Physics Spotlight  
The new Physics faculty who will be making contributions to the School of Science are (from left) Kiyoshi Masui and Phiala Shanahan. The new Physics faculty who will be making contributions to the School of Science are (from left) Kiyoshi Masui and Phiala Shanahan.

School of Science welcomes 10 professors

New faculty join the departments of Biology, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.

School of Science
September 19, 2018

The MIT School of Science recently welcomed 10 new professors in the departments of Biology Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.

Kiyoshi Masui works to understand fundamental physics and the evolution of the universe through observations of the large-scale structure — the distribution of matter on scales much larger than galaxies. He works principally with radio-wavelength surveys to develop new observational methods such as hydrogen intensity mapping and fast radio bursts. Masui has shown that such observations will ultimately permit precise measurements of properties of the early and late universe and enable sensitive searches for primordial gravitational waves. To this end, he is working with a new generation of rapid-survey digital radio telescopes that have no moving parts and rely on signal processing software running on large computer clusters to focus and steer, including work on the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME).

Phiala Shanahan studies theoretical nuclear and particle physics, in particular the structure and interactions of hadrons and nuclei from the fundamental (quark and gluon) degrees of freedom encoded in the Standard Model of particle physics. Shanahan’s recent work has focused on the role of gluons, the force carriers of the strong interactions described by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), in hadron and nuclear structure by using analytic tools and high-performance supercomputing. She recently achieved the first calculation of the gluon structure of light nuclei, making predictions that will be testable in new experiments proposed at Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and at the planned Electron-Ion Collider. She has also undertaken extensive studies of the role of strange quarks in the proton and light nuclei that sharpen theory predictions for dark matter cross-sections in direct detection experiments. To overcome computational limitations in QCD calculations for hadrons and in particular for nuclei, Shanahan is pursuing a program to integrate modern machine learning techniques in computational nuclear physics studies. [Full article]

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