School of Humanities and Sciences
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Associate Professor of Applied Physics and, by courtesy, of Neurobiology and of Electrical Engineering
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsTheoretical / computational neuroscience
Professor of Physics and, by courtesy, of Applied Physics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsHow do electrons organize themselves on the nanoscale?
We know that electrons are charged particles, and hence repel each other; yet in common metals like copper billions of electrons have plenty of room to maneuver and seem to move independently, taking no notice of each other. Professor Goldhaber-Gordon studies how electrons behave when they are instead confined to tiny structures, such as wires only tens of atoms wide. When constrained this way, electrons cannot easily avoid each other, and interactions strongly affect their organization and flow. The Goldhaber-Gordon group uses advanced fabrication techniques to confine electrons to semiconductor nanostructures, to extend our understanding of quantum mechanics to interacting particles, and to provide the basic science that will shape possible designs for future transistors and energy conversion technologies. The Goldhaber-Gordon group makes measurements using cryogenics, precision electrical measurements, and novel scanning probe techniques that allow direct spatial mapping of electron organization and flow. For some of their measurements of exotic quantum states, they cool electrons to a fiftieth of a degree above absolute zero, the world record for electrons in semiconductor nanostructures.
Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and, by courtesy, of Biology
BioBenjamin Good is a theoretical biophysicist with a background in experimental evolution and population genetics. He is interested in the short-term evolutionary dynamics that emerge in rapidly evolving microbial populations like the gut microbiome. Technological advances are revolutionizing our ability to peer into these evolving ecosystems, providing us with an increasingly detailed catalog of their component species, genes, and pathways. Yet a vast gap still remains in understanding the population-level processes that control their emergent structure and function. Our group uses tools from statistical physics, population genetics, and computational biology to understand how microscopic growth processes and genome dynamics at the single cell level give rise to the collective behaviors that can be observed at the population level. Projects range from basic theoretical investigations of non-equilibrium processes in microbial evolution and ecology, to the development of new computational tools for measuring these processes in situ in both natural and experimental microbial communities. Through these specific examples, we seek to uncover unifying theoretical principles that could help us understand, forecast, and eventually control the ecological and evolutionary dynamics that take place in these diverse scenarios.