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Physics Department Undergraduate Newsletter


posted January 12, 2017 (last updated on March 24, 2017)

(items added since the original posting date are marked in red)

(Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, G. Chottiner at , for more information about any of these postings or to submit additional items.)


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(posted March 24, 2017) From today's The Daily

Cosmological ruler could help us get the measure of dark energy

New Scientist: Glenn Starkman, Distinguished University Professor of theoretical physics, discusses galaxy location and distance perception in space ... (Click on the link above to see the article.)


(posted March 23, 2017) From today's The Daily

Three Case Western Reserve University faculty awarded NSF CAREER grants

Michael Hinczewski

Healthy cells have their own version of Chinese finger traps, called catch-bonding. These bonds are formed by protein molecules at the cell surface, and the greater the force pulling them apart, the longer the bond between them lasts. Assistant Physics Professor Mike Hinczewski, who received a $656,866 award, will develop theories help uncover the structural details of catch-bonding from experimental data. 'The heart of this project is to figure out how catch-bonding occurs in a variety of protein systems in very different biological contexts,' he said. 'Can all these systems be described by similar mechanisms?' Catch bonds have been found in proteins that recruit white blood cells from a rushing blood stream, as well as at the junctions between neighboring cells in tissues, Hinczewski explained. The mechanical forces which naturally occur in these cases, due to the fluid flow or the tension in the tissue, change the protein shape, increasing the bond lifetime. 'Researchers are just beginning to explore in depth how force regulates adhesion between cells and its potential implications for the human immune system and diseases like cancer,' he said.  Hinczewski's lab will use feedback between theory and data to develop mathematical and structural models, elucidating these counter-intuitive protein finger traps.

Photo of Mike Hinczewski


(posted February 6, 2017) From today's The Daily What was out universe like before the big bang?

Gizmodo: Kurt Hinterbichler, assistant professor of physics, explained why a low-entropy beginning to the universe isn't an issue for some theoretical physicists.


(posted January 4, 2017)

Comings & Goings

Benjamin Monreal is joining the department this spring and will be co-teaching PHYS 302/318.  He is an experimental physicist working in particle/astrophysics and was formerly at the University of California, Santa Barbara. You can learn more about Prof. Monreal at

Emanuela Dimastrogiovanni is joining the department this spring as a Visiting Assistant Professor, teaching PHYS 310. Prof. Dimastrogiovanni is a theoretician working in particle astrophysics.

(posted January 12, 2017) From today's The Daily, related to Prof. Xuan Gao's research
CWRU Researchers Directly Measure how Perovskite Solar Films Efficiently Convert Light to Power
Solar cells made with films mimicking the structure of the mineral perovskite are the focus of worldwide research. But only now have researchers at Case Western Reserve University directly shown the films bear a key property allowing them to efficiently convert sunlight into electricity. Identifying that attribute could lead to more efficient solar panels. Electrons generated when light strikes the film are unrestricted by grain boundaries - the edges of crystalline subunits within the film - and travel long distances without deteriorating, the researchers showed. That means electric charge carriers that become trapped and decay in other materials are instead available to be drawn off as current.


(posted December 8, 2016)

The spring/summer edition of the College of Arts & Science newsletter had a feature article, A Life in Physics, about Prof. Robert Brown. You can find it at .