The Year in Review


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2005 Physics and Astronomy Awards Dinner

This past spring, I led a group of 37 UWSP students on a semester abroad trip to Britain, including an extensive tour of continental Europe. The experience was exhilarating, not only for student participants, but also for the faculty leader. During my absence from campus, Professor Katie Jore served as acting chairperson of the Department. In that capacity, she presided over the annual awards dinner honoring our physics majors. Please click on the links below to view highlights of the event.
 
A few years ago, Department faculty revised the upper division course sequence in physics to allow our majors the opportunity to engage in semester abroad or industrial internship opportunities during the spring semester of each odd numbered year. This past spring, two UWSP physics majors enjoyed semester abroad experiences...Derek Lilla in New Zealand and Chris Musson in Britain. To glimpse the lighter side of these international programs, check out the photograph below.
 
Once again, staff changes occurring over the summer months will renew the face of our Department. Professor Kameshwar Razdan concluded 38 years of service to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point at a retirement reception held June 7. Kameshwar was instrumental in the establishment of microelectronics and laser physics programs at UWSP.
 
Joining the Department this coming fall, Professor Hai Nguyen brings valuable expertise in the emerging field of optical trapping. Hai received his Ph.D. in 2003 from Kansas State University and subsequently served a post-doctoral appointment at the University of Paris.
 
- Bob Beeken, Dept Chair

 

 
Physics major Chris Musson (left) scaled the summit of Rochers de Naye(Switzerland)during a semester abroad experience in Europe this past April. Later the same day, he was observed swimming in the waters of Lake Geneva!

 

2005 Information

 

 Scholarship Recipients

 
Freshman Scholarship ($900)
  • Karen Chamberlain (Wisconsin Rapids, WI)
  • Kyla Dean (Tomahawk, WI)
  • Aaron Nasi (Hurley, WI)
  • Gavin Weir (Minneapolis, MN)
Monica Bainter Scholarship ($500)
  • Kasey Cockroft
  • Logan Kimberly
  • Matthew Newby
Arthur Pesja Award ($1000)
  • Joshua Hastey
Monica Bainter Memorial Award ($1500)
  • Azaree Lintereur
Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship ($7500)
  • Azaree Lintereur - Awarded to select undergraduates majoring in the natural sciences as a result of national competition. Azaree is the seventh Goldwater Scholar selected from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the second from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UWSP (Brent Hoerman was a recipient in 1995).
 

 Graduating Seniors

 
December 2004
 
Eric Foard - Accepted for graduate study in physics at North Dakota State University.
 
Ellynne Kutschera - Accepted for graduate study in physics at the University of Oregon.
 
Nick Petersen - Employed at Centerline Machines, Waupaca.
 
Matthew Schmidkamp - Accepted a planetarium internship at Broward Community College, Florida.
 
May 2005
 
Joe Christensen - Plans to attend graduate school in the future.
 
Nea Gouin - Currently seeking employment
 
Matt Loth - Accepted for graduate study in physics at the University of Minnesota.
 
Jesus Medina - Currently seeking employment.
 
Charles Wagener - Accepted for graduate study in physics at the University of Iowa.
 


May graduates (from left): Charles Wagener, Joe Christensen, Nea Gouin, David Bigalke (natural science), and Matt Loth. Joe and Nea are engaged to be married. Jesus Medina was not available for this photograph.

 

 Department Highlights

 

The Scolarship of Teaching

 

 

 
  • Professor David Tamres presented the paper "Resonances in a Closed-Open Tube with Conical Bore" at the American Association of Physics Teachers meeting in Sacramento, California.
  • Professor Brad Hinaus presented a paper on guided-inquiry tutorials while Professor David Tamres led a workshop on the use of scroll bars in Excel at the Wisconsin Association of Physics Teachers meeting in Oshkosh.
 

Society of Physics Students

 
  • Sponsored two model-rocket launches for area school children. These popular events always attract an overflow crowd!
  • Designed and constructed a trebuchet, the clever device used to launch massive projectiles in ancient times.
 
Academy of Letters and Science Awards
 
  • Matt Loth - graduating senior.
  • Azaree Lintereur - continuing student.
 
Student Research
 
  • Ellynne Kutschera co-authored "Temperature Variation of Film Tension Above the Bulk Smectic-A Isotropic Transition in Free Standing Liquid Crystal Films" with Professor Mick Veum. The paper appeared in Physical Review E.
  • Paul Messman co-authored "Thermal Positioning of Point Defects in Smectic Films: The Thermal Tweezer" with Professor Mick Veum appearing in Liquid Crystals.
  • Paul Omernik co-authored the paper "Electron Dynamics in Metallic and Spin-Glass Cuprates" with Professor Greg Taft that appeared in Physical Review B.
  • Josh Garbe, Jessica Gillis, Nick Petersen, Brandon Podoll, and Mike Stoneman co-authored the paper "Electrical Conductivities of the Ag6PS55X and the Cu6PSe5X (X = Br, I) Argyrodites" with Professor Bob Beeken in Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids.
  • Joseph Christensen, Kasey Cockroft, Joel Hrebik, Azaree Lintereur, Jay Schulist, and Angela Strobel presented the results of their undergraduate research projects at the College of Letters and Science Symposium in April.
 
 
 
Astronomy
 
  • Students Wayne Zelhofer and Joshua Hastey accompanied UWSP faculty members Randy Olson and Katie Jore to Kitt Peak National Observatory this year.
  • Randy Olson presented a paper on his research investigations of star clusters at Kitt Peak to members of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association in Detroit, Michigan.
  • A new Meade 16" telescope is being installed in the UWSP Observatory. This instrument will significantly enhance both the instructional and research capabilities for the growing number of physics majors interested in our astronomy offerings.
 
Optics and Laser Physics
 
  • Professor Ken Menningen received $27,000 in start-up funds to launch his research program into photoelectrochemical splitting of water molecules at UWSP. The aim of this research is to find economically feasible methods of generating hydrogen fuel.
  • Professor Greg Taft published a paper on femtosecond laser-driven materials processing with former UWSP chancellor Tom George and former UWSP Fulbright Fellow Laszlo Nanai in Proceedings of the SPIE.
  • Research Professor Sasha Popov published articles on optical switching in Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics as well as in Physical Review A this past year.
 
Condensed Matter
 
  • Professor Mick Veum published two articles describing thermal measurements of liquid crystal films in Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals this past year. The described research was a collaborative effort with investigators at the University of Minnesota.
  • The Department's former air track room (C-120 Science) is currently under renovation to create an expanded condensed matter laboratory that will house the experimental research programs of Professors Beeken, Hinaus, and Veum.
 
Upcoming Professional Travel Plans
 
  • Professor Mick Veum will spend the summer months engaged in research with collaborators at the University of Minnesota.
  • Azaree Lintereur has been awarded a summer fellowship from the Society of Physicists in Medicine to collaborate with researchers at Marshfield Clinic.
 
 
Left: Professor Greg Taft adjusting a mount used for a dynamic reflectivity experiment. Students Matthew Newby and Joel Hrebik worked with Greg this past year investigating the ultrafast dynamics of vanadium pentoxide samples obtained from Laszlo Nanai, Professor of Physics at the University of Szeged, Hungary.
Right:
Photograph showing the green (532 nm wavelength) laser beam used as an energy source for Professor Taft's Ti:sapphire laser. This beam is produced by a solid-state pump laser that was purchased by Marshall Onellion, UW-Madison physics professor, who Greg also collaborates with on dynamic reflectivity measurements.