Stay up to date with the Physics Department
Goucher's SPS (Society of Physics Students) chapter has won a $1,230 research award from the Sigma Pi Sigma honors branch of the American Institute of Physics. The grant funding will support the construction and use of Goucher's first Cloud Chamber. Congratulations to the whole chapter, the Physics and Astronomy Club, and in particular, Phoebe Yeoh, Alissa Murray, Chloe Gooditis, and Cody Nelson.
As explained in the grant proposal, "The purpose of this project is to design and build a usable cloud chamber, which is a piece of equipment (Fig 1) that allows viewers to see the tracks made by subatomic particles (Fig 2). By measuring these tracks, viewers can use physics principles to determine what particles made the tracks, as well as other properties such as the particle's mass and momentum. We will design our cloud chamber to be compact, and will optimize viewing conditions for proper particle track study and measurement. Our ultimate goal is for the cloud chamber to be put to academic use in our Modern Physics classroom, as well as in demonstrations and scientific outreach programs. We plan to both lead and involve multiple Goucher students, including freshman and sophomores, in the design and building process. Our hope is to give them the experience of collaborating on a long-term scientific research project, develop hands-on skills in equipment design and testing, and practice scientific communication skills. Once computed, the cloud chamber will remain a permanent piece of equipment for use in Goucher's Physics and Astronomy classes."
As of today, most of the equipment has been purchased and our students have been hard at work in our machine shop and Dr. Ali Bakhshai's research lab to construct the components. We congratulate our students on an excellent proposal (click here for the full text) and look forward to announcing the chamber's first tracks next semester![full story]
Three Goucher Physics majors are preparing to head off to research universities for the 2014 Summer.
Phoebe Yeoh ('15) was accepted into summer-research programs at Penn State, Rutgers, University of Connecticut, and Duke University. She has chosen to spend her summer at Penn State, working in Materials Science with Dr. Susan Trolier-Mckinstry on adjustable optics for the SMART-X X-ray telescope. Phoebe will be depositing piezoelectric thin films onto glass substrates and then characterizing them for structure and electrical/electromechanical properties. More about the project can be found here.
Taryn Bailey ('16) was accepted at both Georgetown and the University of Florida. She will be spending her summer in Florida, working with Prof. James Hamlin on "High-pressure studies of unconventional superconductors."
Ashlee Benge ('16) was awarded an all-expenses-paid summer research fellowship in astrochemistry at the University of Leiden in Holland. She will be working with Dr. Catherine Walsh, studying molecular anions in photon-dominated regions.
Congrats to all of our students. We wish you very successful and fun-filled summer experiences![full story]
The Department of Physics and Astronomy is excited to have finished our move into the newly-rennovated Julia Rogers building. We are now located in the west wing of the first floor, with four custom-designed teaching spaces and four custom-designed research labs, as well as plenty of nooks and crannies for hanging out. Come by and say hello![full story]
Spring 2013 was a great term for Astronomy at Goucher College. Prof. Ben Sugerman was awarded Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescope time to study supernova remnants in The Fireworks Galaxy, and Physics majors Paul Meyers and Lindsey Long were published in The Astrophysical Journal.[full story]
Physics students Julian Irwin and Tamiro Villazon presented their collaborative theoretical physics research at the 2012 March Meeting of the American Physical Society that was held in Boston, Massachusetts from February 27 to March 2. The March Meeting is the largest annual meeting of the physicists in the United States and features contributions from scientists all over the world.[full story]
Astronomy Professor Ben Sugerman led an international collaboration of experts on the evolution of stars, stellar explosions, and dust to explain a longevity of SN 1980K, which exploded around Halloween in 1980 and was still observable as late as 2010. His collaborative research paper "Thirty Years Of SN 1980K: Evidence For Light Echoes" has just been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.[full story]
Goucher Physics and Mathematics alum Brendan Hagan ('10) and Dr. Remi Soummer at the Space Telescope Science Institute have perfected a new technique to find planets buried deep within Hubble Space Telescope images of the parent stars. Their first result has just been published in The Astrophysical Journal with a special world-wide NASA press release.[full story]
The paper titled "Simple Laser Frequency Locking Based on Doppler-Free Magnetically Induced Dichroism" by Dr. Marin Pichler and his research student David Hall ('11) will appear in Optics Communications journal. The work which was presented last November at Optical Society of America annual meeting, describes a simple and novel method for active stabilization and reduction of frequency jitter of a diode laser. The method is based on magnetically induced dichroism in atomic vapor applied in Doppler-free saturated absorption setup.[full story]
The Goucher Summer Science Research Program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to work closely with faculty members on research projects. The program is designed for students who have taken relevant course(s) that pertain to faculty research, and wish to learn more about the graduate or professional school experience and pursue a research career in science.[full story]
Dr. Ben Sugerman, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, was interviewed by local TV stations WJZ and WMAR this week as the Space Shuttle Discovery flew its last and final voyage. Dr. Sugerman explains how the Shuttle, and NASA's space program in general, has benefited all of us for over 50 years, and why decommissioning the Shuttle may be a bad idea.
Physics students Jeff McLeod and Michael Garman, both Goucher Class of 2011, will present their collaborative materials physics and computational physics research respectively at the 2011 March Meeting of the American Physical Society (APS), March 21-25 in Dallas, Texas. The March Meeting is the largest annual meeting of the physicists in the United States and features contributions from scientists all over the world.[full story]
On November 8 2010, Goucher College alumni Daniel Barker '08, Adrien Thormann '10 and Dr. Jay Zeck '05 will come back to their Alma Mater to take part in the 2nd triennial "Where Physics Has Taken me" career panel. These distinguished physics alumni will talk about their post-graduate careers to current and prospective physics majors at Goucher College.[full story]
A paper co-authored by Goucher College physics professor Sasha Dukan and Goucher physics alumni Joel Tenenbaum (Class of 2006) and Joseph Porembski (Class of 2007) as well as computer science alumnus Karl Tata (Class of 2010) has been accepted for publication and will be published in the October issue of the journal Physical Review B.[full story]
Physics majors Brendan Hagan and Adrien Thormann, work to directly image planets around nearby stars at the Space Telescope Science Institute.
During the Spring 2010 semester, physics majors Brendan Hagan and Adrien Thormann (both class of
2010) worked with Dr. Rémi Soummer of the nearby Space Telescope Science Institute to image planets around nearby stars (formally called "exoplanets"). Dr. Soummer is a world-renowned expert in the
fields of optics and exoplanet detection, and has mentored Adrien and Brendan in an ambitious program to first reproduce the results of a competing collaboration, and then apply these techniques to other, nearby stars. Planets are very faint and close to their stellar hosts, and thus can only be directly imaged with extremely high- resolution imagers and hyper-sensitive data-analysis techniques. [full story]
Dr. Rajeswari Kolagani, a physics professor and a director of the Professional Science Masters program at Towson University will talk about her research on Rare Earth Oxide Thin Films by Laser Deposition method and the newly established professional masters program on Materials Science and Nanotechnology. Date, Time, and Place are: Friday 4/16/2010, 3:30 PM, Hoffberger Science Building Room 134.[full story]
The Samuel Newton Taylor Lecture Endowment Presents Dr. Kenneth Sembach
The Department of Physics and Astronomy is proud to announce that Dr. Kenneth Sembach of the Space Telescope Science Institute will give the Spring 2010 Samuel Newton Taylor lecture. Dr. Sembach is the current head of the Hubble Space Telescope's Mission Office, and overseas its scientific, operational and managerial aspects. His talk, entitled "The Hubble Space Telescope: Revealing Universal Wonders with Human Ingenuity" will offer a multimedia presentation of the history and amazing science that has come out of NASA's most successful astronomical observatory. The lecture will take place at 7 PM on April 28th in the Hyman Auditorium of the Goucher College Atheneum.
The press realese for this event can be found at http://www.goucher.edu/x39794.xml.[full story]
Dr. Ben Sugerman, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, was just awarded $850 from the Goucher College Crosby Grant to add a long-term module on rocket science in his Introductory Astronomy labs.
Starting this fall, students will spend 5 weekly labs learning about rocketry and space travel, designing, building and testing their own model rockets, and ultimately launching them to test their flight predictions. This is another exciting step in bringing the joy of scientific discovery into the classroom.[full story]
Let's start with The Bad. Ask any astronomer and they will tell you that observing the sky is always a gamble. You might outcompete 100 other proposals to use one of the largest telescopes on earth, travel half-way around the world to get there, and then spend three nights in a row surfing the web because the sky is clouded over. Well, it's been a rough semester for public observing at the Lewis Observatory, since it has been raining or cloudy every third-thursday starting in September. To help increase the chances of seeing clear skies, we have designated the following thursday of each month as a rain date. However, that didn't work either since on the make-up night in October, Dr. Sugerman was ill, and the November make-up night falls on Thanksgiving. Chin up! We'll have better luck in 2010, and there is a lot to look forward to (read on!).[full story]
The Department of Physics and Astronomy has established a workable small size machine shop for the support of research and teaching laboratories, the departmental observatory and student-faculty projects. The machine shop has a medium size milling machine, a small lathe, a vertical band saw and a vertical drill.[full story]
Adrien Thormann, Goucher College senior with a major in physics, spent this past summer working on science policy issues on Capitol Hill. In the course of his internship he met 13 astronauts from the Apollo era, including Senator John Glen, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins, as well as Charlie Bolden, the current NASA administrator.
Adrien Thormann will talk about his experience working on Capitol Hill on Friday, September 25th at 3:30pm in the Kelley Lecture Hall.[full story]
Usually only found at premier research universities, Dr. Pichler has been defying the odds since 2002 by building a magneto-optical trap (or MOT), to trap and cool atoms to ultracold temperatures, right here at Goucher College. Today, Dr. Pichler and summer research assistant David Hall ('11) successfully trapped, for the first time, a few million Cesium atoms at a temperature less than one-thousandth of a degree above absolute zero.[full story]
Prof. Sasha Dukan has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation's Division of Materials Research in the amount of $120,000 to support her theoretical research in the area of condensed matter physics. The three-year long project, Thermal Properties of Strongly-Coupled Extreme Type-II Superconductors in the Mixed State , will involve up to six Goucher students in the computational part of the project.[full story]
Dr. Oskar Vafek, Class of 1998 Goucher Alumnus and a Professor of Physics at Florida State University and National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida, will present a colloquium to the campus community on Thursday, April 16 at 4:30pm in Kelly Lecture Hall. Dr. Vafek will discuss his research on graphene, a fascinating new material that holds promise to become the basic unit of future ultrafast electronics.[full story]
Dept of Physics and Astronomy donates telescopes
The Goucher College Dept of Physics and Astronomy is excited to announce that it was able to donate two 8-in telescopes to Western and Polytechnic High Schools today. [full story]
Goucher Physics students Sean Lonsdale and Adrien Thorman presented their summer research work with Dr. Ben Sugerman at the 213th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Jan 4-8 in Long Beach, CA.[full story]
Congratulations Physics Major Joan Palupa ('11), who won a Goucher Achievement Award this year.[full story]
Department of Physics and Astronomy in the News: Summer 2008
It was a busy summer here at Goucher for the press, and the Dept of Physics and Astronomy was no exception. See our press coverage. [full story]
New Telescope installed in the Hoffberger Observatory
Over spring and summer of 2008, four new telescopes, including 3 portable 6-inch and a state-of-the-art 14-inch telescope have been purchased and installed in the Hoffberger Observatory. In conjunction with the Physics and Astronomy club, the Department of Physics and Astronomy will be using this new equipment to run monthly public-observing nights (details to follow). [full story]
Summer researchers inaugurate first-annual "Physics Challenge"
During the 2008 Goucher Summer Undergraduate Research program, the Department of Physics held the first annual "Physics Challenge" triathalon. [full story]
In September 2008, Dr. Ben Sugerman will travel to Heidelberg, Germany to present on-going work on light echoes at the "Cosmic Dust: Near and Far." Dr. Marin Pichler presented at the 39th annual DAMOP (APS) meeting in May.[full story]
On Friday, October 19, Joel Tenenbaum, ( '06), Ann Thomas, ('06) and Jay Zeck, ('05) will come back to their Alma Mater to talk about their post-Goucher careers for the event "Celebration of Physics: What can I do with my Physics Degree?" .[full story]
Michelle Marx's paper has been selected for publication in Verge
Michelle Marx’s research paper "An Anomalous Reaction of Silicon Oxide and Aluminum via Ball Milling" nominated by physics professor Ali Bakshai has been selected for publication in the fourth issue of Verge, which will be published in the fall of 2007. Verge received over 75 papers this year, and 10 were selected, so it’s quite an honor that this paper was selected. Congratulations to Michelle and her mentor Dr. Bakhshai! [full story]
In June 2007, Dr. Marin Pichler, Assistant Professor of Physics will travel to Calgary, Canada to present his on-going research work on optical trapping of alkali atoms at the joint American Physical Society and Canadian Association of Physicists DAMOP/DAMP meeting. This exciting research is done with Goucher physics students Daniel Barker, Myrrha Andersen, Joseph Porembski and Mattie Withmore.[full story]
Professor Sasha Dukan presents at the XXIII International Conference on Statistical Physics in Italy
In July 2007, Dr. Sasha Dukan, Associate Professor of Physics, will travel to Genova, Italy to present her collaborative student/faculty research at the XXIII IUPAP International Conference on Statistical Physics, in Genova, Italy. She will present a poster "Differential Conductance of Disordered Superconductor at Low Temperatures and High Magnetic Field" co-authored by Goucher students Joe Porembski and Karl Tata. [full story]
Dr. Marin Pichler, Assistant Professor of Physics, published "Complex Resonance Energy transfer in Li-LiH" in Chemical Physics Letters in March 2007. This paper is based on his research and data collected for his diploma thesis done at the Institute of Physics in Zagreb, Croatia.[full story]
Dr. Ben Sugerman, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Goucher College, will present the talk "How Supernovae Shed Light on some Obscure Questions" at the March 10 meeting of the National Capital Astronomers, 7:30 pm at the University of Maryland Observatory, in College Park, Maryland.[full story]
On Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. in Goucher College’s Kelley Lecture Hall, Eugenie Scott will present “The Evolution of Creationism,” a free, public lecture that traces the history of creationism, intelligent design, and public education, from the Scopes trial through the recent court decision in Dover, PA.
Were you unable to attend Eugenie Scott's lecture? Catch the podcast on Goucher College Voicebox.[full story]
In Spring 2007 physics students and faculty members will be traveling to national and international conferences to present results of their collaborative research. Physics major Daniel Barker and chemistry major Michelle Marx will travel to San Rafael, California to present at the 21st National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Dr. Ali Bakshai will present at the Materials Research Society Spring Meeting in San Francisco, California while Dr. Sasha Dukan will present at the American Physical Society March Meeting in Denver, Colorado.[full story]
Mercury Transit 2006
The Planet Mercury will cross the face of the Sun on Wednesday, November 8 2006 from 2:00pm until sunset. This rare event will not happen again until the year 2016. If weather and cloud-cover permit, come see it for yourself, live at the Hoffberger Observatory. [full story]
Dr. Marin Pichler Publishes in Journal Of Physics B
Dr. Marin Pichler, Assistant Professor of Physics, published "Perturbation effects in photoassociation spectra of ultracold Cs2" in Journal Of Physics B. The paper is based on his research collaboration with experimental groups at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, and at Universite d'Orsay in Orsay, France. [full story]
Dr. Ben Sugerman, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy publishes major research finding in Science Magazine.
Using the space-based Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes and the ground-based Gemini North Telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, Dr. Ben Sugerman of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md. and his colleagues found a significant amount of heated dust in the remains of a massive star called supernova SN 2003gd. Dr. Sugerman will join Goucher College Physics Department in the Fall 2006. [full story]
Prof. Marin Pichler awarded a grant from the Research Corporation
Assistant Professor Marin Pichler has just been awarded a grant from the Research Corporation to support his experimental research in atomic and molecular physics of ultracold gases [full story]
Interdisciplinary research paper by Goucher Physics student is published in the journal Applied Optics.
Physics student Ann Thomas, Goucher class of 2006, together with Chemistry student David Sands, Dr. David Baum and Goucher Biology professor Dr. Leleng To authored a paper "Emission Wavelength Dependence of Fluorescence Lifetimes of Bacteriological Spores and Pollens" that has been published in the journal Applied Optics. The paper is a result of an interdisciplinary faculty/student research effort funded by the grant from the United States Army. [full story]
Physics Students present at the 20th National Conferences on Undergraduate Research-NCUR20
Goucher physics students Dan Pines and Ann Thomas, and mathematics student John Sergeant, all three members of the 2006 graduating class presented results from their faculty/student collaborative physics research at the 20th National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR20) at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, in April 6-8, 2006. [full story]
Prof. Marin Pichler publishes a research paper in Physical Review A
Marin Pichler, Assistant Professor of Physics, published "Observation of blue satellite bands and photoassociation at ultracold temperatures" in the Rapid Communication Section of Physical Review A (February 15th issue) [full story]
Physics Seminar on February 3rd at 4pm in Kelly Lecture Hall
Professor David Strauss from George Mason University will speak on Predictability vs. Chaos in Climate Science: Jet Streams, Storms and El-Nino [full story]