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LASSP -  Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics

Cornell Laboratory for Atomic and Solid State Physics


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Michelle Wang Discovers Measurements of Torque in the Supercoiling of DNA

Prof Michelle Wang was published online in the journal Science on June 27 with Jie Mu, a postdoctoral associate, and Lu Bai, former graduate student here at Cornell but now is an assistant professor at Penn State, for their findings in the measurement of the tiny torques in the supercoiling of DNA. Supercoiling is caused by enzymes that travel along DNA’s helical groove that exert force and torque as they move along.

Wang was able to measure torque generated by the motor protein, E. coli RNA polymerase (RNAP) by using an angular optical trap (AOT). This technique may enable any future research in the supercoiling associated with other motor proteins or it may lead to the new findings of other gene transcription processes.

This study is titled “Transcription Under Torsion” and is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Howard Hughes Mesical Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

Read more in the Chronicle and the full article in Science.

DNA Traps

Erich Mueller Receives The Robert A. and Donna B. Paul Academic Advising Award in the College of Arts & Sciences

After four years serving as Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Physics, Prof. Erich Mueller receives the Paul Fellowships for Academic Advising in the College of Arts & Sciences. This award was established in 1992 to recognize faculty and lecturers to honor undergraduate advisers and/or mentors who positively impact the lives of Cornell students.

See the Paul Fellowships page for more on the accomplishments of Prof. Mueller.

Erich Mueller

Sol Gruner reflects on time at CHESS

Prof Sol Gruner wears many hats, including for the past 17 years that of director of the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS). As of July 1 Prof Gruner will pass that hat to Prof Joel Brock of applied and engineering physics. In the June 12 article in the Chronicle Prof Gruner reflects on his time as CHESS director and looking forward to more time to dedicate to his research.

Sol Gruner and Joel Brock at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source

Paul McEuen talks Graphene and Nanotubes with Discover Magazine

In the summer 2013 issue of Discover Magazine Prof Paul McEuen, Director of LASSP and the Kavli Institute at Cornell, gives a Q&A on advances in nanotechnology.

Preview the article at

Carbon Nano Tube

Savage and Cohen find crystals that melt when cooled

John Savage and Itai Cohen have observed an unexpected phenomena in large crystals that melt as they are cooled. Savage, who led the study, is a former postdoc associate for Itai Cohen.

Read more in the Chronicle

Prof. Eun-Ah Kim Receives Early Career Research Program Award

Professor of physics, Eun-Ah Kim was recently named one of sixty-one selectees for an Early Career Research Program Award from the US Department of Energy. 770 scientists submitted proposals for the award, now in its fourth year. A press release from the DOE stated that the award “supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulates research careers in the disciplines supported by the DOE Office of Science.”

Prof. Kim was chosen by the Basic Energy Sciences office of the DOE for her proposal titled, “Emergence of High Tc Superconductivity Out of Charge and Spin Ordered Phases.”

Kim joined Cornell’s faculty in 2008 and is also the recipient of an NSF Career Award.

To read the full list of awardees, click here.