This Year's Highlights

Arthur Holly Compton, a renowned physicist, conducted groundbreaking research in Eads Hall during the 1920s. As head of the Department of Physics, Compton spearheaded X-ray scattering experiments in 1922, which provided compelling evidence for the particle nature of electromagnetic radiation. This groundbreaking work ultimately led to Compton being awarded the Nobel Prize. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of these remarkable achievements, the department organized a Compton Centennial Celebration, dedicated to honoring Compton and his influential contributions.

In an effort to foster communication and keep the department's members well-informed, the Compton Chronicle was launched in the fall. This newsletter, sent via email, serves as a valuable platform for highlighting departmental activities and updates and is sent weekly during the academic term.

To advance the field of quantum sciences, the Center for Quantum Leaps led a comprehensive cluster hire search for new faculty members. As a result, the Department of Physics has successfully recruited four highly talented individuals: Shaffique Adam, Karthik Ramanathan, Xi Wang, and Chuanwei Zhang. These accomplished scholars will join the department in 2024, further enriching its expertise in quantum sciences.

The Washington University Physics Research Symposium (WUPRS) successfully returned as an in-person event in November, providing an opportunity for researchers and scholars to gather and share their latest findings and advancements.

In May, the Department of Physics hosted the Information and Statistics in Nuclear Experiment and Theory (ISNET-9) international meeting. A total of 143 participants registered for the event, choosing to attend either virtually or in person. Additionally, 43 of the individuals also participated in the associated BAND (Bayesian Analysis of Nuclear Dynamics) Camp, which was specifically designed for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, to provide an introduction to the software tools developed by BAND and to the corresponding concepts and methods of Bayesian uncertainty quantification.

Moore Experimental Physics Investigators

Henriksen and Murch

Erik Henriksen, associate professor of physics, and Kater Murch, Charles M. Hohenberg professor of physics, will advance the scientific frontier as 2022 Experimental Physics Investigators with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. They will each receive $1.25 million for their projects over the next five years. They were selected from a competitive nationwide pool of applicants.

Presented at the 2023 March Meeting of the American Physical Society, this video outlines the groundbreaking work of the Center for Quantum Leaps.

Center for Quantum Leaps Overview

Jason Bub - Shull Prize

Nominated by Wim Dickhoff who said, "Jason has successfully taught 3 of my classes (while I was traveling) in Phys 524 Quantum Mechanics II with excellent results. His efforts in improving the quality of the work by students in the class have born fruit as well. He has done an excellent job with his office hours and grading. Students have learned more in my class due to his initiatives!"

Ruotian (Reginald) Gong - Shull Prize

Nominated by both Chong Zu and Maria Piarulli. Zu said, "Reginald has done an excellent job for my course. The final course evaluation from students were super impressive." Piarulli added, "Reginald's performance in my course has been excellent. He showed great dedication to the students and was always available to help them with any questions or concerns they had."

Zeyuan Ye - Shull Prize

Nominated by Ralf Wessel for Physics 350 in Spring 2023.

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Garrett King

Garrett King was a semi-finalist for the Dean's Award for Graduate Research Excellence for 2022.

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Michael Mansour

Michael Mansour was awarded the Nishi Luthra Senior Prize in May 2023. The prize is awarded to outstanding senior Physics Majors based on performance in physics courses and the winners are selected by the department’s major advisors. 

―Michael MansourClass of 2023

Faculty Awards & Recognition

Sheng Ran

Assistant Professor of Physics Sheng Ran won a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his project “Discovery and Characterization of Strongly Correlated Topological Materials.”

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Kater Murch

Charles M. Hohenberg Professor of Physics Kater Murch was named the Charles M. Hohenberg professor of physics. Stuart A. Solin held the title from 2003-2016.

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Li Yang

Albert Gordon Hill Professor of Physics Li Yang was named the Albert Gordon Hill professor of physics. James G. Miller held the title from 2000-2019.

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Jeff Gillis-Davis

Research Professor of Physics Jeff Gillis-Davis received an Outstanding Faculty Award presented by the Graduate Student Senate.

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Ryan Ogliore

Associate Professor of Physics Ryan C. Ogliore has been promoted with tenure to associate professor of physics.

Alex Chen

Assistant Professor of Physics Alex Chen has accepted our offer to join our tenure track faculty as an assistant professor of physics, effective July 1, 2023.

Degrees Conferred

May 2023

Bachelor's Degrees

AB in Physics

  • Daphne Dai
  • Gianna Glenn
  • William Ho
    Distinction, Sigma Pi Sigma
  • Mario Jauregui
  • Deepthi Kailash
    Distinction, Sigma Pi Sigma
  • Michael Mansour
    Highest Distinction, Sigma Pi Sigma
  • Angelina Minocha
  • Karinne Summers
    Distinction, Sigma Pi Sigma
  • Dylan Welsch
  • Daniel Wendt

AB in Astrophysics

  • Ben de Jonge
    Highest Distinction, Sigma Pi Sigma
  • Emilia Topp-Johnson
  • Robert Walters

Doctoral Degrees

PhD in Physics

  • Maryam Abbasi
    Experimental Investigation of Non-Hermiticity in Quantum Systems (Kater Murch)
  • Furqan Dar
    The Physics Of Associative Polymers And Applications To Biomolecular Condensates (Rohit Pappu)
  • Dawson Huth
    A Torsion Balance Search for Long-range Interactions Coupling to Baryons and Leptons and Cosmic Ray Transport for Spatially and Temporally Continuous and Discrete Sources (Ramanath Cowsik)
  • Daria Kowsari
    Studying Quantum Memory Effects of the Environment with Superconducting Circuits (Kater Murch)
  • Jacob Moran
    A Framework for Investigating Random Ensembles of Structured Ecosystems and Quantifying Their Emergent Coarse-Grainability (Mikhail Tikhonov)
  • Kiandokht Panjtan Amiri
    Systems Level Analysis of Organelle Biogenesis in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (Shankar Mukherji)
  • Matheus de Oliveira Schossler
    Unraveling the Quantum Hall Effects: From Conformal Field Theory Inspired Tensor Networks to Interacting Many-Body Simulations (Alexander Seidel)
  • Andrew West
    Spectro-Polarimetric and Time Domain Characteristics of Dynamically Evolving Accretion Flows from the General Relativistic Raytracing of General Relativistic Magneto-Hydrodynamical Simulations (Henric Krawczynski)
  • Linghan Zhu
    Quasiparticle and Excitonic Effects in Two-Dimensional van der Waals Materials (Li Yang)
  • Wolfgang Zober
    Abundances of Ultra-Heavy Nuclei With CALET (James Buckley/Brian Rauch)

At the November 13 Physics Family Fun Day, Nicolas Dronchi demonstrates how a balloon can be deflated by cooling the gas with liquid nitrogen.

Physics Family Fun Day

Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold

Over 100 students and faculty from 12 institutions across the Midwest participated in the Midstates Consortium for Math and Science Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Physical Sciences, Math, and Computer Science. Student participants, including 17 WashU undergraduates, presented their research results in a 15-minute talk or a poster.

The Midstates Consortium for Math and Science Undergraduate Research Symposium

November 11-12, 2022

Students from the Department of Physics helped attendees make their own telescope, demonstrated gravity and orbital motion, and shared information on black hole ballooning.

Astronomy Festival

September 10, 2022, Tower Grove Park

The Department of Physics hosted the 9th international meeting on Information and Statistics in Nuclear Experiment and Theory from May 22-26, 2023.


Information and Statistics in Nuclear Experiment and Theory

Compton Chronicle

The Department of Physics started an emailed newsletter last fall. It is sent out weekly while classes are in session. If you're not already receiving it and you're interested in subscribing, complete the form at the link below.

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