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A model system created by stacking a pair of monolayer semiconductors is giving physicists a simpler way to study confounding quantum behavior, from heavy fermions to exotic quantum phase transitions. The group’s paper, “Gate-Tunable Heavy Fermions in a Moiré Kondo Lattice,” published March 15 in Nature. The lead author is postdoctoral fellow Wenjin Zhao in the Kavli Institute at Cornell. The project was led by Kin Fai Mak, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Jie Shan, professor of applied and engineering physics in Cornell Engineering and in A&S, the paper’s co-senior authors. Both researchers are members of the Kavli Institute; they came to Cornell through the provost’s Nanoscale Science and Microsystems Engineering (NEXT Nano) initiative.
As a freshman, Dan Ralph was inspired by an engaging physics teacher who Ralph considered a Yoda-like character who was very good at posing problems that helped them understand what they were learning. Dan Ralph as co-director of Kavli Institute at Cornell (KIC) states "We're constantly looking for new puzzles, new problems, and new areas of research that people haven't considered before. Some involve fundamental science questions while others are more about engineering, but they are all areas where research can make a difference."
A physics theory that’s proven useful to predict the crowd behavior of molecules and fruit flies also seems to work in a very different context – a basketball court. A model based on density functional theory can suggest the best positioning for each player on the basketball court in a given scenario if they want to raise their probability of either scoring or defending successfully. Boris Barron, a doctoral student in physics working with Tomás Arias, professor in the Department of Physics, in the College of Arts and Sciences, presented his work on March 9 at the American Physical Society conference in Las Vegas.
Itai Cohen describes the challenge of building robots as consisting of two distinct parts: the brain of the robot, and the brawn. The brain refers to the microchip, and the brawn refers to the “legs,” or actuating limbs of the robot. Between these two, the brain – believe it or not – is the easy part. 
Over the next three to five years, each will receive approximately $400,000 to $600,000 from the program, which supports early-career faculty “who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization,” according to the NSF. Each funded project must include an educational component. Debanjan Chowdhury's Group will develop new theoretical methods for studying these electronic phases. The educational component will include a new podcast series on quantum materials research, workshops for high school science teachers, and undergraduate and graduate student mentoring.
Z. Jane Wang, a professor of physics at Cornell University who has studied some of da Vinci's pioneering analyses but was not involved in the current paper, said the new study revealed a man determined to find an iron law of nature that would shed light on the overall dynamics of falling objects.
Chowdhury is a theoretical physicist interested in addressing the fundamental principles that govern the emergence of new collective phenomena involving trillions of interacting electrons in solid-state materials. His main focus is developing theoretical methods that can describe and predict the quantum behavior of electrons leading to exotic forms of superconductivity and magnetism.
A tiny amount of imperfection, inherent in any real-life material, plays a key role in revealing the universal physics associated with the experimental metal-to-insulator transition. Understanding the physics behind this mysterious phase transition could lead to new complex microscopic circuits, superconductors and exotic insulators that could find use in quantum computing.
Research findings from the lab of Michelle Wang "provid[e] a fresh view into the ways a common chemotherapy agent, etoposide, stalls and poisons the essential enzymes that allow cancer cells to flourish." Co-lead authors and HHMI-funded researchers Dr. Tung Le and Dr. Meiling Wu published their findings in a paper published in Nature Chemical Biology on Jan. 30.
"Enter an education-focused position directly as a new faculty member, as did Natasha Holmes, a physics-education researcher at Cornell who studies the efficacy of laboratory courses. “There are more and more graduate students coming up the pipeline now,” says Holmes, another Wieman protégé."