A new view on electron interactions in graphene

There’s a new way to look at how electrons interact with each other in graphene, an intriguing material comprised of a single layer of carbon atoms. Washington University in St. Louis researchers, led by Erik Henriksen, assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences, are exploring the quantum electronic properties of graphene using infrared light.
N44 superbubble complex in LMC

Why is radioactive iron raining down on us?

Most of the galactic cosmic rays reaching Earth come from nearby clusters of massive stars, according to new observations from NASA’s ACE spacecraft. The distance between the cosmic rays’ point of origin and Earth is limited by the survival of a radioactive isotope of iron, Fe-60, which has a half life of 2.6 million years. These tiny clocks indicate there was a source within spitting distance of Earth within the past few million years.

High-energy observatory launches this week

On Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 8:15 a.m. St. Louis time, NASA TV will begin broadcasting the launch of a cargo container at the Tanegashima Space Center off the southern coast of Japan. In addition to water and spare parts, the cargo container will carry CALET, an astrophysical observatory designed to study the high-energy cosmos.​

Obituary: Ernst K. Zinner, astrophysicist and cosmochemist, 78

Ernst K. Zinner, PhD, research professor emeritus of physics and earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, died Thursday, July 30, of medical complications of mantle cell lymphoma. Among many other accomplishments, in 1987 Zinner identified for the first time material in the laboratory that predated the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

Functioning brain follows famous sand pile model

In 1999, Danish scientist Per Bak made the startling proposal that the brain remained stable for much the same reason a sand pile does; many small avalanches hold it at a balance point, where — in the brain’s case — information processing is optimized. Now scientists have shown for the first time that a brain receiving and processing sensory input follows these dynamics.

Physics’ Nussinov receives NSF grant to study glassy materials

Zohar Nussinov, PhD, associate professor of physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, received a three-year, $279,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for research titled “Theoretical Approaches to Multi-Scale Complex Systems.”

Physicist Yang receives NSF CAREER award

Li Yang, PhD, assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has received a five-year CAREER grant, expected to total $475,000, from the National Science Foundation.

Research as art​​

An inaugural exhibit of images by scientists, titled “Research as Art,” held April 3, included eerie landscapes created by vortices in superfluids, smeared false-color data from satellite-borne instruments, three-dimensional images of grains that exploded out of supernovas and many more enigmatic and colorful images.

​Hunting for meteorites

​​​​​Every austral summer, a group of volunteers heads off to a remote region of Antarctica to set up a field camp on the ice. For the next month, they search the ice and nearby glacial moraines for dark rocks that might be extraterrestrial in origin. Research scientist Christine Floss describes this year’s trip, which included a record-setting day. ​
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