2010 News

  • Abhay Ashtekar received an honorary Ph.D. (Doctor Rerum Naturalium Honoris Causa) from the Université Méé, Aix-Marseille, France, on November 18, 2010. Previous honorees include Aldous Huxley, Gerard t’Hooft and Amritya Sen. Booklet Doctorate Honoris Causa    [PDF]      Photos
  • The paper “Gamma Ray Burst Afterglow Plateaus and Gravitational Waves” by Peter Méá and Alessandra Corsi has been chosen by the Editorial Board of Classical and Quantum Gravity as one of the Highlights of 2009 and 2010. [PDF]
  • Research at IGC on implications of loop quantum cosmology to inflationary scenarios were highlighted in a news article in the October 18th issue of New Scientist. In general relativity, there has been a controversy on whether in generic solutions inflation lasts sufficiently long even when there is an inflation field with a suitable potential. Quantum geometry corrections of loop quantum cosmology resolve this issue. They funnel phase space trajectories to regions from where a sufficiently long inflationary phase is almost inevitable. [pdf]
  • Christopher Liedel, an IGC External Board member, was awarded the Eberly College of Science Distinguished Service Award on Friday, October 1. This award was established in 1979 to recognize individuals who have made significant and outstanding leadership and service contributions to the Eberly College of Science over a sustained period of time. Mr. Liedel is the Senior Vice President of FQXi, the Institute for Foundational Questions in physics and cosmology.
  • Martin Bojowald was featured in the program “Through the Wormhole,” a program narrated by Morgan Freeman on the Science Channel. Watch clip
  • Peter Méá has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Peter received this honor for “contributions to high-energy astrophysics.” These contributions: Identified physics that determine scale-dependence of structures in present-day universe (known as the “Méá Effect”); introduced processes crucial in advection-dominated flows; studied physics of magnetized neutron stars, as detailed in monograph, High Energy Radiation from Magnetized Neutron Stars (1992); predicted that gamma-ray bursts would exhibit X-ray and optical afterglows-a-model through which observations of burst afterglows are interpreted; work recognized by the Bruno Rossi Prize of the American Astronomical Society (2000); forthcoming book, The High Energy Universe (2010).
  • The First Galaxies, Quasars and Gamma-Ray Bursts Conference will be held at The Atherton Hotel from June 6-10, 2010.
  • Niel Brandt, Distinguished Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and member of the Center for Particle Astrophysics, has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Brandt’s election to the society is based on his leadership and numerous contributions to research involving deep extragalactic X-ray surveys and active-galaxy studies, which have advanced understanding of the physics and evolution of accreting supermassive black holes and other cosmic X-ray sources.
  • The March 10 issue of New Scientist featured a major story on Roger Penrose. [PDF]
  • Professor Martin Bojowald has been declared an Outstanding Referee of the Physical Review and Physical Review Letters for 2010.
  • Tyce DeYoung, Assistant Professor of Physics, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation. The CAREER award is the most prestigious NSF award in support of junior faculty members who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent teaching and the integration of education and research.
  • In January, Niel Brandt was named Distinguished Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State. He was honored with the title in recognition of his exceptional record of teaching, research and service to the University community.
  • Research on quantum cosmology carried out at IGC was highlighted in a documentary “The Big Bang: My Ancestors and I” which premiered at the ‘Palais de la decouverte’ in Paris on December 3, 2009. It has since been shown several times on the French and German TV. Clip
  • Victor Taveras is the winner of the first Bergmann-Wheeler prize of the International Society for General Relativity and Gravitation.  The prize is given for the best Ph.D. thesis in all sub-areas of quantum gravity since the last tri-annual conference of the Society.  The selection committee consisting of Stephen Carlip (Chair), Gary Horowitz, Theodore Jacobson and Carlo Rovelli prepared the following citation:”For contributions to loop quantum cosmology and the development of a novel extension of loop quantum gravity.”This prize carries a certificate and a check for $1,500 and will be awarded in the opening ceremony of the 19th International conference of the Society to be held in Mexico City in July 2010.
  • Nicolas Yunes is the winner of the first Juergen Ehlers prize of the International Society for General Relativity and Gravitation.  The prize is given for the best Ph.D. thesis in all sub-areas of mathematical and numerical relativity since the last tri-annual conference of the Society. The selection committee consisting of David Garfinkle (Chair), Bernd Bruegmann, Bala Iyer and Alan Rendall prepared the following citation:”For pioneering work on a variety of topics involving binary black holes, gravitational radiation, and Chern-Simons gravity”This prize carries a certificate and a check for $1,500 and will be awarded in the opening ceremony of the 19th International conference of the Society to be held in Mexico City in July 2010.

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