News Archive 2001-2008

Physics Department Newsletters: current | 2005 | 2003 | 2001


  • Notice: Physics Club moved to Mondays at 4:00 pm starting in the Spring semester 2009. (September 2008)
  • Adam Bouland (YC’09) has won a Marshall Scholarship to study at Cambridge for 2 years, Yale Daily News, December 3, 2008. UK in the USA, December 2, 2008. Yale Bulletin and Calendar, December 12, 2008. (December 2008)
  • Jack Harris (Assistant Professor) has been named among Discover’s “20 Under 40”, Yale Bulletin, November 21, 2008. (November 2008)
  • For first time in 20 years, Yale Holds Reunion for Former Physics Students. The Physics Alumni Conference was held November 7-9, 2008 which drew alumni from many years and far-flung places. Yale Bulletin, November 14, 2008. (November 2008). Article from the Graduate School Newletter .
  • The Yale University Physics Department announces two new initiatives: the creation of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute for Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences, and the launch of a new Integrated Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology, which is accepting applications now and will welcome the first students Fall 2009. It is now broadly appreciated that Physics and a physics-inspired approach – namely to organize and understand complex phenomena via mathematical models that can be compared quantitatively to experiments – can provide valuable new ways of thinking about important problems in biology and the life sciences. Physicists are also especially comfortable with developing new instruments and technologies that can be applied in biology. The result has been the emergence of a new subfield at the interface of physics, biology and engineering. Positioned at the intersection of these disciplines, the Sackler Institute will bring physicists, biologists, and engineers together to carry out transformative research in the biological and life sciences. The Sackler Institute will also provide some graduate student support and fund the development of new classes – including a novel physics/biology laboratory class. For more information, see (November 2008)
  • Student Scientists Board NASA Aircraft for Weightless Experiment in Yale Bulletin Friday, September 26, 2008. Getting to zero gravity in Houston in Yale Daily News Wednesday, October 1, 2008. (October 2008)
  • Meg Urry (Israel Munson Professor of Physics and Astronomy and chair of the physics department) has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for her work in work on supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies and their influence on galaxy evolution. Yale Bulletin, October 10, 2008. (October 2008)
  • R. Shankar (John Randolph Huffman Professor of Physics) is the 2009 winner of the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize, “awarded for outstanding contributions to physics by a single individual who also has exceptional skills in lecturing to diverse audiences” and Robert Schoelkopf (Professor of Applied Physics & Physics) has been awarded the 2009 Joseph F. Keithley Award for Advances in Measurement Science, “for outstanding advances in measurement science or products that impact the physics community by providing better measurements”. Shankar and Schoelkopf will receive their awards at the annual APS meeting next spring. Yale Bulletin, October 3, 2008.
  • We sadly announce the death of Professor Emeritus William R. Bennett, Jr. on June 29th. A memorial service at Yale will be planned for the fall.
  • John (Tom) Giblin (PhD’08) has won a Prize Teaching Fellowship from the Graduate School for the 2008-09 Academic Year. (May 2008)
  • Christine Nattrass (Graduate Student) has won the Brookhaven Women in Science Gertrude S. Goldhaber Prize. She also received a certificate of apprecation from the Brookhaven National Laboratory RHIC/AGS User’s Executive Committee “in recognition of all your hard work and efforts as an advocate for the Association of Students and Post-docs at Brookhaven National Laboratory”. (May 2008)
  • Meg Urry (Israel Munson Professor of Physics & Astronomy) has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and will be inducted on October 11th at the House of the Academy in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Academy honors distinguished scientists, scholars, and leaders in public affairs, business, administration and the arts, and Meg was elected to the Astronomy and Astrophysics section. (May 2008)
  • We sadly announce the death of Research Support Specialist Saveliy Finkelshteyn. (April 2008)
  • Due to illness Freeman Dyson was unable to visit so the Leigh Page Prize Lecture Series was canceled. (April 2008)
  • Elizabeth Jerison (YC’10) and Adam Marblestone (YC’09) have won Goldwater Scholarships this year. (March 2008)
  • Ania Bleszynski Jayich (Postdoctoral Associate for Jack Harris) has won the 2008 L’Oreal USA Fellowship for Women in Science. The L’Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science program is a national awards program that annually recognizes and rewards five U.S.-based women researchers at the beginning of their scientific careers. Recipients receive $40,000 each that they must put towards their post-doctoral research. See Yale Bulletin - November 14, 2008 .(March 2008)
  • Helen Caines (Assistant Professor of Physics) has been elected a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. (February 2008)
  • Francesco Iachello (Gibbs Professor of Physics) has been awarded the 2008 Commemorative Medal from Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. This was awarded “for exceptional contributions to theoretical many-body physics, in particular for continuing illumination of the fundamental role that various types of symmetries play in nature”. He has been invited to receive the medal and deliver a lecture in March 2008. (January 2008)


  • Richard Easther (Assistant Professor of Physics) has been awarded the NSF Career Award, which is a five-year award for young faculty. (December 2007)
  • We sadly announce the death of Professor Michael Schmidt on November 18, 2007.
  • The 34th Hanan Rosenthal Memorial Lecture, “Quantum jumps of light”, was given by Jean-Michel Raimond, Université Pierre et Marie Curie on November 16, 2007 [Poster]
  • Steven M. Girvin (Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics & Applied Physics) has been elected as a fellow of the AAAS for “fundamental experimental and theoretical research on correlated many-electron states in low dimensional systems.” (November 2007)
  • Robert Schoelkopf (Professor of Applied Physics & Physics) has been elected as a fellow of the AAAS for “outstanding work toward the practical realization of quantum computation”. (November 2007)
  • Michael Schmidt (Professor of Physics) has been elected to Fellowship in the American Physical Society for “pioneering work in the technology and analysis of neutral B meson decays at the Tevatron Collider, leading to precision measurements of the mass matrix of the neutral B mesons.” This announcement will be published in the March 2008 issue of APS News. (October 2007)
  • Francesco Iachello (Gibbs Professor of Physics) has been awarded the Italian Medal of Science 2007 “For the development of novel algebraic methods and models in Nuclear Physics, in particular the Interacting Boson Model, which, by introducing a new type of symmetry, has contributed greatly to the modern understanding of the structure of nuclei.” (October 2007)
  • Richard Casten (D. Allan Bromley Professor of Physics) has been awarded a Mercator Guest Professorship by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, The German Research Association, which he will use at the University of Köln while on sabbatical in 2008. (October 2007)
  • Jeffery D. Thompson (YC’07) was selected as one of the American Physical Society’s 2007 LeRoy Apker Award finalists. Along with this honor money was awarded to the the department to support undergraduate research. (September 2007)
  • Steven Girvin has been appointed Deputy Provost for Science and Technology starting September 1, 2007, click here. (August 2007)
  • The 2007 Miller-Breit Lecture was given by Professor Robert Socolow, September 28, 2007. [Poster]
  • R. Shankar’s PHYS 200 lectures will be available online Fall 2007 through the Yale Open Educational Resources Video Lecture Project, Click Here. (July 2007)
  • Evelyn Tang (YC’07) has won the Gates Fellowship to study at Cambridge University. (June 2007)
  • Aaron Mertz and Ethan Neil (Graduate Students) have won Prize Teaching Fellowships from the Yale Graduate School for the 2007-08 academic year. (May 2007)
  • Jedidah Isler (Graduate Student) was awarded the NASA - Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship ( (May 2007)
  • Rachel Berkowitz (YC’07) has won a fellowship from the BP Institute, University of Cambridge ( Rachel has also been awarded a Society for Exploration Geophysicists scholarship towards her study at Cambridge. (May 2007)
  • Hal Finkel has won a DOE Computational Graduate Fellowship. He also received an Honorable mention in the NSF Graduate Fellowship Competition. (April 2007)
  • The 2007 Leigh Page Prize lectures were given by Professor Roger Blandford on April 25-27, 2007. [Poster]
  • Steven Girvin has been elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy. To be chosen one of the 18 foreign members is a singular honor. Click here for press release from the Royal Swedish Academy. (April 2007)
  • Jeff Thompson (YC’07) has won a Fulbright Grant to work at the University of Mainz in Mainz, Germany for one year before going to graduate school. (April 2007)
  • Walter Goldberger has been awarded and Outstanding Junior Investigator award from the Department of Energy. This is a coveted award and is given for his proposal “Investigations in the Field Theories: From Gravity to the Electroweak Scale”.
  • Aaron Mertz (Graduate Student) has won an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Honorable mentions were also won by Hal Finkel (Graduate Student) and Stephen Eckel (Graduate Student). We also had one undergraduate winner, Douglas Swanson (YC’07) who will be going to Princeton University for his graduate work, and one undergraduate honorable mention, Eleanor Millman (YC’07) who will be going to Harvard University for her graduate work. Congratulations students! Click here for more information on the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
  • Mara Baraban (Graduate Student) has been selected to attend the meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany, July 1-2, 2007. She will be a member of a student delegation supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), the National Science Foundation Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (NSF-MPS), and Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). (March 2007)
  • David Schuster (Graduate Student) has been awarded the Doctoral Dissertation Award of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS). The award is given at the annual meeting March 22-24 in Washington, DC. For a list of past recipients please go to (March 2007)
  • Jack Harris has been selected as an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow. As stated by President Ralph E. Comory of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, “…this is an extraordinarily competitive award, involving nominations for most of the very best scientists of your generation from the United States and Canada. I hope that your selection from this remarkable group of nominees will give you particular personal satisfaction, and convey a clear indication of the high esteem in which your past work and future potential are held by your fellow scientists.Office of Public Affairs, AAAS EurekAlert (February 2007)
  • We are pleased to announce that Meg Urry, Israel Munson Professor of Physics & Astronomy, will be the next chair of the physics department for a three-year term starting July 1, 2007. Current Chair, Professor R. Shankar states, “I am most confident Meg will preserve all that has been collectively achieved and take the department to still greater heights. The process of transition has already begun”. For an interview with Professor Urry please see the Yale Bulletin article [click here]. For further informaton: Yale Daily News, Office of Public Affairs (January 2007)


  • Aaron Mertz (Graduate Student) is awarded one of five Rhodes Scholarships awarded to Yale students this year. Click here for the Yale Daily News Article. (November 2006)
  • Bonnie Fleming has been awarded a five year CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation. See specific award information on the NSF Web Site. (November 2006)
  • Institute for Nanoscience and Quantum Engineering Established at Yale. Click here for more information. (October 2006)
  • R. Shankar’s PHYS 200 (Fundamentals of Physics) is one of seven pilot courses being offered through the Yale Video Lectures Project. Click here for FAQ. (September 2006)
  • The 2006 Miller-Breit Lecture was given by Professor Steve Block, October 27, 2006.
  • The 33rd Hanan Rosenthal Memorial Lecture was given by Professor Anton Zeilinger, October 23, 2006.
  • Peter Parker has recently been awarded, by Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Science, one of the 2006 Graduate Mentor Awards. This award was announced at the 2006 Commencement Convocation and is given to honor faculty members for their exemplary qualities as mentors. See some selected quotes from the nomination letters that illustrate Professor Parker’s persona as a mentor:
    • “What really makes Peter the ideal mentor is the faith he has given me in my future both as a physicist and a person.”
    • “From my first meeting with Peter I was immediately at ease, comfortable and asking questions as well as expressing my ideas. Perhaps that is what sets him apart the most: the way he regards his students as colleagues, not solely students.”
  • Steven Furlanetto receives the 2006 Robert J. Trumpler Award by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. For further information please see the following links:
  • David DeMille wins the Francis M. Pipkin award of the American Physical Society. His citation reads as “For wide-ranging studies of fundamental symmetries in atoms and molecules, including novel approaches to searches for the electric dipole moment of the electron and investigations of parity non-conservation and the spin-statistics connection.” The Pipkin award will be presented at the APS April 2007 meeting in Jacksonville, FL, at a special ceremonial session. Click here for Yale University Press Release.
  • Steven M. Girvin, jointly with James P. Eisenstein (Caltech) and Allan H. MacDonald (University of Texas, Austin), wins the Oliver E. Buckley award of the American Physical Society, the most distinguished award in condensed matter physics. His citation reads as “For their fundamental experimental and theoretical research on correlated many-electron states in low dimensional systems.” The Buckley prize will be presented at the APS March 2007 meeting in Denver, CO, at a special ceremonial session. Click here for Yale University Press Release.
  • R. Shankar’s PHYS 200 (Fundamentals of Physics) is one of seven pilot courses being offered through the Yale Video Lectures Project. Click here for FAQ.
  • The Terry Lectureship Centennial is being held September 14-15, 2006 at Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium. Please go to for more information.
  • We are pleased to announce that Keith Baker, Steve Lamoreaux, and Paul Tipton will be joining the physics department as Full Professors and Karyn Le Hur will be joining the department as an Associate Professor on July 1, 2006. We are also pleased to announce that Leonid Glazman will be joining the physics department as a Full Professor starting July 1, 2007. These new hires are a great asset to our department and will bring some new ideas to their respective research areas.
  • Professors Robert Schoelkopf and David DeMille elected to Fellowship in the American Physical Society.
  • Professor Steven Girvin elected to The National Academy of Sciences.
  • RHIC results named AIP Top Story for 2005. See Physics News Update 757 for the list of top stories. See Physics News Update 728 for entire RHIC story.
  • The Leigh Page Prize Lectures given by Dr. Michael Peskin, April 5, 6, 7, (2006).



  • Professor Daniel McKinsey wins Packard Fellowship
  • Postdoctoral Fellow Alexandre Blais wins an NSERC doctoral prize.
  • The Leigh Page Prize Lectures given by Prof. Kathryn Moler, April 12, 14, 16 (2004).
  • Prof. Michel Devoret receives major European award.
    The European Physical Society has awarded the 2004 Agilent Technologies Europhysics Prize to Prof. Michel Devoret, of Yale Applied Physics & Physics, and three other scientists [from France, the Netherlands, and Japan] for the “realization and demonstration of the quantum bit concept based on superconducting circuits” [quantum integrated circuit physics]. The Europhysics Prize, one of the most prestigious physics prizes presented in Europe, is given to internationally important areas of condensed matter physics. (April 2004)



  • Two Yale PhD’s win Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry.
    One is also a retired Yale professor who performed his prize-winning work at Yale. (October 2002).
  • Professor R. Shankar gives the “In the Company of Scholars” lecture of the Yale Graduate School.
    When you come to a fork in the road, take it ! Yogi Berra’s guide to the quantum world (October 2002)
  • Professor Pierre Hohenberg wins the Lars Onsager Prize.
    The prize was awarded by the American Physical Society for “contributions to a wide range of topics in statistical and condensed matter physics; including the theory of dynamic scaling close to critical points, the theory of pattern formation in nonequilibrium systems, and density functional theory.” (October 2002)
  • Formation of the Physics Department Committee on the Undergraduate Program (COUP).
  • Yale Physics and Applied Physics receive $1.2 Million W.M. Keck Foundation Grant for Quantum Information Center (September 2002)
  • Professor Francesco Iachello wins the Lise Meitner Prize.
    The prize was awarded “for his innovative applications of group theoretical methods to the understanding of atomic nuclei” by the European Physical Society (August 2002).
  • Precision measurement of the muon (g-2) announced.
    The muon (g-2) experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory was initiated in 1984 by Sterling Professor Emeritus Vernon W. Hughes from Yale, and is presently run by an international collaboration of more than 60 physicists from 13 institutes in the United States, Germany, Russia and Japan. A press release from Brookhaven quotes Professor Hughes: “Our new, higher-precision measurement of muon (g-2) provides a unique and unusually sensitive test of the validity of the general theory of electromagnetism or, equivalently of the Standard Model of particle physics. The present difference between our experimental result and theoretical predictions may indicate new physics beyond the Standard Model. Effects on (g-2) of speculative new theories have been extensively discussed in the literature.” Technical information is available on this web site at Yale, including the original research paper. See also the Brookhaven muon (g-2) web page (July 2002).
  • Professor Michel Devoret announces design and operation of “quantronium”: a solid state qubit with a very long coherence time.
    See articles in Scientific American and the Yale Bulletin and Calendar. The original research article was published in Science, 296, 886 (2002) (May 2002).
  • 2002 Leigh Page Prize Lectures given by Saul Perlmutter, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
  • Superfluid-insulator quantum phase transition in an ultracold atomic gas.
    Professor Mark Kasevich pioneered the study of ultracold atomic gases in optical lattices at Yale University, as reported in this Search and Discovery article in the March 2002 issue of Physics Today (March 2002).
  • Evidence for competing order parameters in the cuprate superconductors.
    See the Search and Discovery article in the February 2002 issue of Physics Today and the research web page of Professor Subir Sachdev (February 2002).