Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Mississippi


UM Physics grad students bring home awards

Graduate students in The University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy have been busy this month, bringing home awards from conferences across the state.

Seven graduate students presented their research at this year’s annual meeting of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences in Hattiesburg two weeks ago. Somayeh Taghizadeh’s poster on Development of Brain Tissue Mimicking Phantom (pictured top, left) won the second place award in the competition.

Last week Mohammad “Reza” Afrough presented his work at the 7th Annual Research Symposium organized by the UM Graduate Student Council and won the first place award in the Physical and Life Sciences poster category with Development of a Tilt-free seismometer for Advanced LIGO (pictured bottom, left).

Fifteen graduate students went to Starkville last Saturday for the second annual joint UM-MSU Physics Graduate Student Association Research Symposium. There were two poster awards and both went to UM students, Reza Afrough  and Nilmini Karunarathne. Of the five oral presentation awards, the first and one of the two tied for second place went to UM students, Maryam Landi and Sunethra Dayavansha.

Henry E. Bass Basic Acoustics Summer School scheduled at UM

The Henry E. Bass Basic Acoustics Summer School (BASS) brings undergraduate students, distinguished Research Scientists of the National Center for Physical Acoustics (NCPA) and Discussion Leaders together to explore a wide variety of topics in physical acoustics and engineering. BASS will give students opportunities to do research directed by experts, exploring topics that are not ordinarily encountered in the undergraduate experience.

The focus of BASS is on intermediate and advanced undergraduate students (must have completed sophomore year). A limited number of undergraduate students will be selected. Each student will be assigned a research advisor and a research topic for the program. The student will work in the lab, attend organized lectures, and participate in discussion groups.

Participants provide their own transportation to and from The University of Mississippi. There is no registration fee. Participants will receive a $3,000 stipend and dormitory housing, if needed.

The Program will be held June 5, 2017 to July 28, 2017. Program information will be provided to all those who request the application form.  Complete applications for the 2017 BASS must be received no later than  March 1, 2017.

Application forms may be requested from Marta Panickar, National Center for Physical Acoustics by phone at (662) 915-8868 or via e-mail at

Gravity group visitors for the Spring and gravitational wave workshop

The gravity group is hosting several visitors this Spring. Most of them are coming with funding from the Strong Gravity and High Energy Physics Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) Action, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 program H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015. All of these visitors will take part in the StronG BaD (Strong Gravity and Binary Dynamics) workshop (see the announcement in Ole Miss News).

Here is the list of visitors and their arrival/departure dates:

Leonardo Gualtieri (Rome), Feb 16-Mar 1

Laura Bernard (IST Lisbon), Feb 20-Mar 20
Seth Hopper (IST Lisbon), Feb 20-Mar 20
Andrea Nerozzi (IST Lisbon), Feb 20-Mar 20

Michalis Agathos (Cambridge), Feb 21-Mar 21
William Cook (Cambridge), Feb 21-Mar 21
Christopher Moore (Cambridge), Feb 21-Mar 21
Roxana Rosca (Cambridge), Feb 21-Mar 21

Atsushi Nishizawa (Nagoya), Feb 23-Mar 3

Pedro Cunha (Aveiro), Feb 25-Mar 24
Carlos Herdeiro (Aveiro), Feb 25-Mar 11

Antoine Klein (Paris), Feb 26-Mar 15

Dr. Emanuele Berti becomes Divisional Associate Editor of Physical Review Letters, wins IOP Outstanding Reviewer Award

On February 1, Dr. Emanuele Berti joined the Editorial Board of Physical Review Letters as a Divisional Associated Editor for Gravitational Physics (read the story in Ole Miss News).

Dr. Berti is also one of the IOP Outstanding Reviewer Award winners for 2016. The Award is given “in recognition of the high quality and timeliness of [his] reviews for Classical and Quantum Gravity.”

LIGO Detection documentary premieres at UM

Almost one year has passed since the announcement of the first ever direct detection of gravitational waves, a historic “ripple in space-time” that proved Einstein right and opened a new field of astronomy.

To celebrate the first anniversary of LIGO’s detection, The Department of Physics and Astronomy invites the public the world premiere of the short film documentary “LIGO Detection” at Lewis Hall on February 6 at 6:00 PM.

In this, the third film about LIGO by filmmaker and visiting scientist Kai Staats, he investigates what unfolded between the incredible detection of merging black holes on September 14, and five months later, February 11, 2016 when LIGO announced the detection of merging black holes to the world.

LIGO Detection is the first documentary film released about the detection event of September 14, 2015. It features interviews with LIGO Scientific Collaboration members from Caltech and MIT, the voices of more than twenty LSC members who share their personal story of the day of detection, and the Media Event in D.C. as LIGO scientists explain the function of the detectors.

Doors open at 6:00. Light refreshments will be served. Show ends at 7:00 PM.
Free admission.