Principal investigator of the Mars rover missions, Prof. Steven Squyres ’78 is “now teaching adults, college students, who cannot remember a time when there wasn’t a rover on Mars.” The rover, Opportunity, who has been on Mars for 14 years became unresponsive in June following a massive dust storm on the planet.
Quantum teleportation may sound like a futuristic means of travel, but it occurs at the particle level. It can enable encryption that is essentially unbreakable. As part of the physics department’s Fall 2016 Bethe Lecture, Prof. Anton Zeilinger, physics, University of Vienna, discussed concepts in quantum theory that could revolutionize information technology. The Bethe Lectures is a lectureship endowed by Cornell University to honor Hans Albrecht Bethe, who led the physics department and was awarded the 1967 Nobel Prize in physics for his contributions to the theory of nuclear reactions. Quantum physics describes the nature of matter on the atomic and subatomic scale.
What started as a question to the A-exam became a revolutionary discovery in the material science field. Neil Y.C. Lin — a graduate student from Cornell University pursuing a physics Ph.D. — was asked if it was possible to measure forces at the single particle scale, given that the current methods can only measure said forces at bulk scale (in groups) on his A-exam. A-exam is an exam where Ph.D. candidates must attempt to answer questions that not even the professors know the answers to. This question led Lin to work with Prof. Itai Cohen, physics, Prof. James Sethna, physics, Matthew Bierbaum grad and Prof. Peter Schall, physics, University of Amsterdam. After three years of research, this team of theorists, computer calibrators, and crystal specialists found their answer in SALSA — not the tasty dip, but Stress Assessment from Local Structure Anisotropy.
Society teaches us that science has no limits; that you and I can be whatever we want to be, do whatever we want to do, and that scientists are nothing but an utter bouquet of bright minds moving from grass to grace, sharing their knowledge with all and sundry, passing on the ‘Universalistic’ torch inscribed with the message: all is possible in the name of science. True to its nature, the more we learn about the physical world the smaller it gets, the more justifications we come up with for branching out of our egg-shell shaped Earth, for exploring the Moon, the stars, the Milky Way, the Universe. But whence come our limit, if any?
Prof. Karl Berkelman ’59, physics, who was the Goldwin Smith Professor Emeritus of Physics and a leader in the design and construction of the Cornell Electron Storage Ring, died Feb. 26. He was 79.
Berkelman received a Ph.D. from Cornell in 1959 and joined the faculty two years later, where he remained for his entire career. Apart from the CESR, he was also actively involved in building many complex detectors that are collectively known as CLEO, according to an obituary published in The Ithaca Journal. The first track finding program for CLEO was also attributed to Berkelman. The program helped future researchers to reconstruct the path and momentum of charged particles following a collision, according to the University.
“If you looked far back enough, the universe should have been decelerating before it [started] accelerating,” said Prof. Robert Kirshner, Clowes Professor of Science, Harvard University, and the former president of the American Astronomical Society, at last night’s lecture entitled “The Accelerating Universe: Einstein’s Blunder Undone.”
Kirshner’s lecture last night was one of three talks on schedule for this year’s Hans A. Bethe Lecture Series. Over 200 people, including students, professors, elementary school kids and their parents, attended the lecture at in Schwartz Auditorium.