The Year in Review

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2004 Physics and Astronomy Awards Dinner

On Thursday, April 29, approximately 50 students, staff, and friends of the Department gathered to honor our graduating seniors as well as our award recipients for 2004. Please click on the links below to view highlights of the event.
Significant staff changes in the Department will occur over the coming summer months. Dan Rislove, assistant professor of physics and astronomy since 1999, will leave UWSP to pursue a law degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During his time at UWSP, Dan taught a wide variety of courses. His effort to modernize our digital electronics course is most noteworthy. We will miss Dan's camaraderie as well as his sense of adventure.
Our new hire for the Department is a familiar name from an earlier time. Ken Menningen received his bachelor's degree from UWSP in 1990 and his PhD from UW-Madison in 1996. Since then, he has been a faculty member at UW-Whitewater, serving as department chair the past three years. Ken brings to us active research programs in both laser optics and alternative fuels. We look forward to his return to the UWSP campus this fall.
- Bob Beeken, Department Chair

Retired faculty members Jagdish Chandler and Franz Schmitz (seated) are joined by current faculty member Kameshwar Razdan at the 2004 Awards Dinner.

2004 Information

 Scholarship Recipients

Freshman Scholarship ($1000)
  • Terese Gierach (Withee, WI)
  • Tyler Hardy (Chanhassen, MN)
  • Casey Konopacky (Stevens Point, WI)
  • Matthew Newby (Mosinee, WI)
Monica Bainter Scholarship ($500)
  • Severin Guzzonato
  • Matt Loth
  • Nick Petersen
Arthur Pesja Award ($1000)
  • Ellynne Kutschera
Monica Bainter Memorial Award ($1500)
  • Azaree Lintereur
Culver-Rogers Award ($400)
  • Azaree Lintereur - selected among continuing UWSP students majoring in biology, chemistry, or physics. 

Chairman Bob Beeken presenting the 2004 Monica Bainter Memorial Award to Azaree Lintereur.

 Graduating Seniors

May 2004
Josh Garbe - Accepted an actuarial position at Sentry Insurance, Stevens Point.
Kevin Klapoetke - Accepted for graduate study in physics at the University of Minnesota.
Paul Messman - Plans to attend graduate school in the future.
Paul Omernik - Plans to attend graduate school in the future.
Ryan Ruhland - Seeks an industrial position.
Mike Stoneman - Accepted for graduate study in physics at UW-Milwaukee.
Brian Yulga - Accepted for graduate study in physics at the University of Iowa.
Expected December 2004
 Sam Clausen, Eric Foard, Ellynne Kutschera, Nick Petersen, Matt Schmidkamp, Charles Wagener.

Seated (left to right): Ryan Ruhland, Ellynne Kutschera, and Brian Yulga. Standing (left to right): Eric Foard, Charles Wagener, Mike Stoneman, Nick Petersen, and Josh Garbe.

 Department Highlights

The Scholarship of Teaching
  • UWSP ranks among the founding members of the Physics Teacher Education Consortium (PhysTEC) sponsored by the American Institute of Physics. This group of universities shares an expressed interest in promoting active learning techniques across the physics curriculum. The local liaison to PhysTEC is Professor Brad Hinaus.
  • As a Wisconsin Teaching Fellow, Professor Hinaus presented the results of his research on guided inquiry worksheets at the UW System Conference on Professional and Instructional Development.
  • Professors David Tamres and Greg Taft led workshops on Excel spreadsheet scroll bars and holographic techniques, respectively, at the Wisconsin Association of Physics Teachers meeting in La Crosse.
Program Assessment 2001-2003
Assessment in physics and astronomy is conducted in two year cycles. The most recent assessment report found that...
  • our graduating seniors writing the Major Field Achievement Test (MFAT) have cumulatively scored in the top 41% nationally since 1994;
  • six of our students co-authored refereed articles describing their undergraduate research in 2001-03 while another student gave two national presentations describing her research during the same time period; and
  • student evaluation scores of physics/astronomy instructors exceeded the average of all UWSP science/math disciplines in each semester during 2001-03 in spite of the fact that our courses, as measured by assigned grades during 2001-03, are considerably more demanding than the average UWSP science/math discipline.
Society of Physics Students
  • Sponsored two model-rocket launches for area school children.
  • Hosted a successful recruitment dinner for undeclared majors early in the Fall Semester.
  • Traveled to the Chicago area March 5-7 to visit Fermilab, the Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Science and Industry, and other sites.
Academy of Letters and Science Awards
  • Mike Stoneman - graduating senior.
  • Ellynne Kutschera - continuing student.
Student Research
  • Paul Messman co-authored the paper "A Unique Approach to Measuring Surface Tension in Smectic Liquid Crystals" with Professor Mick Veum. The paper appeared in Review of Scientific Instruments.
  • Josh Garbe, Nick Petersen, and Mike Stoneman co-authored the paper "Electrical Properties of Silver Phosphorus Selenide Halide Argyrodites" with Professor Bob Beeken in the Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids.
  • Nea Gouin presented the paper "Spreadsheet-Based Determination of the Mass Limit for White Dwarf Stars" at the 2003 national meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers held in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Ellynne Kutschera, Jesus Medina, Josh Garbe, and Ryan Ruhland presented departmental colloquia describing their summer research experiences at the University of Minnesota, UW-Milwaukee, Montana State University, and Coe College, respectively.
  • Ellynne Kutschera, Matt Loth, and Charles Wagener each gave poster presentations of their undergraduate research at the UWSP College of Letters and Science Symposium.
Students Sam Clausen, Severin Guzzonato, Mike Hanko, and Peter Kruger accompanied UWSP faculty members Randy Olson and Katie Jore to Kitt Peak National Observatory this year.

Laser Physics
  • Professor Greg Taft was awarded a $13,000 NSF travel grant to continue collaborative investigations with Hungarian physicist Laszlo Nanai, a previous Fulbright visitor to UWSP.
  • As a consultant for Kapteyn-Murnane Laboratories of Boulder, Colorado, Greg Taft developed and installed a state-of-the-art laser system at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Research Professor Sasha Popov published the article "Adiabatic Passage and Dissociation Controlled by Interference of Two Laser-Induced Continuum Structures" in Physical Review A.
  • Sasha Popov also received a $45,000 sub-contract from Purdue University to support theoretical modeling of left-handed nanophotonics, optical processes associated with a negative refractive index.
Upcoming Professional Travel Plans
  • Professor Mick Veum will spend the summer months engaged in research with collaborators at the University of Minnesota.
  • Matt Loth has been accepted as a summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) participant at the University of Rochester.
  • Derek Lilla plans to study abroad in New Zealand during Spring Semester 2005.
  • Chris Musson plans to study abroad in Australia during Spring Semester 2005.
  • Professor Bob Beeken plans to lead a study abroad group to London during Spring Semester 2005

2004 Letters and Science Continuing Student Award recipient Ellynne Kutschera. Ellynne also wont the Arthur Pejsa scholarship in recognition of her academic achievement.
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