Fostering Collaborative Research in Physics & Engineering

HEPL, founded in 1947 as Stanford's first Independent Laboratory, provides facilities and administrative structure enabling faculty to do research that spans across the boundaries of a single department or school—for example: physics & engineering or physics & biology/medicine. The Independent Laboratory concept, in many ways unique to Stanford, facilitates world-class research and teaching.
For more information about HEPL research, see the Research page.

News in Brief

Professor Daniel Palanker

Artist's depiction of gamma rays from a
solar flare on the far side of the sun
moving along magnetic field lines to the
front side of the sun where they are
detected by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space
Telescope. Image by NASA GSFC

January 30, 2017

NASA's Fermi Gamma Ray Telescope has detected gamma rays eminating from flares on the back side of our sun

Reprint of story by Francis Reddy
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

An international science team says NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has observed high-energy light from solar eruptions located on the far side of the sun, which should block direct light from these events. This apparent paradox is providing solar scientists with a unique tool for exploring how charged particles are accelerated to nearly the speed of light and move across the sun during solar flares.

"Fermi is seeing gamma rays from the side of the sun we're facing, but the emission is produced by streams of particles blasted out of solar flares on the far side of the sun," said Nicola Omodei, a member of the Fermi research team at Stanford University's Hansen Experimental Physics Lab in California. "These particles must travel some 300,000 miles within about five minutes of the eruption to produce this light."

Omodei presented the findings on January. 30, 2017 at the American Physical Society meeting in Washington, and a paper entitled Fermi-LAT Observations of High-energy Behind-thd-limb Solar Flares, describing the results were published online in The Astrophysical Journal on Jan. 31.

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Professor Daniel Palanker

Emeritus Professor Francis Everitt,
Principal Investigator of Gravity Probe B,
accpting the 2016 AIAA Space Science
Award (Image credit: Diane Larson)

September 15, 2016

AIAA Honors the Stanford/NASA/Lockheed Martin Gravity Probe B Team with 2016 Space Science Award

Every election year, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) hosts a Space and Astronautics Forum and Exposition. This year’s forum and exhibition was called AIAA Space 2016, and it was held at the Long Beach, CA Convention Center from September 13-15. The theme of Space 2016 was: Open Space: Opportunities for the Global Community.

The second day of the program included a Recognition Session featuring several talks and a recognition luncheon to celebrate achievements in space and astronautics.

During the Recognition Luncheon, seven awards were presented, including the Space Science Award given to the Gravity Probe B team “For performing with NASA support two revolutionary new tests of Einstein’s theory of gravity, general relativity, with cryogenic gyroscopes in Earth orbit.”

The award was accepted by Stanford Research Professor Emeritus, Francis Everitt, Principal Investigator of the Gravity Probe B mission, which was administered by HEPL for nearly half a century, from first NASA funding in 1963 through the spacecraft launch in April 2004, the final results announcement in 2011 and, most recently, the publication of the November 2015 focus issue of the journal, Classical and Quantum Gravity, containing a preface and 21 scientific and technical papers covering every aspect of this landmark experiment and space mission.

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