Physical Sciences

  • Balloon-borne telescope is set to launch to study dark matter

    Monday, Jul 26, 2021
    by Hezekiel Poluan for the Office of the Dean for Research

    A team of researchers from Princeton University, the University of Toronto and Durham University in England with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency have designed a new telescope called the Superpressure Balloon-borne Imaging Telescope, or SuperBIT.

  • Schoop lab designs, probes new Dirac semimetal

    Tuesday, Jul 13, 2021
    by Wendy Plump, Department of Chemistry

    In research that draws on expertise from both chemistry and physics to deepen our understanding of the properties of topological matter, the Department of Chemistry’s Schoop Lab introduces a mechanism to design an idealized Dirac semimetal of a new kind.

    The new strategy designs clean nonsymmorphic Dirac semimetals, allowing researchers to uncover electronic behaviors that had been theorized but not previously demonstrated because of interfering states or “noise” surrounding the preferred electronic state. 

  • New evidence for electron’s dual nature found in a quantum spin liquid

    Thursday, May 13, 2021
    by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

    A new discovery led by Princeton University researchers could upend our understanding of how electrons behave under extreme conditions due to the laws of quantum physics.

    The finding provides experimental evidence that this familiar building block of matter often behaves as if it is made of two particles — one particle that gives the electron its negative charge and another that gives it a magnet-like property known as spin.

  • Women's History Month: Engineering faculty and alumnae reflections

    Wednesday, Mar 31, 2021
    by Molly Sharlach, Office of Engineering Communications

    For a half century, women have played leading roles in research, teaching and innovation at Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Today, engineering faculty also include women who completed their graduate or undergraduate degrees at Princeton. Spanning different disciplines and generations, each of them has made outstanding contributions in her respective field, and each exemplifies Princeton’s traditions of fundamental research and engineering in the service of humanity.

  • Princeton chemists grapple with 'Karma'

    Thursday, Mar 25, 2021
    by Wendy Plump, Department of Chemistry

    It turns out there is such a thing as a “karma” machine, and it lives on the ground floor of Frick Laboratory.

    The high-pressure, high-temperature furnace weighs 12,000 pounds, exerting as much pressure in a corner of the lab as three cars stacked on their noses. It’s the same age as some of the researchers working with it. It occasionally stops working for no discernible reason. And it requires fine motor skills and a surfeit of good cheer to keep it running.

  • How do you densely pack a bunch of spheres? Ask an algorithm.

    Tuesday, Mar 9, 2021
    by Wendy Plump, Department of Chemistry

    Four hundred years ago, no less a sailor than Sir Walter Raleigh set mathematicians the challenge of packing cannonballs onto the deck of a ship for maximum quantity. The astronomer Johannes Kepler offered a solution, later known as Kepler’s Conjecture  – a mathematical equation we see today in supermarkets that stack oranges into pyramids. 

  • Muir Lab profiles histone mutational landscape of human cancers

    Tuesday, Mar 2, 2021
    by Wendy Plump, Department of Chemistry

    Researchers in the Muir Lab have completed the first comprehensive analysis of cancer-associated histone mutations in the human genome, featuring both biochemical and cellular characterizations of these substrates. Their study reports that histone mutations that perturb nucleosome remodeling may contribute to the development or progression of a wide range of human cancers. 

  • Despite sea-level rise risks, migration to some threatened coastal areas may increase

    Wednesday, Feb 17, 2021
    by Keely Swan, Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment

    In coming decades as coastal communities around the world are expected to encounter sea-level rise, the general expectation has been that people’s migration toward the coast will slow or reverse in many places.

    However, new research co-authored by Princeton University scholars shows that migration to the coast could actually accelerate in some places despite sea-level change, contradicting current assumptions.


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