Three physics graduate students awarded Presidential Fellowships

November 28, 2017
Pres Fellows

Pictured are Josh Ferguson, Shaun Hampton and Keng Yuan (Mark) Meng have all been awarded Presidential Fellowships, the most prestigious award given by the OSU Graduate School.  These fellowships provide one year of full-time fanancial support to allow recipients to complete their dissertations unimpeded by other duties.  These awards added to the two awarded to Beth Bushong McCormick and Tim McCormick bring the total to 5 for physics this calendar year.

Josh Ferguson   advisor Comer Kural

Mechanoregulation of Clathrin-Mediated Endocytosis in Isolated Cells and Developing Tissues
He is using molecular-imaging techniques to study the dynamics (growth and dissolution) of clathrin-coated cage structures that mediate the  transport of molecular “cargo” through the outer membrane of living cells. He has so far made two important breakthroughs: (1) He developed and validated a new, much faster method to monitor clathrin shell dynamics. (2) He has shown that the clathrin shell growth rate can be used to monitor the local tension in the membrane, which is opening up a wide range of new studies of a variety of biological processes in living cells. Josh’s proposed research is to incorporate these new techniques into more advanced imaging equipment, and do real-time “in vivo” imaging of membrane tension in moving and growing cells, which is not possible by other techniques.

Shaun Hampton  - advisor Samir Mathur

Using String Theory to Understand Black Hole Formation and Help Solve the Information Paradox
Theoretical research to use String Theory to work towards the understanding of the formation of black holes and a resolution of Stephen Hawking’s famous “Black Hole Information Paradox.” This paradox can be reasonably described as at the center of theoretical physics research for the past 40 years, since its solution will require a theoretical description of physics that will have to be consistent with both general relativity and quantum theory. His proposed research is to use numerical methods to evaluate his recent 2nd-order mathematical calculations of string binding/unbinding events in order to better understand the underlying physics, and then use this information to address several outstanding questions regarding black hole formation and the nature of the “quantum information” that black holes might radiate. 

Keng-Yuan (Mark) Meng  -Advisor Fengyuan Yang

Discovering and Tuning of Magnetic Skyrmions at Perovskite Oxide Interfaces
Mark’s research involves the growth, characterization, and magneto-electric measurements ofthin-film materials in which skyrmions can form. Magnetic skyrmions are nanoscale-sized structures in certain magnetic materials with fascinating spin textures (spirals). Skyrmions have attracted significant interest in recent years for their unusual and interesting physical properties, and for potential applications in magnetic storage devices. Compared to current magnetic storage technology, magnetic skyrmions are robust against defects because of “topological protection,” require much lower energy to manipulate, and have very small sizes that enable ultrahigh storage density.  Mark’s proposed research is to create a new class of oxide bilayer films made from “double perovskites” that should support skyrmions above room temperature, a necessary step for real-world applications.

Congratulations to all!