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LASSP -  Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics

Cornell Laboratory for Atomic and Solid State Physics

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Holmes finds that shifting structure in labs improves student engagment

“The students in the new labs are much more active,” Holmes said. “They are talking to each other, making decisions, negotiating. Compared to the traditional lab, where everyone’s really doing the same thing and just following instructions, we now have all of the students doing something completely different. They’re starting to be creative.”

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In Memoriam: John Wilkins, former LASSP faculty member passes away

John W. Wilkins, Ohio Eminent Scholar and Professor of Physics Emeritus at Ohio State University passed away on December 6, 2019 in Columbus Ohio.

Born on March 11, 1936 in Des Moines, Iowa, he obtained a BS in Engineering at Northwestern University in 1959 and PhD in physics from the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana in 1963. John was a student of J. Robert Schrieffer.

After an NSF postdoc at Cambridge University, Wilkins was appointed assistant professor at Cornell University in 1964. He left Cornell as professor of physics in 1988 to become an Ohio Eminent Scholar and professor of physics at Ohio State University.

In his 53-year career in condensed matter theory, John had 45 PhD students, 59 postdocs, and 12 faculty visitors, and with students and colleagues published 303 papers.  His knowledge spanned diverse areas including many body systems, the renormalization group, electronic structure, surfaces, magnetism, excitation phenomena, and transport properties.

When recently asked of his most significant accomplishment in physics, John responded “my students and postdocs”. Read full obituary.




Pen drawing of Professor John Wilkins against a backdrop of flowers

Eun-Ah Kim and collaborators develop new machine learning tools to advance understanding of quantum matter data

"Eun-Ah Kim, Physics, in collaboration with Kilian Q. Weinberger, Computer Science, and Andrew Gordon Wilson, New York University, is developing machine learning tools that will connect the experimental data on SCQM with theoretical understandings of quantum physics." Read the full article at Cornell Research.

Professor Eun-Ah Kim

Itai Cohen and Paul McEuen research team uses magnets to mimic specific binding in DNA

Sometimes it’s best to let the magnets do all the work. A team led by physics professors Itai Cohen and Paul McEuen is using the binding power of magnets to design self-assembling systems that potentially can be created in nanoscale form.

Their paper, “Magnetic Handshake Materials as A Scale-Invariant Platform for Programmed Self-Assembly,” published Nov. 21 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read the full article at the Cornell Chronicle.


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences article

Itai Cohen and Paul McEuen

Katja Nowack et al. Controls Superconductivity via Stress

Researchers, led by Katja Nowack, assistant professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, collaborated with a team led by Philip Moll from the Institute of Material Science and Engineering at École Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne in Switzerland found a way to control superconductivity in a metallic material by stressing and deforming it.

Read More - Cornell Chronicle

Science Article

Kyle Shen wins Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellows award

Cornell has recognized eight members of the faculty, including Kyle Shen, for excellence in teaching undergraduate students and contributions to undergraduate education at the university. The Weiss Awards were  announced Oct. 18 by President Martha E. Pollack in a report to the Cornell University Board of Trustees. The eight awardees were unanimously recommended by a selection committee composed of six faculty members and two students, who considered 37 distinguished nominees in all. Visit this link to view the full article.

Kyle Shen