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University of Iowa News Release

March 12, 2004

Photo: UI physics professor Usha Mallik.

UI Physicists Win $1.6 Million Grant To Explore Nature Of Matter

The Particle Physics Group in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences physics and astronomy department has won a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to explore the basic building blocks of matter.

The co-principal investigators on the grant are UI physics professors Yannick Meurice, Charles Newsom, Yasar Onel and Mary Hall Reno. Project principal investigator and UI physics professor Usha Mallik says that the objective of the grant -- to continue probing into the fundamental building blocks of nature -- is also one of the goals of particle physics.

"We have already come a long way," she says. "Now, jointly with the astrophysicists and the cosmologists, we are at the verge of unlocking long-standing mysteries of our universe."

Mallik, whose research interests are in the field of experimental elementary particle physics, earned her doctorate from the City College of New York in 1978 before joining the UI faculty in 1988. She has conducted research using the Stanford Linear Accelerator with $255,000 in annual base funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to better understand the source of CP violation. She says that understanding the source of CP violation involves learning why matter, rather than anti-matter, is overwhelmingly present in the universe, even though physicists theorize that the two forms of matter were present in equal amounts when the universe was created.

Between 1999 and 2002, Mallik served as a member of the U.S. High Energy Physics Advisory Panel. The panel contributes to the national research effort by selecting research directions and setting priorities, by surveying the peer review process, and by advising the U.S. Department of Energy's Director of Science, as well as the National Science Foundation, on particle physics research.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,