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Opportunities for involvement in the department

By Contributing Writer on August 27, 2014

The following are opportunities for student involvement in the Department of Physics and Astronomy during the Fall 2014 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. Bary 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.

Recruitment
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.

Tutors
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

NASA
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.

Conferences
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.

SPS webpage
Update and improve the SPS website to appeal to current members, the Colgate community, and prospective students.

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.

Read more


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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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to speak at Memorial Chapel on February 25

By Contributing Writer on February 12, 2013

This story was originally posted to the Colgate University news site by Tim O’Keeffe.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson will be at Colgate February 25.

Acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson will speak at Colgate’s Memorial Chapel at 7 p.m. Monday, February 25.

Tyson is director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space and a research associate in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. He is a highly regarded spokesman for science through his numerous books and TV programs, and he has received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by NASA.

His talk at the Chapel will be on “Ten Things You Should Know about the Universe,” and a book-signing reception will follow at the Ho Science Center.

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Turns out, luckily for all of us, Professor Aveni was absolutely right

By Contributing Writer on December 21, 2012

This story was originally posted to the Colgate University news site by Tim O’Keeffe.

Anthony Aveni

Anthony Aveni serves in the departments of physics and astronomy and in sociology and anthropology at Colgate, where he has taught since 1963.

Whew. It’s not the end of the world after all.

If you delayed gift shopping because you thought it would be a waste of time, if you called in sick all week to knock off some items on your bucket list, if you are wishing the world would end today because  you celebrated too hard at an End of the World party last night, well, you should have been following what Colgate Professor Anthony Aveni has been saying all along: The Mayans never actually said the world would end on Dec. 21. It’s just the end of their calendar and the beginning of a new one.

While it’s made for entertaining chatter on the web, generated some buzz for a bad movie (John Cusack’s 2012), and filled a lot of TV time, we’re still here. Just like Aveni said.

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Colgate professor awarded observing time on Hubble Space Telescope

By Contributing Writer on October 16, 2012

This story was originally posted to the Colgate University news site by Katie Rice ’13.

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Securing observing time on the Hubble Space Telescope is a highly desirable and extremely competitive process for astronomers. There are hundreds more projects submitted than can be accommodated, and the selection criteria is stringent.

Colgate astronomy professor Jeff Bary and collaborator Tracy Beck of the Space Telescope Science Institute, though, were recently awarded 12 orbits, or about 9 hours worth of observing time, to collect data for their investigations into the formation of binary stars that might eventually host their own planetary systems. Read more

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