EUSO Super Pressure Balloon is inflated for launch.The Extreme Universe Space Observatory Super Pressure Balloon will fly at 110,000 feet, and is designed to travel for up to 100 days. Researchers hope to gain insight into the origins of the highest-energy subatomic particles known to exist in the universe, and how they traveled to Earth.
Mines Physics Professor Lawrence Wiencke, co-project leader, oversaw a team of students and faculty in assembling the gondola as well as integrating the instrumentation to allow the transmission of data. The observatory underwent testing at NASA’s scientific balloon facility in Palestine, Texas, last November and was shipped to New Zealand in December. The observatory passed its final tests March 23; several previous launch attempts were aborted due to unfavorable weather.
Mines Tiny House, which formed in the fall of 2015 as a way for students to prepare for the 2019 Solar Decathlon, is nearing completion of construction on a 220-square-foot tiny house.
"We thought of it like a pilot project," said engineering physics sophomore Katie Schneider, Mines Tiny House co-planning chair. "For the decathlon, the house will be full-size, so building a tiny house first was a great way for us to learn what a big project like that will take, while also showing knowledge and experience for our application into the competition."
Colorado School of Mines Physics Professor and Department Head Jeff Squier will serve as a plenary speaker at Optics & Photonics International Congress 2017, to be held April 18 to 21 in Yokohama, Japan.
OPIC is the largest international meeting in Japan concerning optics and lasers and seeks to discuss current and future developments in the field. It has been held every year since 2012, and will be held alongside the Optics & Photonics International Exhibition in an effort to bring together academia and industry.
Squier will present "Breaking limits: space-time focusing technologies for imaging and manipulation." He will discuss the possibilities that femtosecond lasers—which emit pulses lasting just quadrillionths of a second—offer for the imaging and manipulation of biological systems. “We will show how large focal volumes which translate to large working distances, convenient for biology, can lead to gains in both imaging and manipulation without sacrificing resolution,” Squier said. Importantly, these methods are straightforward to implement, he added.
Rachel Gregg and Lawrence Wiencke at the launch site in New Zealand.and A NASA space observatory assembled by students and faculty in the Physics Department at Colorado School of Mines could launch this weekend from Wanaka, New Zealand.
The Extreme Universe Space Observatory Super Pressure Balloon would fly at 110,000 feet and make the first fluorescence observations of high-energy cosmic ray extensive air showers by looking down at Earth’s atmosphere from near space. “We expect to have our launch window open on Saturday [Friday MST] although the weather forecast for the weekend is not so good,” said Physics Professor Lawrence Wiencke, who has overseen undergraduate and graduate students assembling the gondola that will hold the project’s instrumentation. After building the gondola in Golden, Colo., Wiencke’s team brought it to NASA’s scientific balloon facility in Palestine, Texas, before shipping it to New Zealand in December 2016.
Mines undergraduate students Daniel Schmerge, a sophomore in mechanical engineering; Jacob Aas, a junior in physics and mechanical engineering; and John Wiens, a freshman in electrical engineering and computer science, competed against 10 other teams at the conference, which took place at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Their remote-controlled robot competed in five different events designed to test its speed, strength and ability, and the technical design skills of its creators: stair climbing, weightlifting, sprinting, throwing a tennis ball and hitting a golf ball. The team walked away with wins in the stair climb, weightlifting and throwing events, as well as the overall championship.
The Mars Ice Challenge is a special edition of NASA’s Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) brand of competitions. Student concepts are normally confined to papers and presentations, but to celebrate the 100th anniversary of NASA Langley Research Center this year, the eight chosen teams are being awarded $10,000 each to construct ice extraction prototypes and bring them to Virginia to demonstrate their effectiveness.
Professor Lincoln Carr was invited to United Arab Emirates University by Usama Al Khawaja, a professor of physics and collaborator who has visited Mines several times. While the original plan was for Carr to speak about quantum mechanics, he ended up delivering three talks there that varied greatly in scope.
In addition to discussing a new direction for analog quantum computations—quantum complexity—Carr also delivered a college-level talk on recent massive investments into quantum research by the U.S., China and Europe, and a university-wide lecture about bridging the divide between the sciences and the humanities.
A collaboration between Colorado School of Mines and University of Northern Colorado that creates a pathway for Mines students to become STEM teachers has been awarded $140,000 by 100Kin10, a national effort to add 100,000 STEM teachers to the nation's classrooms by 2021.
Teacher Education Alliance, Mines-UNC Partnership, also known as TEAM-UP, integrates 21 credits of the professional teacher education program (delivered by UNC) into existing Mines undergraduate degrees. All coursework is online or delivered on the Mines campus, with all field experiences within 50 miles. The remaining 9 credits are taken after graduation.
Undergraduate and graduate students, overseen by Physics Professor Lawrence Wiencke, assembled the gondola that will hold the instrumentation, which includes a photon detection module and an optical telescope, and integrated these instruments to allow the transmission of data. The observatory has since passed compatibility and hang tests at NASA's scientific balloon facility in Palestine, Texas, and will be shipped to Wanaka, New Zealand, on December 2.
The paper, "Effect of Diels–Alder Reaction in C60-Tetracene Photovoltaic Devices," authored by Physics' Jeramy Zimmerman, appears in the October 12 issue of the journal, a publication of the American Chemical Society. Coauthors were graduate students Matthew Jaskot, Andrew Proudian and Christelle Lyiza and Metallurgical and Materials Engineering faculty David Diercks, research assistant professor, and Brian Gorman, associate professor.
"We all get a bit stale," Brown said. "It becomes a bit routine; we can get lazy." And so every five to seven years, he has found it very helpful to make a significant change in the direction of his research.
After graduating from the University of London in 1973 with a bachelor's degree in physics, Brown was "thrown into the deep end of quantum optics and quantum mechanics in a way that I'd never seen it before," he said. One of his first projects involved shining pairs of lasers into high-velocity wind tunnels to measure the effects of wind on missiles and "other interesting objects."
Craig Taylor and familyStudents, faculty and staff paid tribute to the numerous accomplishments of Physics Professor P. Craig Taylor at Colorado School of Mines, in a retirement celebration held at the Geology Museum Friday, Sept. 23.
Taylor joined Mines in 2005 after 23 years as a professor at the University of Utah, where led the Physics Department and was director of the John A. Dixon Laser Institute. He served as associate director of the Colorado Energy Research Institute and is a fellow of the American Physical Society.
Taylor earned an AB in physics from Carleton College in Minnesota and a PhD from Brown University, and worked at the Naval Research Laboratory from 1971 to 1982.
At Mines, he is best known for establishing and leading the Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, funded by the National Science Foundation. REMRSEC has brought together faculty across disciplines as well as scientists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in pursuing innovative research as well as educating the next generation of renewable energy scientists.
Adam Mahl and Uwe Greife inspect scintillators in the labA unique collaboration between a synthetic chemist and a nuclear physicist at Colorado School of Mines has been awarded $1.5 million over five years by the Department of Homeland Security to develop stable, inexpensive materials for detecting dangerous nuclear radiation—the kind that emanates from fissionable material or so-called "dirty bombs."
The project, led by Chemistry Associate Professor Alan Sellinger and co-principal investigator Physics Professor Uwe Greife, includes Adam Mahl, PhD candidate in applied physics; Henok Yemam, PhD candidate in applied chemistry; Allison Lim, PhD candidate in materials science; Joey Latta, PhD candidate in nuclear engineering and Wasana Senevirathna, a postdoctoral researcher in chemistry.
A Colorado School of Mines PhD student in materials science has been awarded a NASA fellowship—one of only 14 awarded by the space agency this year—to improve the performance of thermoelectric materials that can be used to power deep-space missions.
Caitlin CrawfordCaitlin Crawford, advised by Physics Assistant Professor Eric Toberer, was awarded the NASA Harriett G. Jenkins Graduate Fellowship for her proposal, "Advanced Thermoelectric Materials for Space Power Applications." The fellowship can be renewed for two additional years; Crawford will receive $55,000 for each year of the grant.
Crawford will continue the materials synthesis work she has been doing for the past year at Mines. "We’re looking at a specific type of structure, called the skutterudite structure," Crawford said. "It’s a specific material structure that has really good thermoelectric properties for deep-space power applications."
Group photo of thermoelectrics summer school participantsSeventy-five students from across the country and around the world gathered at Mines this past July for the first graduate student summer school on thermoelectrics in the United States in two decades.
Physics Assistant Professor Eric Toberer organized the International Summer School on Thermoelectrics, which took place July 25 to 27, with Alexandra Zevalkink, assistant professor at Michigan State University. Funding came from the Mines Office of Technology Transfer and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
"Our objective was to provide an opportunity for students to develop new collaborations and to hear from leaders in the field about the current state of the art and fundamentals,” Toberer said. "Breakout discussions were a big part of this conference, largely as a forum to have graduate students interact with each other and gain insight from experts.”
A physicist with four degrees from Colorado School of Mines is part of a research team that has found a possible solution to one of the major challenges of facial recognition systems: makeup.Mines graduate Alex Yuffa, with lead researcher Nathaniel Short, Gorden Videen, and Shuowen Hu, was published in the July 2016 issue of the journal Applied Optics with a paper titled "Effects of surface materials on polarimetric-thermal measurements: applications to face recognition." The researchers are part of the Image Processing Branch of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Maryland.
Face recognition has become a key tool in fields such as security and forensics. Although the accuracy of visible-spectrum facial recognition systems has rapidly increased, and techniques to address changes in light, pose and expression have been developed, cosmetics still pose a challenge as they distort the perceived shapes of faces.
The researchers found that polarimetric-thermal imaging—which measures the thermal infrared emissions of an object, or in this case, faces—are essentially immune to the effects of makeup. The materials commonly used in cosmetics and face paint are good thermal emitters, meaning they have little impact on the heat transferred from the face. This means polarimetric-thermal images provide additional facial details that could otherwise be concealed.
For PhD student Alyssa Allende Motz, physics is not just about learning how matter moves through space and time or the complicated laws that govern our understanding of energy and force. She says that physics is more about "teaching you how to learn and how to think of things so that you can make more conclusions that lead you to more questions."
Allende Motz is not new to the world of physics. She earned her bachelor’s degree in engineering physics in 2011 and her master’s degree in applied physics in 2012, both from Mines. But she decided to return to Mines to pursue a PhD, because she wanted to continue searching for answers. "The more you find out," she says, "the more you find out that you don’t know." And she speaks from experience.
Two student physics organizations are offering bricks salvaged from Meyer Hall, the longtime home of the Physics Department, as a reward for helping members attend the largest gathering of undergraduate physics students in the world.
Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society, and the Society of Physics Students hope to send 30 to 40 students to PhysCon, according to David Schmidt, president of Sigma Pi Sigma. "It will depend on how much of the trip we can cover for each student."
Held every four years, this year's PhysCon takes place Nov. 3 to 5 in Silicon Valley, CA, and has the theme of "Unifying Fields: Science Driving Innovation." Attendees will explore graduate programs, summer research opportunities and job options, present their research, grow professionally through workshops, and become inspired by renowned physicists and lab tours. Between registration fees, travel and accommodations, sending one student costs around $700.
Donations can be made at http://commerce.cashnet.com/stuact. Click on "STUACT-STACT" and select "Donations for Society of Physics Students."
The Physics Department’s perpetual quest to improve how it educates students is moving into largely uncharted territory: graduate-level classes.
Inspired and informed by the department’s innovative teaching faculty, three years teaching in the McBride Honors Program, and his own longtime interest in pedagogy, Professor Lincoln Carr set out a year ago to revamp a course in classical mechanics to better prepare students for the intensive research that will make up the bulk of their graduate school career.
The American Nuclear Society has selected a Colorado School of Mines graduate as its Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow for 2017.
Levi Patterson earned a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Nuclear Engineering from Mines. He will work in the office of a U.S. senator or representative, or a Senate or House committee, and provide Congress with expertise in nuclear science and technology. Fellows are expected to gain a better understanding of how the legislative process works. FULL STORY »
Physics Professor Lincoln Carr's work to restructure a graduate-level classical mechanics course was cited as one of the highlights of the 47th annual meeting of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, held May 23 to 27 in Providence, RI.
A study featured on the front page of the journal Cytometry Part A is the latest result of a long-standing collaboration between Mines' Physics and Chemical and Biological Engineering departments.
The paper, titled "High-Throughput Linear Optical Stretcher for Mechanical Characterization of Blood Cells," appeared in the April 2016 issue of the journal of the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry and was authored by CBE graduate student Kevin Roth, CBE Associate Professor Keith Neeves, CBE Professor and Department Head David Marr, and Physics Professor and Department Head Jeff Squier.
Physics Assistant Professor Eric Toberer will receive around $600,000 as a subcontractor for a project to develop an advanced windowpane, which has been awarded $2.2 million by the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.
The project, led by Zachary Holman at Arizona State University and which includes partners at the University of Minnesota, seeks to develop a windowpane that incorporates multiple layers to improve thermal insulation, prevent condensation, and enhance the strength of the windowpane.
Colorado School of Mines awarded 835 bachelor's degrees, including 52 in Engineering Physics.
Daniel Rosen and Derek Hart received Physics Faculty Distinguished Graduate Awards.
Tamboli, a scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, submitted a proposal titled "Harnessing Order Parameter in Ternary II-IV-V2 Semiconductors," which was selected by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences. The research centers on developing a new class of materials that may have applications in high-efficiency, inexpensive photovoltaics, as well as improved lasers and optical computing.
Under the program, researchers at national laboratories will receive $500,000 a year for salary and research expenses, with grants planned for five years.
Tamboli holds a BS from Harvey Mudd College and a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Officials from CoorsTek, the Coors family, and Colorado School of Mines broke ground on the new CoorsTek Center for Applied Science and Engineering, an interdisciplinary academic and research facility, at 9 a.m. on May 2 on Kafadar Commons on the Mines campus.
The CoorsTek Center will support Mines’ College of Applied Science and Engineering and will be the home of the Department of Physics. It will serve as an integral campus landmark located on the site of the former physics building, Meyer Hall, at 15th and Arapahoe streets.
Mines Assistant Professor of Physics Kyle Leach joined about 70 other nuclear physicists in Washington, D.C., on March 14 to advocate for federal nuclear science research funding.
Leach was the lone representative from Colorado for Nuclear Physics DC Day. He met with the staff of Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who represents the 7th District of Colorado, and with two professors from Texas A&M also met with the staff of the senators from Colorado (Cory Gardner and Michael F. Bennet) and Texas.
Mines faculty and their partners at University of Northern Colorado have been awarded $1.2 million to provide a pathway for undergraduate Mines students to become teachers for grades 7 through 12, particularly in high-need school districts.
The Mines-UNC STEM Teacher Preparation Program, funded by the National Science Foundation's Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, will provide Mines students with teaching-focused internships in their freshman and sophomore years; scholarships in their junior and senior years, as well as their semester of student-teaching after graduation; and professional development during their first few years as teachers.
The effort is led by Physics Teaching Associate Professor Kristine Callan and co-PI Renee Falconer, teaching professor of Chemistry and Geochemistry.
The project, titled "Control of Charge Carrier Dynamics in Complex Thermoelectric Semiconductors," has been awarded $112,658, and seeks to understand the factors that determine the efficiency of certain materials in converting heat into electricity.
According to the abstract, "the goal is to combine recent advances in structural determination and first principles calculations, in concert with single crystal growth and advanced transport measurements, to yield deep insight into charge transport through the careful integration of these measurements."
Kyle LeachAssistant Professor of Physics Kyle Leach has been elected chair of the TRIUMF Users' Group Executive Committee for 2016.
TRIUMF is Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, owned and operated by a consortium of Canadian universities. It is one of the wold's leading subatomic physics laboratories, and brings together physicists and interdisciplinary talent, sophisticated technical resources, and commercial partners.
TRIUMF's user community is made up of international teams of scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate and undergraduate students. The Users' Group Executive Committee is made up of seven elected members designed to manage the Users' Group. It also acts as a liaison between members of the Users’ Group and TRIUMF, and typically consists of members from North America, Europe, and Asia.
Leach joined the Physics Department prior to the fall 2015 semester. He received his PhD in experimental nuclear physics from the University of Guelph, and was a research associate at TRIUMF.
Taylor recently served as a guest speaker at the Korea Clean Energy and Leadership Forum, held October 24 in Englewood, Colorado.
His presentation to about 100 high school and college students concerned the issue of climate change and examples of the research into renewable energy being conducted at Mines and various research centers affiliated with the university.
Organized by the Korean American Community Foundation of Colorado, the event explored the future of clean energy, technology transfer, business opportunities, and Korea's clean energy policies. Attendees were able to network with scientists as well as Korean government officials.
Taylor also recently welcomed visitors from Algeria to Colorado School of Mines as part of a U.S. State Department International Visitor Leadership Program titled "Renewables and Energy Efficiency."
Taylor shared his research and gave the visitors a tour of Mines' innovative facilities for renewable energy research. The IVLP brings current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields to the United States on short-term visits, to experience the country firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts. These visits support the foreign policy goals of the United States.
The American Association of Physics Teachers has appointed Physics Teaching Professor Vincent Kuo chair of the Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education.
Kuo's term begins in January 2016, immediate following the AAPT Winter Meeting in New Orleans, and ends at the close of the 2017 Winter Meeting in Atlanta.
The area committees advise the AAPT's Executive Board, Executive Office, and the association at large on issues related to each committee. Chairs lead the planning of workshops and sessions representing their committee's interests at National Meetings, ensure that their committee is engaged in activities that advance their mission, and serve as a member of the AAPT's Programs Committee.
Professor Charles Durfee has been published in the journal Nature Photonics, with an article titled "Non-collinear generation of angularly isolated circularly polarized high harmonics."
Lusk's lecture is titled "Carrier Collection and Transport in Thin Film Silicon with Tailored Nanocrystalline/Amorphous Structure: Computational Design and Experimental Realization." It will focus on a new computational method developed by Lusk and his group for quantifying the way electrons interact with material vibrations.
Lusk and his co-principal investigators, Physics Professors Craig Taylor and Reuben Collins and Research Professor Pauls Stradins, are working on project to design and create new solar cell materials in which quantum dots are encapsulated in an amorphous silicon matrix. This new computational tool allows researchers to determine the size, shape, spacing and interface structures that optimize solar cell efficiency.
The project is part of the Department of Energy's SunShot initiative, which seeks to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.
Physics Professor Lincoln Carr has been awarded $300K by the National Science Foundation to develop a large-scale open-source code to be run on high-performance computers, for experiments on ultracold molecules.
The code supported by the grant has been downloaded nearly 1,000 times, with more than 50 groups making active use of the code. This code treats strongly correlated entangled quantum dynamics, and the funding will extend methods to treat open quantum systems.
The project is titled "Open-System Quantum Many-Body Entangled Dynamics of Ultracold Molecules," and the code can be downloaded from http://sourceforge.net/projects/openmps/.
Associate Professor Lawrence Wiencke and Professor Frederic Sarazin have been awarded additional funding by the National Science Foundation for support of "Study of the Highest Energy Cosmic Rays with the Pierre Auger Observatory." The newest award started Aug. 1, 2015, and ends July 31, 2018.
The Office of Naval Research is awarding $542,149 over three years to a Mines effort to produce graduates with both technical knowledge and the ability to work well with others as leaders and followers -- skills of particular interest to the U.S. Navy and its industry partners.
Physics Teaching Professor Pat Kohl spearheaded the proposal, titled "Horizontal and vertical integration of 21st century skillsets: Leadership, computation, and open-ended problem solving at an engineering university." Joining Kohl on the team are fellow Physics faculty Vince Kuo, Tim Ohno, and Mark Lusk; Applied Mathematics and Statistics faculty Gus Greivel and Scott Strong; and Leslie Light of EPICS.
Physics Professor and Department Head Jeff Squier was co-organizer of a workshop titled "Frontiers and Challenges in Laser-Based Biological Microscopy," held August 3 to 7 through the Telluride Science Research Center.
The workshop tackled how laser-based imaging, spectroscopy, therapy, surgery, and other procedures are advancing the study of biology and medicine; the advantages of linear and nonlinear optics for specific applications; and the grand challenges and technical difficulties that must be overcome.
About 30 scientists took part in the workshop, including Mines Assistant Professor of Physics Susanta Sarkar. Adela Ben-Yakar, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, was co-organizer.
PHOTOS FROM SILICON CONFERENCE
The International Conference on Exotic Forms of Silicon, organized by REMRSEC, took place July 15 to 17. Physics Professors Reuben Collins and Craig Taylor were among those who delivered lectures.
JOHN TREFNY AWARDED HONORARY DEGREE BY RED ROCKS COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Former Mines President John Trefny, who served as head of the Physics Department and serves on the board of the Red Rocks Community College Foundation, received the honor at the school's 2015 Commencement in May
REMRSEC TO HOST CONFERENCE ON EXOTIC FORMS OF SILICON
A conference at Colorado School of Mines will bring together scientists studying exotic forms of silicon, a field that organizers say would benefit from increased exposure and greater interaction between researchers.
The International Conference on Exotic Forms of Silicon, organized by Physics Professor P. Craig Taylor and the Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, which he leads, runs from July 15 to 17.
TEAM LED BY ZEEV SHAYER WINS $3M FROM DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
A team led by a Mines research professor of physics has been awarded $3 million by the Department of Energy to study the deterioration of canisters used for storing spent nuclear fuel.
Primary investigator Zeev Shayer’s team includes faculty from the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering: Professors David Olson and Stephen Liu, and Assistant Professor Zhenzhen Yu.
Physics Professor and Department Head Jeff Squier is headed to Munich, Germany, to deliver an invited talk at CLEO/Europe-EQEC 2015.
Squier's talk will be on "Spatial temporal focusing with application to micromachining with femtosecond laser pulses."
The Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics - European Quantum Electronics Conference brings together the top optics and photonics researchers and runs from June 21 to 25. Where CLEO/Europe emphasizes applied physics, optical engineering, and applications of photonics and laser technology, EQEC is focused on basic research in laser physics, nonlinear optics, and quantum optics.
Three American Institute of Physics journal editors at Mines
Three Mines physicists now hold prestigious editorships at respected physics journals. Professor Reuben Collins is editor-in-chief of Applied Physics Letters, Professor Craig Taylor is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy and Emeritus Senior Vice President John Poate is editor-in-chief of Applied Physics Reviews. All three of these journals are published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) Publishing.
Kelly ChippsKelly Chipps, who received her PhD in Applied Physics from Mines in 2008, will study the nuclear reactions which power extreme astrophysical phenomena such as novae, supernovae, and x-ray bursts, using the cutting-edge Jet Experiments in Nuclear Structure and Astrophysics (JENSA) gas jet target in conjunction with radioactive ion beams from the ReA3 facility at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and the latest reaction theory formalism. She currently works at the University of Tennessee.
The Liane B. Russell Fellowship, which honors the groundbreaking geneticist, provides funding over three years along with mentorship to align their research with Department of Energy programs. ORNL receives 80 percent of its $1.65 billion annual budget from the DOE.
JOINT MINES PROJECT AMONG FOUR TO SHARE $1.2M FROM EDUCATION GROUP
The four new comprehensive sites selected to develop their physics teacher education programs into national models are Rowan University, Texas State University, West Virginia University, and a joint University of Northern Colorado/Colorado School of Mines project. Funding for the new sites, up to $300,000 per site over three years, will begin in fall 2015.
ENGINEERING PHYSICS MAJOR WINS GRAND PRIZE AT SPACE RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM
Zachary Mimlitz and Greg StahlZachary Mimlitz, a Colorado School of Mines sophomore majoring in Engineering Physics, was awarded the $1,000 Grand Prize at the recent Colorado Undergraduate Space Research Symposium (CUSRS) for the overall highest scoring for his paper and presentation, entitled "Goal Oriented, Risk Mitigating Autonomous Behavior for Extraterrestrial Rovers."
Mimlitz's research focuses on programming robots to make decisions based on perceived hazards and rewards. Most of his work has been in developing a simulator to model rovers on Mars.
"The focus of the research is on extraterrestrial rovers, but could be applied to any kind of decision making process between conditions with high risks of failure," he said.
ENGINEERING PHYSICS GRADUATE TESSA HENNIGH RECEIVES $155K GRANT
Tessa May Hennigh2015 Engineering Physics graduate Tessa Hennigh has received a $155,000 nuclear energy research grant to start her graduate work in Nuclear Engineering at Colorado School of Mines.
Hennigh, who graduates this May, is staying at Mines to pursue an ME and PhD in Nuclear Engineering. She'll be working with Mark Deinert, who joins the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Nuclear Science and Engineering Program this summer, and Dr. Andrew Osborne, a post-doctoral researcher in Deinert's group.
ERIC TOBERER RECOGNIZED IN PHYSICS TODAY
Assistant Professor of Physics Eric Toberer, who recently received a Cottrell Award, was recognized by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement via an ad on the inside front cover of the May 2015 issue of Physics Today PDF version Text only version
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PHYSICS HOSTS COMMENCEMENT RECEPTION FOR STUDENTS, FAMILIES
Physics cakeThe department welcomed students, family, and friends in a reception at Friedhoff Hall in the Green Center after Commencement. Several graduates were also recognized with awards.
PHYSICS FACULTY TAKE HOME MAJOR AWARDS AT FACULTY FORUM
Lincoln CarrProfessor Lincoln Carr received the Dean's Excellence Award, given to full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members who have demonstrated significant achievement in both teaching and scholarship. Teaching Professor Patrick Kohl received the Alumni Teaching Award for teaching faculty, and was also named Outstanding Faculty in Physics by students.
Also announced at the Faculty Forum were Charles Durfee's promotion to professor, and Thomas Furtak being named University Emeritus Professor.
MINES DEDICATES RYAN SAYERS LAB IN CHAUVENET HALL
Ryan Sayers was a promising math and physics major at Colorado School of Mines, killed in a lightning strike in 2003 while mountain climbing in Wyoming. His legacy lives on at Mines with the Ryan Sayers Memorial Pi Fun Run, the award and scholarship in his name given since 2004, and now the Ryan Sayers Lab.
This year's Ryan Sayers Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Physics major Jacob Neuman.
PHYSICS RESEARCH WINS PROOF OF CONCEPT AWARD
Associate Professor Charles Durfee and Steven Hill's project, "Solid-state Laser Pumping with Advanced High-brightness LED Sources," is one of four projects to receive funding through the School of Mines Proof of Concept Program, to help advance concepts to the commercial marketplace. FULL STORY »
SPS MEMBERS BRING STEM MUSEUM TO MIDDLE-SCHOOLERSMembers of the Society of Physics Students at Mines are doing their part to cultivate the next generation of scientists and engineers, particularly young people from historically underrepresented groups. On April 7, 21 students traveled to Berry Creek Middle School in Edwards, about 100 miles west of Golden, as part of their Future Faces of Physics outreach program. Throughout the school day, they staffed 10 museum stations featuring hands-on demonstrations that they designed and constructed.
COLLINS TALKS ACADEMIC PUBLISHING
Reuben CollinsWith plenty of humor, Physics Professor Reuben Collins shared insights into the world of academic publishing, particularly the challenges it is facing, via his Faculty Senate Distinguished Lecture on March 26.
TOBERER RECEIVES COTTRELL SCHOLAR AWARD
Eric TobererAssistant Professor of Physics Eric Toberer has received an award that will further his research into improving the conversion of heat into electricity, as well as support his pioneering techniques in teaching undergraduates higher-level physics.
The Cottrell Scholar Award is granted each year by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) to a dozen or so teacher-scholars who are just a few years into their first tenure-track position. The award provides $75,000 over three years.
STUDENTS PIE PROFESSORS TO CELEBRATE PI DAY
Student pies professor
Student pies professorFaculty in the Department of Physics took pies to the face for a good cause March 20.
Organized by the Mines chapter of the Society of Physics Students, Pi-a-Prof also belatedly celebrated Pi Day – March 14. The group collected donations in separate buckets, and professors received a pie in the face for every $50 donated in their name.
The donations will help fund SPS’ community outreach efforts. This spring, SPS will bring a STEM museum to Berry Creek Middle School in Edwards, CO, to encourage interest in science and technology among under-represented groups. SPS also holds a Haunted Physics Lab in the fall.
COLLINS TO DELIVER DISTINGUISHED LECTURE
Physics Professor Reuben CollinsPhysics Professor Reuben Collins, the 2015 Colorado School of Mines Faculty Senate Distinguished Lecturer, presents “Confessions of a Naive Editor-in-Chief” at 4 p.m., March 25, in the Student Center Ballroom.
Collins is editor-in-chief of the journal Applied Physics Letters, published by the American Institute of Physics, in 2014. He will discuss what he’s learned about scientific publishing since becoming editor in 2014.
MINES EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR PHYSICS TEACHERS WINS FUNDING
The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) will fund four new sites at five universities to develop their physics teacher education programs into national models. The new projects are Rowan University, Texas State University, West Virginia University, and a joint University of Northern Colorado/ Colorado School of Mines project.
The Mines team includes Vince Kuo and Kristine Callan from the Department of Physics, and Steven DeCaluwe from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
LINCOLN CARR NAMED APS FELLOW
Professor Lincoln Carr has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society. His citation reads, "For contributions to the theory of ultracold quantum gases, including solitons, vortices, and nonlinear dynamics."
SOCIETY OF PHYSICS STUDENTS CHAPTER WINS 2014-15 FUTURE FACES OF PHYSICS AWARD
The Colorado School of Mines Society of Physics Students chapter was awarded the 2014-15 Future Faces of Physics Award – its second in two years, by the national SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma chapter.
This award helps the 175-student group continue outreach efforts to promote physics across cultural divides and encourage recruitment and retention of people underrepresented in STEM fields.
PHYSICS ALUM FEATURED ON COVER OF APPLIED OPTICS
Physics alum Alex Yuffa is featured on the cover of the December 2014 issue of Applied Optics. The cover article, on which Alex is first author, details how 3D topological images can ultimately be reconstructed from a long-wavelength infrared vector image.
RESEARCH PROFESSOR AWARDED FULBRIGHT SPECIALIST GRANT
Physics Research Professor Mark Coffey has been awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant for work with Cardiff University in Wales, U.K. He will give a number of lectures at Cardiff and will continue work on projects and applications on which they have collaborated for several years.
ALUMNA DEVELOPS INEXPENSIVE CELLPHONE MICROSCOPE
Rebecca Erikson (B.S. Engineering Physics, M.S. Applied Physics), working at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, has developed a microscope that costs less than $1 in materials, can be fabricated with a relatively inexpensive 3D printer, and will turn a cellphone camera into a 1000x microscope.
COORSTEK CENTER A MAJOR COMMITMENT TO MINES
The 95,000-square-foot CoorsTek Center for Applied Science and Engineering will serve as focal point for substantially expanded collaboration and discovery between Mines and CoorsTek, the premier global provider of engineered ceramics and other advanced materials.
The center will be the new home of the Department of Physics and provide flexible laboratories, customizable classrooms for hands-on learning, and centralized teaching and research space for all CASE departments.