Posts tagged ‘National Science Foundation’

Lebanon Valley College Physicist Dr. Daniel Pitonyak Part of a U.S. Department of Energy $1.95 Million Grant

Brookhaven Lab to Lead New ‘Saturated Glue’ Theory Collaboration

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory announced a nearly $2 million grant to a group of researchers who are part of the SURGE (SatURated GluE) Topical Theory Collaboration. The five-year grant will enable scientists from 16 colleges, universities, and national laboratories to develop calculations and a framework for discovering and exploring a saturated state of gluons, the particles that hold together everything we see. Dr. Daniel Pitonyak, LVC assistant professor of physics, is a member of SURGE.

According to Brookhaven’s announcement, SURGE will aid in the discovery and exploration of a saturated state of gluons. These aptly named particles carry the nuclear strong force, acting as the ‘glue’ that holds together quarks, the building blocks of all visible matter. By understanding gluons’ ability to split and recombine and potentially reach a state of saturation, scientists hope to gain deeper insight into the strong force and the role gluons play in generating the mass, spin, and other properties of hadrons—composite particles made of quarks, such as the protons and neutrons of atomic nuclei.

“I am excited to be a member of this collaboration,” said Dr. Pitonyak, who received a National Science Foundation grant in 2020 to fund his theoretical nuclear physics research.

“I will conduct computational work to calculate how much quarks and gluons at very high energy contribute to the proton’s spin, a fundamental quantum mechanical “rotation” carried by all particles. This grant will provide additional support and collaborative opportunities with top institutions in the country for my research and the LVC students who work with me,” added Dr. Pitonyak.

SURGE aims to develop calculations and a theoretical framework for discovering this unique saturated form of gluonic matter. Such a saturated state is predicted by the theory of quantum chromodynamics (QCD) to be observable in particles accelerated to high energies in particle colliders such as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven Lab, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Europe’s CERN laboratory, and the future Electron-Ion Collider (EIC) at Brookhaven.

“Our goal is to advance calculations to high precision and develop a comprehensive framework that allows us to compare our theoretical understanding of gluons’ behavior to a wide range of experimental data from RHIC and the LHC and make predictions for what we expect to see at the future EIC,” said Bjoern Schenke, the Brookhaven theorist who will serve as Principal Investigator for the SURGE collaboration.

Partnering institutions include Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility/Old Dominion University; McGill University; The City University of New York, Baruch College; the University of California, Los Angeles; Stony Brook University; The Ohio State University; University of Connecticut; Los Alamos National Laboratory; University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Southern Methodist University; Lebanon Valley College; New Mexico State University; North Carolina State University; Penn State University;  University of California Berkeley.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit

Dr. Pitonyak’s Research Leads to Open-Access Article and Animation for High School Students

During the past few months, Dr. Daniel Pitonyak, assistant professor of physics, worked with Futurum Careers to create an open-access article and animation regarding his nuclear physics research.  The project was made possible by funding from Dr. Pitonyak’s National Science Foundation (NSF) grant.  Futurum is a free online resource and magazine aimed at encouraging 14–19 year-olds worldwide to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEM), and social sciences, humanities, and the arts for people and the economy (SHAPE).

Dr. Pitonyak Gives Invited Talks at UVA and Italy Conferences

Dr. Daniel Pitonyak, assistant professor of physics, presented a pair of invited talks based on research supported by his recent National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study the 3-dimensional structure of hadrons. Dr. Pitonyak presented “Updated QCD Global Analysis of SSAs: New Experimental Data and Constraints” as part of the QCD Evolution Workshop, which was held at the University of Virginia. He followed that presentation with a virtual invited talk—”Updated QCD Global Analysis of SSAs: H~, the Soffer Bound, and Lattice gT”—at the 6th International Workshop on Transverse Polarization Phenomena, which was hosted by Almo Collegio Borromeo in Pavia, Italy.

Dr. Pitonyak Co-Authors Paper for International Journal

Dr. Daniel Pitonyak, assistant professor of physics, co-authored a paper in the Journal of High-Energy Physics, “New tool for kinematic regime estimation in semi-inclusive deep-inelastic scattering,” with colleagues from Jefferson Lab, University of Torino, and Penn State Berks. They developed a phenomenological tool to guide the interpretation and analysis of high-energy electron-proton collisions, including an interactive notebook based on Machine Learning techniques. This research was supported by Dr. Pitonyak’s recent National Science Foundation (NSF) grant.

Malda ’22 and Gordon ’22 Join Dr. Pitonyak at Conference in NYC

Physics majors Michel Malda ’22 and Ben Gordon ’22 attended the APS April Meeting: Quarks to Cosmos in New York City this past weekend with Dr. Daniel Pitonyak, assistant professor of physics. There, Michel gave a talk titled “Updated QCD Global Analysis of Single Transverse-Spin Asymmetries with Additional Constraints from Experimental Data and Lattice QCD,” Ben presented “Analysis of the cos2φ and cosφ Modulations in Semi-Inclusive Deep-Inelastic Scatterring,” and Dr. Pitonyak discussed “Comprehensive Study of SSAs within the Jefferson Lab Angular Momentum (JAM) Global Analysis Framework.” The research was supported by Dr. Pitonyak’s National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study the 3-dimensional structure of hadrons. 

Dr. Pitonyak Co-Authors Physical Review D Article

Dr. Daniel Pitonyak, assistant professor of physics, co-authored “First Global QCD Analysis of the TMD g1T from Semi-Inclusive DIS Data,” which was published by the peer-reviewed journal Physical Review D. This work provides insight into how longitudinally polarized quarks move inside a transversely polarized proton. It is the second piece Dr. Pitonyak has had published by Physical Review D in less than a year, and both research projects were supported by his grant from the National Science Foundation.

Brandon Roy ’20 Named NSF Honorable Mention

Brandon Roy ’20, biochemistry & molecular biology, won an Honorable Mention in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Last year, Brandon was the College’s first-known Goldwater Scholar and will pursue his Ph.D. at Cornell University through a fellowship this fall.

Mathematical Physics Research Group Receives $175,000 NSF Grant

Dr. David Lyons, professor of mathematical sciences, received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for “CQIS: RUI: Entanglement and Applications via Local and Permutational Symmetry earlier this month. The $175,000 grant is the fourth NSF grant received for the student-faculty research conducted by the Mathematical Physics Research Group (MPRG). Dr. Scott Walck, chair and professor of physics, co-directs MPRG and was co-principal investigator on the first three grants with Dr. Lyons.