Professional News

UK Physics Researchers Highlighted by American Physical Society

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2018) — Three University of Kentucky professors and a postdoctoral researcher in the UK College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Physics and Astronomy were featured in the American Physical Society's (APS) "Physics Highlights of the Year" for 2017.

The research of UK faculty members Keh-Fei Liu and Terry Draper, together with UK postdoc Yi-Bo Yang and their collaborators, was featured for their recent breakthrough in understanding the origin of the proton's "spin."  Through theoretical calculations performed on supercomputing clusters, their work revealed for the first time that 50 percent of the proton's spin arises from gluons, the force carriers of the "strong interaction" that bind quarks together to form the proton. The origin of the proton's spin has been a mystery for more than 30 years.

Research by Al Shapere, chair of the department, carried out in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor and Physics Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek, was also featured.  Five years ago, Shapere and Wilczek proposed the theoretical basis for the existence of a "time crystal," a structure in which lowest-energy states are periodic in time, just as an ordinary crystal is periodic in space. The experimental discovery of a time crystal could have far-reaching technological applications, including the possible development of a quantum computer. In a major breakthrough, Shapere’s and Wilczek’s proposal was realized for the first time in a series of experiments carried out by researchers at Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Maryland.

To learn more about their featured work, visit the APS' highlights at https://physics.aps.org/articles/v10/137

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue