2017 Departmental Award Winners

Each year the WKU Department of Physics and Astronomy recognizes students who have excelled in areas of scholarship, research, and service.  The recipients of these awards for the 2016-17 academic year are Andrew McGuffey, Stefan Stryker, Seth Harper, and Treason Carter.  These students will be recognized at the annual Ogden Student Awards ceremony on Sunday, April 23, at 2:00 PM at the DSU Auditorium.  Please join me in congratulating these students when you have an opportunity.

Dr. George V. and Sadie Skiles Page Award for Excellence in Scholarship*
Awarded to the graduating physics major with the highest academic standing.

Andrew Scott McGuffey

Andrew McGuffey, a senior physics major with a mathematics minor, receives the Page Award based upon his outstanding academic record. In addition, Andrew volunteers as an intern for the Bowling Green Medical Center Cancer Treatment Center, where he works on projects including a study of the optimization of planning treatment volume for patients with lung cancer. He received a fellowship in the summer of 2016 from the American Association of Physics in Medicine, which provided support for him to study at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Additionally, Andrew has been active as a physics tutor, then a Learning Assistant in the University Physics Laboratory, and as a student instructor in the Biophysics Laboratory. Andrew will continue his studies next year at Louisiana State University in the field of Medical Physics.

Stefan Matthias Stryker

Stefan Stryker, a senior Physics major with mathematics minor, receives the Page Award based upon his outstanding academic record as a WKU student. Stefan participates in research and clinical activities like volunteering as an intern at the Bowling Green Medical Center Cancer Treatment Center where he used 3D printing and CT scans to create prints of patient nose regions to build boluses on for radiation treatment. He has spent two summers as an intern at the University of Kentucky, first at the Health Science Research Lab and then at the Department of Radiation Medicine. In the summer of 2016 he received a fellowship from the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, which provided support for study at the Yale School of Medicine. He has worked as a Physics Tutor and as a student instructor in the Biophysics Lab. Stefan will continue his studies next year as he pursues a graduate degree in Medical Physics.

Dr. Randall Harper Award for Outstanding Research in Physics and Astronomy*
Awarded to the junior or senior student with research exhibiting significance, effort, originality, and creativity.

Seth William Harper

Seth Harper, a senior with majors in physics and mathematics, works with Dr. Vladimir Dobrokhotov as an undergraduate research assistant at the WKU Applied Physics Institute. Seth received this award for his work on detecting Hydrogen Sulfide in natural gas, which is important in the area of clean energy provided by fuel cells. Seth worked to develop a safe chamber to mix known concentrations of Hydrogen Sulfide gas and developed a method for calibrating this system. He continues to work at the Applied Physics Institute on this and other projects and plans to pursue a graduate degree in Aerospace Engineering after graduating from WKU.

Dr. Douglas Humphrey Award for Outstanding Service *
Awarded to the junior or senior student with a record of service within the department and to science outreach to the community.

Trason Wayne Carter

Trason Carter, a senior with majors in Physics and Mechanical Engineering, receives the Doug Humphrey service award because of his longstanding good citizenship in supporting a range of faculty and student activities in the department. Trason presently serves a president of the WKU Chapter of the Society of Physics Student, where he has helped to build the membership and camaraderie of the organization by promoting and supporting physics among the student body. Trason is a regular and willing volunteer assisting the department outreach mission with events such as Physics Olympics and the Science Olympiad. He is presently using his unique background in both physics and mechanical engineering to assist Dr. Steven Gibson with a project to create a radio telescope using a large satellite dish.

 

* Awards made through the efforts of the College Heights Foundation.

 

April 19, 2017 Posted Under: Announcement   Read More

Apply Now for the 2017 Randall Harper Research Award

Randall Harper Award for Outstanding Research in Physics and Astronomy

The WKU Department of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to announce the Randall Harper Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research. Undergraduate students who have been involved in research projects, either on the WKU campus or through summer research experiences elsewhere, may apply for this award. Successful applicants will receive a certificate and $100 at the annual University Awards Ceremony.

The deadline for the 2017 competition is Monday, March 27, 2017 at noon has been extended to 8AM Monday, April 3, 2017.  For further information please read the Award Announcement. To apply please download and complete the online application form using Adobe Acrobat Reader (PC) or Preview (Mac).

March 20, 2017 Posted Under: Announcement, Research   Read More

Summer REU Opportunities

Dear Students and Faculty Research Advisors,

As many of you may know, it is that time of the year again when many institutions are accepting applications for summer research internships, a large number as part of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) program.  These internships typically run for 10 weeks in summer, during which students work closely with a scientific expert on a particular project, with results often presented at a subsequent conference. Stipends are usually on the order of $4000-$5000, and most travel expenses are covered.  Applications are due as early as February 1st, depending on the program.

I strongly encourage all physics majors to consider an NSF-REU internship, even if you are only in your 2nd year. It’s the perfect chance to “try out” a field to see if you like it, gaining valuable research experience in a novel setting, and it looks good on graduate school applications!  REUs are available in a wide variety of fields; a searchable list is provided here by the NSF:

https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_search.jsp

Many of these positions are fairly competitive, so it’s wise to apply to more than one.  Please consult each program’s web site for specific details, including application requirements.  REUs for which I have seen direct announcements — a small subset of the full list — include the following:

Thanks for your attention, and good luck!

Steven Gibson

January 25, 2017 Posted Under: Announcement   Read More

Upcoming Conferences

 

The following conferences for undergraduate research in physics and related fields are among those scheduled for the next few months. This is not a complete list, and it is sorted by conference date, NOT application deadline!

Interested students are strongly encouraged to consider attending one or more of these conferences to gain experience presenting their research, learn of new developments in the field, and meet other students and professionals who can provide insights on research, academia, and career opportunities.

September 30, 2016 Posted Under: Announcement   Read More

Meeting Minutes 9-29-16

1) The SPS will tour Oak Ridge National Labs on Friday, October 7th. We will see the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, the Spallation Neutron Source, the supercomputing facility, the High Flux Isotope Reactor, and the Graphite Reactor.

2) The 2016 SPS Fall Picnic will be on Saturday, October 15th at Covington Woods Park Shelter #1 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome! The SPS will provide burgers, hot dogs, a vegetarian option, chips, and drinks. We ask that everyone bring a side item or dessert. There will be a sign-up sheet in the physics department office and in the SPS room. Please put your name down if you’d like to attend.

3) We’re cleaning out old lockers. If you haven’t already and you would like a locker, please claim one just by putting your name on an empty locker. We will clean out all lockers that haven’t been claimed this semester.

4) The SPS is hosting a “scary” movie party on October 28th (the Friday before Halloween). If you’d like to join in, drop by the SPS room and suggest a movie or vote for other suggested films.

5) We would like to set up visits to talk to local high school physics classes (or younger science classes). If you have contact or connections to a local school, or would like to participate, please let an officer know.

6) We need new designs for the SPS t-shirts for this year. If you are interested, please submit a design (or several) to one of the officers. We would like to have these by the end of October.

September 29, 2016 Posted Under: Announcement, Minutes   Read More

SESAPS 2016 Meeting

Dear SPS Students,

The 83rd Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society, hosted by the University of Virginia, will be held in Charlottesville, Virginia, November 10-12, 2016. Deadlines for hotel registration and abstract submission are approaching fast.

  • Early registration room rate deadline at conference hotel: September 25, 2016
  • Deadline for abstract submission: October 7, 2016
  • Last day to register for the conference: November 1, 2016

For complete information and recent updates please check the conference website.

As always, there will be competitions for the Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation and the Best Undergraduate Poster Submission. If you wish to be included in the competition, please indicate that when you submit your abstract by leaving a comment in the special instructions section. Also, travel grants are available for the meeting! See the SESAPS website for information.

Steven Gibson

September 2, 2016 Posted Under: Announcement   Read More

Meeting Minutes 5-3-16

1) The annual Sigma Pi Sigma Banquet was last Friday. Our newly inducted officers are Nikola Cvijanovic, President-Elect, and James Pierce, Treasurer.

2) There will be an end of the year luncheon on Wednesday, May 11 at 12:00. This will be a nice time to take a break from finals week. We will convene in the back hallway, just as we do for the Holiday Luncheon. Barbecue, buns, and drinks will be provided; faculty are asked to bring a side dish. A sign up sheet is in the office. There is no cost for students: there is a suggested $10.00 donation for faculty. If you can’t make it to the office to sign up, you can call the office at 270-745-4357.

3) Summer recruitment plans were discussed:

+ MasterPlan Student Activities Fair

+ Bake sale at DSU during MasterPlan?

+ Recruitment: posters and side-walk chalk

+ Possible summer trip to Holiday World in Indiana; more to come

4) We are beginning to plan the field trip for next semester. Possible destinations include Oak Ridge National Labs and the Huntsville Space Museum, possibly during fall break.

5) We are discussing outreach ideas for local schools; more to come.

 

May 3, 2016 Posted Under: Minutes   Read More

Meeting Minutes 4-5-16

1) The WKU Office of Scholar Development gave a presentation about  nationally and internationally competitive scholarships, and what they can do to help students applying for scholarships and grants. More information can be found on their website here.

2) New officers have been elected for the 2016-2017 academic year. Congratulations to Nikola Cvijanovic, who will serve as the new President-Elect, and James Pierce, who will serve as the new Treasurer.

3) The spring picnic is scheduled for Saturday, April 16th from 11:00 – 3:00 at Covington Woods Park. The SPS will provide burgers, hotdogs, chips, and drinks. Please bring a side dish or dessert. There are signup sheets in the SPS room and the physics department office. Please RSVP if you plan on attending. 

4) The annual Sigma Pi Sigma Banquet will be held on Friday, April 29th at 6:00 p.m. at Cambridge Market.  Department awards will be given out, new Sigma Pi Sigma members will be inducted, and the new officers will be sworn in. If you would like to help with planning this, have a suggestion, or would like more information, please contact one of the officers.

5) Volunteers are needed for the Science Olympiad! Contact Dr. Jason Boyles if you would like to help with this or want more information. Find the website here.

6) The SPS text alert system is now working. Please stop by the SPS room or talk to Trason if you would like to be added to this system.

April 5, 2016 Posted Under: Minutes   Read More

SPS Spring Picnic on April 16

The Spring 2016 SPS Picnic will be on Saturday, April 16th between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. at Covington Woods Park, shelter #2. We ask that everyone bring a side item or dessert; the SPS will provide burgers, hot dogs, drinks, and chips. There are sign-up sheets in the Physics Department office and the SPS room, so please RSVP if you plan to attend. The picnics are always great fun and a good time to relax before the final stretch run of the semester, so we hope to see everyone there.

March 31, 2016 Posted Under: Picnic   Read More

Apply for the Research Award

Randall Harper Award for Outstanding Research in Physics and Astronomy

The WKU Department of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to announce the Randall Harper Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research. Undergraduate students who have been involved in research projects, either on the WKU campus or through summer research experiences elsewhere, may apply for this award. Successful applicants will receive a certificate and $100 at the annual University Awards Ceremony.

The deadline for the 2016 competition is Monday, March 21, 2016 at noon. For further information please read the Award Announcement. To apply please download and complete the online application form using Adobe Acrobat Reader (PC) or Preview (Mac).

March 2, 2016 Posted Under: Announcement, Research   Read More