Ling Li honored with UT Chancellor’s Citation Award for Extraordinary Professional Promise

Ling Li recently received the UT Chancellor’s Citation Award for Extraordinary Professional Promise.  The award is given “to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate professional promise in teaching, research, or other contributions.” Congratulations, Ling!

Tennessee Today: Nature Highlights Research Featuring Jiaqiang Yan, David Mandrus

David Mandrus and Jiaqiang Yan contributed to research recently featured in Nature in technology to significantly reduce the size of lasers. The study is led by a team at the University of Washington. From Tennessee Today:

The research—monolayer semiconductor nanocavity lasers with ultralow thresholds—resulted in the development of semiconductors that are roughly 100,000 times thinner than a human hair.

Critically, despite the reduction in size and power needed to operate, the technology is compatible with other electronics, which is key for the future development of ever-smaller devices and technology.

Czochralski Process Video

Lekhanath Poudel took a video of single crystals of CeCu6 being grown from Czochralski Process. A polycrystalline button of CeCu6 is melted by using three stingers in a Tri-arc furnace owned by the Mandrus Group. The rotating seed rod, which in this case is the tungsten rod of 3/8″ diameter, is brought in contact with the melt at the center of the hearth. The seed rod is being pulled in speed ~ 25 mm/hr.


Ganesh Pokharel wins 2015 Colloquium Award

Mandrus Group member Ganesh Pokharel was awarded the Physics colloquium Award 2015 given by department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Tennessee. This award is given to one physics graduate student every year by evaluating all the physics seminar reports prepared by each student over the year.

Ganesh was recognized for his exemplary participation in the department’s colloquium series.

Ganesh was recognized for his exemplary participation in the department’s colloquium series.

Isaac Asimov on Creativity

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. (The famous example of Kekule working out the structure of benzene in his sleep is well-known.)

The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.

Nevertheless, a meeting of such people may be desirable for reasons other than the act of creation itself.

No two people exactly duplicate each other’s mental stores of items. One person may know A and not B, another may know B and not A, and either knowing A and B, both may get the idea—though not necessarily at once or even soon.

Furthermore, the information may not only be of individual items A and B, but even of combinations such as A-B, which in themselves are not significant. However, if one person mentions the unusual combination of A-B and another unusual combination A-C, it may well be that the combination A-B-C, which neither has thought of separately, may yield an answer.

It seems to me then that the purpose of cerebration sessions is not to think up new ideas but to educate the participants in facts and fact-combinations, in theories and vagrant thoughts.

But how to persuade creative people to do so? First and foremost, there must be ease, relaxation, and a general sense of permissiveness. The world in general disapproves of creativity, and to be creative in public is particularly bad. Even to speculate in public is rather worrisome. The individuals must, therefore, have the feeling that the others won’t object.

If a single individual present is unsympathetic to the foolishness that would be bound to go on at such a session, the others would freeze. The unsympathetic individual may be a gold mine of information, but the harm he does will more than compensate for that. It seems necessary to me, then, that all people at a session be willing to sound foolish and listen to others sound foolish.