Physics Cafe Presentation at Ithaca College is No Small Matter

ITHACA, NY—A physicist who explores the smallest of materials will give the next presentation in the Physics Café series at Ithaca College. Paola Barbara will discuss “Beyond Gulliver’s Travels: Shrinking Matter One Dimension at a Time” on Tuesday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. in Emerson Suites, Phillips Hall. Her talk is free and open to the public.

With recent advances in technology, we can now embark on the discovery of materials with physical dimensions that are drastically reduced, to obtain sheets or wires that are just a few atoms thick. Unlike the land of Lilliput in “Gulliver’s Travels,” these flatlands, linelands and dotlands are not simple miniature versions of their macroscopic counterparts. Barbara will discuss graphene, carbon nanotubes and carbon quantum dots to illustrate the opportunities and challenges we encounter when matter is shrunk to two, one and even zero dimensions.

An associate professor of physics at Georgetown University, Barbara focuses her research on transport in carbon nanotubes and device applications. She received a Presidential Early Career Award in the Sciences and Engineering (PECASE) and a Research Innovation Award from the Research Corporation. She holds an M.S. in physics from the University of Salerno, Italy, and a Ph.D. in physics from the Technical University of Denmark. She was a postdoctoral associate and research scientist at the University of Maryland Center for Superconductivity Research.

Sponsored by the Department of Physics, the Physics Café series offers talks on current topics in physics in a casual environment, where audience members and physicists can informally discuss new ideas over coffee and cookies. Past presentations have featured such topics as the time-warping properties of black holes, superconductivity, string theory and the exploration of Mars.

For more information, contact Kelley Sullivan, assistant professor of physics, at (607) 274-7065 or

Paola Barbara will discuss shrinking matter at Ithaca College