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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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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


Astronomy Research – Summer 2012

By Contributing Writer on August 30, 2012

Undergraduate students in Colgate University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy participated in high level research in collaboration with faculty members both on and off campus.

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