Physics Spotlight  
Joseph Checkelscky, Matthew Evans, Phiala Shanahan. 
Credits: Photos courtesy of the faculty. Joseph Checkelscky, Matthew Evans, Phiala Shanahan.
Credits: Photos courtesy of the faculty.

Checkelsky, Evans, and Shanahan appointed to named professorships

School of Science
September 11, 2020

The School of Science has awarded chaired appointments to 12 faculty members. These faculty, who are members of the departments of Biology; Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Chemistry; Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences; and Physics, receive additional support to pursue their research and develop their careers.

Joseph Checkelscky is an associate professor in the Department of Physics and has been named a Mitsui Career Development Professor in Contemporary Technology, an appointment he will hold until 2023. His research in quantum materials relies on experimental methods at the intersection of physics, chemistry, and nanoscience. This work is aimed toward synthesizing new crystalline systems that manifest their quantum nature on a macroscopic scale. He aims to realize and study these crystalline systems, which can then serve as platforms for next-generation quantum sensors, quantum communication, and quantum computers.

Matthew Evans has been appointed to a five-year Mathworks Physics Professorship. Evans, a professor in the Department of Physics, focuses on the instruments used to detect gravitational waves. A member of MIT’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) research group, he engineers ways to fine-tune the detection capabilities of the massive ground-based facilities that are being used to identify collisions between black holes and stars in deep space. By removing thermal and quantum limitations, he can increase the sensitivity of the device’s measurements and, thus, its scope of exploration. Evans is also a member of the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.

Phiala Shanahan has been appointed a Class of 1957 Career Development Professor for three years. Shanahan is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics, where she specializes in theoretical and nuclear physics. Shanahan’s research uses supercomputers to provide insight into the structure of protons and nuclei in terms of their quark and gluon constituents. Her work also informs searches for new physics beyond the current Standard Model, such dark matter. She is a member of the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics.

Physics in the News icon