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Physics Department Current Events

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
IUSL Seminar
2:00 p.m., Marshak Science Building MR418N

Andru J. Prescod, Program Manager, Department of Energy

"Sun Shot Initiative"

An overview of the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative (a national challenge to realize subsidy-free solar electricity at grid parity by the year 2020) will be presented. One of the solar technologies will focus on Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and the challenges that are currently being tackled by industry and academia.
DOE would like to look at how its funding opportunities can be used to accelerate, or make a step function change to, the cost reduction path solar energy is already on going.

Andru Prescod is employed by ManTech International Corporation and is a Technology Advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy, where he creates and manages funding opportunities for the Solar Technologies Office. Andru holds MPhil and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from CUNY, an MSc in Physics from Duke University and an MBA from Binghamton University. He obtained is undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Physics from Morehouse College.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Physics Colloquium
4:00 p.m., Marshak Science Building MR418N

Prof. Piers Coleman
, Center for Materials Theory, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rutgers University, and Dept of Physics, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

"Spinors, Strings and Superconductors: Challenges of new era in Condensed Matter Physics"

Physics thrives on the strong convection of ideas between the lab and the cosmos, yet each new generation of physicist is surprised as it rediscovers the forgotten fact that discovery cuts across the boundaries of our specialities. Here, I shall argue that recent discoveries in particle, condensed matter and astronomy place us again at extraordinary
juncture for a new convection of ideas.



Thursday, March 26, 2015
Interdisciplinary Seminar
12:30 p.m., Marshak Science Building Room 418N

Michael Lubell
, Zemansky Professor of Physics, The City College of New York; Director of Public Affairs, American Physical Society

"Science Challenges and Opportunities In a Populist Era."

Ten years ago, Craig Venter, best known for his groundbreaking work on the human genome, wrote, “If the 20th century was the century of physics, the 21st century will be the century of biology.” Of course, neither claim is correct. In truth, the sciences are interdependent, as former director of NIH and Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus observed in his October 4, 2000 Washington Post op-ed, and they have been so throughout much of recent history. Today, synergies across fields are evident wherever you look, although politicians and policymakers usually pay the connections little heed. And as the public sees it, iPads, iPhones, MRI machines and the Higgs particle are gifts from Jobs or gods.

In a time of sinking confidence in government, hyper-partisanship in Washington and a rapid rise of populism on the hustings, science is facing unprecedented challenges in making a claim for its share of increasingly scarce federal resources. If discretionary spending continues to shrink as a fraction of the federal budget, in accord with Office of Management and Budget projections, and if political dysfunction remains the norm for years to come, as Francis Fukuyama predicts in his Sept./Oct. 2014 Foreign Affairs article, “America in Decay,” scientists will have to mobilize and take their case directly to the public. Otherwise, discovery and innovation will move off shore at an ever-increasing rate. Moreover, as scientific research becomes increasingly international, America’s capacity to capitalize on the next big thing will require public policies that promote innovation and entrepreneurship more effectively than they do today.

Michael S. Lubell is the Mark W. Zemansky Professor of Physics at the City College of the City University of New York (CCNY) and the Director of Public Affairs of The American Physical Society (APS). Dr. Lubell earned his B.A. (1963) from Columbia University, and his M.S. (1965) and Ph.D. (1969) from Yale University. He was a member of the Yale faculty from 1971 to 1980 before joining the Physics Department at CCNY in 1980, where he served as Department Chair from 1999 to 2006. He has held fellowships from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He has also held concurrent positions at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University of Texas-Austin, the Santa Barbara (Kavli) Institute of Theoretical Physics and Universität Bielefeld. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and his biography appears in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering and Who’s Who in American Education.

Dr. Lubell's publications comprise more than 250 articles and abstracts in scientific journals and books covering subjects in the fields of high-energy physics, nuclear physics, atomic, molecular and optical (AMO) physics, energy research and science policy. His use of polarized electrons to probe fundamental processes in atoms, nuclei and nucleons is internationally known. His science research interests now center on AMO studies of quantum chaos and simple molecular systems and energy efficiency.  He has delivered more than 150 invited lectures and has appeared often on radio and TV in North America and Europe. He is one of the experts most frequently quoted by the national and scientific media on science policy issues. He is also credited as being one of the pioneers of science advocacy in Washington and is regarded as one of its most effective practitioners.  He has served on many scientific advisory committees inside and outside government. Dr. Lubell has also been a newspaper columnist and presently writes a bimonthly opinion piece, “Inside the Beltway,” for APS News, which has a circulation of more than 50,000, and a guest column for Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper that reaches more than 20,000 readers. He has been active in local, state and national politics for more than forty years and has served as an advisor to members of Congress and local, state and national officials.



Friday, March 27, 2015
Special Seminar
11:00 a.m., Marshak Science Building Room 418N

Dr. Gleb M. Akselrod
Postdoctoral Associate, Duke University

"Strongly Enhanced Light-Matter Interactions Using Plasmonic Nanoantennas"

Control of the radiative properties of emitters such as molecules, quantum dots, and color centers is central to nanophotonic and quantum optical devices, including lasers and single photon sources. Plasmonic cavities and nanoantennas can strongly modify the excitation and decay rates of nearby emitters by altering the local density of states. I will describe my work at Duke University on using plasmonic nanoantennas to control the spontaneous emission from molecules, quantum dots, and two-dimensional semiconductors. The nanoantennas resemble a microwave patch antenna and consist of colloidal silver nanocubes coupled to a metallic film, separated by a controlled sub-10 nm spacer layer embedded with emitters. The large electric field enhancements in this unique plasmonic platform allows for unprecedented control over spontaneous emission. I will show an experimental demonstration of record Purcell factors in any photonic system of ~1,000, while maintaining high quantum efficiency and directionality of emission. I will also present on coupling colloidal quantum dots to the nanoantennas which results in ultrafast spontaneous emission and the potential for a >100 GHz single photon source. Finally, I will show how two independent resonances in the antenna can be used to simultaneously enhance absorption and emission of two-dimensional semiconductors.

Gleb Akselrod is currently a postdoc in the Center for Metamaterials and Integrated Plasmonics at Duke University working with Prof. David Smith and Prof. Maiken Mikkelsen, where he is an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellow. He completed his PhD in 2013 at MIT, where he studied the transport and coherence of excitons in nanostructured materials in the group of Prof. Vladimir Bulovic. At MIT he was the recipient of the Hertz Graduate Fellowship and the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Andru J. Prescod

Andru J. Prescod, Program Manager, Department of Energy

Piers Coleman

Prof. Piers Coleman, Center for Materials Theory, Department of Physics and Astronomy,, Rutgers University, and Dept of Physics, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

Michael Lubell

Michael Lubell, Zemansky Professor of Physics, The City College of New York; DIrector of Public Affairs, American Physical Society

Gleb Akselrod

Dr. Gleb Akselrod, Postdoctoral Associate, Duke University