Connecting the Sciences, the Humanities, and the Future

Professor Marcelo Gleiser organized the “The Sciences, the Humanities, the Future,” conference that launched the College’s Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement (ICE).  Among the 10 speakers were: Dartmouth’s Professor of Philosophy Adina Roskies, speaking on “Free Will in the Age of Neuroscience,” and writer and physicist Alan Lightman (Einstein’s Dreams; Good Benito), speaking on “The Physicist as Novelist.” The full conference program is available online and here is the full Dartmouth News article.

Barrel Team Completes Successful Balloon Campaign in Northern Sweden

The Dartmouth BARREL (Balloon Array for Radiation belt Relativistic Electron Losses) team successfully launched its first payload of this campaign from the Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden on August 10th. The team is collecting data to further their study of Earth's Radiation Belts. The Dartmouth team, led by Robyn Millan, arrived at the site north of the Arctic Circle on August 2nd to begin making last minute preparations for the launch.  The first BARREL payload (3A) was recovered by helicopter in the morning on Tuesday, August 11.  The magnetometer boom was bent out of shape,  but the payload was otherwise in good shape and functioning. 

Several more payloads were launched over the last few weeks. The last two payloads were recovered August 31, marking the end of a very successful campaign

To follow the BARREL team's progress visit their blog: http://barrelscience.blogspot.com/

Physics and Astronomy to Host the RQIN 2015 Conference

Dartmouth has been selected as the first U.S. site to hold The Relativistic Quantum Information – North 2015 Workshop,  July 5-8, 2015. Under the auspices of the International Society for Relativistic Quantum Information, this is the sixth in the series of such meetings taking place in the Northern Hemisphere. This workshop series aims to bring together researchers working across quantum information science, quantum field theory in curved spacetime, and quantum gravity.

Renowned Physicist Is the Next Roth Distinguished Scholar

Sylvester James Gates Jr., an internationally recognized theoretical physicist and a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, will be Dartmouth’s third Roth Distinguished Scholar. He’ll be in residence for the 2015-16 academic year.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming such a world-class scholar to Dartmouth,” says David Kotz, the Champion International Professor in the Department of Computer Science and the associate dean of the faculty for the sciences. “He will be an inspiration to students and faculty across the sciences, and will no doubt be the focus of many inspiring conversations.” - Read more here

E.E. Just Scholars Delve Into Science, History at Woods Hole

Four of Dartmouth’s E.E. Just Scholars spent July 14 immersed in the science and history of Woods Hole’s Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), where pioneering cellular biologist Ernest Everett Just, Class of 1907, spent 20 summers conducting research. Just was one of Dartmouth’s earliest African American graduates.

“The Dartmouth program that bears his name provides a community of undergraduate, graduate student, and postdoctoral mentors that can offer strategies for academic and research success,” says Stephon Alexander, theoretical physicist and director of the E.E. Just Program. “The goals of this undertaking focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, primarily targeting Dartmouth undergraduate students of color.”

Robert Cueva ’17, Kirby Spivey ’16, Jared Boyce ’16, and Stephanie Emenyonu ’16 made the trip to the Massachusetts’ research facility, led by Salvador Almagro-Moreno, the E.E. Just Postdoctoral Fellow. The trip was envisaged by Almagro-Moreno, a microbiologist at the Geisel School of Medicine.

Dancing Electrons Are at the Heart of a Laser Breakthrough

A team of Dartmouth scientists and their colleagues have devised a breakthrough laser that uses a single artificial atom to generate and emit particles of light—and may play a crucial role in the development of quantum computers, which are predicted to eventually outperform even today’s most powerful supercomputers.

The new laser is the first to rely exclusively on superconducting electron pairs. “The fact that we use only superconducting pairs is what makes our work so significant,” says Alex Rimberg, a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth. Superconductivity is a condition that occurs when electricity can travel without any resistance or loss of energy.

“The artificial atom is made of nanoscale pieces of superconductor,” says Rimberg. “The reason for using the artificial atom is that you can now make it part of an electrical circuit on a chip, something you can’t do with a real atom, and it means we have a much clearer path toward interesting applications in quantum computing.”

Marcelo Gleiser in the Washington Post

“When I got into science, my goal was ambitious but simple: to devise a theory that could explain ‘everything,’ at least everything about the physical world,” writes Dartmouth’s Marcelo Gleiser in a Washington Post opinion piece. “I wanted to know The Truth. But alas, decades spent practicing science taught me a lesson that was both wonderful and humbling: We can’t know everything.”

Gleiser, a professor of physics and astronomy and the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy, continues, “To know all answers, we need to start by knowing all questions. And that is simply impossible. Our view of the world will always be incomplete.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 7/14/14 by The Washington Post.

Gleiser’s ‘The Island of Knowledge’

In a Wall Street Journal review of The Island of Knowledge, a new book by Marcelo Gleiser, a professor of physics and astronomy and the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy, astronomer John Gribbin notes that Gleiser organizes his story about the endless search for knowledge and the development of science into three parts.

“First we are given what might loosely be called cosmology, the story of the universe at large. Second, the story of the very small, essentially the story of quantum physics. Finally, we are offered some speculations about mind and matter,” writes Gribbin.

Gribbin writes that as the quest for knowledge goes on, it is “always presenting us with new things to wonder about and to wonder at. Without that sense of wonder, as Mr. Gleiser’s excellent book makes clear, there would be no point in doing science at all.”

A subscription is required to read the full review, published 6/9/14 by The Wall Street Journal.