The Department of Physics and Astronomy has welcomed three new faculty members in the 2015-2016 academic year.
Sean Couch joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the new Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering as an Assistant Professor in June 2015.
Dr. Couch specializes in computer similations of astrophysical processes, especially aspects of core-collapse supernovae. He was a Hubble Fellow at the Flash Center of the University of Chicago Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics from August 2011 through September 2014 and a Senior Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology from October 2014 to June 2015. He received his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010.
Heiko Hergert joined the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory in 2014 and became a joint Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the fall of 2015.
Dr. Hergert's research combines renormalization group techniques and computational many-body theory to develop efficient methods for the description of nuclei from first principles, from light isotopes of carbon to the tin isotopic chain and beyond. He is currently developing tools to calculate the properties of entire chains of open-shell nuclei, which will increase the number of accessible isotopes more than tenfold. He received his Ph.D. in physics from Technischen Universität Darmstadt, Germany in 2008.
Johannes Pollanen will hold a Cowen Chair in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy beginning in January 2016.
Dr. Pollanen has been an Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM) postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology. His primary research interests are exploring the fundamental physics and potential quantum information (QI) applications of low-dimensional electrons and hybrid quantum systems. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from Northwestern University in 2012, where he and his colleagues discovered a new exotic superfluid state of 3He.