News Archives for 2007-08

June, 2008

Pauline Barmby

Professor Pauline Barmby met her future husband, Professor Charles Mackenzie, through the astronomy club at the University of British Columbia.

Read the Western news story of how they both came to Western.




June, 2008

Frank Van Sas Tim Goldhawk

We welcome Mr. Frank Van Sas (left) and Mr. Tim Goldhawk to our staff.

Frank is in our machine shop while Tim is the new supervisor of our nano-fabrication laboratory.


June, 2008

Elizabeth Sukara-Silber

Nan Yang was awarded three separate prizes for her poster paper at the recent annual congress of the Canadian Association of Physics (CAP) in Quebec City.

Nan's paper was entitled "Viscoelastic properties of poly (vinyl alcohol) nanofibers and hydrogel measured by atomic force microscopy".

The paper won "DCMMP Best Student Paper Presentation: Poster-1st" (Division of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics of CAP). It also won an honourable mention for "CAP Best Student Poster Presentation".

Nan was also co-winner of "NSERC Best Female Poster Paper".

Nan is co-supervised by Professors John R. deBruyn and Jeffery L. Hutter.

May, 2008

Elizabeth Sukara-Silber

Elizabeth Sukara-Silber has received Western's Faculty of Science Teaching Assistant Award of Excellence
for 2007-08.

Elizabeth is working on a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Peter Brown.



May, 2008

Ildiko Beres Dustin HawTwo of our TA award winners 2008

Ildiko Beres (far left) and Dustin Haw (centre) have received Teaching Assistant Awards of Excellence for 2007-08. Both are shown with their awards in the photo on the right.

Ildiko received the best evaluation for demonstrators, while Dustin did so for tutors.

Dustin is working on a PhD under Prof. Blaine Chronik, while Ildiko is doing an MSc under Prof. Wayne Hocking.

May, 2008

Sarah Malek

Sarah Malek who is working with Prof. Jan Cami, has been awarded 'Best Poster Paper' award at the 2008 Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) meetings. The meetings were held in Victoria, British Columbia.

The paper is entitled "Identifying molecular bands in AGB stars".


May, 2008

Sarah Gallagher

Prof. Sarah Gallagher of the Astronomy Group was one of two recipients of a Honourable Mention for the Young Physicist's Prize for 2008 awarded by the Commission on Astrophysics of the Internatinal Union of Pure and Applied Physics.

It was awarded for her studies of highly absorbed quasars. The Prize is awarded every two years to individuals who have had less than eight years research experience since receiving their PhD degree.

May, 2008

Simon de Vet

Simon de Vet was honoured with one of Western's SOGS Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Awards for the 2007/08 school year.

Simon is doing a PhD under the supervision of Prof. John deBruyn.



May, 2008

Mrs. Clara Buma

Mrs. Clara Buma of our department is one of two winners of the Faculty of Science Staff Award of Excellence for 2008.

The Faculty of Science Award of Excellence for Staff provides faculty-wide recognition for the exceptional performance of staff (individual or team) in the Faculty. This is the first presentation of this award. Up to two awards are given out annually. The recipient(s) will receive $1000, of which a minimum of $750 is to be directed to career development.

Faculty of Science Staff and Faculty Reception, 2008.

April, 2008

indoor basketball indoor basketball

Indoor basketball has ended for another season. There is hope for renewal in the air because of the news that the outdoor basketball nets may get fixed this summer. Missing from photos are Els Peeters, Tamie Poepping, Chris Mokry, Jean-Baptiste Kikwaya, Steve Hudson, and Jamu Alford, and Carol Jones.

April, 2008

Tour of MSA

Some images from a tour of the MSA given by Mr. Mike DeJager (red shirt).

Wet lab Steve and CarolAnn in new office One of the central labs TA room (chemistry floor - our windows are smaller) machine room mezanine looking at second floor Office Support column

April, 2008

Female Faculty of The Department of Physics and Astronomy

The representation of women on our faculty is by far the highest in Canada, with nine of the 29 faculty members in Physics and Astronomy at Western being women!

Women have long been under-represented in our field, and only about 10% of physics and astronomy faculty in North America are female. We are proud of our leadership in addressing this issue.

Back Row (left to right): Dr. Tamie Poepping, Dr. Carol Jones, Dr. Margaret Campbell-Brown, Dr. Pauline Barmby and (inset), Dr. Els Peeters.

Front Row (left to right): Dr. Sarah Gallagher, Dr. Kanthi Kaluarachchi, Dr. Lyudmila Goncharova, and Dr. Silvia Mittler.

March, 2008

Amanda Papadimos

Undergraduate student Amanda Papadimos has uncovered two orbiting solar system bodies which may be part of a larger group orbiting between Jupiter and Neptune.

These so called Centaur Objects have received Primary Designation by the astronomical community. Objects with such a designation require longer term observations of their orbits in order to prove their status.

These discoveries were part of Amanda's Physics 491E project. The course is taught by Prof. Jan Cami. Amanda's advisor was Prof. Paul Wiegert.

You can see GIF animations of the discovery images for objects 2004VP112 and 2005UN524 below. Orbital information can be found at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories Small Body Database Browser.

centaur object discovery images centaur object discovery images

March, 2008

Dr. Randy Kissack and the X-15 Rocket Plane

Dr. Randy Kissack riveted a full house audience with his historic journey back to the heady days of the X-15 experimental rocket aircraft. The pilots and planes of this program contributed many firsts to the field of hypersonic aviation and space aeronautics.

Randy will repeat this presentation at the next meeting of the London Centre of the R.A.S.C. This meeting will take place on Friday, April 18, at 7:00 p.m. in room B1073 (Building B) at Fanshawe College.

March, 2008

March, 2008 Open House

Physics and Astronomy had several displays at the March, 2008 Open House. Volunteers were CarolAnne Black, Adrienne Campbell, Peter Frank, Mark Gooyers, Michael Jensen, Roland Lendzian, Karen Mann, Phil McCausland, Patrick Whippey, Robin Wing, and Martin Zinke-Allmang.

March, 2008

Dr. Wayne Hockings global array of wind profiler radars

In atmospheric dynamics, wave events play a major role in forcing the mean flow of the atmosphere, and this is particularly true in the upper atmosphere, above 60 km altitude.

Some of the strongest wave forcing anywhere on Earth occurs above Cape Horn, at the Southern tip of South America.

In an effort to study this extreme forcing, a new radar is being constructed at Rio Grande on the Island of Tierra del Fuego. It is the world's first meteor momentum flux radar, and measures the wave forcing at heights of 80 to 100 km above the Earth. It is being built by a consortium including Colorado Research Associates, The University of Western Ontario, and Bath University in the UK. Understanding momentum divergence and mean-wind-forcing are important at all levels of the atmosphere, not just the upper atmosphere, and is even important for forecasting in the troposphere where we live. But because the effects are more dramatic at the upper regions, the height regions of 80 to 100 km make an especially good place to study it.

Dr. Wayne Hocking's radar also is a component of a pole to pole network of meteor radars called axonmet.

March, 2008

The sentinel all-sky camera on Western's campusParry Sound Fireball of March 5, 2008

The Sentinel array of all-sky cameras detected a large fireball on March 5. Shown here is the camera on Western's campus.

Meteor Physics researchers at Western used these images along with model calculations to predict that a meteorite or debris may have landed in the Parry Sound area.

See Western News' coverage.

March, 2008

Dr. John deBruyn (right), Attorney General for Ontario Chris Bentley (left)Atrium cross section

The Government of Ontario and The University of Western Ontario announced that 9 million dollars has been allocated for Phase I of the renovation of the Physics and Astronomy Building. Construction is to begin in early 2009.

Shown here are Physics and Astronomy chair Dr. John R. deBruyn (right) and Ontario Attorney General Mr. Chris Bentley (left), Liberal MPP for London West.

February, 2008

Dr. Eugene Wong

Dr. Eugene Wong of our department has been named the Ontario Researcher of the Month by the Canadian Cancer Society.

February, 2008

Karen Mann at Wisdom 2008

Physics and Astronomy students were in action at the 2008 Women In Science and the Department Of Mathematics (W.I.S.D.O.M.) open house held in the UCC building.

Among others, participating were Karen Mann (shown here), Ildiko Beres, and Adrienne Campbell.

January, 2008

Science and Engineering Showcase 2008Photo: Mitch Zimmer

The Physics and Astronomy Department along with Planetary Science were represented by 10 posters at the most recent Science and Engineering Showcase which was held at the London Convertion Centre.

Some of the poster title links below will open a pdf version of the poster.

Poster Title Authors
Photonics of Surfaces and Interfaces S. Mittler
Gels, Pastes, and Goop:
Properties and Structure of Soft Material
J. deBruyn
Nanofabrication Laboratory R. Glew
Western's Collaborative Graduate Planetary Science Program P. McCausland
Earth and Planetary Materials Research at Western G. Osinski
High Resolution Ion Scattering for Nanoelectronics and Energy Applications L. Goncharova
A Star is Born:
Star Formation in the Milky Way and Other Nearby Galaxies
P. Barmby, M. Houde, S. Basu, E. Peeters, S. Gallagher
Measuring Gravity Waves in Earth's Atmosphere with a High Power Laser Radar (LIDAR):
Applications to Atmospheric Dynamics, Weather, and Climate
B. Sica, P. Doucet, B. Iserhienrhien
Systems Development in Medical Imaging:
The Role of Physics at the Interface between Technology and Biomedical Science
B. Chronik, T. Poepping, E. Wong
Collaborative Research in Medical Physics:
Western, Robarts Research Institute, and Lawson Health Research Institute
B. Chronik et al
Instrumentation, Imaging, and Scientific Computing within the Astronomy Group at Western C. Jones

January, 2008

Dr. Pasquale TemiDust in Hell

Observations with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope of extended dust in normal Elliptical Galaxies provide a new confirmation of buoyant feedback outflow in the hot gas atmospheres around these galaxies. Both the heating by the supermassive black holes, and the buoyant removal of gas from the galaxy's center have the effect to reduce the likelihood of star formation.

UWO adjunct Physics and Astronomy professor Dr. Pasquale Temi, who shares his time with NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute in California is the principal investigator of a Spitzer program aimed to investigate the far infrared dust emission from normal elliptical galaxies. The astronomical implicationsof the extended dust emission detected in some of these normal ellipticals are far-reaching and provide newinformation about energetic processes in galactic cores.


Entire Spitzer News Article

December, 2007

1st year physics lab space Kanthi's new office space outside 1st year chemistry lab space

Inside our new Materials Science Addition (MSA).
Click on a thumbnail to see a larger image.

November, 2007

Fall Preview Day 2007

On Saturday Nov. 17, Western had approximately 7000 high school visitors on campus for Fall Preview Day 2007.

Our undergraduate volunteers who put so much effort into this year's event are shown at left.



From left to right;
(Back row) Mark Gooyers, Zen Hamid Mariani
(Front row) Robin Wing, Adrienne Campbell, Karen Mann, Michael Jensen

November, 2007

Prof. Wayne Hocking

Prof. Wayne Hocking has had an article published in the international weekly science magazine Nature.

The article is entitled "Detection of stratospheric ozone intrusions by windprofiler radars", and is authored by W. K. Hocking, T. Carey-Smith, D. W. Tarasick, P. S. Argall, K. Strong, Y. Rochon, I. Zawadzki & P. A. Taylor.

It appears in the November 8, 2007 issue of Nature, and there are related articles in the Nov. 7, 2007 issue of Western News, as well as the Toronto Star.

November, 2007

Prof. Jan Cami

Prof. Jan Cami, along with fellow astronomer Guy Perrin (Paris Observatory) and others, have taken highly detailed infrared observations of the famous supergiant star in Orion, Betelgeuse.

The observations show that Betelgeuse has a molecular layer outside of its atmosphere, which furthermore also contains alumina (Al2O3)dust particles.

The presence of these species explains some of the discrepancies between the measured sizes of supergiant stars and the sizes they ought to have according to theoretical stellar models.

Sky and Telescope article.

October, 2007

nebula Prof. Sarah Gallagher

Prof. Sarah Gallagher, an adjunct faculty member at Western, is a member of a group of astronomers who have made an important discovery as to a source of cosmic dust in the early universe.

New findings from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope suggest that space dust -- the same stuff that makes up living creatures and planets -- was manufactured in large quantities in the winds of growing black holes in the early universe.

See the Western News article.
See the Spitzer Space Telescope news release.
Sarah's UCLA website.

October, 2007

Prof. Wayne Hocking Wayne Hocking

Prof. Wayne Hocking (left) and research group members Steve Argall, Nimalan Swarnalingam, Adam Farag, Armin Dehghan, and Ildiko Beres, on site at the Harrow atmospheric radar.

On Wedn. Oct. 3 a network of Ontario weather radar research sites was announced at a press gathering in Harrow.

The O-QNET network has involvement from York University, The University of Western Ontario, McGill University, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Environment Canada, and The Ontario Innovation Trust.

This was covered on CBC television's 'The National', on Oct. 8.

See the full announcement (PDF).

September, 2007

Prof. Sarah Gallagher

This fall we welcome Prof. Sarah Gallagher to our faculty.

Sarah is currently visiting from UCLA before she starts officially at UWO in July 2008.

Her astronomical interests lie deep in space.

Sarah investigates the nature of winds from luminous quasars (accreting supermassive black holes at the centers of distant galaxies) using space observatories covering the infrared to the X-ray.  She also studies compact galaxy groups and starbursts.

Sarah is interested in the future of X-ray astronomy with the next generation of X-ray space observatories.

While she is settling in at Western, you can find out more details at her UCLA website.

August, 2007 - Recognition Award

Anne Brooks receives recognition award from Dr. Peter Simpson Dr. Peter Simpson presented Anne Brooks with a gift and thanked her for her invaluable assistance as Graduate Assistant during his tenure as Graduate Chair.

August, 2007 - TA Award of Excellence

Chris Mokry receives award from Dr. Peter Simpson Chris Mokry was winner of the TA Award of Excellence in Physics and Astronomy.

August, 2007 - Don Hay Prize

Elena Gil receives award from Dr. Jan Cami Elena Gil was congratulated by Prof. Jan Cami. Elena was co-winner along with Ildiko Beres, of the Don Hay Prize. This prize is awarded to the student(s) with the highest standing in the fourth year Honors Research Project (Physics 491E) with a minimum mark of 80%.

August, 2007 - Jackson Prize

Steve Hudson receives award from Dr. Peter Simpson Steve Hudson was recipient of the Jackson Prize for Outstanding Physics Student.

August, 2007 - William H. Wehlau Scholarship

Frances MacKay receives award from Dr. Aaron Sigut Frances MacKay is congratulated by Prof. Aaron Sigut on being winner of the William H. Wehlau Prize for Outstanding Astronomy Student.

July, 2007

We welcome two new faculty members to the department.

Pauline Barmby Lyudmila Goncharova

Dr. Pauline Barmby (left) and Dr. Lyudmila Goncharova (right) have just arrived to London and are settling in at Western.

Pauline Barmby comes to Western from Harvard University.

Pauline's research interests include observations of star clusters and distant galaxies in the infrared. In particular, Pauline has intensively studied our nearest large galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy, M31.

Lyudmila Goncharova's research interests include studying phenomena at the surfaces and interfaces, fabricating and characterizing systems with the controlled complexity under UHV conditions. The emphasis is on high-resolution ion beam analysis methods (complemented by other surface sensitive techniques) to study variety of systems from nanoelectronic and optoelectronic devices to materials for sustainable energy applications.

Lyudmila comes to Western after having been a Research Associate at The Department of Physics & Astronomy, Rutgers University, New Jersey.

July, 2007

2007 Wehlau Prize winner

This year's William H. Wehlau Prize winner is Frances MacKay (pictured at right). On the left is Prof. Emerita Amelia Wehlau (seated at left), who made the presentation.

Frances' Masters thesis is entitled "Modeling the Linear Continuum Polarization Produced by Massive Stars".

Frances is supervised by Prof. Carol Jones.