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UMD Capitol Hill Forum Addresses Health Disparities Research & Action for Equity

September 23, 2016
Contacts: 

Contacts: Elise Carbonaro, 301-405-6501

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland, in collaboration with Rep. John P. Sarbanes and the Big Ten Academic Alliance, recently convened more than 100 people for a Research on the Hill forum focused on strategies to achieve health equity at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Moderated by Stephen B. Thomas, Ph.D., professor and director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity in the UMD School of Public Health, the panel discussion engaged experts from academia, federal health agencies and the private business sector in a candid conversation about how to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities among vulnerable populations.

“Our exploratory research holds the solutions to many of the most challenging problems of our day,” said UMD Vice President and Chief Research Officer Patrick G. O’Shea, Ph.D. “As a university, it is our mission to create and understand knowledge to develop better ways to house and heal and fuel and feed our people in advanced societies that are just, secure, and free. Achieving health equity touches on the ‘heal’ aspect of that mission.”

The topics ranged from the progress that has been made in access to medical care as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to challenges that still remain in improving quality of care and in making the medical care system incorporate public health and address the social determinants of health that prevent people from acting health promotion and disease prevention recommendations. 

“The state of Maryland has embraced the ACA and there is clear evidence that the new incentives are indeed moving hospital systems away from a fee-for-service business model to one that rewards quality care and positive health outcomes over the volume of procedures,” said Thomas. “While the transition is not perfect, our state is a national leader for what the future of health care will look like.”

Panel members shared examples of effective and innovative community-based health interventions and public-private partnerships that are making a difference through culturally-tailored health promotion and disease prevention services, and highlighted the emergence of social determinants of health such as poverty, discrimination and residential segregation as factors that must be overcome.

 “I’m convinced that if you address racial and ethnic disparities with respect to the delivery of health care and health care coverage in this country, you will build the best health care system we can possibly have because diversity is our country’s hallmark,” said Congressman Sarbanes, who, as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has been a tireless advocate for improving healthcare quality and addressing health disparities.
 
To achieve health equity, researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders must address broader issues beyond the traditional biomedical model and build trust between those who control health care delivery system and those who have lost hope in the system, said members of the panel. 

The panelists recommended that health equity be incorporated into all public policies, not just those related to health care, to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities. 

Panel members included:

  • Margo Edmunds, Ph.D., Vice President, Evidence Generation and Translation at Academy Health;
  • J. Nadine Gracia, M.D., M.S.C.E., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Julia Huggins, President of Cigna Mid-Atlantic;
  • Kolawole Okuyemi, M.D., MPH, Professor of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Director of the Program in Health Disparities Research and Inaugural Endowed Chair for Health Equity at the University of Minnesota; and
  • Eliseo Pérez-Stable, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health.

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, who represents Maryland’s 5th Congressional District and is a distinguished UMD alumnus, also joined the event and emphasized that as an interconnected community, we should all care about health disparities.
 
“It is unacceptable that in the United States, where all are created equal in the words of our Declaration of Independence, that one’s access to healthcare may be higher or lower as a result of race, gender, or income,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Everybody being healthy is of concern to each and every one of us.”
 
He discussed how we must continue to defend the patient protections that Americans are benefiting from thanks to the ACA, such as the no-cost access to preventive services like mammograms and immunizations, as well as remind people of the dramatic increase in the number of people, particularly people of color, who now have health coverage as a result.

The event was held as part of the University of Maryland’s Research on the Hill series, which is aimed at raising awareness of research with great societal significance.

View the conversation at: https://youtu.be/HPedKr0jZLQ

UMD Study Finds Connecting Uninsured Patients to Primary Care Could Reduce ER Use

May 6, 2015
Contacts: 

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418
Hillery Tsumba 301-628-3425

Montgomery County, Md. Initiative Could Improve Health, Reduce Costs

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – An intervention to connect low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to a reliable source of primary health care shows promise for reducing avoidable use of hospital emergency departments in Maryland. A University of Maryland School of Public Health study evaluating the results of the intervention was published this week in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs

For twenty years, use of hospital emergency departments has been on the rise in the United States, particularly among low-income patients who face barriers to accessing health care outside of hospitals, including not having an identifiable primary health care provider. Almost half of emergency room visits are considered “avoidable.” The Emergency Department-Primary Care Connect Initiative of the Primary Care Coalition, which ran from 2009 through 2011, linked low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to safety-net health clinics. 

“Our study found that uninsured patients with chronic health issues – such as those suffering from hypertension, diabetes, asthma, COPD, congestive heart failure, depression or anxiety – relied less on the emergency department after they were linked to a local health clinic for ongoing care,” says Dr. Karoline Mortensen, assistant professor of health services administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and senior researcher. “Connecting patients to primary care and expanding the availability of these safety-net clinics could reduce emergency department visits and provide better continuity of care for vulnerable populations.”  

Funded by a grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the initiative engaged all five of the hospitals operating in Montgomery County, Maryland at the time, and four safety-net clinics serving low-income patients. Using “patient navigators,” individuals trained to help patients find the care they need and can afford, these hospitals referred more than 10,000 low-income, uninsured and Medicaid patients who visited emergency departments to four local primary care clinics, with the goal of encouraging them to establish an ongoing relationship with the clinic and reduce their reliance on costly emergency department care. 

Two hospitals in Montgomery County who participated in the intervention continued the program after the initial grant period concluded because of the benefits they saw for patients and for reducing emergency department visits and associated costs. These hospitals are currently testing a new version of the intervention specifically deigned to link emergency department patients with behavioral health conditions to appropriate community-based services. 

While hospital administrators and health policy experts throughout the country are recognizing that access to primary care improves continuity of care for patients and reduces avoidable use of emergency departments, the implications of this project are particularly important for hospitals in Maryland, which are now operating under a unique all-payer model for hospital payments. Within this new payment structure, Maryland hospitals will have to meet ambitious spending, quality of care, and population health goals. Reducing avoidable use of emergency departments can help in reaching these goals.

The project provides promise not only for hospitals in Maryland but throughout the nation to improve health care experiences and outcomes for their patients. Shared learning systems were an integral component of the project so participants were learning from each other and sharing best practices throughout the project and that learning has now been documented and can be replicated in other communities.

“This was an incredibly rewarding project to work on,” says Barbara H. Eldridge, Manager of Quality Improvement at the Primary Care Coalition. “We created a learning system that permits us to sustain improved communication between patients and their providers, between hospital discharge planners and community based clinics, and across five hospitals operating in Montgomery County.” The initiative has proven successful in Montgomery County, Maryland and is being replicated in communities in other parts of the country. 

“Linking Uninsured Patients Treated In The Emergency Department To Primary Care Shows Some Promise In Maryland” was written by Theresa Y. Kim, Karoline Mortensen, and Barbara Eldridge and published in the journal Health Affairs

University Launches Dynamic, Interactive Information Website UMD Right Now

December 4, 2012
Contacts: 

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618 crystalb@umd.edu

College Park, Md. – Today, the University of Maryland launched a brand-new multimedia news and information portal, UMD Right Now, which provides members of the media and the public with real-time information on the university and its extended community.

UMD Right Now replaces Newsdesk, which previously served as the university’s news hub and central resource for members of the media. The new site is aimed at reaching broader audiences and allows visitors to keep up with the latest Maryland news and events, view photos and videos and connect with the university across all of its social media platforms.

“We designed UMD Right Now to be a comprehensive, vibrant site where visitors can find new and exciting things happening at Maryland,” said Linda Martin, executive director, Web and New Media Strategies. “Through social media, video, photos and news information, we hope to engage visitors and compel the community to explore all that Maryland has to offer.”

The new website, umdrightnow.umd.edu, contains up-to-date news releases and announcements, facts and figures about the university, a searchable database of faculty and staff experts, information highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship at UMD, additional resources for news media and other campus and athletics news.

“UMD RightNow is the place to go to find out all the things happening on and around campus on any given day,” said Crystal Brown, chief communications officer. “This website brings real-time news, events and information right to your fingertips.”

For more information and contact information for the Office of University Communications, please visit umdrightnow.umd.edu.

UMD Graduate School Programs Ranked Among Nation’s Best by U.S. News & World Report

March 16, 2017

COLLEGE PARK, Md. --The University of Maryland’s graduate programs were once again highly ranked in the 2018 edition of U.S. News & World Report's Best Graduate Schools. This year’s list features rankings across six disciplines— business, law, engineering, education, medicine, and nursing. In total, 62 UMD graduate programs and specializations were among the top programs in the nation.

Three UMD graduate programs and specializations rank among the top three in the U.S.: Student Counseling and Personnel Services ranks first, African-American History ranks second, and Plasma ranks third. 

UMD also ranked in the top 10 in the following categories:

Business

  • Information Systems (9th)

Education 

  • Educational Psychology (tied at 5th)
  • Higher Education Administration (10th)

Earth Sciences

  • Geochemistry (tied at 7th)

Library and Information Studies (8th)

  • Archives and Preservation (5th)
  • Information Systems (5th)
  • Services for Children and Youth (5th)
  • School Library Media (tied at 5th)
  • Digital Librarianship (tied at 8th)

Math

  • Applied Math ( tied 10th)

Physics

  • Atomic/Molecular/Optical (tied at 6th)
  • Quantum (tied at 8th)
  • Condensed Matter (10th)

The U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings are based on factors, such as employment rates and starting salaries for graduates and standardized test scores of newly enrolled students.                                                                                                                                

For a full list of UMD’s top 25 graduate programs, click here. To view U.S. News and World Report’s complete  list of Best Graduate School rankings,  click here.

 

 

Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center at UMD Signs $64.8M Cooperative Agreement with NASA

March 15, 2017
Contacts: 

Matthew Wright, 301-405-9267

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) has been awarded a five-year, $64.8 million cooperative agreement with NASA. Established in 1999, ESSIC is a joint center of the University of Maryland and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center that supports research, teaching and career training in Earth system science.

The award will enable UMD to continue and expand its close collaboration with NASA Goddard, building on a legacy of nearly two decades of world-class research in meteorology, oceanography, terrestrial physics, hydrology, atmospheric chemistry, ecosystem science and satellite earth observations. The broad goal of ESSIC is to understand the relationships between Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, land masses and biosphere, with an eye to the influence of human activities on Earth’s coupled systems.

“An understanding of our planet has never been more important, and ESSIC is well-placed to address some of the most pressing questions in Earth system science,” said Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm, interim director of ESSIC and a professor of atmospheric and oceanic science at UMD who serves as the cooperative agreement’s principal investigator. “We look forward to the next five years of collaboration with NASA Goddard and our many other academic and government research partners.”

ESSIC links research efforts at UMD’s Departments of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, Geology, and Geographical Sciences with the Earth Sciences Directorate at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. ESSIC also has a cooperative agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support satellite research focused on weather and water forecasting models and predictions. By fostering close integration within the university community and among government partners in NASA and NOAA, ESSIC serves a unique role as a collaboration hub within the national Earth system science research community.

“Through our powerful scientific partnership, we have right here one of the world’s major clusters of Earth system science,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Their scientific research will make a major contribution to addressing the most pressing challenges of our time.”

Over the next five years, ESSIC will prioritize projects within six major research themes:

  • Atmospheric composition and processes (aerosol/cloud physics)
  • Atmospheric chemistry/carbon cycle
  • The cryosphere
  • Hydrometeorology/precipitation retrieval
  • Hydrology/land surface processes
  • Numerical modeling/data assimilation

“We are looking forward to continued work with ESSIC and UMD on important research areas such as atmospheric processes, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, and hydrospheric sciences,” said Torry Johnson, NASA Goddard’s Technical Officer for the ESSIC cooperative agreement.

Some recent ESSIC research highlights include:

  • A 2017 study in the journal Nature Scientific Data, led by ESSIC Assistant Research Scientist Amy McNally, which described a new method to use data from NASA’s Land Information System to monitor agricultural and water resources in Africa and Central Asia, and integrate the information into USAID’s Famine Early Warning System Network.
  • A 2016 study in the journal Nature Geoscience, with key contributions from ESSIC Associate Research Scientist Can Li, which reported satellite measurements of 39 major unreported sources of toxic sulfur dioxide emissions. CMNS covered this work with a news release.
  • A 2015 study in the Journal of Geophysical Research, led by ESSIC Assistant Research Scientist Jaehwah Lee, which describes a method to integrate information from three of NASA’s main Earth observing satellites to better track the height of smoke and dust aerosols.
  • A 2015 study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, led by ESSIC Associate Research Scientist Can Li, outlined a method to monitor atmospheric formaldehyde using satellites, in an effort to understand how environmental pressures such as drought can affect air quality.
  • A 2015 study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, led by Goddard-based Visiting Research Scientist Hongbin Yu, which provided the first multi-year, satellite-based estimate of transcontinental phosphorus transport from the Bodélé Depression in Chad to the Amazon basin. CMNS covered this work with a news release.

“All of us at ESSIC look forward to building on our record of success by tackling new challenges in Earth systems research over the next five years,” Miralles-Wilhelm said. “We are confident that our strong partnerships with NASA, NOAA and others will enable us to support the vibrant Earth system research community, both here in the greater Washington, D.C. area and beyond.”

President Wallace D. Loh Statement on Fliers

March 14, 2017

The white nationalist posters found on college campuses, including our own, contain detestable language that is an affront to who we are, and what we stand for, as the State's flagship university. As a community, we stand for excellence, diversity, and inclusion. We stand against all forms of ignorance and hate. UMPD is investigating this matter as a hate bias.

The University of Maryland, College Park will close tonight, March 13, 2017 at 9 p.m. and will remain closed Tuesday, March 14, 2017 due to expected inclement weather.

March 13, 2017

The University of Maryland, College Park will close tonight, March 13, 2017 at 9 p.m. and will remain closed Tuesday, March 14, 2017 due to expected inclement weather.

Methane-filled Atmosphere of Early Earth Helped ‘Clear the Air’ for Oxygen

March 13, 2017
Contacts: 

Matthew Wright, 301-405-9267

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- More than 2.4 billion years ago, Earth’s atmosphere was inhospitable, filled with toxic gases that drove wildly fluctuating surface temperatures. New research from the University of Maryland, the University of St. Andrews, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of Leeds and the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science suggests that a million-year-long methane haze helped clear the way for today’s world of mild climates and breathable air.

Photo of Earth’s atmosphere filled with a thick, methane-rich haze The team’s new research indicates that this methane-rich haze drove a large amount of hydrogen out of the atmosphere, making room for massive amounts of oxygen.  Their work, published March 13, 2017 in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, thus proposes a new contributing cause for the “Great Oxidation Event,” which occurred 2.4 billion years ago. During this event, oxygen concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere increased more than 10,000 times, resulting in an atmosphere much like the one that sustains life on Earth today. 

“The transformation of Earth’s air from a toxic mix to a more welcoming, oxygen-rich atmosphere happened in a geological instant,” said James Farquhar, a professor of geology at UMD and a co-author of the study. Farquhar also has an appointment at UMD’s Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center. “With this study, we finally have the first complete picture of how methane haze made this happen.”

The researchers used detailed chemical records and sophisticated atmospheric models to reconstruct atmospheric chemistry during the time period immediately before the Great Oxidation Event. Their results suggest that ancient bacteria—the only life on Earth at the time—produced massive amounts of methane that reacted to fill the air with a thick haze, resembling the modern-day atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan.  

Previous studies by many of the same researchers had identified several such haze events early in Earth’s history. But the current study is the first to show how rapidly these events began and how long they lasted.

“High methane levels meant that more hydrogen, the main gas preventing the build up of oxygen, could escape into outer space, paving the way for global oxygenation,” said Aubrey Zerkle, a biogeochemist at the University of St. Andrews and a co-author of the study. “Our new dataset constitutes the highest resolution record of Archean atmospheric chemistry ever produced, and paints a dramatic picture of Earth surface conditions before the oxygenation of our planet.”

The methane haze persisted for about a million years. After enough hydrogen left the atmosphere, the right chemical conditions took over and the oxygen boom got underway, enabling the evolution of all multicellular life. 

The key to the researchers’ analysis was the discovery of anomalous patterns of sulfur isotopes in the geochemical records from this time. Sulfur isotopes are often used as a proxy to reconstruct ancient atmospheric conditions, but previous investigations into the time period in question had not revealed anything too unusual.

“Reconstructing the evolution of atmospheric chemistry has long been the focus of geochemical research,” said Gareth Izon, lead author of the study, who contributed to the research while a postdoctoral researcher at St. Andrews and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Our new data show that the chemical composition of the atmosphere was dynamic and, at least in the prelude to the Great Oxidation Event, hypersensitive to biological regulation.” 

This release is based on text provided by the University of St. Andrews.

The research paper, “Biological regulation of atmospheric chemistry en route to planetary oxygenation,” Gareth Izon, Aubrey Zerkle, Kenneth Williford, James Farquar, Simon Poulton, and Mark Claire, was published March 13, 2017 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This work was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (Award Nos. NE/H016805 and NE/J023485), the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society, The Geological Society of London’s Alan and Charlotte Welch Fund, NASA (Award No. NNX12AD91G), The Royal Society, and the European Research Council (Award No. 678812). The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views of these organizations.


Photo caption:  A period more than 2.4 billion years ago, when Earth’s atmosphere was filled with a thick, methane-rich haze much like Saturn’s moon Titan, seen in an image taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in 2013. Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

 

University of Maryland’s Annual Giving Day Raises Over $2 Million

March 9, 2017
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md. –  The University of Maryland held its fourth annual day of giving on March 8, raising $2,226,934, with 6,355 total gifts from students and parents, faculty and staff, campus organizations, and alumni. Giving Day, a 24-hour giving challenge, supports student scholarships, academic programs, and campus initiatives. 

"Giving Day included contributions from every college and school, dozens of student groups and other units – a true team effort," said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. "With great successes like this, our University’s tremendous momentum continues to build."

Donors were asked to give a minimum gift of $10 to one of the many giving options available-- schools and colleges, athletics, libraries, performing arts, as well as Greek and student organizations-- or to support a specific department or program within a school and college of their choice if it was not listed. Gifts were also donated to several University funds, including the President’s Fearless Fund, which supports the university’s Do Good Institute, and Keep Me Maryland Fund, which provides fast, emergency aid to students at risk of withdrawing from Maryland.

Athletics led the donations with $312,046, followed by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the Robert H. Smith School of Business, who raised $83,602 and $61,296 respectively. The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences saw the highest number of gifts with 611, followed by the A. James Clark School of Engineering, with 491, and the College of Arts and Humanities with 298.

“This year’s Giving Day was a ground-breaking success for the University of Maryland,” said Brian Logue, Senior Director of Annual Giving at UMD. “Through the collaborative efforts of the entire campus, we were able to bring together the university community, locally and beyond, to create excitement around supporting our institution.”

To engage the University of Maryland community in giving, the offices of Annual Giving and University Marketing created hourly challenges and several opportunities for units to receive matching funds, which were donated by Michael and Debbie Schwab and family, the Clarvit family, the College of Education’s Board of Visitors, Robert Satterfield ‘95, Dr. Allen Schick, the School of Public Health, the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, and Robert Infantino and Doris Campos-Infantino. As donors made gifts, the results were displayed in real time on a leadership board on the website givingday.umd.edu

Leading up to Giving Day, the university generated buzz around the fundraising event with its What’s in the Box?  tease on social media. Giant gift boxes were placed across campus. The contents of the box were revealed on March 8 on the Giving Day website, where visitors were encouraged to provide a gift to the university to help bring Fearless Ideas to life. 

Since its launch in 2013, UMD’s day of giving has raised more than $3,172,774,receiving 12,384 giftsfrom students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the University. 

Scientists Create World’s First Time Crystals

March 8, 2017
Contacts: 

Chris Cesare JQI, 301-405-0824

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- A team of researchers led by physicists at the University of Maryland-based Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) have created the world’s first time crystal using a chain of atomic ions. 

Photo of Time CrystalsCrystals such as ice or diamond are made of atoms arranged in a repeating pattern in space. These new time crystals have atoms follow a repeating pattern, but in time rather than space. The UMD-led team’s creation brings to life the exotic idea that it might be possible to create such time crystals that was proposed in 2012 by Nobel-prize winning MIT physicist Frank Wilczek.

Much like freezing destroys the symmetry of liquid water, a time crystal disturbs a regularity in time. This is somewhat surprising, says lead author and JQI/ UMD postdoctoral researcher Jiehang Zhang, since nature usually responds in sync to things that change in time. “The earth rotates around the sun once a year, and the seasons have the same period,” Zhang says. “That’s what you would naturally expect.”

A time crystal doesn’t follow this expectation, instead responding with a slower frequency—like a bell struck once a second that rings every other second. The atomic ions in the Maryland experiment, which researchers manipulated using laser pulses, responded exactly half as fast as the sequence of pulses that drove them. Their results are  reported in the March 9 issue of the journal Nature.

Zhang, Christopher Monroe, a UMD Distinguished University Professor of Physics and a JQI Fellow, and a group of experimentalists at UMD teamed up with a theory group at the University of California, Berkeley to create their time crystal. The Berkeley group, led by physicist Norman Yao, had previously proposed a way to create time crystals in the lab. For a chain of atomic ions, the challenge came down to finding the right sequence of laser pulses, along with assembling the sea of mirrors and lenses that ensured the lasers impinged on the ions in the right way.

To create their time crystal, researchers activated three types of laser-driven behavior in a chain of ten ytterbium ions. First, each ion was bombarded with its own individual laser beam, flipping an internal quantum property called spin by roughly 180 degrees with each pulse. Second, the ions were induced to interact with each other, coupling their internal spins together like two neighboring magnets. Finally, random disorder—essentially noise—was sprinkled onto each ion, a feature known from previous experiments to prevent the spins from jostling and heating up the chain. 

Altogether, this sequence twisted around the ions’ spins, and researchers kept track of the orientation of each spin after many repetitions of the sequence. When all three laser-driven behaviors were turned on, the spins of each ion synced up, and they would rhythmically return to their original direction at half the speed of the laser sequence.

But a time crystal is more than mere repetition, and this alone would not be enough to claim the creation of a time crystal, Zhang says. A crystal also needs to be rigid. “If you put a bunch of billiard balls on a pool table separated by exactly 10 centimeters, is that a crystal?” Zhang says.  “Not really, because if you shake the table a little bit it will fall apart.”

Zhang and his colleagues demonstrated that their ions had this rigidity by attempting to artificially “melt” the time crystal. By modifying one of the laser pulses—essentially shaking the table—they observed that the rhythm remained stable, up to a point. Past a certain amount of heating, the time crystal dissolved away, just as an ice cube can melt back into a small puddle of water. But with weak shaking, it remained stable, a fact that provided the key evidence that they had created a time crystal.

This rigidity makes time crystals a potential ingredient for clocking complex quantum systems that have inherent defects and are hard to control. They could have applications to future quantum computers, which will also need to be robust. But such applications are still a long way off, especially since the time crystal that Zhang and collaborators produced lasted less than a millisecond.

“This bizarre state of matter results from a complex interplay between many quantum controls at the individual atomic level,” says UMD’s Monroe. “But time crystals can also emerge in certain solid-state devices, so a general understanding of this phenomenon could help bring such systems into future quantum devices.”

It was with a solid-state device approach that a group of researchers from Harvard University, also working with Berkeley’s Yao, reported the creation of a time crystal. Instead of ions, they used natural defects found in diamond to set up their crystal. The Harvard team’s results also are published in the March 9 issue of Nature.

 

Pages

Photo of leafy green vegetables
March 23
Contamination of soil with wild pig and cattle feces has direct correlation to E. coli prevalence in leafy greens.  Read
March 16
62 UMD graduate programs and specializations ranked among the top in the nation.
March 15
NASA awarded a cooperative agreement to UMD to continue collaborative research in the field of Earth system science. Read