The University of Mississippi
Department of Physics and Astronomy

News and Activities


  • Dr. Luca Bombelli wins the 2015 Frist Student Service Award — May 9, 2015.
  • Sumudu Tennakoon wins first place for best podium presentation at the 5th Annual Graduate Student Research Poster Symposium — April 28, 2015.
    Physics Grads at the 5th Annual Graduate Student Research Poster Symposium organized by The Graduate Student Council (GSC) in coordination with the Graduate School and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP).
        Physics Poster Presentation:
      • Sunethra Dayavansha "Higher Temperature Studies Of Shear Wave Speed In A Viscoelastic Wormlike Micellar (wm) Fluid."
        Physics Podium Presentations:
      • Hector Okada da Silva : "Testing General Relativity With Neutron Stars: A New Parameterized Framework"
      • Vahid Naderyan : "Wind induced ground motions"
      • Nazanin Omidi : "Computation of Ultrasonic Pressure Fields in Feline Brain"
      • Sumudu Tennakoon : "Temperature & Pressure Effects on Phase Transitions of Lead magnesium niobate-lead titanate (PMN-PT) Relaxor Ferroelectric Material."
      Physics Grads at the 5th Annual 
                         Graduate Student Research Poster Symposium
      From Left to Right: Sunethra Dayavansha, Hector Okada da Silva, Vahid Naderyan, Nazanin Omidi, and Sumudu Tennakoon.
      Sumudu Tennakoon was awarded with the 1st Place prize for the Podium Presentation category.
  • UM alumna Josephine Howard offered problem-solving advice to UM students at a Joint SPS and PME meeting — April 21, 2015.
  • University of Mississippi graduate student Hector Okada da Silva received the Blue Apple Award for the best student talk at the 8th Gulf Coast Gravity Meeting — February 28, 2015.
  • The 2015 Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP), southeastern region meeting will be held at the University of Mississippi — January 16-18, 2015.

    The University of Mississippi was chosen by the American Physical Society (APS) as the southeastern region site for the 2015 Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics. The local organizing committee is led by Dr. Cecille Labuda along with Dr. Luca Bombelli and Dr. Marco Cavaglia as faculty committee members assisted by several student committee members.

    The conference schedule will feature a combination of talks by professional physicists in a variety of areas of physics, panel discussions on graduate school, careers in physics and diversity, a poster session, student talks, and opportunities for the attendees to meet other students, speakers and panelists. More than 120 undergraduate students have applied to attend our conference, one of eight simultaneous conferences held nationwide. There will be one common keynote speaker, with the keynote address being simulcast to all CUWiP sites from our site at the University of Mississippi.

    For more information about the conference series, see the APS site:
  • Dr. Kevin Beach's paper, “ Reconstructing Folding Energy Landscape Profiles from Nonequilibrium Pulling Curves with an Inverse Weierstrass Integral Transform”, Megan C. Engel et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 238104 (2014), was chosen as the Editor's Suggestion by Physical Review Letters — December 4, 2014
  • Vahid Naderyan wins the UM 3 Minute Thesis competition — November 13, 2014
    Three Physics grad students participated in the UM 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. The students competing were Chandrima Chatterjee, Ukesh Koju and Vahid Naderyan. Vahid Naderyan was the winner of for the master's thesis 3MT, giving a talk on his research in wind noise and its interaction with the ground.
      Vahid's Presentation
      Vahid's Presentation of his master's thesis at the UM 3MT final.
      More photos can be seen here and the YouTube video is here.
  • Spooky Science Open House — October 31, 2014
  • Fueling the Atom Bomb: Exploring the Physics Behind the Work at Site X — October 7, 2014
    In conjuncture with this year's Common Reading Program book, The Girls of Atomic City, Dr. Josh Gladden gave a lecture explaining the basics of nuclear fission and why enrichment was so important in making the fuel for the atom bomb. There were also Geiger counter and a cloud chamber demonstrations that showed examples of ionizing radiation .
  • The 2014 Physics Nobel Prize was awarded jointly to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources“.
  • Neetish Pradhan's presentation of his work at the CERN summer school — August 13, 2014.
    The CERN Summer School offers undergraduate students of physics, computing and engineering a unique opportunity to join in the day-to-day work of research teams participating in experiments at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. University of Mississippi undergraduate physics student, Neetish Pradhan, attend this year, 2014. This is the presentation of his summary of his work.
  • Many Partings — July 29, 2014.
      Kenneth Scott's departure party. Party for Chris Hill, James Krauss and Kenneth Scott's departure.
  • In the Spring of 2014, Dr. Gladden was elected to two national society leadership positions. At the Spring Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Dr. Gladden took over as Chair of the Physical Acoustics Technical Committee. He will serve a 3 year term in this role. The Chairs primary duties are to represent the Physical Acoustics community to the larger Acoustical Society leadership, work to ensure a broad and robust representation of physical acoustics at the bi-annual ASA meetings, help implement tools and resources to advance and connect the international physical acoustics community. Dr. Gladden was also elected as a “Member at Large” for the Topical Group on Instrumentation and Measurement Science (GIMS) which is a unit of the American Physical Society. The focus of the GIMS is to advance the development of new measurement tools and techniques by creating a forum for discussions, collaborations, awareness, and recognition of significant achievements. Dr. Gladden is looking forward to contributing to each of these organizations.
  • SPS LIGO Tour — April 11, 2014.
    The UM SPS took a day trip to Livingston LA for a tour of the LIGO lab. The lab tour was organized by Dr. Cavaglià, a UM Physics faculty member, who is the leader of the LIGO team at UM and Assistant Spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. He accompanied ten SPS students along with Dr. Labuda the SPS faculty coordinator to the LIGO lab.
      Group Photo from the Meeting
      Group Photo in the LIGO Control room.
      More photos can be seen here .
  • The Mississippi Academy of Sciences 78th Annual Meeting — March 6 - 7, 2014.
    The meeting was held at the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center, Hattiesburg, MS. The annual meeting is comprised of addresses, symposia, workshops, scientific papers, and exhibits grouped by division. At this meeting, 7 physics graduate students from the University of Mississippi gave talks. The following are photos taken of them at the meeting:
  • Olemiss Physics Alumni and UM Law School student Trey Lyons is National Moot Court Champion. He and a fellow classmate won the ​ 26th Annual Domenick L. Gabrielli National Family Law Moot Court Competition — February 25-27, 2014.
  • Olemiss Physics Alumni Amanda Gamble Wood's Engineering class at Tupelo High School wins the VEX robotics state championship — February 26, 2014.
    Also please see the article in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
  • SPS (Society of Physics Students) Zone 10 Meeting — February 21 - 22, 2014.
    The meeting was held at Rhodes College, Memphis TN. The following are photos taken at the meeting:
      Group Photo from the Meeting
      Group Photo. More photos can be seen here .
  • Dr. Ahmed Hamed's contribution on the “ Direct Photon Correlations” to the STAR Collaboration Meeting - Spring 2014 — February 10 - 14, 2014
  • Dr. Ahmed Hamed's contributions, “Physics at Different Scales (Plank Length to Cosmological Horizon)” and the “ RHIC Physics, Why? and How?” to the Advanced Workshop on LHC Physics and Cosmology — February 3 - 14, 2014
  • Workshop on “Testing General Relativity with Astrophysical Observations” — January 6 - 10, 2014
  • University of Mississippi Chapter of the SPS (Society of Physics Students) is designated a “Distinguished SPS Chapter”.

Ongoing Activities

Recent Events

  • Dr. Ahmed Hamed's contribution on the “Direct Photon v2 Measurement ” and the “ JetCorr PWG Summary + QM2014 Topics” to the 2013 STAR Collaboration Meeting — October 14 - 19, 2013
  • The Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 was awarded jointly to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider.”
  • Dr. Ahmed Hamed's contribution on the “Direct Photon Status at STAR Experiment” to the
    9th International Workshop on High-pT Physics at LHC — September 24 - 28, 2013
  • Dr. Breese Quinn's video has been selected as the best video for “Why Particle Physics Matters” by Symmetry, a magazine about particle physics for the general public published by Fermilab and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (See Why Particle Physics Matters).
  • Muon g-2 ring moving through the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway in Mississippi — July 15, 2013
  • SPS (Society of Physics Students) Zone 10 Meeting — April 5 - 6, 2013
  • Higgs Boson Confirmed.
  • Ahmed Rashed is a winner of the 2013 Graduate Student Achievement Award This award is one of two in Area A, which includes Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Philosophy and Religions, and Physics and Astronomy. Ahmed dedicates this award to his wife.
  • Spooky Science Open House — October 27, 2012
  • 2012 Physics Nobel Prize
  • Tougaloo students visit Ole Miss — September 25, 2012

      Students from Tougaloo college visited the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Besides meeting our faculty they took a walk around campus (including a tour of the National Center for Physical Acoustics and of the Center for Manufacturing Excellence ) and heard about career opportunities in physics and other STEM disciplines. This visit was supported in part by Dr. Emanuele Berti’s NSF CAREER Award.

      This is a picture of the whole group, including amazing Dr. Donald Cole (watch this video!), around James Meredith’s statue. This is a special year for Ole Miss: we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the enrollment of James Meredith with a series of events on Opening the Closed Society.

      The building you can see in the back is the Physics Department (Lewis Hall).
  • The paper, "Black-Hole Bombs and Photon-Mass Bounds" by the University of Mississippi General Relativity Group has been published in Physical Review Letters, Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 131102 (2012)
  • Ahmed Rashed received an award while attending the 4th International Summer School on Neutrino Physics — July 10 - 21, 2012
      He received the award at the 4th International Summer School on Neutrino Physics (INSS2012), co-hosted by Virginia Tech and Fermilab, which took place at Virginia Tech's Center for Neutrino Physics in Blacksburg, Virginia from July 10th to July 21st, 2012.
      The lecturers assigned some questions to the participants to address in the tutorial sessions in groups. His group was formed from three students (one theorist and two experimentalists) and addressed three questions; do the charged leptons oscillate, how to use neutrinos to set up a fast communications link to do insider trading, and construct a model to explain the relationship between the sine of the reactor neutrino mixing angle and the ratio of the neutrino solar and atmospheric mass-squared differences. His group was one of three groups (out of twenty groups) that got a presentation award. Award Presented to Amed Rashed
  • CERN Experiments Observe Particle Consistent with Long-Sought Higgs Boson — July 4, 2012
  • LIGO eLab Workshop — June 11 - 12, 2012
  • Transit of Venus — June 5, 2012
      A transit of Venus will start at about 5 PM CDT on June 5th 2012. This is a fairly rare occurrence with the next one happening in 2117. As with a solar eclipse Venus, instead of the Moon, will pass across the face of the Sun. As with a solar eclipse, this may be observed either through a filtered telescope or by projection. See Wikipedia and NASA for more details. A live webcast is also available at the Bareket Observatory.
      Figure showing the Transit of Venus 2012
      Map of Mississippi showing Oxford, MS

      Photos Taken at the University of Mississippi

      Taken through a 70-mm TeleVue Pronto refractor Telescope

      Taken through a 70-mm TeleVue Pronto refractor Telescope

      Projection using “Sunspotter” Solar Telescope

      Taken through a 12-in Mede LX200 reflector Telescope
  • Charles Sabatier Named 2012 FCPS Teacher of the Year
  • MAP (Mississippi Association of Physicists) Spring Meeting — April 13 - 14, 2012
    The Mississippi Section of American Association of Physics Teachers (MAP) will meet on the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford, MS.
  • Ahmed Rashed has received the Forum on Graduate Student Affairs (FGSA) Travel Award up to $500 from the American Physical Society (APS) for Excellence in Graduate Research.
  • 2011 Physics Nobel Prize
  • MICE Collaboration Meeting - CM31 — October 28 - 31, 2011
  • Spooky Science Open House — October 28, 2011
  • Oxford, MS Science Café — October 18, 2011
      Selected Photos. (Click on these thumbnails for larger versions)
  • University of Mississippi Postdoc Rahmat Rahmat presented his paper “ The Most Precise Top Mass Measurement in the World at 7 TeV” at the 44th Annual Fermilab Users Meeting — June 2, 2011
  • 2011 Sigma Pi Sigma Induction
  • Sumedhe Karunarathne is a winner of the 2011 Graduate Instructor Excellence in Teaching Award
      The Graduate Instructor Excellence in Teaching Award is sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. They were especially impressed with his teaching philosophy and his high ratings on student evaluations. And especially appreciated his comment about helping “facilitate discoveries” in Physics 223-224.
      The Golden Apple Award and $1000 check was presented to him at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony on Friday May 13, 2011 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.
      Golden Apple Award
      Sumedhe and his wife Golden Apple Award Sumedhe and Dr. Marshall
  • Chioma Udemgba has received a Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
  • The University of Mississippi LIGO Team has been awarded the grant “ Mississippi Participation in LIGO's Search for Gravitational Waves: Getting Ready for Advanced LIGO” from the National Science Foundation.
  • MidSouth Chapter meeting of the Acoustical Society of America — April 13-15 2011
  • Muon Accelerator Program workshop — April 13-15 2011
  • UM Physicist Honored for Black Hole Research
  • Dr. Berti receives Career Award from NSF— March 3, 2011.
  • Dr. Berti receives Outstanding Referee Award from APS — January 21, 2011.
  • National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates
  • New endowment to Lewis Scholarship