The Department of Physics, in conjunction with Wittenberg University, hosted the 14th Workshop on the Physics of Dusty Plasmas. The workshop was held at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center and featured plasma physics experts from around the world.
The Department of Physics, along with the University of Georgia and the Southeast Laboratory Astrophysics Community (SELAC), hosted the workshop, Laboratory Astrophysics for Beyond Hubble, at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga., March 23-25.
Burcu Ozden, of the Department of Physics, was selected as recipient of the 2015 Women of Distinction Graduate Student Leadership Award, given by the Auburn University Women’s Resource Center.
Ami DuBois, a Ph.D. graduate of the Department of Physics, has been highlighted by the American Geophysical Union journals for her research on laboratory simulations of boundary layers in the Earth’s magnetosphere.
Yongju Zheng, graduate student in the Department of Physics, has been selected for the summer student internship program at Texas Instruments.
During the past five years, physics Professor Edward Thomas developed the mantra, "No stress, no stress, no stress." By repeating the phrase over and over, he had hoped to stave off any ill effects that might result from overseeing the creation of the new Magnet Laboratory at Auburn University, which included the development and delivery of a 6,000-pound superconducting magnet, the only one of its kind in the world. The new lab houses the Magnetized Dusty Plasma Experiment, a one-of-a-kind facility that will support plasma physics research for Auburn University students and researchers, as well as for a diverse team of national and international researchers who will come to Auburn to perform experimental and theoretical studies. More than a dozen Auburn students, including undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral-researchers, were involved in the design and implementation of the new laboratory, and as the research evolves over the next several years, Thomas envisions opportunities for a long line of undergraduate and graduate student researchers.
Three Auburn University Honors College students, including Jamesa Stokes, a senior physics major, have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships to continue their studies in the United Kingdom and Germany this summer and fall. Stokes will conduct research at the German Space Agency’s Institute of Structures in Design in Stuttgart, Germany. An Atlanta native, Stokes has completed internships with Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. In addition, she was a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholar to Reutlingen, Germany. Her research investigates the behavior of fiber-oriented ceramics during hyper-sonic flight in order to develop better thermal protection systems for spaceflight vehicles. “I studied in Germany in the fall of 2012, and it was my first time traveling outside of the country, so it was truly an amazing experience,” Stokes said. “Now I can go back and experience more of Germany while doing research that interests me at the same time.”
The annual Duncan Lecture was held on April 23, and featured Bradley M. Peterson, professor and chair of the Department of Astronomy at The Ohio State University and a member of the NASA Advisory Council’s Science Committee and chair of the Astrophysics Subcommittee. The title of his lecture was, “Solving the Quasar Mystery: A 50-Year Quest,” and featured discussion of quasars, which are among the most distant and intrinsically brightest objects in the universe, but also small and dense. Quasars are powered by spectacularly massive “black holes,” objects so dense that not even light can escape from them. Peterson related the story of how quasars and supermassive black holes and their role in the cosmos have come to be understood.
Stuart Loch, associate professor of physics, was selected as the recipient of the SGA Outstanding Faculty Member Award for the College of Sciences and Mathematics. The award is presented to one faculty member from each of the university's schools and colleges. Nominated by students, recipients are chosen for respect of their peers and students, excellence in teaching, and concern for and involvement with students.
The Littleton-Franklin Lecture in Science and Humanities was held on April 15 and featured Nobel Prize winner Frank Wilczek, Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The lecture was co-sponsored by the Department of Physics and the Office of the Provost. Wilczek’s talk was titled, “Expanding the Doors of Perception: The Physics of Color Vision,” and detailed his work in the area of particle physics.
Prof. John R. Williams (Physics Emeritus Professor), Tamara F. Isaacs-Smith (Physics Department Staff), Ayayi Claude Ahyi (Physics Research Assistant Professor), Prof. Leonard C. Feldman (Professor, Vice-President, and Director Institute for Advanced Materials, Devices and Nanotechnology, Rutgers University), and Prof. Jogesh K. Sharma (School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom) have filed a US non-provisional patent titled "Semiconductor Devices Including Polar Insulation Layer Capped by Non-Polar Insulation Layer".
Auburn University senior Patrick Donnan has been selected as one of the Rhodes Scholarship finalists and will interview at the end of November.
Auburn University senior Patrick Donnan has been named a finalist for the Marshall Scholarship for an opportunity to study in the United Kingdom next year. He will interview at the British Consulate in Atlanta Nov. 12 to possibly be chosen as one of only 40 U.S. students named as Marshall Scholars and to attend their choice of any United Kingdom university. Donnan, a native of Auburn, Ala., is a student in the Honors College double-majoring in physics and music, concentrating on the bassoon, and minoring in mathematics.
Physics senior Patrick Donnan made his mark as an academic elite when he was chosen as a 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar , an honor bestowed upon approximately 300 students nationwide each year. The scholarship is widely considered the most prestigious award in the United States for undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. Ever eager for more knowledge and experience in the realm of physics, Donnan, who is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music, spent the summer working in Dresden, Germany, at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems under the guidance of Thomas Pohl, leader of the Complex Dynamics in Cold Gases unit.
Ed ThomasEdward Thomas, Jr. (pictured left), the Lawrence C. Wit Professor, and associate professor Uwe Konopka (pictured below), both of the Plasma Sciences Laboratory in the Department of Physics, were awarded two new grants from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation totaling $765,000 for the project titled, “The Physics of Magnetized Dusty Plasmas.”
Kaijun Liu, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, received a three-year, $240,444 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences. The project, “An Integrated Study of Fast Magnetosconic Waves in the Radiation Belts,” aims to comprehensively understand the excitation of fast magnetosonic waves, or “equatorial noise,” and their interactions with relativistic electrons in radiation belts. Liu and his team will use satellite data analysis, linear kinetic dispersion theory, kinetic plasma simulations, and test-particle computations to carry out an integrated study.
Physics professor Michael Bozack received a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense for research addressing the reliability of Sn-Ag-Cu (SAC) lead-free solder alloys under harsh environmental conditions. The work follows a successful world-wide effort to develop alternative, environmentally friendly materials for electronics packaging. Currently, SAC alloys have replaced conventional lead-bearing solder alloys in most consumer electronics.
Sarit Dhar, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, was awarded a $598,777 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for Innovation program. The grant will support collaborative research between Auburn University and industry partners CoolCAD Electronics, LLC, in College Park Md., and United Silicon Carbide, Inc., in Monmouoth Junction, N.J. CoolCAD Electronics performs design, analysis and prototyping for cryogenic SiC and IR electronics, and United Silicon Carbide works on the design, fabrication and commercialization of SiC technologies.
Alabama and Georgia high school students are getting an opportunity to explore cutting-edge research topics in biology, chemistry, geology, physics and mathematics through the Summer Science Institute at Auburn University.
Professor Mike Fogle received a one-year grant in the amount of $21,511 from the National Science Foundation's Catalyzing New International Collaborations program, which is funded through the Office of International Science and Engineering. The grant, titled, "U.S.-Sweden Planning Visit: Research on the Dynamics of Complex Systems with Ion Storage Rings," will cover travel costs for Fogle and a graduate student to travel to Stockholm, Sweden, to develop a collaboration with Richard Thomas, a research associate at Stockholm University. Thomas' research group in Stockholm recently completed construction of a new, state-of-the-art ion storage ring facility, the Double Electrostatic Ion Ring Experiment, which will be used to investigate the detailed structure and dynamics of molecular systems under precisely controlled interaction conditions. No devices of this type exist in the U.S.
Do you want to learn more about the night sky? Nicole Engleman, a graduate student in physics at Auburn who has taught the astronomy lab, suggests two simple things people can do to enhance their sky-watching enjoyment: purchase a pair of binoculars and locate a start chart. "The night sky is awesome. There is so much up there, so a star chart, whether you print one out or download one to your smart phone, helps you to know what you are looking at, which is really cool. Once you know you are looking at certain constellations, the night sky is 100 times more amazing," Engleman said. "And using a pair of binoculars is an inexpensive way to enhance your view of space without investing a lot of money in a telescope." Engleman said that there are many easy objects to identify, such as the Big and Little Dipper, Polaris, also known as the North Star, which is found in the Little Dipper, and the fifth-brightest star, Vega, which is part of the Lyra constellation. "Honestly, the summer sky is kind of boring compared to other times of year," Engleman said. "Orion is not even up there in the summer, and you can see it at other times of year. It's also not as easy to see as much in the summer because the atmosphere is humid. The moisture makes it more difficult to see the sky because water vapor reflects light."
Patrick Donnan, an Auburn University Honors College student double-majoring in physics and music, has been chosen as a 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, an honor bestowed only to approximately 300 students nationwide each year. The scholarship is widely considered the most prestigious award in the United States for undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.
Coordinated by the Chinese Ministry of Education, Changjiang Scholars Program is one of the most prestigious higher education development programs of China provided by the Ministry of education and Li Ka Shing Foundation.
Prof. Francis Robicheaux is co-author of a study published in the Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics that describes a method for cooling trapped antihydrogen which they believe could provide ‘a major experimental advantage’ and help to map the mysterious properties of antimatter that have to date remained elusive.
The Auburn University student-built satellite, AubieSat-1, was the first student-built CubeSat in the state to be accepted by NASA for launch. A “CubeSat” is a 4-inch, cube-shaped satellite that is used primarily for research. The satellite launched into space at 2:48 a.m. PDT on Oct. 28, 2011, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a NASA-sponsored Delta II rocket. For approximately eight months, AubieSat-1 orbited the globe, and numerous universities and individual ham radio operators signed up to help track the satellite. The first signal was received shortly after launch from Vigo University in Spain. The signal was heard as far away as Japan and as nearby as the University of Alaska, and daily information arrived to the AubieSat-1 team via an amateur radio operator named Mike Rupprecht, who lives in Germany.
Senior Patrick Donnan was invited to give a talk at the 43rd annual meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics in Orange County, Calif., that was held June 4 - 8. Donnan, who is double majoring in physics and music, gave a presentation during the undergraduate session of the national meeting titled, “Calculations of Hyperfine Antihydrogen Spectroscopy.”
A recent scientific breakthrough could lead to changes in the world of antimatter physics, according to Francis Robicheaux, an Auburn University physics professor and member of ALPHA, the international team of scientists conducting the antimatter research. Last year the ALPHA (Anti-Hydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus) team was able to trap and hold the antimatter version of the hydrogen atom. They have now accomplished the goal they set at that time of being able to measure the fundamental properties of antihydrogen. An article in this week’s edition of the journal Nature, titled “Resonant quantum transitions in trapped antihydrogen atoms,” describes the progress made in that research. The article reports that ALPHA has made yet another monumental step toward being able to make defendable and precise comparisons between atoms of matter and those of antimatter. Recently, Robicheaux and collaborators were able to measure the frequency needed to alter the magnetic properties of the antihydrogen atom by sending microwaves through the atom trap. “This is the first baby step into doing great experiments with antihydrogen atoms,” Robicheaux said. “This is the first time any properties of antihydrogen have been measured with any type of precision.”
Auburn's famous battle cry, "War Eagle," will be heard from space Oct. 27 when it is transmitted to earth from a student-built satellite known as "AubieSat-1." The construction of the satellite is part of the Auburn University Student Space Program, and AubieSat-1 is the first student-built satellite in the state to be accepted by NASA for launch. The satellite will launch aboard a NASA-sponsored Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Once in space, the satellite will communicate with Auburn students in Morse Code, and the phrase "War Eagle" is the signal that the launch was successful and the satellite is in orbit and operating correctly.
Educators from Auburn University and Auburn City Schools floated like astronauts during a once-in-a-lifetime flight on NASA's "Weightless Wonder" aircraft. The team of six educators call themselves the "Flying Tigers," and as they floated, they conducted experiments that were set up in a clear plastic box to see how various objects and scientific concepts would alter under a reduced gravity environment. According to the team, words cannot accurately describe the feeling of being weightless.
Alabama Public Television did a feature on COSAM's Auburn University Student Space Program as they prepare for the launch of the first student-built satellite in the state, AubieSat-1.
Physics Professor and Director of the Plasma Sciences Laboratory, Edward Thomas, received an NSF award through the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program. This competitive program research training in our nation's institutions of higher education, museums, science centers and not-for-profit organizations. The total amount awarded to Thomas is $2.1 million, which includes a 30 percent cost-sharing by Auburn University. This project represents one of the largest MRI projects ever awarded to Auburn University.
Last year, an international team of scientists including Auburn University physics professor Francis Robicheaux made a scientific breakthrough by trapping and holding the anti-matter version of the hydrogen atom. When the discovery was initially announced, the team, known as ALPHA, had captured 38 atoms of antihydrogen, storing each for a mere sixth of a second. Since then, ALPHA has made significant progress by trapping 309 antihydrogen atoms, with some held for as long as 15 minutes.