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Professor Curtis Meyer Talks G-Force on Kennywood's New Coaster with WQED

July 2019: Professor Curtis Meyer Talks G-Force on Kennywood's New Coaster with WQED

Take a ride — and a physics lesson — on the new Steel Curtain coaster at Kennywood Park. Physics' Curtis Meyer explains the forces that keep riders in their seats in a 60-second feature from WQED's digital series, "Just a Minute."

Watch the video here

Galaxy Cluster Abell 1763. The image shows the galaxy content, produced from SDSS images from g,r, and i bands, overlaid with the extended X-ray emission from XMM.

July 2019: Scientists Weigh the Balance of Matter in Galaxy Clusters

A new study published in Nature Communications details how an international team led by astrophysicists from the University of Michigan and the University of Birmingham, and including a Carnegie Mellon University postdoctoral fellow, used data from the Local Cluster Substructure Survey (LoCuSS) to measure the connections between the three main mass components that comprise galaxy clusters — dark matter, hot gas and stars.  

Using sophisticated statistical models and algorithms built by Arya Farahi during his doctoral studies at the University of Michigan, the team was able to conclude that the sum of gas and stars across the clusters that they studied is a nearly fixed fraction of the dark matter mass. This means that as stars form, the amount of hot gas available will decrease proportionally. “This validates the predictions of the prevailing cold dark matter theory. Everything is consistent with our current understanding of the universe,” said Farahi, who is currently a McWilliams Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Physics at Carnegie Mellon University.

Read the full story here.

MCS students inducted into Phi Beta Kappa

May 2019: CMU Physics Students Inducted into Phi Beta Kappa

Three physics majors - Eric Barrett, Alex Fernez, and Ian Holst - were among the 56 Carnegie Mellon students inducted into the university’s Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) chapter at a ceremony on Friday, May 17. Barrett was asked to give the keynote speech.

“We’ve all been nominated for our hard work at Carnegie Mellon," Barrett said in his speech. "This is certainly a recognition of all of our past accomplishments, but it’s also more than that. We’ve come here and learned lots of things and gotten good grades, but now it means nothing if we don’t use it.”

The honor indicates that these students demonstrated high academic achievement in the liberal arts and sciences over the course of their academic careers. Only about 10% of U.S. colleges and universities have Phi Beta Kappa chapters, and these chapters select only 10% of their arts and sciences graduates to join.

Read the full story here.

The real-life Sheldon Cooper

May 2019: The Search for the Real Life Sheldon and Leonard

On May 16, 2019, CBS's hit comedy The Big Bang Theory aired its final episode. To commemorate the show's record-breaking run, KDKA set out to find the characters in real life, and they found CMU Physics Professors Ira Rothstein and Steve Garoff.

Rothstein, like Sheldon Cooper, is a theoretical physicist. His work was even featured on Sheldon's chalk board in one episode.

"Anything that gets the public interested in science I think is great," said Rothstein. "And I think this show definitely did it."

Watch the full segment here.

Retirement celebrations for Profs. Klein and Franklin

May 2019: Congratulations to Our New Emeriti!

CMU Physics Profs. George Klein and Gregg Franklin are retiring at the end of this school year. Two separate parties were held in their honor, celebrating their many achievements and contributions to the department over the course of their careers.

The department would like to thank Dr. Klein and Dr. Franklin for their years of service to the university!

The Women in Science club demonstrates crystal growth to children at Carnival 2019

Apr 2019: CMU Women in Science Grows Crystals at Carnival

The CMU Women in Science (WiS) club was on display at Spring Carnival, demonstrating crystal growth for Reunion Weekend attendees and their families. Using just epsom salts, food coloring, and small glass beakers, club members grew colorful and intricate crystals to the amazement of the children in the audience. 

"We [had] such a fun and rewarding experience," said Zhiyao "Olivia" Li, a Physics major and the WiS President.

The club hopes their booth helped raise awareness of the gender equality and diversity issues that currently plague STEM fields, as well as encourage a few young people to pursue the sciences.

Left: WiS members inspiring the next generation of women scientists.

Grad Student Evan Tucker Lands Position with Atlanta Braves

Apr 2019: Grad Student Lands Position with Atlanta Braves

CMU Physics graduate student Evan Tucker is poised to become Major League Baseball's newest recruit, but he won't be pitching fast balls or catching pop flies. He has been offered a full time position as a data scientist for research and development for the Atlanta Braves, to begin as soon as he finishes his Ph.D. this summer.

A lifelong baseball fan, Tucker applied for an internship with the team, and spent last summer researching analytics, writing code, and organizing and cleaning data for things like batting averages and other metrics that evaluate player performance - work that is not unlike what he does as a physics grad student, measuring galaxy cluster masses while considering substructure in the cluster environments.

“Being able to work in baseball has always been a pipedream for me,” Tucker said. 

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