Observatory hero

Announcements

Valpo’s Nuclear Physics Group Wins $362,000 Grant Renewal

Congratulations to our Nuclear Physics Group (Drs. Shivel Stanislaus, Adam Gibson-Even, Don Koetke, David Grosnik, and Mr. Paul Nord)! The Department of Energy has fully funded their grant renewal application, which will support research activities at Valpo for the next 3 years. It continues the long tradition (37 years!) of the nuclear and particle physics research group in providing undergraduates with funded opportunities to do meaningful research in contemporary studies of the fundamental nature of physics. This grant will fund 3 students each summer for 3 years, adding to the previous 55 students who have benefited from this ongoing research…

Student Summer Research

This summer, 11 Valpo students are working with the Physics & Astronomy Faculty on their research projects. These positions come with a stipend and free on-campus housing. Most importantly, they provide students with the opportunity to do current research on compelling issues in science such as: how do protons get their characteristics? Is there new physics hiding in the structure of the neutron? How do stars die? How do planetary nebulae get their shapes? These research students are just starting out in physics and astronomy; faculty mentors guide them through learning the basics of the physics and help them learn…

Dr. Hillwig Awarded $217,400 NSF Grant

In Fall 2021, Dr. Hillwig was awarded a 3-year NSF grant to support his investigations into double white dwarf systems. This grant will provide funds for summer research students as well as travel to conferences and telescopes. See below for as description of the project, or see the Valpo press release. Understanding Close White Dwarf Binaries Using Planetary Nebula Central Stars When some stars die, they shed their outer layers and become vibrant planetary nebulae as the material dissipates out into space and is illuminated by the central star, which has now become a white dwarf. Many of these nebulae…

Homecoming Speaker: Chris Pagan (’02)

Physics Degree: Oh The Places You’ll Go! Chris Pagan -- University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Abstract You are about to complete your degree in physics, now what? Apply forgraduate school, commission into the military, join the workforce? There arenumber of opportunities out there for individuals with a degree in physics. Withmy physics degree, I have been able to explore many different careeropportunities in different parts of the country. I will share about my pastexperiences and lessons learned, as well as the opportunities in my currentfield, Health Physics. About the Speaker:Chris received his Valpo degree in 2002. He was a…

Colloquium this Week (11/5)–From Game of Thrones to Frozen: What Hollywood Can Teach Us About the Importance of Science in Storytelling

This talk will be presented virtually. Please contact Andrew Richter for the Zoom link. Or come to watch with us in person at 3:00 PM in NSC 224 The finale of Game of Thrones was the most-watched single show in HBO’s history and Frozen II was the highest-grossing animated movie ever. Clearly these blockbusters, and others like them, are telling stories that people want to hear. They are also packed with science concepts. From Valyrian steel to snow anchors, storytelling relies on science to drawn in and keep an audience. Just as important is how they can use deviations from real-life science…

Senior Projects (12/3)

Colloquium this week gives our seniors a chance to tell us about their senior projects. We have two mid-project reports and one final report. "Determining the Ages of Star Clusters" by Lauren MarkerI am plotting isochrones over star cluster data to find the 'best fit'. The isochrone that fits the best will tell me the log age that I will compare to previously calculated data to see if I can achieve the same results.  "Identifying Binary Systems Using Differential Photometry" by Olivia KrugmanMy talk is about searching for variability in Planetary Nebulae to see if they contain binary star systems at…

Colloquium (1/21/2022): Careers and Internships

On Friday, Jan. 21 we are pleased to have Prof. Luke Leisman back to share with us what he has learned in his current role as the Associate Director of the Internship Network in the Mathematical Sciences. Details are as follows (also included in the attached flyer): Title: What I’m learning from the Internship Network in the Mathematical Sciences: Steps to Interesting and Fulfilling Careers Abstract: Thinking about life after college is often intimidating and confusing. In this talk I’ll try to provide a little encouragement and clarity (maybe) by discussing what I’m learning about academic vs industry jobs in my work with…

Alumna Awarded NASA Grant

Rachael (Jensema) Filwett, Valpo alumna, is a postdoctoral research scholar and adjunct professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. She has been awarded $149,939 from NASA's Heliophysics Flight Opportunity Studies Program for the proposed LOBSTR (LabOratory for the Behavior of the SloT Region) mission. See the Press Release from Iowa  

Colloquium (1/28/2022): Computational Astrophysics

On Friday, Jan. 28 we will welcome Prof. Paul C. Duffell from Purdue University to give a talk in the field combining astrophysics and fluid dynamics.  Title: Moving Mesh Astrophysics Abstract: Novel methods in recent years have been developed for numerically solving the hydrodynamical equations relevant to all kinds of astrophysical flows.  I will first (briefly) present one such computational technique, where the numerical grid follows the fluid flow using a "moving mesh".  I will then present a wide variety of astrophysical scenarios to which I have applied this method, including planet formation, supermassive black hole binaries, and high-energy transients…

Colloquium: Summer 2022 Research Opportunities

Today we will hear presentations from the physics & astronomy faculty who anticipate having funding to support student positions for summer research in areas of Nuclear and Particle physicsAstronomyComputational Condensed Matter More information, including updated presentations, the application form, and the deadline for applying, will be soon posted at the Summer Opportunities Link.

Valpo Students Win Presentation Awards

Physics students Brook Burbridge and Lauren Kadlec presented their research findings for the STAR and nEDM projects at the April APS meeting in New York. In recognition of their superb presentations, they both won top honors (top 4 out of 32 presentations). Congratulations to Brook and Lauren, and to their research mentors, Dr. Shirvel Stanislaus and Dr. Adam Gibson-Even!

Congratulations to our Seniors!

This year we graduated 4 physics and astronomy students. We will miss them and we wish them well as they go out into the world. Here's where they are going: Ball State UniversityColorado State UniversityMercerSpace Camp

New Scholarship to Support Black Physics & Astronomy Undergraduates

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) announced last week it has launched a scholarship program that will provide African American students with up to $10,000 annually per student to pursue bachelor’s degrees in physics or astronomy. Initially, the scholarship will be limited to currently enrolled physics majors at Historically Black Colleges and Universities or Predominantly Black Institutions, or to astronomy majors at any US university. AIP has received a $12.5 million grant from the Simons Foundation to support the scholarship as well as efforts by undergraduate departments to implement other recommendations of the task force report. AIP is implementing the scholarship through a coalition…