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Douglas Natelson
Works at Rice University
Attended Stanford University
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Douglas Natelson

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What is the difference between science and engineering?
In my colleague Rebecca Richards-Kortum 's great talk at Rice's CUWiP meeting this past weekend, she spoke about her undergrad degree in physics at Nebraska, her doctorate in medical physics from MIT, and how she ended up doing bioengineering.  As a former ...
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A professor of mine in undergraduate school used to tell me that while the difference between science and engineering maybe blurred, that between a scientist and an engineer is obvious to pretty much everyone 😁
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Douglas Natelson

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Some optimism at the end of 2016
When the news is filled with bleak items, like: The deaths of prominent scientists   The deaths of many notable figures (too many to link in entirety) Disturbing news about the environment , and news about news about the environment it's easy to become pess...
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Douglas Natelson

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Recurring themes in (condensed matter/nano) physics: Exponential decay laws
It's been a little while (ok, 1.6 years) since I made a few posts  about recurring motifs that crop up in physics, particularly in condensed matter and at the nanoscale.  Often the reason certain mathematical relationships crop up repeatedly in physics is t...
It's been a little while (ok, 1.6 years) since I made a few posts about recurring motifs that crop up in physics, particularly in condens...
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Douglas Natelson

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Suggested textbooks for "Modern Physics"?
I'd be curious for opinions out there regarding available textbooks for "Modern Physics".  Typically this is a sophomore-level undergraduate course at places that offer such a class.  Often these tend to focus on special relativity and "baby quantum", makin...
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Douglas Natelson

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More short items, incl. postdoc opportunities
Some additional brief items: Rice's Smalley-Curl Institute has two competitive, endowed postdoctoral opportunities coming up, the J. Evans Attwell Welch Postdoctoral Fellowship , and the Peter M. and Ruth L. Nicholas Postdoctoral Fellowship in Nanotechnolog...
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Lenses from metamaterials
As alluded to in my previous posts on metamaterials and metasurfaces , there have been some recently published papers that take these ideas and do impressive things. Khorasaninejad et al.  have made a metasurface out of a 2d array of very particularly desig...
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Douglas Natelson

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Brief items
What with the start of the semester and the thick of graduate admissions season, it's been a busy week, so rather than an extensive post, here are some brief items of interest: We are hosting one of the APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics thi...
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Douglas Natelson

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Physics is not just high energy and astro/cosmology.
A belated happy new year to my readers.  Back in 2005 , nearly every popularizer of physics on the web, television, and bookshelves was either a high energy physicist (mostly theorists) or someone involved in astrophysics/cosmology.  Often these people were...
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Douglas Natelson

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Mapping current at the nanoscale - part 2 - magnetic fields!
A few weeks ago I posted about one approach to mapping out where current flows at the nanoscale, scanning gate microscopy .   I had made an analogy between current flow in some system and traffic flow in a complicated city map.  Scanning gate microscopy wou...
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Bismuth superconducts, and that's weird
Many elemental metals become superconductors at sufficiently low temperatures, but not all.  Ironically, some of the normal metal elements with the best electrical conductivity (gold, silver, copper) do not appear to do so.  Conventional superconductivity w...
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Quantum computing - lay of the land, + corporate sponsorship
Much has been written about quantum computers and their prospects for doing remarkable things (see here for one example of a great primer ), and Scott Aronson 's blog  is an incredible resource if you want more technical discussions.   Recent high profile n...
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Douglas Natelson

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short items
A handful of brief items: A biologist former colleague has some good advice on writing successful NSF proposals that translates well to other disciplines and agencies. An astronomy colleague has a nice page on the actual science behind the much-hyped superm...
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Condensed matter/nanoscale physicist at Rice University
Introduction
My professional background:  After an undergrad degree from Princeton in mechanical and aerospace engineering, I went to grad school at Stanford and got a doctorate in physics.  Following a postdoctoral appointment at Bell Labs, I moved to Rice University and established a research program in experimental condensed matter physics, with a particular emphasis on nanoscale science.  If you're interested in this stuff, please think about buying my book - it's a page-turner, and you'll want to finish it before the HBO miniseries spoils the ending. (That last part was a joke.)    I blog regularly about science at Nanoscale Views.   As should be obvious to pretty much everyone, anything I say there or here are my personal views, and in no way are official opinions of Rice University or its Department of Physics and Astronomy.
Education
  • Stanford University
    Physics, 1993 - 1998
  • Princeton University
    Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 1989 - 1993
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Work
Employment
  • Rice University
    Professor of Physics and Astronomy, 2000 - present
  • Bell Labs
    Postdoctoral Member of Technical Staff, 1998 - 2000
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Gender
Male