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August 16, 2017

Personal Mention

Scott DodelsonRenowned physicist Scott Dodelson has been named head of the Department of Physics. Dodelson comes to Carnegie Mellon from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), where he was a distinguished scientist, and the University of Chicago, where he was a professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. While at Fermilab, Dodelson served as head of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group and co-founder and interim director of the Center for Particle Astrophysics. Dodelson conducts research at the interface between particle physics and cosmology, examining the phenomena of dark energy, dark matter, inflation and cosmological neutrinos. Dodelson said he was attracted to CMU in part by the physics department's varied areas of strength and the leadership role the department's McWilliams Center for Cosmology and its faculty play in a number of large, international cosmological surveys. "Within the McWilliams Center, I found kindred spirits in the faculty who are leading scientific projects aimed at understanding the universe, but I was equally attracted to the department's strong groups in biological physics, condensed matter and nuclear and particle physics," Dodelson said. Learn more.

Brittany JakubiakMeredith VanVleetBrooke FeeneyBrooke Feeney, Meredith Van Vleet and Brittany Jakubiak (l-r) discovered that people with supportive spouses were more likely to take on potentially rewarding challenges and that those who accepted the challenges experienced more personal growth, happiness, psychological well-being and better relationship functioning months later. Their study was pulbished in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. “We found support for the idea that the choices people make at these specific decision points — such as pursuing a work opportunity or seeking out new friends — matter a lot for their long-term well-being,” said Feeney, lead author of the study. Feeney is professor of psychology, Van Vleet is a postdoctoral fellow in CMU’s Relationships Lab and Jukubiak is a graduate student in the Psychology Department. Learn more about their study.

Ian TiceIan Tice, an assistant professor of mathematical sciences, was awarded a five-year National Science Foundation Faculty Career Award. He is working to develop mathematical tools and techniques for studying partial differential equations associated with moving interfaces in several models of viscous fluid flow, such as blood flowing through arteries, ripples on the surface of a cup of coffee and solar plasma meeting the vacuum of space. "Moving interfaces in fluids can be complex, but understanding them can have important implications across a wide variety of scientific and industrial fields," Tice said. One component of Tice's work aims to understand how moving interfaces can destabilize the surrounding fluid. These instabilities help explain the origin of the beautiful swirling patterns observed in Jupiter's red spot as well as the finger-like tendrils in supernova remnants such as the Crab Nebula. On Earth the same instabilities play a role in weather prediction and fusion reactor design. Under the grant, Tice also will develop an undergraduate collaborative reading and research program focused on fluid flow, assist with course development and mentor graduate student researchers.

Britta GlennonBritta Glennon, a doctoral candidate in the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, will be among 350 young economists from 66 nations who will join 18 Nobel Laureates for the 6th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences in Lindau, Germany, Aug. 22-26. "From my research point of view, this type of interaction can be really beneficial," Glennon said of the Lindau meeting. "To get to meet nearly 20 Nobel laureates will have a really lasting impression as will digging into how to approach and do high-level economic research." Glennon studies the economics of technology policy, innovation and development with a focus on Asia. Her work looks at cross-border innovation and how the interaction of researchers in different countries can stir creativity. Her adviser is Lee Branstetter, professor of economics and public policy with a joint appointment in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences. Find out more.