Guy Blaylock
 
Associate professor of physics at the
University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Guy and Al
email:blaylock@physics.umass.edu  
phone:    (413) 545-0993
snailmail:       
Physics Department; LGRT Rm 1034
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-0120




Teaching

selected classes

awards

2007 UMass Distinguished Teaching Award  more info
2007 NSM College Outstanding Teaching Award  more info

2010 RFYE Student Choice Award

Research History

1981-82 CDF -- The CDF (Collider Detector at Fermilab) experiment is a proton-antiproton collider experiment that studied weak W and Z bosons in the 1980's and is famous for the top quark discovery in the 1990's. It's best-known current research is the search for the Higgs boson. My contribution as a graduate student was in design studies for the muon system before the detector was built.

1982-86 MarkIII -- The MarkIII experiment at SLAC was an electron-positron collider for charm physics at the Psi charmonium resonances. My graduate thesis on this experiment was a measurement of D meson branching fractions.

1986-90 UA2 -- The UA2 (Underground Area 2) experiment at CERN was famous as the co-discoverer (with, you guessed it, UA1) of the W and Z bosons in 1983. I joined the collaboration as a CERN scientific associate and later took a CERN staff appointment to contribute to the first precision measurements of W and Z characteristics.

1990-00 SLD -- The SLD experiment at SLAC was the first high energy electron-positron linear collider. It used the Stanford 2-mile linear accelerator to produce Z bosons for high precision studies. My work on this experiment involved development of an energy spectrometer for beam energy measurements and B meson studies. My graduate student, Cheng-Ju Stephen Lin, wrote his Ph.D. thesis on a search for Bs mixing.

1991-98 E791 -- The E791 experiment at Fermilab was a fixed target charm hadroproduction experiment for studying weakly decaying charmed mesons and baryons. One of its claims to fame was the largest dataset of its time, about equal to the information content of the Library of Congress, which was stored on video cassette tape. My work on this experiment was in reconstruction software and a search for D meson mixing.

1997-2004 BaBar -- BaBar at SLAC was one of two B factories that made high statistics measurements of B mesons, especially CP violation measurements. My work on this experiment involved supervising undergraduate projects on calorimeter reconstruction software, neural net data selection techniques, and Ds meson branching fractions.

2003-2008 VERITAS -- The VERITAS collaboration is an outgrowth of the very successful Whipple collaboration, which has been known for studies of very high energy gamma ray showers since the 1980's. The VERITAS project is a four-telescope array, which started data taking in October 2004. My work on this experiment was in software development for database and repository systems, and in neural net algorithms for gamma ray selection.

Current Interests


diceEinstein's Dice
I am currently (and for quite a while now) writing a lay book on quantum mechanics, which uses examples from modern technology to explain the fundamentals of quantum theory and connect to the experience of modern audiences. For instance, the field of quantum cryptography demonstrates the nature of “superposition” (the ability to take on two conflicting qualities at the same time) and uses this feature of quantum systems to generate unbreakable cryptographic codes. Interaction-free measurements determine certain characteristics of physical systems without any apparent contact with them, thereby illustrating some of the peculiarities of quantum observation. Quantum tunneling provides one of the clearest examples of quantum uncertainty and demonstrates how it is an inescapable feature of quantum systems. The quantum teleporter, designed in 1993 and demonstrated in the lab in 1997, illustrates the nature of quantum entanglement. Experiments with quantum erasers, which reverse the effects of measurement disturbance, offer a unique insight into the nature of measurement. Quantum computing employs almost all of the subtle features of quantum mechanics and has motivated much of our modern thinking about the behavior of quantum states. Sadly, most of these examples are fully described only in advanced texts. This is a lost opportunity for teaching lay audiences that I try to redress in my book. Preface and chapter 1 available online.

 



robotDr. Frankenstein's Lego

From April to June 2010 I directed a program for 9-14 year olds in Lego robotics at The Philadelphia School. In this program, children are introduced to the rudiments of robotic design and programming using the Lego Mindstorms™ system. Kids work in teams designing, constructing and programming robots to perform a variety of activities such as fetching a ball, following a track on the floor, navigating a maze, playing tag, reading and playing music, and drawing pictures. Future design challenges may also include parking a car (video), playing a piano (video), solving Rubik’s cube (video), and taking over the world (still in development). more info







Work with me


Senior Thesis on Quantum Tunneling

Quantum tunneling is the process by which a quantum particle can pass through a seemingly unpenetrable barrier and explains (at least in part)  how nuclear alpha decay works, how the sun fuses hydrogen into helium, how certain types of diodes work, field emission of electrons (important in flash memory), and much of the heat loss in VLSI computer chips. I'm looking for a physics or computer engineering major to work on a senior thesis project (or independent study project) to produce a visual simulation of quantum tunneling.  In recent years, such simulations of quantum tunneling have appeared in many places (see for example the Phet Project at UC Boulder). I wish to expand on these fine programs to study the energy/momentum structure of the transmitted and scattered wave packets, the effective tunneling time, the role of dispersion, and to identify the characteristics of trapped wave packets that remain in the tunneling region for an extended period of time. Knowledge of Java programming and Mathematica a must. Web design experience a plus. Work time is adjustable between 5 and 10 hours/week for one or two semesters.

Selected Talks

Publications

from Spires HEP database here




  UMass Physics

Last updated 13 August 2012