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The National Science Foundation Awards $12.96 Million For University Of Rochester In Multi-University Initiative To Explore ‘Revolutionary States Of Matter’

The University Of Rochester Will Be The Latest Member In A Collaboration With Researchers At MIT, Princeton, The Universities Of California At Berkeley And Davis, The University At Buffalo And Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Senators: Funding Will Further Solidify University Of Rochester As One Of The Premier Research Institutions In The Country And Enable Advances In The Most Promising Research Areas 

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $12.96 million in federal funding for a new Physics Frontier Center at the University of Rochester. The funding is part of a five-year cooperative agreement between the University of Rochester and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and will be used to establish a Center for Matter at Atomic Pressures (CMAP), which will focus on understanding the physics and astrophysical implications of matter under pressures so high that the structure of individual atoms is disrupted. Schumer and Gillibrand explained that this funding will also establish the University of Rochester a pioneer in the field of high energy density science, as this is the first major initiative from NSF to fund research in the field. The establishment of this new center will integrate the University of Rochester into a network of Physics Frontier Centers at some of the nation’s other highly regarded university-based centers funded by the NSF. 

“The NSF funding for the University of Rochester’s Center for Matter at Atomic Pressures will ensure Rochester will help lead the country in the field of high energy density science," said Senator Schumer. "Establishing this new Center in Rochester will support local jobs and enable UR researchers to make discoveries in cutting edge physics while bolstering our nation’s scientific workforce to keep the U.S. as a global leader in new scientific advances. I am proud to deliver this funding that will keep the University of Rochester at the forefront of cutting-edge scientific innovation. This is a great day for the University of Rochester and the scientific community."

“The world-class scientists at the University of Rochester produce ground-breaking discoveries that help advance our knowledge of the sciences, and this new federal funding will allow the university to continue that important work,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Center for Matter at Atomic Pressures is a pioneer institution that will prepare university students for their future as leaders in the scientific workforce. I’m proud to announce this funding for the University of Rochester and I will always fight for the resources that New York State’s universities need to succeed.”

Specifically, the senators explained, CMAP will bring together a diverse group of individuals from disciplines spanning from plasma physics, condensed matter, and atomic physics, to astrophysics and planetary science, to study matter under extreme conditions. The research conducted will help to understand and address critical gaps in our understanding of the atomic and chemical constituents of the universe.  For example, one of the main areas of focus will be on how hydrogen and helium behave at extraordinary densities in the so-called “gas giant” planets, including Jupiter and Saturn in the solar system since this plays a key role in our understanding of how our solar system evolved.  It also expands our knowledge of how elements behave at very high pressure since recent theoretical and experimental results now suggest such extreme matter can exhibit exotic properties. For example, aluminum may transform from a simple metal to a transparent insulator, and hydrogen may transform from a gas into a superconducting superfluid.

The Center will also contain educational and outreach efforts to help teachers and students of other disciplines understand the meaning of the research conducted. The Physics Frontiers Centers (PFC) program supports university-based centers and institutes where the collective efforts of a larger group of individuals can enable transformational advances in the most promising research areas.  The program is designed to foster major breakthroughs at the intellectual frontiers of physics by providing needed resources such as combinations of talents, skills, disciplines, and/or specialized infrastructure, not usually available to individual investigators or small groups, in an environment in which the collective efforts of the larger group can be shown to be seminal to promoting significant progress in the science and the education of students.

Today’s NSF funding will establish the University of Rochester as the latest member of a multi-university collaboration With MIT, Princeton, The Universities Of California at Berkeley And Davis, The University at Buffalo, And Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The funding announced today is for a period of five years.