Physics
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Listen as Professor Stephon Alexander explains to Alan Alda how his jazz informs his physics and his physics informs his jazz, and how he is using the two to seek a new understanding of the Universe on Alda's Clear+Vivid Podcast.
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A tunable, atomically thin materials platform may help researchers figure out how to create a robust quantum condensate that can flow without dissipation of energy — potentially paving the way for ultra-efficient lossless electronic devices.
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Magnets and superconductors don’t normally get along, but a new study shows that ‘magic-angle’ graphene is capable of producing both superconductivity and ferromagnetism, which could be useful in quantum computing.
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Lab News

Introducing Lab News: Volume 1, Issue 1

The Physics Department is proud to introduce Lab News, the inaugural newsletter for the Physics Laboratory. In this first issue, readers can meet the new Lab Director, Sara Muller, explore the various demonstrations happening in the labs, or catch up on updates from the Ladd Observatory.
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Tune into "NOVA Universe Revealed: Black Holes" on November 17th at 9:00 PM as Brown University's Ford Foundation Professor of Physics S. James Gates Jr. and his daughter Delilah Gates, a member of Harvard University's Black Hole Initiative, describe how black holes can reshape entire galaxies, warp the fabric of space and time, and may even be the key to unlocking the ultimate nature of reality.

PREMIERES NOVEMBER 17, 2021 AT 9:00 PM ON PBS

"Take a seat on the ultimate thrill ride to explore nature’s strangest and most powerful objects. Black holes can reshape entire galaxies, warp the fabric of space and time, and may even be the key to unlocking the ultimate nature of reality. A new generation of high-energy telescopes is bringing these invisible voids to light, showing that “supermassives” millions or billions of times larger than our sun lurk at the center of nearly every galaxy, including our own. But what happens if you stray too close to one? And what lies beyond the black hole’s abyss? If nothing can ever escape it, is that the end of the story? Or could they be a portal to another dimension—or another universe, full of black holes?"
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Theoretical physicist and diversity advocate Jim Gates delivers the fall 2021 Compton Lecture. The Compton Lecture is an annual speaker series that features experts in a wide range of fields. The lecture was established in 1957 to honor Karl Taylor Compton, MIT’s ninth president and former chair of the MIT Corporation.
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Imagine

Imagine 2021

Greetings from Brown Physics! Normally, “Imagine” magazine is published at the end of each academic year. But the current academic year is not yet over, as remote and hybrid teaching continues during the summertime for our first-year undergraduates. It has been a tumultuous year, full of uncertainty and challenges. The pandemic has fundamentally changed the modality of instruction, research, and operation of our department, and technologies such as Zoom and cloud computing have helped bring cohesion to our community. But what has sustained the department most of all is the dedication, commitment, and perseverance of our students, faculty, and staff.

In this issue of “Imagine,” we celebrate the achievements of our students, who have overcome mental stress and limited access to physical resources and close personal interaction. They refused to let the upheaval of the pandemic define their experience, and have strived more than previous generations to reach all their academic milestones. As you will see, many of them have received prestigious awards and fellowships as a result of their accomplishments.

I am grateful to the Brown Physics faculty for their great contributions to this department and the University. They did not lower their standards in education or research under very difficult circumstances. On the contrary, they showed great care with our students, and have generated record amounts of scholarship and external funding. At the same time, more of our faculty have become leaders in professional societies and organizations. Professor Sylvester James Gates, Jr. currently serves as President of the American Physical Society, Professor Stephon Alexander serves as President of the National Society of Black Physicists, and Professor Meenakshi Narain serves as Co-Convener of the Energy Frontier of the Particle Physics Community Planning Exercise. We have many stories in this issue that demonstrate how the Brown Physics community refused to accept setbacks as inevitable, and instead embraced the crisis as a vehicle for change and advancement.

I want to thank our professional staff for their strong dedication and services to the department. The pandemic created a huge turnover on our staff. We welcome our new staff as we bid farewell to those who have chosen to retire or to change jobs.

More than ever, I appreciate and am heartened by the support of our alumni. Their generosity is incredibly valuable to our mission and operation. As we move forward to face the “new normal,” we will continue striving to make the department more diverse, equitable, and friendly to all. Happy reading!

Gang Xiao

Department Chair
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Electrons usually move more freely at higher temperatures. But they have now been observed to ‘freeze’ as the temperature rises, in a system consisting of two stacked, but slightly misaligned, graphene sheets. In a paper published today in Nature, Brown University Assistant Professor of Physics Jia Leo Li and his colleagues find evidence of a Pomeranchuk-type mechanism in which the liquid ground state freezes upon increasing the temperature in twisted bilayer graphene and related systems.
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New research in the journal Science describes a technique that weakens the repulsive force between electrons in “magic-angle” graphene superconductors, providing physicists with exciting new details about this strange state of matter.
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Imagine

Imagine 2020

Read the latest issue of our department magazine covering AY 2019-2020.
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Recent events, including the death of George Floyd, have attracted the attention of many theorists (physicists interested in fundamental physics - High Energy Theory, string theory, etc.), to focus on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion within STEM generally, and within fundamental physics specifically.
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To mitigate the pandemic’s impact, the University will allow undergraduates back for two terms in a three-term model, reduce the density of students in campus housing, offer instruction in person and remotely, and implement extensive testing, tracing and public health measures.
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