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28 Presentations of student research in 2016-17

By Jonathan Levine on September 28, 2017

Our students authored or co-authored 28 research presentations at conferences and professional meetings over the past year.

New York 6 Liberal Arts Consortium: Upstate Undergraduate Research Conference & Arts Exhibition, Hamilton College, Saturday, September 17, 2016

  • Alina Sabyr ’19, Saiyang Zhang ’19, Katie Chapman ’19, Ryan Stahlin ’18, The Multi-Decade Optical Light Curve and Microvariability of Blazar OJ 287
  • Nolan Smyth ’18, Supporting the Development of an In Situ Dating Mass Spectrometer
  • Michelle Tebolt ’19, Using Radiometric Dating to Determine the Age of Space Rocks

Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium Student Research Symposium, Wesleyan University, October 15, 2016

  • Sean Corrigan ’18, Gully Formation by Water in Hale Crater, Mars
  • Leah Jenks ’17 and B. Tompkins, High Redshift Galaxy Morphology in the Hubble Space Telescope Frontier Fields
  • Max Kurzner ’17 and C. Garling, Spectral Classification of Stars by CO Absorption Strength
  • Carolyn Morris ’17 Examining Diffuse Clouds in the Local Interstellar Medium Using Mg II, Fe II, and Mn II Ions
  • Muriel Drexler ’18 and S. Reid, Classifying Stars Behind Dense Molecular Clouds
  • Alina Sabyr ’19, Saiyan Zhang ’19, Ryan W. Stahlin ’18, Katie J. Chapman ’19, and S. Boni, The Multi-Decade Optical Light Curve and Microvariability of Blazar OJ 287
  • Zack Weaver ’17 The June 2016 Optical Flare of the Blazar 3C 454.3

Symposium on Undergraduate Research, Annual Meeting of the Optical Society of America 2016, University of Rochester, NY, October 18, 2016

  • Ishir Dutta ’17 Möbius Polarization of Light
  • Anthony D’Addario ’18 Examining the Structure of Marine Shell Organisms Using Polarized Light
  • Jackson C. Painter ’18 An Enantiomer-specific Discriminatory Force on Chiral Molecules from a Polarization Helicity Gradient
  • Ben Cvarch ’17 Liquid Crystals and Q-Plates

Undergraduate Research Day 2016, Syracuse University, November 12, 2016

  • Ishir Dutta ’17 Biogenic Nanoparticles in Wastewater Treatment
  • Jonah Kudler-Flam ’17 Perturbation Growth in an Early Matter Dominated Era
  • Zachary Weaver ’17 The Dramatic June 2016 Outburst of the Blazar 3C 454.3
  • Leah Jenks ’17 WIMPzilla Production in the Inflationary Epoch of the Early Universe
  • Ben Cvarch ’17 Liquid Crystal Asymmetric Q-Plates and Polarization Singularities in Beams of Light
  • Eric Palmerduca ’17 Effects of Network Topology on Hippocampal Memory Capacity

American Astronomical Society meeting, Grapevine, TX, January 3-7, 2017

  • B. Tompkins, Leah Jenks ’17, D.M. Elmegreen, and B. Elmegreen, Thick Disks and Galaxy Morphology in the Hubble Space Telescope Frontier Fields
  • Zachary R. Weaver ’17 and Thomas J. Balonek, The Dramatic June 2016 Optical Outburst and Micro-Variability of the Blazar 3C 454.3
  • Thomas J. Balonek, Zachary R. Weaver ’17, Nicholas Didio ’16, Leah Jenks ’17, Carolyn Morris ’17, Ryan Stahlin ’18, Jovana Zagorac ’16Katie Chapman ’19, Brian D’Auteuil ’16Katherine L. Karnes ’17, Joshua S. Reding ’16, Alina Sabyr ’19, Saiyang Zhang ’19, S. Boni, C. Rose, and A. Rilinger, The Optical Variability of the Blazar 3C 454.3 over Three Decades from the Colgate University Foggy Bottom Observatory

American Physical Society April 2017 meeting, Washington, DC, January 28-31, 2017

  • Jonah Kudler-Flam ’17 and the HAWC Collaboration, Improving Light Collection Efficiency in HAWC Detector Tanks

48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, The Woodlands, TX, March 20-24, 2017

  • F.S. Anderson, Jonathan Levine, Nolan J. Smyth ’18, Michelle Tebolt ’19, and T.J. Whitaker, Multianalytical Science with the CODEX In-Situ Dating Spectrometer

31st Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, April 6-8, 2017

  • Jessica O’Malley ’17 and Rebecca Metzler, Barnacle Exoskeleton Formation

Hudson River Undergraduate Math Conference, Westfield State University, MA, April 8, 2017

  • Jonah Kudler-Flam ’17 Aggregation Models on the Sierpinski Gasket Graph

AEESP Research and Education Conference, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, June 20-22, 2017

  • J. Smeraldi, Linda Y. Tseng, Ishir Dutta ’17, and D. Rosso, Naturally occurring nanoparticles in water resource recovery facilities

Senior research projects 2016-2017

By Jonathan Levine on September 28, 2017

Members of our senior class investigated an impressive range of research topics in the past year.

Louis Agro ‘17

“An Investigation of Nematic Liquid Crystals Through Surface Anchoring and Birefringence Measurements”

Shane Buchanan ‘17

“Breather Vortex Interactions in Josephson Junction Ladders”

Zachary Cleary ‘17

“Investigating Magmatic Processes on San Cristóbal, Galápagos Through Analysis and Modeling of Newly Acquired Gravity Measurements”

Ben Cvarch ‘17

“New Approach to Creating Monstar Singularities Using Asymmetric Q-Plates”

Ishir Dutta ‘17

“Biogenic Nanoparticles in Municipal Wastewater Treatment”

Joel Friedman ‘17

“Examining Bifurcations in Systems of Coupled Oscillating Josephson Junctions”.

Leah Jenks ‘17

“Gravitational Production of Superheavy Dark Matter in the Inflationary Epoch of the Early Universe”

Katherine Karnes ‘17

“Optical Spectroscopy of the Moon, Jupiter, and the Galilean Moons”

Jonah Kudler-Flam ‘17

“Effects of Low-temperature Reheating on the Matter Power Spectrum”

Max Kurzner ‘17

“Starspot Parameter and Numerical Uncertainty Determination for AA Tau: Towards Understanding How the Stars Got Their Spots”

Katharine Lukaszewicz ‘17

“Low Cost Solar Tracking in Uganda”

Chris Martinez ‘17

“Manipulation of Microscopic Objects with an Optical Tweezer”

Carolyn Morris ‘17

“A Technical Study of the Residual Bulk Image in the FLI PL1001 CCD”

Jessica O’Malley ‘17

“Barnacle Exoskeleton Formation”

Eric Palmerduca‘17

“Effects of Network Topology on Hippocampal Memory Capacity”

Catherine Sawyer ‘17

“How hard can it be? Examining the micro-hardness of the shell-adhesive-shell boundary of the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica)”

Zachary Weaver ‘17

    “The June 2016 Optical and Gamma-Ray Flare of the Blazar 3C454.3 and Optical Micro-Variability”

Medium Theatre Company Rockets Colgate to Outer Space

By Jason Kammerdiener on October 3, 2016

Opportunities for involvement in the department, 2015

By Contributing Writer on August 31, 2015

The following are opportunities for student involvement in the Department of Physics and Astronomy during the Fall 2015 semester. While many of these opportunities do cost money, we recommend seeking funding from the following sources:

  1. American Physical Society (APS) and American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) for travel to conferences
  2. APS and AAPT for outreach efforts  (see the APS public grants information and also the Bauder fund of the AAPT)
  3. SGA Budget Allocation Committee for events.
  4. Center for Learning, Teaching, and Research for conference attendance if you are making a presentation (not just observing)
  5. Physics and Astronomy Department for other needs.

Department-related Involvement

Seminar series
Work with Prof. Metzler to invite speakers who will be of particular interest to P&A concentrators. Host speakers for lunch following their presentations, at which you can ask more questions about their presentations or their paths from P&A studies into their current fields.

Work with Prof. Segall to improve our outreach to prospective students. Meet with prospective students and families to answer questions and give tours of the department. Call admitted students in April to answer questions and encourage them to visit. Assist current students’ recruitment efforts by developing presentations they can give when they visit their high schools at home over breaks.

Computer coordinator
Suggest improvements and report problems with computers in student lounge and computer classroom.

Serve as a tutor or peer instructor for the introductory physics courses. Contact the instructors before the beginning of each semester to ask if jobs are available.

Outreach Activities

Outreach to Colgate campus
Run demo days, sponsor egg drop contests, make liquid nitrogen ice cream, and other fun activities that give physics students a chance to get together and also invite their friends.

Outreach to community
Meet with visiting school groups (coordinated by Joe Eakin). Make presentations at local schools. Develop new outreach programs, working with interested faculty.

Outreach to alumni
Increase ties between P&A alumni and the current students. Contact alumni to gather information about careers and experiences since graduation. Ask alumni if they are willing to help current students with job networking. Invite alumni to join a department facebook or linked-in group. Organize outreach events when alumni visit campus for homecoming or other events.

Physics, Engineering and Astronomy Outside of Class

Form a team to propose an experiment for microgravity with the student spaceflight experiments program.

Designing and building projects
Build an LED cube (totally cool — check this out — this would be great for our new display area) or a trebuchet (who knows when you’ll be called upon to defend the castle?), or a ham radio, or whatever else a group of students is interested in designing and building. Work with department technician Shannon Zachow.

Get together a group and go to a local conference! See nyss-aapt.org and www.aps.org/units/nyss (although these don’t yet have new meetings posted) and aps.org/units/nyss/meetings/student.cfm. Go to the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics.

Physics Club
Be a part of Colgate’s Physics Club – help with outreach, get together to discuss physics, and hang out with your fellow physicists! (President- Carolyn Morris ’17).

Having Fun!

T-shirt committee
Design and print department t-shirts!

Sports coordinator
Organize intramural teams.

Events coordinator
Organize lunches with faculty, department social hours, campus-wide outreach events such as demo days, viewings and discussions of APS webinars on employment and graduate schools (http://aps.org/careers/guidance/webinars/), town-hall meetings with the department, and any other events you think of.

Physics and astronomy debuts machine shop course

By Contributing Writer on September 9, 2013
Carrie Burgess '14 shows the monkey wrench that she made herself

Carrie Burgess ’14 shows the monkey wrench that she made herself, using skills learned in the machining course.

During the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013 eight physics & astronomy students completed a machine shop course introducing them to the basic concepts and techniques of conventional machining. The content of the course included:

  • Safety, safety, safety!
  • Demo: What is hardened vs. soft steel, and why does it matter?
  • Measuring tools, and what is a thousandth of an inch?
  • Cutting metal (bandsaws, hacksaws)
  • Filing
  • Drilling
  • Screws, screw-systems, identification
  • Taps
  • Grinding and sharpening lathe bits

This non-credit course was designed and taught by our department technician, Shannon Zachow. To reinforce the lessons learned, each student concluded the course by applying their new skills to build their own monkey wrench, consisting of five parts.

The course has been such a success that the department hopes to offer it to interested students during every semester moving forward. The skills that the students gained in this hands-on experience will be useful both in independent research projects and in future pursuits in graduate school or in the workforce.

There is still space available in the course for the fall 2013 semester. Interested students should contact Shannon Zachow.

Professor Anthony Aveni receives national recognition for interdisciplinary work

By Contributing Writer on May 6, 2013

This story was originally posted to the Colgate University news site by Daniel Devries.

Tony Aveni, Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology and Native American Studies, teaches a class in the Ho Science Center.

Professor Anthony Aveni has a lot to celebrate.

As students mark their last week of the spring semester, the Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology and Native American Studies marks the conclusion of his 100th semester teaching at Colgate.

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Student Presentations and Research Trips: 2012-13

By Contributing Writer on May 1, 2013

Colgate undergraduate students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy participate in a number of presentation and research trips off campus.

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Colgate physics majors stand out at annual conference

By Contributing Writer on April 22, 2013

This story was originally posted to the Colgate University news site by Matt Hames.

“Did you hear the one about the new restaurant NASA is building on the moon? It has great food but no …”

This was the kind of question asked of undergraduates during Physpardy, the “geekiest of competitions” (according to Professor Enrique Galvez) that was held at the annual Rochester Symposium for Physics Students. Colgate placed second in the Jeopardy knockoff, competing against college teams from Houghton, Rochester, West Point, SUNY, and Siena.

A student works with laser experiments in Prof. Kiko Galvez’s physics lab in Colgate’s Robert H.N. Ho Science Center. (photo 2008)

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Senior Research Project Symposium – 2012-13

By Contributing Writer on April 15, 2013

Information about the 2012-13 Senior Research Symposium in the Colgate University Department of Physics and Astronomy.

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From lab to lecture, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tours Colgate

By Contributing Writer on February 26, 2013

This story was originally posted to the Colgate University news site by Daniel Devries.

Neil deGrasse Tyson (lower left) visited Colgate's Ho Tung Visualization Lab.

Neil deGrasse Tyson (lower left) visits Colgate’s Ho Tung Visualization Lab. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

Seeing Neil deGrasse Tyson deliver an exuberant lecture to a standing-room crowd at Memorial Chapel is an amazing experience, and hundreds of students took advantage of that Monday night. Now imagine being a physics or astronomy major with the opportunity to share your research with the acclaimed astrophysicist.

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