cited his development of the synthesis code “Cloudy”, which is used to simulate spectra of astronomical objects.  Gary wrote the following overview of astronomy at UK and the role of Cloudy.

The astronomy group has long been noted for its strong theoretical side. Moshe Elitzur, recently retired, was an accomplished particle theorist before moving over to astronomy. His work on interstellar masers has long


David Hume (B.S. ’02) attended graduate school at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) and conducted his Ph.D. research in (future Nobel laureate) David Wineland’s lab at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder. After a post-doc appointment at the University of Heidelberg, he returned to NIST to continue his research on high precision measurements of trapped ions, in particular the use of aluminum ions as atomic clocks.

Physics seniors and Society of Physics Student officers Anthony Kelly and Gabija Ziemyte had the opportunity to ask Dr. David Hume a few questions when he visited the University of Kentucky to give a departmental colloquium in November of 2022. Below are edited excerpts from Anthony


I joined University of Kentucky’s Department of Physics and Astronomy in the fall of 2008 as a Ph.D. student. From the very first day it was a wonderful journey for me as an international student, and the department helped me tremendously to shape my academic career as a particle physicist alongside making long term, solid friendships.

Currently, I am a lecturer (Assistant Professor) in High Energy Physics at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. At University of Kentucky, I pursued theoretical particle physics, precisely lattice QCD under the supervision of Professor Keh-Fei Liu. Lattice QCD provides a successful first-principles, highly computational framework to study the dynamics of quarks and gluons which are subatomic fundamental particles glued together by a strong


When joining the University of Kentucky physics department as a graduate student in 2006, I knew that I enjoyed doing experimental research but had not yet settled on a research topic. With the wide variety of research topics being pursued at UK, it was an ideal place to spend my first two semesters learning more before starting my research in the summer of 2007 in Dr. Joe Brill’s lab. What caught my interest was electrical conduction through organic molecular materials, which was the topic of my research for my Ph.D. and which I continue to study as a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD.

The charge and energy carriers in organic semiconductors act differently than standard semiconductors, such as Si, but can still be used to make


By Jenny Wells-Hosley and Tracy Marc 

A team from UK, including students and postdocs, made precision measurements in a magnet storage ring as part of Fermilab's muon g-2 experiment. This latest discovery sets up "the ultimate showdown" between theory and experiment. Ryan Postel | Fermilab

A group of faculty, postdoctoral scholars and students from the University of Kentucky Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), are part of an international collaboration of scientists exploring uncharted territory in search of new physics.

The team has contributed to an important new development in the


By Brian Carrico

Gabija Ziemyte

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 5, 2023) — Walking across the commencement stage and receiving your diploma is a satisfying feeling and is the culmination of a lot of hard work. University of Kentucky graduate Gabija Ziemyte’s family will celebrate her accomplishments for the first time in the United States.

“My parents are from Lithuania, and they both earned master's degrees there,” said Ziemyte, a Lewis Honors student and Chellgren Student Fellow who majored in physics and mathematics with an English minor in the College of Arts and Sciences. “I think my parents are proud that I've been able to grow into myself and find


By A Fish  

LEXINGTON; Ky. — Moiré electronics are hot topics for theoretical physics. Ganpathy Murthy, professor of physics and astronomy in the University of Kentucky’s College of Arts & Sciences, spoke about the upcoming van Winter Lecture and about guest lecturer Ashvin Vishwanath, a theoretical physicist specializing in the study of condensed matter at Harvard University. 

Vishwanath is a condensed matter theorist who studies collective phenomena in quantum systems. His previous research has explored the central role of "hedgehog" defects in phase transitions, the occurrence of distinctive surface states in Weyl semimetals, Dirac fermion dualities and the notion of surface topological order.  

His attention is focused on unraveling the mysteries of moiré materials and exploring ways to create


By Jenny Wells-Hosley 

Gary Ferland (center) with students

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 31, 2023) — Gary Ferland, a professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals.

Ferland is among 505 scientists, engineers and innovators who have been elected 2022 fellows for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements throughout their careers.

The fellowship honors Ferland’s development of a theoretical astrophysics code, “Cloudy,” which is used across the


By Tori Santiago 

Renee Fatemi, professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), the nation's preeminent organization of physicists.

Selection as a Fellow of the APS demonstrates exceptional accomplishments and contributions to the field of physics. Less than half of 1% of the APS membership receive the honor each year. 

Fatemi is being honored for “contributions to the understanding of the spin and momentum structure of quarks and gluons in the proton through the novel development and application of jet reconstruction tools in polarized proton collisions.”

Fatemi’s research focuses on accelerator based nuclear and particle physics. She is currently a member of the STAR


By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 27, 2022) — Two University of Kentucky students have been selected for the Henry Clay Internship at NASA for the 2022-23 academic year. The internship offers an exceptional opportunity for highly accomplished students to serve in the NASA Office of the Chief Scientist.

NASA’s chief scientist serves as principal adviser to the NASA administrator and other senior officials on agency science programs, strategic planning and the evaluation of related investments. The Henry Clay Internship with this office is sponsored by the Kentucky Society of Washington in partnership with the NASA


By Jenny Wells-Hosley

Results from two separate research studies, led by University of Kentucky postdoctoral scholar Valeria Olivares and graduate student Arnab Sarkar, will be presented during the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) semiannual meeting, taking place in Pasadena, California, this week.

As the largest astronomy conference in the United States, the AAS meeting will bring together more than 2,000 astronomers, educators, students and journalists to highlight the nation’s most groundbreaking work in the fields of physics and astronomy.

“Approximately 30 works from around the world are being highlighted at the AAS press conference, representing some of the highest impact findings of this year,” said Yuanyuan Su, assistant professor in the UK Department of Physics and Astronomy and faculty mentor to Olivares and


Da Bi (Shlosman): “First Steps in the Small-Scale Structure Formation in the Universe: the Appearance of Galaxies” – now a postdoc, Center for Astrophysics and Related Technologies (Chile).

Priyanka Chakraborty (Ferland): “Exploring the X-ray Universe in the Microcalorimeter Era” – now a postdoc, Harvard University (Massachusetts).

Qing Chen (Hill): “Effective Field Theory Applications: From Dark Matter to Neutrino Nucleon Scattering” – now at University of Science and Technology (China).

Austin Hinkel (Gardner): “Axial Symmetry Tests of Milky Way Disk Stars


The Department of Physics and Astronomy recognized two of its undergraduate students: Gabija Ziemyte with the Outstanding Junior Award and Richard Lai with the Outstanding Senior Award.

Gabija Ziemyte, Outstanding Junior Award

Double majoring in Physics and Mathematics, Gabija is a research assistant with Dr. Christopher Crawford’s “Robotic Mapping of Magnetic Fields in a Magnetically Shielded Environment.” Her additional honors include the 2020 Chellgren Fellow, 2021 Goldwater UK Nominee, 2021 and 2022 UK OUR Research Ambassador, 2021 REU, ODU/Jlab “Measurement and Modeling of Injection Locked Magnetron to the Stable Bandwidth,” and 2022 REU, University of Chicago.

Richard Lai, Outstanding Senior Award

Richard Lai graduated from UK in 2022 with a major in Physics and a minor in Mathematics. Working with


By Professor Nicholas Martin

Free-free scattering is the scattering of a free electron by an atom in the presence of, for example, a laser beam — the free electron may either absorb or emit one or more photons from the beam. (A free electron cannot absorb or emit photons without the presence of an atom because both energy and momentum cannot be conserved; the photon is a "relativistic" particle traveling at the speed of light!) The term free-free scattering is used since the electron is free (not bound to the atom) both before and after the event. The absorption or emission of radiation by charged particles during collisions with atoms and molecules has long been known to be important in astrophysical and electrical plasma phenomena. Free-free transitions are also known to dominate the radiation transport in


By Professor Wolfgang Korsch

I have always been fascinated by the “spins” of subatomic systems, specifically the spins of atomic nuclei and their constituents. Although a spin is an intrinsic property of a fundamental particle, like its mass or charge, Nature exhibits remarkable spin-related phenomena. For example, protons and neutrons are composed of a multitude of structureless, or point-like, particles called quarks and mediators of the strong force, called gluons. The total number of quarks and gluons is completely unknown at any instant since it can vary due to quantum fluctuations. Quarks are spin-1/2 particles and the spin of gluons is 1 (in units of hbar). Since these fundamental constituents are confined to a tiny volume, it implies that the particles are highly relativistic and therefore possess


By Professor Sumit Das, College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor (2019)

As far as we know, almost all natural phenomena stem from four fundamental interactions: electromagnetism, weak interaction, strong interaction, and gravity. The first three are governed by the laws of quantum mechanics. It is natural to think that gravity should also be governed by quantum mechanics. However ever since Einstein discovered the laws of gravity in 1915, reconciling gravity with quantum mechanics has been famously problematic.

One reason for this difficulty is the following. The other forces can be understood as processes happening in a fixed space-time background, where spatial distances and time intervals are fixed once and for all. For example, light is an electromagnetic wave which propagates


Ryan MacLellan joined the University of Kentucky as an assistant professor of physics in early 2020. Ryan was an assistant professor at the University of South Dakota for the five years prior.

Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada, Ryan received his Ph.D. on the energy calibration of the SNO experiment in 2009 from the Queen’s University. He went on to do a postdoc at the University of Alabama and then was a research associate at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory before moving to the University of South Dakota in 2014. The discovery of neutrino mass by the SNO experiment, earned his Ph.D. supervisor Art McDonald a share of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics; and Ryan, along with the rest of the SNO Collaboration, a share in the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

His primary research interests remain