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  • ISU graduate student Samuel Hauser

    Samuel Hauser was honored with the Best Poster Award during the annual meeting of the Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center. Sam is presently a graduate student with Professor Jigang Wang.

    The Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center, led by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, is one of five research centers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of a national initiative to develop and deploy the world’s most powerful quantum computers and sensors.

  • Advanced Materials Vol. 35, No. 21

    Scientists from the Department of Physics and Astronomy discovered surprising role of magnetic defects in topological insulators. By performing “inelastic neutron scattering” (INS) experiments at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the team identified the magnetic interactions in dilute magnetic systems. More importantly, the interactions are found to be generally applicable to a wide range of topological insulators and explains the evolution of magnetism in such systems. The research is now published in Advanced Materials. Congratulations to Farhan Islam, Yongbin Lee, JinSu Oh, Lin Zhou, Liqin Ke, Robert J. McQueeney, and David Vaknin of Ames National Laboratory and Iowa State University; Daniel M. Pajerowski, Jiaqiang Yan, and Wei Tian of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

  • Postdoc Daniel Carrera wins NASA grant

    Postdoc Daniel Carrera has won a NASA grant with Professor Jake Simon to study physical processes at work in the early Solar System. This award, which amounts to approximately $547,000 over 3 years, will use a novel approach to study both the growth of small grains and the gravitational collapse of these grains simultaneously in order to address one of the largest open questions in planet formation study: how are small bodies such as asteroids and comets formed?  Congrats to Daniel!

  • Citizen Scientists Lead Iowa State Astronomer to Mystery Objects in Space

    The Department of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to offer two online astronomy courses during the summer of 2023.  ASTRO 102: North Star Astronomy is a one-credit hour course that covers a diverse set of subjects, such as how astronomers describe the position of objects in the night sky, the cause of the seasons, sundials, ancient astronomy, the constellations, and other topics.  ASTRO 120: The Sky and Solar System is a three-credit hour course that addresses these topics in more detail, as well as covering modern solar system exploration, the search for extraterrestrial life, and extrasolar planets.  ASTRO 120 students will have the opportunity to use the ISU planetarium, located in Physics Hall.  Both courses are taught by Prof. Angela Zalucha, who may be reached for questions at


  • Assistant Professor Tom Iadecola

    Assistant Professor Tom Iadecola wins University Award

    Congratulations to Tom Iadecola for winning the University Award for Early Achievement in Research. This award recognizes a tenured or tenure-track faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in research and/or creative activity unusually early in their professional career. Tom is a theorist using diverse analytical and numerical tools to study a variety of topics in quantum condensed matter. We are honored to have him in our department.

  • Belle II International Masterclass 2023

    Annual International Masterclass Programme Connects Students Worldwide

    A great day for particle physics activities, our department hosted students from Ames High School for this year's International Masterclass Programme.

  • Joanne Hewett received her BS in physics and mathematics and her PhD in physics from ISU.

    JoAnne Hewett Named Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory

    UPTON, NY—The Board of Directors of Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA) has named theoretical physicist JoAnne Hewett as the next director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and BSA president. BSA, a partnership between Stony Brook University (SBU) and Battelle, manages and operates Brookhaven Lab for DOE’s Office of Science. Hewett will also hold the title of professor in SBU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and professor at SBU’s C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics.

    Joanne received her BS in physics and mathematics and her PhD in physics from ISU.

  • Graduate student Sunil Ghimire


    Sunil was one of the DCMP Graduate Travel Awardees for the 2023 APS March Meeting in Las Vegas.

    Title of Talk: Effect of 2.5 MeV electron irradiation on vortex dynamics of Ca3(Ir,Rh)4Sn13 superconductor

  • Physics Professor Jigang Wang

    Our very own Condensed Matter Professor, Jigang Wang, is keeper of first-in-the-world nanoscope

    “The history of modern scientific research,” wrote Wang and his operations team in a recent research paper, “stands upon cycles of great discoveries enabled by the development of revolutionary new machines.”

  • Graduate students Noah Brenny and Sayan Mitra

    Congratulations to Noah Brenny and Sayan Mitra for being awarded the 2023 Ozaki Fellowship! 

    The fellowship program has been established in honor of the late Dr. Satoshi Ozaki at Brookhaven National Laboratory to strengthen U.S.-Japan scientific collaboration and, in particular, facilitate greater accelerator and particle physics cooperation. Mr. Brenny and Mr. Mitra are graduate students working on experimental particle physics with Professor Chunhui Chen. With the financial support of the Ozaaki fellowship, they will spend one year at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization in Tsukuba, Japan, to carry out their Ph.D. thesis project using the Belle II detector.

    More details on the Ozaki fellowship are available at:

  • Luke Champion, ISU Sophomore

    Congratulations to ISU Sophomore, Luke Champion!! 

    Luke was presented with the LAS Dean’s High Impact Award for undergraduate research. The research award will cover $3,000 for wages during the summer for the project titled, “Toward Maximum Likelihood Analysis of IACT Observations of the Jellyfish Nebula.” Luke will be mentored by Dr. Amanda Weinstein.

  • ISU Physics and Astronomy Club hosts LAS Week event

    LAS Week (3/27-4/3/2023) is an event to celebrate the college’s diverse academic areas in the Physical and Life Sciences, Math and Computational Sciences, Communications, Arts and Humanities, and Social Sciences.

    On Monday afternoon, the Physics and Astronomy Club served free homemade ice cream and frozen marshmallows using liquid nitrogen. They also performed demonstrations of hair raising with a Van de Graaff generator and the Meissner effect with visible levitation.


  • Professor Jake Simon

    Jake Simon, Assistant Professor in Astronomy, was selected as a 2023 Scialog Fellow for the Signatures of Life in the Universe (SLU) program. SLU is a program involving early-career rising stars, interested in pursuing collaborative, high-risk, highly impactful discovery research on untested ideas applicable to creating breakthroughs in understanding planetary signatures of life and the search for signatures in the Universe. The program has a format in which participants are encouraged to engage in dialog and form new research teams, through interaction with a collection of scientists who approach the problem from different perspectives and disciplines. 


  • Symbol for the Center for the Advancement of Topological Semimetals

    The Center for the Advancement of Topological Semimetals (CATS), an Energy Frontier Research Center under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, has been awarded continuing funding of $12.6 million. CATS’ fundamental research mission is to discover, understand, and manipulate the properties of topological materials, where magnetism plays an essential role. Robert McQueeney, CATS Director, Ames Laboratory scientist, and John and Mary Weaver Professor of Physics at Iowa State University, said that over the past four years, the multi-institutional team had forged much new ground in this frontier area of science. 

    Press release of the Ames National Laboratory

    Website of the Center

  • Professor Rebecca Flint

    The Department of Energy recently announced the winners for the 2022 Chemical and Materials Sciences to Advance Clean-Energy Technologies and Transform Manufacturing (CEM) awards. Among the winners is a project led by Rebecca Flint, Ames National Laboratory scientist and associate professor at Iowa State University. The project is titled, “Exploiting the interplay of mixed valence and magnetic anisotropy in rare earths.” 

    Other professors in the department that participate in the project are Raquel Ribeiro, Ben Ueland, Cai-Zhuang Wang, and Paul C. Canfield.

  • Dr. Iadecola explaining the discovery reported in his recent Nature article.

    Physicists have demonstrated how simulations using quantum computing can enable observation of a distinctive state of matter taken out of its normal equilibrium. Results are published in the journal Nature and are co-authored by Iadecola, an Iowa State University assistant professor of physics and astronomy and an Ames National Laboratory scientist.

    Iowa State Press release
    Nature publication

  • Photo of Saturn

    The Department of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to offer two online astronomy courses during the summer of 2022, ASTRO 102: North Star Astronomy and  ASTRO 120: The Sky and Solar System.

  • Illustration by NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez.

    Iowa State's Massimo Marengo is ready to use the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope to study distant clouds of dust in a galaxy with a "primitive environment" that resembles the conditions of the early universe. Webb's data will help Marengo and his colleagues understand the "galactic ecosystem" and the early steps in "the cycle of life of the universe."

    See full press release here.

  • Professor Thomas Iadecola

    Thomas Iadecola, Assistant Professor of Physics, received a prestigious NSF CAREER award for a proposal titled "New Regimes of Coherent Nonequilibrium Dynamics in Quantum Many-Body Systems". The estimated total award amount is $470,000. 

    See news release here.

  • Professor Mayly Sanchez from ISU's department of physics and astronomy.

    Professor Mayly Sanchez is among three professors in Iowa State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) have been honored with an LAS Dean’s Professorship, one of the college’s most prestigious recognitions of faculty excellence. 

    Sanchez studies neutrino physics, a highly specialized branch of particle physics. Her research promotes a deeper understanding of how the universe works and has led to the development of new technologies that detect neutrinos, which are difficult to detect. Sanchez spearheads three neutrino experiments, and she has earned numerous awards for her research. She was elected a 2020 Fellow by the American Physical Society and received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. 

    Please find more information in the press release of the college. 

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