Author Archives: Umesh Garg

Professor Umesh Garg brings the science of stars to Europe

Garg Talks 2 Copy

Notre Dame Professor and Nuclear Physicist Umesh Garg spent last semester as a visiting faculty member at the London Global Gateway, and no one could accuse him of taking it easy. In three short months, Garg was invited to give ten talks on his research in five different countries, including Sweden, Italy, and Hungary. The traveling didn’t stop with Europe, he went to a conference in South Africa and even managed to fit an experiment in Japan into his schedule.

Garg is in high demand to give talks on his research, which looks at certain properties of the nucleus, particularly its compressibility.

“I look at how far you can squeeze a nucleus, and you could ask, why does anybody worry about squeezing the poor nucleus?” says Garg. “But it has to do with how a star ends its life.”

Garg explains that it takes millions of years for a star to be born, or created, but it dies in a matter of seconds. During the star’s death, the compressibility of the nucleus is one of the parameters that decide whether it continues to collapse in on itself and become a black hole, or whether it explodes to become a supernova. Garg is an experimentalist, and found time as well to travel to Osaka University, Japan to participate in an experiment on investigating this property.

Garg is energetic in spreading the word about his research, and is enthusiastic about spending time in London. He has visited the London Global Gateway several times before, and being able to use it as a springboard to Europe is what draws him back time and time again.

“Academically, that’s why I’m attracted to London: it’s so central,” says Garg.

Through these talks, conferences and experiments, Garg raises the profile of Notre Dame and its world class facilities. His collaborations all over the world invariably lead to conversations about what he is doing in London. He uses this opportunity to explain the University, and the existence of ts global gateways and centers. These interactions have led to great things, including a major nuclear physics conference being hosted at the London Global Gateway last semester, and another one, in August 2019.

Umesh Garg Photo 2018

Garg being presented with the Faculty Award 2018

“I typically don’t wear suits and jackets to these talks; I wear the Notre Dame sweatshirt,” smiles Garg.

It is easy to see that Garg is proud to represent the University of Notre Dame, particularly the Nuclear Physics Laboratory. There is a long and rich history of active research in this area at Notre Dame, which continues to go from strength to strength. Garg, who joined the faculty in 1982, is influential in both the history and future of the program, although he remains modest in his outlook.

“Notre Dame has a very long and distinguished history in nuclear physics, and I’m part of the long part, if not the distinguished part,” jokes Garg.

Although Garg is modest about his position at the University, he has been recognized for his outstanding contribution and service to Notre Dame. In 2018 he was presented with the Faculty Award by Fr John Jenkins, which acknowledged his leadership, dedication to students and contribution to the broader physics community.

Originally published by Joanna Byrne on January 23, 2019.

Garg appointed Honorary Guest Professor at Peking University

Professor Umesh Garg has been reappointed as an Honorary Guest Professor in the Physics Department at Peking University through January 2020. This honor is bestowed by the President of PKU on academics of very high international repute who have significant connections with the University. Garg has had a strong collaborative relationship with faculty at PKU’s Physics Department and the State Key Laboratory of Nuclear Physics and Technology, beginning with his sojourn there in Spring, 2012 under the Global Visiting Professors Program. He is only the second nuclear physicist to be accorded this honor.
The Certificate of Appointment was presented to him at the Notre Dame-China Symposium on Exotic Nuclear Structures held in early June at Notre Dame’s Beijing Global Gateway.
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Sensharma selected for LASER program

Nirupama Sensharma

Nirupama Sensharma has been selected to be in the Leadership Advancing Socially Engaged Research (LASER) program for academic year 2018-19. LASER is an experiential training program for Notre Dame PhD students who are in their third or fourth year of studies. This is the inaugural year of this program at Notre Dame. Program participants will have the opportunity to develop strengths in leadership, consider the ethical implications of their research, and positively impact the communities in which they work. The year-long program also provides an opportunity to learn from faculty, peers, and current leaders through research, workshops, mentorship, and real-world problem solving.

Sensharma was also part of the predecessor program SRR (Social Responsibilities of  Researchers). As a part of LASER, she will complete a community-based project that highlights the social impact of her research. Sensharma is a graduate student in experimental nuclear physics, and is advised by Prof. Umesh Garg.

Originally published by Janet Weikel at on May 07, 2018.

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Garg receives 2018 Faculty Award

Umesh Garg

The Notre Dame Faculty Award for 2018 has been bestowed upon Prof. Umesh Garg. This well-deserved honor marks the first recipient of this award from the Department of Physics. Garg joined Notre Dame in 1982, and is an experimental nuclear physicist. His research interests include experimental investigation of compressional-mode giant resonances and exotic quantal rotation in nuclei. Garg, a fellow of the American Physical Society, has been the recipient of multiple university and research awards during his career, and has served on a lengthy list of committees. He has been the Director of the NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program in Physics since 2000.

The Faculty Award, coordinated by the Office of the Provost, singles out that faculty member who, in the opinion of his or her colleagues, has contributed outstanding service to the University of Notre Dame, such as through leadership activities, mentoring faculty colleagues, or exemplary dedication to students. Garg received his award at the President’s Dinner on May 22.

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Sensharma selected to NSF sponsored training program in Reilly Center

Nirupama Sensharma

Nuclear graduate student, Nirupama Sensharma has been selected to the 2017 cohort of the NSF sponsored training program Social Responsibilities of Researchers (SRR) in the Reilly Center. SRR is concerned with the ethical responsibilities of researchers arising from the impact of scientific and technological advancements on society, as well as the relevance scientific and technological research has for social issues. Training in SRR is broad-based and consists of education in ethics, policy and communication, among other skills.  This year-long NSF sponsored program takes 15 science (including social science) and engineering PhD students per year.  It kicks off with a week-long, intensive boot camp, continues with bi-weekly meetings thereafter, and culminates with an in-service project relevant to the student’s doctoral research.

Originally published by Janet Weikel at on March 15, 2017.

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Graduate student Kevin Howard awarded JSPS Summer 2017 Fellowship

Kevin Howard
Physics graduate student Kevin Howard has been awarded a fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). This summer Mr. Howard will be working with Prof. Shinsuke Ota at the Center for Nuclear Study at the University of Tokyo, and Dr. Tomohiro Uesaka, a Chief Scientist at the Spin Isospin Laboratory at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science.

The RIKEN Nishina Center is home to the Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory (RIBF), which is used to study the properties of short-lived, unstable nuclei. In 2016, Mr. Howard and his experimental nuclear physics research advisor Prof. Umesh Garg, attended an experiment to study the properties of the isoscalar giant monopole resonance. Isoscalar giant monopole resonance is a collective and high frequency mode of nuclear oscillation, in the neutron-rich, radioactive, and doubly-magic nucleus tin-132. Such a measurement is very difficult and is of crucial importance in constraining the nuclear equation of state for asymmetric nuclear matter. The experiment was performed using an active target time-projection-chamber. During the fellowship Mr. Howard be working on analysis of that experiment as well as on design and optimization of another large-volume active target for future experiments on nuclei far from stability.

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Matta’s Ph.D. thesis published by Springer Theses

The Ph.D. thesis of Dr. James Matta, titled “Exotic Nuclear Excitations: The Transverse Wobbling Mode in 135Pr” has been published as a book by the well-known science publisher Springer under the “Springer Theses” series.

Described as the “best of the best”, the series recognizes “Outstanding Ph.D. Research”. Each thesis is chosen for its scientific excellence and impact on research. For greater accessibility to non-specialists, the published versions include an extended introduction, as well as a foreword by the student’s supervisor explaining the special relevance of the work for the field. The content of the series is available to millions of readers worldwide and, in addition to profiting from this broad dissemination, the author of each thesis is rewarded with a cash prize equivalent to € 500.

Dr. Matta’s dissertation was carried out under the supervision of Prof. Umesh Garg.

Originally published by Janet Weikel at on October 03, 2017.

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