Posts tagged ‘Physics’

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 Publishes NSF-funded Research with Miller ’21, Malda ’22, and Colleagues

Dr. Daniel Pitonyak, assistant professor of physics, Josh Miller ’21 (physics and mathematics), Michael Malda ’22 (physics and analytical finance), and physicists from Penn State Berks and Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility published “Updated QCD global analysis of single transverse-spin asymmetries: Extracting H~, and the role of the Soffer bound and lattice QCD”.  The article appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Physical Review D, a leading journal in elementary particle physics research. The authors analyzed additional theoretical and experimental constraints on phenomena in high-energy collisions called single transverse-spin asymmetries and showed their consistency with the underlying mechanism of quark-gluon-quark correlations.  The research was funded by Dr. Pitonyak’s National Science Foundation grant.

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. Veenhuizen Presents at National Conference on Glass Science

Dr. Keith Veenhuizen, assistant professor of physics, presented research at the 2022 Glass and Optical Materials Division meeting in Baltimore, Md. The presentation was based on results of a student-faculty research project undertaken by Olivia Magneson ’23 with Dr. Veenhuizen. The talk, “Phase-selective laser-induced crystallization of lead bismuth gallate glass,” reports how several crystal phases form preferentially at different temperatures in lead bismuth gallate glass. By varying the power and scanning speed of the laser irradiating the glass, the temperature profile can be controlled, through which the desired crystal phase can be formed. This talk was given at the Laser Interactions with Glasses session, which was organized by Dr. Veenhuizen in collaboration with Dr. Casey Schwarz of Ursinus College.

Dr. Walck Publishes Computational Physics Textbook

Dr. Scott N. Walck, professor of physics, published “Functional Programming for Physics Geeks,” with No Starch Press. The book, a culmination of a decade of Dr. Walck finding innovative ways to teach computational physics to LVC students, is available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. “Functional Programming for Physics Geeks” is the first book in the world to combine functional programming with physics at the undergraduate level.

Mathematical Physics Research Group Published in Quantum

Finite-Function-Encoding Quantum States,” the results of work done by LVC Mathematical Physics Research Group members Alex Heilman ’19 (physics), Ezekiel Wertz ’18 (physics), and Dr. David Lyons, professor of mathematical sciences, was published in the prestigious peer-reviewed science journal Quantum. This article is joint work with a research group at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.

Dr. Veenhuizen, Jacob Franklin ’23, and Collin Barker ’19 Publish Student-Faculty Research

Student researcher Jacob Franklin ’23 (physics) and alumnus Collin Barker ’19 (physics) are co-authors with Dr. Keith Veenhuizen, assistant professor of physics, on an article published in the peer-reviewed journal Optical Materials. Dr. Veenhuizen is the lead author of the article, “The role of glass composition in the 3D laser fabrication of lithium niobate single crystal in lithium niobosilicate glass,” which explains how glass composition controls the nucleation and growth of crystals in glass and how this can be leveraged to create single crystals, a valuable result for making single crystal architectures in glass for optical applications. Co-authors of the article also include collaborators from Lehigh University and Corning Incorporated.

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. Veenhuizen and Jacob Marsh ’25 Co-Author Article in Computational Materials Science

Dr. Keith Veenhuizen, assistant professor of physics, and physics major Jacob Marsh ’25 are co-authors on an article published with colleagues from Lehigh University in the journal Computational Materials Science. The article, “Determination of the structure of lithium niobosilicate glasses by molecular dynamics simulation with a new Nb-O potential,” discusses the development of a new interaction potential for modeling the structure of lithium niobosilicate glasses. Dr. Veenhuizen provided the experimental data supporting the model. Jacob and Dr. Veenhuizen collaborated with the lead author, Dr. Wei Sun, on analyzing the glass structure results generated from the computational modeling.