"It is extremely rare for a high school student to be a co-author on a physics paper. Statistics on this aren't available, but it is likely less than 1 paper in 1,000, that's one tenth of one percent of physics research papers, has a high school co-author.
It is unusual even for upper class undergraduates to publish in physics. This is usually the province of graduate students and faculty," said Andrew Gavrin, Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Physics at the School of Science at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis.
Published in Physical Review A, "Robust and Fragile PT-symmetric Phases in a Tight-binding Chain," was authored by Guerin Catholic High School senior Mark Babbey, along with IUPUI graduate student Derek Scott, Avadh Saxena, Ph.D. of Los Alamos National Laboratory and IUPUI assistant professor of physics Yogesh Joglekar, Ph.D., who led the study and mentored Babbey.
"Although theoretical physics research has traditionally been beyond the capability of beginning physics students and usually not tackled until the graduate level, the advent of new mathematical computing software with good user interfaces has enabled bright high-school and undergraduate students to carry out original research," said Joglekar, who was the recipient of a 2009 Indiana University Trustee's Teaching Award.
Joglekar studied the properties of quantum particles that hop from site to site on a chain in which one site can absorb them and another can emit them, technically known as a PT-symmetric chain. He uses a simplified analogy of a canal to explain the research.A canal without tributaries has a constant flow of water. If a canal has one tributary carrying water in and one distributary carrying water out of it, the water flow in the canal will depend upon the distance between them and their sizes. With Babbey's assistance on the mathematical facets of the problem, Joglekar looked for the critical values of the tributary size and distance, below which the new system (a canal with a tributary and distributary) functions as the old one (just a canal).
"We constructed a new model with properties that had not been previously explored. Although we didn't do this with a practical application in mind, a possible application might include novel optical or electrical devices," said Joglekar. "Going back to the canal analogy, and to oversimplify, we were not just calculating water flow, we were also calculating a variety of flow characteristics such as the water velocities at the inlet and outlet."
"Although I only had one year of high-school physics and had to learn a lot of math on the fly over the summer to do the work, it was an amazing experience and I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity. Working in a real lab, on a real project that had never been attempted before sparked my interest. This wasn't a textbook lab exercise that every other physics student had done before; this was research. Both graduate student Derek Scott, who helped me understand the math and checked my work, and Dr. Joglekar, who patiently explained to me the concepts and the importance of what we were doing, were great mentors," said Babbey, whose high school is located in Noblesville, Ind.
The D. J. Angus-Scientech Educational Foundation, which supported Babbey's work with Joglekar, is an Indianapolis-based organization, which focuses on encouraging Indiana youth to study in scientific and technological fields. The foundation has made it possible for high school students to work in the School of Science's physics department each summer for the past eight years.
The School of Science at IUPUI is committed to excellence in teaching, research and service in the biological, physical, behavioral and mathematical sciences. The School is dedicated to being a leading resource for interdisciplinary research and science education in support of Indiana's effort to expand and diversify its economy.
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Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
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At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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