What Does A Theoretical Physicist Do?

How do you introduce yourself, scientifically? My name is David Kolchmeyer and I am a theoretical physicist. I’m interested in quantum gravity, which is a theory of gravity that obeys the rules of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is the fundamental framework upon which much of my field is built. I’m most interested in the properties of black holes, which are a good system for studying quantum gravity. … Continue reading What Does A Theoretical Physicist Do?

Herman Branson: a pivotal figure in protein biology

Koby Ljunggren is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Biophysics Program at Harvard University. Abby Knecht is a second year graduate student in the Molecules Cells and Organisms program at Harvard University where she is studying self versus non-self recognition in bacteria. Cover image by Image by stokpic from Pixabay. This biography is part of our “Picture a Scientist” initiative. To learn more about the amazing … Continue reading Herman Branson: a pivotal figure in protein biology

Chien-Shiung Wu — A Heroic Experimental Physicist

by Xiaomeng Han In the spring of 1912, a baby girl was born to a family in China. It was the family’s tradition that all the boys in the generation have the character “Chien” in their first names, followed by characters from the phrase “Ying-Shiung-Hao-Jie”, which means “heroes”. The parents believed their daughter should be treated equally, so they named her “Chien-Shiung”. They were determined … Continue reading Chien-Shiung Wu — A Heroic Experimental Physicist

Donna Strickland: Life in the (ultra)fast lane

by Matthew Yeh Ever wondered how laser eye surgery can be so precise, or how scientists can study processes that unravel over a billionth of a billionth of a second? Donna Strickland has got you covered! While a PhD student at the University of Rochester, she developed the technique of chirped pulse amplification (CPA), thus enabling the creation of ultra-short, high-intensity laser pulses. Beyond LASIK, … Continue reading Donna Strickland: Life in the (ultra)fast lane

Conductors vs. Insulators: A Quantum Perspective

Electricity is created by electrons flowing through materials. Materials that allow electrons to travel through, like copper wires, are called conductors, whereas materials that inhibit electron flow, like rubber, are called insulators. However, the models behind our understanding have been incomplete. To understand which materials permit electron movement, scientists have investigated the patterns of electron motion in materials. Electrons do not behave like macroscopic objects. … Continue reading Conductors vs. Insulators: A Quantum Perspective

‘Ant bridge’-inspired nanoparticle assembly fixes broken electrical circuits

Colonies of social insects are capable of self-organizing and accomplishing complex tasks through individual interactions. For example, to march across large gaps, ants grip the bodies of each other, forming a living bridge that allows the colonies to reach the other side. Inspired by this swarm behavior of ants, scientists from the Chinese University of Hong Kong developed a nanoparticle self-assembly system that can fix … Continue reading ‘Ant bridge’-inspired nanoparticle assembly fixes broken electrical circuits