PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Experimental physics leads to award-winning research

Holly Szumila-Vance earns the 2024 Guido Altarelli Award for outstanding contributions to experimental physics

Experimental physics leads to award-winning research
2024-05-29
(Press-News.org) NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Physicist Holly Szumila-Vance has always been curious about how the world works. Throughout her career, she has never been afraid to tackle new and tough challenges to satisfy that curiosity. In doing so, she has helped reveal new details of how the ubiquitous proton interacts with the strong force inside matter.

Now, her work to reveal the nature of matter at the U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has just won special recognition: the prestigious 2024 Guido Altarelli Award – Experimental Physics. The award was presented to Szumila-Vance “for her outstanding contributions to investigations of color transparency and other nuclear manifestations of QCD.”

The 2024 Guido Altarelli Award – Theory was presented to Javier Mazzitelli, Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI), “for his outstanding contributions to precision calculations in Higgs boson and top quark production at the LHC.” Both awardees received the award at DIS2024: 31st International Workshop on Deep-Inelastic Scattering and Related Subjects in Grenoble, France in April.

The honor is given to junior scientists for outstanding contributions to high-energy and nuclear physics. It’s named for the late Guido Altarelli, a founding father of quantum chromodynamics, or QCD, and a strong supporter of early-career physicists.

Szumila-Vance is quick to share the credit for her award with her Jefferson Lab colleagues.

“I’m just really honored and humbled, and I feel like I’ve gotten to work with a lot of really great physicists here at the lab,” she said. “I feel like in some way it expresses a lot of the work that we all do together.”

On the hunt

The work that earned her plaudits from the senior experimental and theoretical particle physicists who comprise the award selection committee centers on the hunt for elusive “squeezed protons.”

Every nucleus contains protons. An ordinary proton consists of three quarks bound by the strong force, also called the color force. QCD is the theory that describes how quarks and the color force interact.

Ordinarily, the color force is so strong that it leaks out of the proton, binding it to other protons and neutrons in the nucleus.

But QCD predicts that the proton can be squeezed in such a way that the quarks clump together so tightly in the color force that it no longer leaks out, leaving the proton to move freely and escape the nucleus.

This phenomenon is known as “color transparency,” since the proton has essentially become invisible to the color force of surrounding particles. It’s also a fundamental prediction of quantum chromodynamics.

Earlier experiments have observed indications of color transparency in simpler two-quark systems in the pion and rho-mesons; further motivating the search for such an effect in three-quark protons.

The recent experiment that aimed to observe color transparent protons needed the highest beam energy available at Jefferson Lab and required the commissioning and successful running of a brand-new spectrometer that could measure knocked out protons to such high momenta. Szumila-Vance played a crucial role in the commissioning of the new Super High Momentum Spectrometer which continues to serve other experiments in Hall C.

Despite measuring knocked out protons to the highest momenta, the most recent experimental effort did not observe color transparent protons, thereby placing strong limits on theoretical descriptions of protons.

“We haven’t been able to directly measure it yet or to observe it,” Szumila-Vance said. “Which is interesting, too, because it tells us that the proton and the picture of how we describe it may be more complicated than we thought.”

Upon receiving the Altarelli Award, she presented her work in a presentation called “Chasing QCD Signatures in Nuclei.”

Now, scientists will push the observations of color transparency to new limits. With her collaborators, Szumila-Vance will extend the measurements on the pion hoping to observe the full effect of squeezing the two-quark system. She is also leading a new experimental effort to search for color transparent protons in new dynamics in smaller nuclei.

“Theorists can better calculate what’s happening inside smaller nuclei, and we can compare directly to calculations a little better,” Szumila-Vance said.

“What’s exciting is that we’re learning something that is new. We’re doing something that’s never been done before,” she said.

“So, we’re furthering the knowledge of everybody of how we understand the nucleus and how it’s bound together. I think it’s pretty amazing to be able to do something for your job that furthers humankind’s understanding of something.”

When she is not studying color transparency, Szumila-Vance pushes new experimental boundaries with her colleagues in the commissioning and running of large area gaseous electron multiplier (GEM) tracking detectors at the highest rates to better understand the internal distributions and descriptions of protons and neutrons.

Life lessons

Szumila-Vance studied aerospace engineering and space physics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.

After earning her undergraduate degrees, she served in the U.S. Army National Guard as an aeromedical evacuation pilot and medevac platoon leader, deploying to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.

She says the experiences there also proved invaluable to her work in experimental nuclear physics, especially in “how to work together as a team, because at Jefferson Lab, we perform experiments on a very big scale that takes teamwork to make things happen.”

In 2014, Szumila-Vance earned her master’s degree and in 2017 her doctorate in physics from Old Dominion University in Norfolk. From 2017-2019, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Jefferson Lab, and from 2019-2020 a postdoctoral fellow at MIT/George Washington University.

In 2020, she joined Jefferson Lab as a staff scientist.

Further Reading
Guido Altarelli Award
Nuclear Physicists on the Hunt for Squeezed Protons
Bite-Size Science: What’s Going On in the Proton
Salute to Veterans with Holly Szumila-Vance, U.S. Army

By Tamara Dietrich

-end-

Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. JSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. (SURA).

DOE’s 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 https://energy.gov/science.

END


[Attachments] See images for this press release:
Experimental physics leads to award-winning research Experimental physics leads to award-winning research 2 Experimental physics leads to award-winning research 3

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Could a medicated foam make gene therapies more accessible?

Could a medicated foam make gene therapies more accessible?
2024-05-29
SEATTLE — May 29, 2024 — Foam mixed with medications is already used to treat conditions such as varicose veins, hemorrhoids, wounds on the skin and even hair loss. Now, Fred Hutch Cancer Center scientists have found that foam might also be used as a vehicle to deliver expensive gene therapies. Published May 28 in Nature Communications, bioengineer Matthias Stephan, MD, PhD, and his Fred Hutch team report that a foaming liquid worked better than a standard liquid formulation at transferring gene therapy components to cells in laboratory studies.  “Gene therapies are the new wave of medicine, but they are extremely ...

Lehigh University researchers secure $2.5M DOE grant to characterize, extract rare earth elements from utility waste

Lehigh University researchers secure $2.5M DOE grant to characterize, extract rare earth elements from utility waste
2024-05-29
The waste generated by power generation utility companies could be a potential source of metals and minerals that are key components of modern electronics, batteries, vehicles, and the clean-energy industry as a whole. Zheng Yao, principal research scientist within Lehigh University’s Energy Research Center (ERC), and a multidisciplinary team of researchers recently received a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to identify rare earth elements (REEs) and elements of interest (EOIs) in wastewater and solid waste streams, and to develop the technology that could extract those elements.  The project team includes ...

National Science Board elects first industry leader in 30 years

National Science Board elects first industry leader in 30 years
2024-05-29
Darío Gil, Ph.D., IBM Senior Vice President and Director of Research and a member of the Board of Trustees for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), has been elected chair of the National Science Board (NSB). The NSB is the governing board of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and adviser to Congress and the President on policy matters related to STEM research and STEM education. “Darío Gil’s insights and innovative thinking will be indispensable to his leadership of the NSB,” said RPI President Martin A. Schmidt, Ph.D. “His election speaks volumes about his exceptional talents ...

New technique from Brown University researchers offers more precise maps of the Moon’s surface

New technique from Brown University researchers offers more precise maps of the Moon’s surface
2024-05-29
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A new study by Brown University researchers may help redefine how scientists map the surface of the Moon, making the process more streamlined and precise than ever before. Published in the Planetary Science Journal, the research by Brown scholars Benjamin Boatwright and James Head describes enhancements to a mapping technique called shape-from-shading. The technique is used to create detailed models of lunar terrain, outlining craters, ridges, slopes and other surface hazards. By analyzing the way light hits different surfaces of the Moon, it allows researchers to estimate the three-dimensional ...

Dariusz Stramski selected as 2024 recipient of the Nils Gunnar Jerlov Medal

Dariusz Stramski selected as 2024 recipient of the Nils Gunnar Jerlov Medal
2024-05-29
Professor Dariusz Stramski of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has been selected by The Oceanography Society as the 2024 recipient of the Nils Gunnar Jerlov Medal in recognition of his significant and wide-ranging contributions to the field of optical oceanography. With a distinguished career spanning over 40 years, Dr. Stramski has made profound impacts on the study of ocean optics. Born in Poland, Stramski received his M.S. with honors in oceanography (1978) and Ph.D. in Earth ...

AI health coach lowers blood pressure and boosts engagement in patients with hypertension

AI health coach lowers blood pressure and boosts engagement in patients with hypertension
2024-05-29
(Toronto, May 28, 2024) A new study in JMIR Cardio, published by JMIR Publications, shows that a fully digital, artificial intelligence (AI)–driven lifestyle coaching program can effectively reduce blood pressure (BP) in adults with hypertension. This AI-based program leverages data from wearable activity trackers and BP monitors as well as a mobile app questionnaire to tailor lifestyle guidance. The research team, led by Jared Leitner of the University of California, San Diego, used this innovative intervention to help manage ...

AI saving humans from the emotional toll of monitoring hate speech

2024-05-29
A team of researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a new machine-learning method that detects hate speech on social media platforms with 88 per cent accuracy, saving employees from hundreds of hours of emotionally damaging work. The method, dubbed the Multi-Modal Discussion Transformer (mDT), can understand the relationship between text and images as well as put comments in greater context, unlike previous hate speech detection methods. This is particularly helpful in reducing false positives, which are often ...

Chicken feathers to deliver chemotherapy drugs and repair enzymes

Chicken feathers to deliver chemotherapy drugs and repair enzymes
2024-05-29
A new method of drug delivery using proline, an amino acid found in chicken feathers and skin tissue, could be used to limit the side effects of chemotherapy and repair important enzymes, new research suggests. Published in the journal Chem today, researchers have designed a cage (a box made of single molecules) from biologically compatible peptides, short amino acids that form the basis of proteins. These cages can house drugs of different sizes and transport them in the body with high levels of precision.  The negative ...

Bio-inspired cameras and AI help drivers detect pedestrians and obstacles faster

Bio-inspired cameras and AI help drivers detect pedestrians and obstacles faster
2024-05-29
It’s every driver’s nightmare: a pedestrian stepping out in front of the car seemingly out of nowhere, leaving only a fraction of a second to brake or steer the wheel and avoid the worst. Some cars now have camera systems that can alert the driver or activate emergency braking. But these systems are not yet fast or reliable enough, and they will need to improve dramatically if they are to be used in autonomous vehicles where there is no human behind the wheel. Quicker detection using less computational ...

Graphene gets cleaned up

Graphene gets cleaned up
2024-05-29
Graphene has been called “the wonder material of the 21st century.” Since its discovery in 2004, the material—a single layer of carbon atoms—has been touted for its host of unique properties, which include ultra-high electrical conductivity and remarkable tensile strength. It has the potential to transform electronics, energy storage, sensors, biomedical devices, and more. But graphene has had a dirty little secret: it's dirty. Now, engineers at Columbia University and colleagues at the University of Montreal and the National Institute of Standards and Technology are poised to clean things up with an oxygen-free chemical vapor ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

The research was wrong: study shows moderate drinking won’t lengthen your life

Save your data on printable magnetic devices? New laser technique’s twist might make this reality

Early onset dementia more common than previously reported – the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease seems to be on the rise

Pesticides potentially as bad as smoking for increased risk in certain cancers

NUS researchers develop new battery-free technology to power electronic devices using ambient radiofrequency signals

New protein discovery may influence future cancer treatment

Timing matters: Scripps Research study shows ways to improve health alerts

New gene therapy approach shows promise for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Chemical analyses find hidden elements from renaissance astronomer Tycho Brahe’s alchemy laboratory

Pacific Northwest launches clean hydrogen energy hub

Tiny deletion in heart muscle protein briefly affects embryonic ventricles but has long-term effects on adult atrial fibrillation

Harms of prescribing NSAIDs to high risk groups estimated to cost NHS £31m over 10 years

Wearing a face mask in public spaces cuts risk of common respiratory symptoms, suggests Norway study

Some private biobanks overinflating the value of umbilical cord blood banking in marketing to expectant parents

New research in fatty liver disease aims to help with early intervention

Genetics reveal ancient trade routes and path to domestication of the Four Corners potato

SNIS 2024: New study shows critical improvements in treating rare eye cancer in children

Wearable devices can increase health anxiety. Could they adversely affect health?

Addressing wounds of war

Rice researchers develop innovative battery recycling method

It’s got praying mantis eyes

Stroke recovery: It’s in the genes

Foam fluidics showcase Rice lab’s creative approach to circuit design

Montana State scientists publish evidence for new groups of methane-producing organisms

Daily rhythms depend on receptor density in biological clock

New England Journal of Medicine publishes outcomes from practice-changing E1910 trial for patients with BCR::ABL1-negative B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Older adults want to cut back on medication, but study shows need for caution

Nationwide flood models poorly capture risks to households and properties

Does your body composition affect your risk of dementia or Parkinson’s?

Researchers discover faster, more energy-efficient way to manufacture an industrially important chemical

[Press-News.org] Experimental physics leads to award-winning research
Holly Szumila-Vance earns the 2024 Guido Altarelli Award for outstanding contributions to experimental physics