Physics@MIT Journal

Issue: Fall 2014

Message from the Department Head 4

New Faculty 6

Faculty & Staff Notes10

News & Events in Physics 16

In Remembrance 20

Student Honors & Awards 26

Alumni/ae Notes 59

Giving to the Department of Physics 64

Donors 68

The Dark Side of the Galaxy: A First Signal in Gamma Rays?
34 We inhabit a universe rice in mysteries. Measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation -- the afterglow of the Big Bang -- have painted a picture of a surprisingly simple cosmos, but one that is characterized by large amounts of "dark matter" and "dark energy".
Small Accelerators for Big Questions
46 You can't see neutrinos, but they're everywhere. Our Sun emits more than 1030 of these elementary particles per year. More than 40 billion go through your thumbnail every second. There are approximately a billion neutrinos per cubic meter in all parts of space, left over from the Big Bang.
Astrophysics and the Single Mother
56 At dinner one spring evening in 2014, I was accounting for my most recent parental lapse to my kids, sons Max, 11, and Alex, 9. "I know I've been neglecting you during the past few days," I acknowledged. "The reason is that I've been rushing to finish my team's interim report on the Starshade Project, which is due tomorrow. It's about how to find 'Earth 2.0'." "And," I paused, "Now I have to leave again for a few days to go to Washington, D.C." Max looked quizzical, while Alex exclaimed, "What?! You have to find Earth 2.0 by tomorrow?" I laughed and explained that this was just a report deadline, not finding the actual Earth 2.0. Indeed, while chairing the Starshade Project is a huge privilege, it is an equally huge investment of time, with an impact on the family life of a single mother of two young boys.