The Year in Review

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2006 Physics and Astronomy Awards Dinner

On Thursday, May 4, over sixty faculty, students, and friends of the Department enjoyed the Annual Awards Dinner. Please click on the links below to review highlights of the event. Our faculty are justifiably proud of the accomplishments of their students in both the classroom and the research laboratory. Opportunities for professional growth are common in the Physics Department at UWSP, as illustrated in the photograph below. Students Steve Lynam and Karen Chamberlin, working in the optics laboratory of Professor Hai Nguyen, recently presented a poster of their work at a conference in Knoxville, Tennessee. Nobel Laureate Eric Cornell (center) stopped by to review their poster and offer his encouragement.

One thing I have learned in my years chairing the Department of Physics and Astronomy is that change is inevitable. Next year, we will be without the services of two distinguished colleagues. Professor Greg Taft will take a one-year leave of absence from his teaching responsibilities at UWSP in order to accept a temporary research staff position at Kapteyn-Murnane Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. There, Greg will share responsibility for expanding the production of femtosecond laser systems in use around the globe. We hope that Greg returns to UWSP the following academic year with a unique perspective on the life of an industrial physicist. Professor Mick Veum has accepted an appointment as Associate Vice Chancellor at UWSP beginning July 1. In this position, Mick will assist the Provost with personnel and budget issues and will oversee both summer session and grant opportunities at the institution. Mick plans to stay active in his liquid crystal research and hopes to teach the occasional class for our Department. Congratulations and best wishes go out to Professors Taft and Veum!

- Bob Beeken, Professor and Chairman


2006 Information

 Scholarship Recipients

Freshman Scholarship ($750)
  • Michael Maher (Wausau, WI)
Monica Bainter Scholarship ($500)
  • Kyla Dean
  • Joshua Hastey
  • Dean Pawlisch
Arthur Pesja Award ($1000)
  • Matthew Newby
Monica Bainter Memorial Award ($1500)
  • Logan Kimberly 


Awardees (front row) Dean Pawlisch and Matthew Newby with (back row) Kyla Dean, Logan Kimberly, and Joshua Hastey.

 Graduating Seniors

December 2006
Sam Clausen (Dec 2005) - Currently teaches high school physics in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Rob Behringer - Seeks an industrial position.
Severin Guzzonato - Seeks an industrial position.
Jeremy Hammond - Seeks an industrial position emphasizing mechanical systems.

Joel Hrebik - Hired in 2008 as a process engineer at Membrane Process & Controls
Azaree Lintereur - Accepted for graduate study.
Chris Musson - Will spend one year with Americorps before applying to graduate school in engineering.
Joe Nuttall - Expects to apply for graduate study in engineering during the next academic year.
Angela Strobel - Currently works for Schneider International.
Kevin Zick - Accepted for graduate study in physics at Kansas State University.


2006 graduates (front row) Rob Behringer, Jeremy Hammond, and Severin Guzzonato with (back row) Joe Nuttall, Kevin Zick, and Chris Musson.

 Department Highlights

New Initiatives

  • Programs: Faculty governance recently approved two new physics emphases in addition to the traditional physics major at UWSP. One emphasis is in applied mechanics, the other in applied electronics. Each of these new emphases will feature an internship as part of program requirements. The applied emphases will officially commence during the 2007-08 academic year.
  • Facilities: A new Condensed Matter Research Laboratory was opened in the Fall 2005. This facility (Room C-120 in the Science Building) provides more spacious accommodations for research groups headed by Professors Beeken, Hinaus, and Veum. In addition, a 16 inch Meade LX200GPS telescope has been installed in the UWSP Observatory. The new telescope provides superior optics and features computer tracking that automatically locates any of 145,000 celestial objects that are stored in its memory.
  • Approved for Construction: Renovation of Room A-104 Science scheduled for the summer of 2006 will create dedicated space for our computational physics course, computer-based tutorial sessions, and serve as an after-hours study area for an expanding number physics majors.

Academy of Letters and Science Awards

  • Kevin Zick - graduating senior.
  • Joshua Hastey - continuing student.

Student Research

  • Matt Loth co-authored the paper "Laser-stimulated synthesis of large fractal silver nanoagregates" with Professors Greg Taft and Sasha Popov in the journal Nanotechnology.
  • Karen Chamberlin and Steve Lynam presented the results of their optics research with Professor Hai Nguyen at the Division of Atomic Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) conference in Knoxville, Tennessee. There they met Nobel Laureate Eric Cornell, who stopped by their poster to learn of their work.
  • Rob Behringer, Matt Earleywine, Jeremy Hammond, Erin Kostuch, Matthew Newby, and Stephen Zielke all presented the results of their undergraduate research projects at the 2006 Letters and Science Symposium in April.
  • Karen Chamberlin and Kyle Taylor presented a poster of their research with Professor Hai Nguyen at the Capitol Rotunda in Madison. The event allowed state legislators to become familiar with the quality of research conducted by undergraduates at UW System campuses.
Amy Wilder accompanied Professor Randy Olson and Lecturer Art Stevenson to Kitt Peak National Observatory this year.
Laser Physics
  • Professor Greg Taft continues collaborative investigations with Hungarian colleagues Laszlo Nanai and Daniel Szenteszi and has exhanged visits between UWSP and the University of Szeged this past year.
  • Emeritus Professors Allen Taylor and Kameshwar Razdan have joined Hai Nguyen's research group.
  • Professor Hai Nguyen co-authored the paper "Relative charge transfer cross section from Rb(4d)" with collaborators at Kansas State University in Physical Review A.
Condensed Matter Physics
Professor Mick Veum co-authored "The role of molecular weight and phase sequence in the temperature variation of film tension above the bulk isotropic transition in freestanding liquid-crystal films" that was recently accepted for publication in Physical Review E.
Upcoming Professional Travel Plans
  • Professor Hai Nguyen will travel to Kansas State University this summer to continue collaborative investigations with colleagues there.
  • Eric Schultz will participate in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program this summer, also at Kansas State University.

Students at work in the new Condensed Matter Research Laboratory. In the photo to the left, Professor Mick Veum (in red shirt) oversees students Matt Newby, Jeremiah Zblewski, Azaree Lintereur, and Severin Guzzonato at the liquid crystal research station. In the photo to the right, Larkin Duelge prepares a sample for x-ray diffraction while Severin Guzzonato monitors electrical conductivity data collection at the solid state ionics research station.
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