Department of Physics and Astronomy News

In Memoriam: Jon Levin

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Jon Levin, a gifted teacher and director of the undergraduate physics program, passed away last weekend. He was 63.

UT-ORNL Study: No Double Magic for Calcium-52

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Nuclear theorists from UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are among the researchers who have found that Calcium-52 doesn’t quite have the magic scientists once thought.

Physicist Helped Discover New Elements Recently Added to Periodic Table

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A UT physicist has been instrumental in the discovery of four new super-heavy chemical elements—atomic numbers 113, 115, 117, and 118—recently added to the periodic table. Robert Grzywacz, along with collaborators at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, developed the software used in the equipment that detects the new elements and helps analyze data from the experiments.

Five with UT Physics Ties are Breakthrough Award Laureates

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When UT’s physicists got involved in neutrino physics by joining the KamLAND (Kamioka Liquid Scintillator Anti-Neutrino Detector) experiment in 1997, they weren’t looking for financial gain. Yet with the experiment’s recent selection for the Breakthrough Awards Fundamental Physics prize, their efforts will, quite literally, pay off.

UT-ORNL Study: Calcium-48’s ‘Neutron Skin’ Thinner Than Previously Thought

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An international team led by joint UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory faculty used America’s most powerful supercomputer, Titan, to calculate the neutron distribution and related observables of calcium-48, an isotope with an atomic nucleus consisting of twenty protons and twenty-eight neutrons. Computing the nucleus revealed that the difference between the radii of neutron and proton distributions—called the “neutron skin”—is considerably smaller than previously thought.

Local Media Outlets Cover Physics Students’ Pumpkin Drop Event

The Society of Physics Students dropped pumpkins frozen with liquid nitrogen from a height of 80 feet Friday near the Humanities and Social Sciences building as part of some Halloween fun. The event focused on science engagement and literacy. Several local media outlets covered the story.