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K-State Today

December 2, 2014

Physics department introduces new faculty member Lado Samushia

By Kim Coy

Lado Samushia

Lado Samushia is the newest member of the K-State physics faculty. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor this fall.

Samushia conducts physics research in the area of cosmology. Recent cosmological observations show that more than 25 percent of the universe is made of dark matter and about 70 percent of it is made by dark energy. The exact nature of dark matter and dark energy are yet to be determined.

His research lies in using 3-D maps of galaxy distribution from current spectroscopic galaxy surveys to study the properties of dark energy. These large data sets also can be used to study properties of gravitational interactions and check whether Einstein's General Relativity is a correct theory of gravity. Researchers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey collaboration have used the most recent data set to measure the distances to remote galaxies with better than 1 percent precision and to measure the expansion rate of the universe with a 4 percent precision.

"Effects of gravity and the expansion of the universe leave subtle imprints in these large maps of galaxies," said Samushia. "My recent work within Sloan Digital Sky Survey collaboration was related to extracting these signals and checking if they concur with the predictions of Einstein's theory."

Samushia also is involved with the Euclid satellite mission and Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument experiment, both scheduled to start by 2020. Upon completion, understanding of the properties of dark energy and gravity will be significantly advanced.

Tim Bolton, professor of physics, said, "Lado works at the boundaries between theoretical and experimental physics and between high energy physics and astrophysics. He's plugged into two very exciting science projects in the world, Euclid and Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, that have a good chance to tell us something about this very strange thing called dark energy. He's one of the world experts in this field, and we're glad to have him."

Samushia is enthusiastic about his return to K-State as a faculty member. He is looking forward to conducting research and teaching courses.

He received his bachelor's degree from Tbilsi State University and he completed his doctoral degree in physics at K-State in 2009 under the guidance of Bharat Ratra. Prior to joining the faculty, he was a senior research associate at the University of Portsmouth in the U.K.