News Archives for 2010-11
The recent NCMT2011 conference highlighted the theoretical side of the burgeoning, multidisciplinary field of nanotechnology. [Western News highlight]
The 2011 CAP Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Industrial and Applied Physics will be awarded to Wayne Hocking, of the University of Western Ontario, for his outstanding achievements.
Not only has he made significant advances in the
science of radar studies of the atmosphere but he has also transformed these into commercial products that have won wide international acceptance.
Further details are at: The Canadian Association of Physicists
The final day of term for the seminar class included a wrapup by Prof. Eugene Wong, as well as a celebration with pizza, pop, and homemade ice cream. [See images]
Seven Canadian universities, including Western, have joined as partners in the Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope (CCAT) project, a proposed 25-meter aperture telescope that will be built in Chile.It will become the largest, most precise and highest astronomical facility of its kind in the world.
Started as a project between Cornell University and the California Institute of Technology in 2004, the partnership extended to include the University of Colorado at Boulder, the universities of Cologne and Bonn in Germany, and Associated Universities Inc. of Washington, D.C. Now seven Canadian universities from four provinces have joined in as part of a consortium that also includes British Columbia, Calgary, McGill, McMaster, Toronto, and Waterloo.
"This is a general purpose telescope that will be used to explore the cosmic origins of the early universe," says Waterloo Professor Mike Fich, who is the Canadian lead for the project. The telescope captures wide views of submillimetre electromagnetic wave emission from space, and can do so with unprecedented speed and resolution.
"Our modern conception of the universe is that it was all created about 14 billion years ago, and that the universe soon after managed to create the basic elements like carbon and oxygen from which we are made" says Professor Shantanu Basu, Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Western. "The CCAT telescope can allow us to peer back in time to that era, some 10 to 12 billion years ago."
The $140 million project was strongly endorsed by the Committee for a Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the U.S. National Research Council. The Committee also recommended that the National Science Foundation contribute one-third of the construction cost of the facility. The project is expected to be completed in 2017.
Radar systems that have been deployed by Dr. Peter Brown (shown at left) of the Meteor Physics group at Western help inform NASA's astronauts of meteoroid and debris hazards.
See Western News.
Over 400 people jammed into the McKellar Room to hear Sir Anthony Leggett's public lecture on the mysteries of quantum mechanics. Shown in the photo are Western president Dr. Amit Chakma on the left and Sir Anthony Leggett on the right. [photo: Mitch Zimmer, Faculty of Science]
The event was arranged by the Department and The Collaborative Program in Theoretical Physics, as part of a distinguished speaker series.
It also capped a two-day conference on Nanostructures and Condensed Matter Theory.
Our department hosted a very successful International Conference on Frontier Topics in Nanostructures and Condensed Matter Theory from March9-11, 2011. Shown in the photo is conference Chair Dr. Mahi Singh.
Eighty participants listened to a science program which included plenary speakers Sir Anthony Leggett and Dr. Sajeev John, 15 invited speakers, and 23 oral presenters. Topics ranged from superfluidity and light-trapping crystals to molecular computers.
The event concluded with a public lecture by Sir Anthony Leggett in a packed McKellar room.
Student organizers were Melanie Wright, Gabe Keenleyside, Ethan Davis, Ramina Nissan, Allison Hill, and Danny Yang.
Prof. Eugene Wong (right in photo) was the supervising faculty member for this year. Dr. Kanthi Kaluarachchi, Peter Frank, and Shailesh Nene helped make the day a success.
See more images.
The Department of Physics and Astronomy had a strong display at the annual March Open House which was held on March 12, 2011. The event was located at the first year laboratories in the Materials Science Addition.
Undergraduate volunteers Melanie Wright and Elaine Hegarty ran the display for visitors. Professors John de Bruyn, Jan Cami, and Pauline Barmby, along with Dr. Kanthi Kaluarachchi, Peter Frank, and Shailesh Nene, and Phin Perquin organized the departmental displays and lab demonstrations.
See more photos.
The 25th annual Western Research Forum was held in the last week of February, 2011 at The University of Western Ontario.
Emily McCullough (at right in photo) took away 1st prize in the Physical Science Oral Presentation category.
The title of Emily's presentation was "The depolarization channel of the CANDAC Rayleigh-Mie-Raman Lidar in the Canadian High Arctic".
Other participants were Robin Wing (left in photo), and Jaya Khanna (centre in photo). Jaya's presentation was titled "LIDAR data processing using nonlinear mathematical inversion". Robin spoke on "The New and Improved Purple Crow LIDAR".
Emily, Robin, and Jaya are doing their research with Professor Bob Sica.
The Honourable Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr. Dipu Moni (right)visited Western on February 14, 2011. Several members of the Department of Physics and Astronomy met with her on this occasion. Included were Chair Dr. Shantanu Basu, as well as astronomy graduate students Rajib Saha and Ruma Sammader (left in photo). More photos.
The first Physics & Astronomy international potluck luncheon was held on February 11, 2011. This event was organized primarily for Physics and Astronomy graduate students and it was well represented by all members of the department. Thanks to everyone for bringing delicious and exotic international dishes! Due to popular demand, we are hoping to have more international potluck lunches in the future.
The event was organized by Dr. Kanthi Kaluarachchi and Shailesh Nene. More photos.
There has now been official confirmation of the discovery of three new asteroids by Amanda Papadimos. The discoveries took place when Amanda was working with Dr. Paul Wiegert but confirmation can take some time. Amanda is presently working in the Planetary Science and Space Exploration group.
The asteroids are named as follows:
Asteroid 2004 VR122 now officially asteroid number 254422
Asteroid 2006 UJ349 now officially asteroid number 262536
Asteroid 2008 AA119 now officially asteroid number 263251
The orbits of these objects can be seen by going to this NASA small object database and entering the asteroid number in the search engine.
Patrick Whippey is 2011 recipient of the Biomedical Science Ambassador Award for promotion of science education.
The award is given by Partners In Research.
The award presentation will take place on Sunday April 3, 2011 in London, Ontario. The evening theme will be "Bright Minds - Big Ideas".
Pauline Barmby and research collaborators may have found evidence for missing mass that is possibly ejected by Delta Cepheid stars during their pulsation phase.
See official NASA press release.
Elizabeth Silber is one of 8 national winners of the Graduate Research Award for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation 2010-2011.
This award is offered by The Simons Foundation, and The International Security Research and Outreach Programme (ISROP) of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT). Elizabeth, along with the other winners, have been invited to present their positions at DFAIT in Ottawa.
The Faculty of Science has announced that Professor Carol Jones (shown at left) has been re-appointed as Assistant Dean (Diversity & Outreach). Professor Peter Simpson (on right) has been re-appointed in his postion as Associate Dean (Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies).
Prof. Jan Cami is the recipient of the 2010 Science and Technology Innovation Award.
This award was presented by the Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce and the Flanders Investment & Trade organization. As part of the presentation at Flanders House, which is situated on the 44th floor of the New York Times building, Jan gave a summary of his research titled "Finding the Largest Molecules in Space".
Dr. Eduard Vorobyov (Visiting Scientist -shown at left) and Prof. Shantanu Basu of the Department of Physics and Astronomy have performed computer simulations that trace for the first time the collapse of a nebular cloud all the way to the formation of a star-planet system. Angular momentum of the cloud leads to the formation of a disk of material around a newly formed star. In situations where the disk is sufficiently massive, a fragment in the disk can form and then open up a gap in the disk, allowing a protoplanet to survive in a stable orbit. The results published in Astrophysical Journal Letters (2010, 714, L133) and ongoing work reveal that the formation of multiple star systems and planetary companions, while not predictable exactly in a deterministic fashion, are strongly dependent on the properties of the initial nebular cloud.
One morning this December, the dome slit of the Elginfield Observatory will close after one final night of pointing at the mysteries of the universe above.
See the Western News of Dec. 2, 2010 for more details.
As of January, 2011, present observatory director Dr. David Gray will pass on the reigns to Dr. Peter Brown. The other science projects which occupy the observatory grounds will continue as usual.
Dr. Talayeh Hezareh is the recipient of the presitigious Humboldt Fellowship.
Talayeh received her PhD in Astronomy at Western under the supervision of Dr. Martin Houde, and she is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany.
A celebration was held on Monday, October 25, 2010 to mark the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory here on the campus.
The idea for this birthday party was that of Amanda Papadimos, whose efforts also brought it to fruition.
Amanda presented a brief history of the observatory after which everyone enjoyed some cake and interesting conversation with topics ranging from the history of the building, the public astronomy program, to the Dresden Meteor plaster cast which had been on display for many years.
The formal proceedings ended with department chair Shantanu Basu reading words of congratulations from James Hesser, director of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, which is part of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophyics in the National Research Council.
Hume Blake Cronyn, for whom the observatory was dedicated by his wife Francis Amelia Labatt Cronyn, was instrumental in founding the National Research Institute, which was the predecessor of the National Research Council of Canada.
Finally, Peter Jedicke, honourary president of the London chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) gave words of wishes on behalf of not only the local chapter, but extended well wishes on behalf of RASC members across the country by president Mary Lou Whitehorn.
See more images.
Dr. Gordon Osinski and his research group have received funding from MacDonald, Dettwiller & Associates (MDA) of Brampton, and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for design work for a NASA Mars rover to be used in the CSA's Exploration Surface Mobility program. See details in the Western News of Oct. 14, 2010 (PDF). Photo: Paul Mayne, Western News.
Dr. Jamu Alford is winner of the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council's Innovation Challenge Award for 2010. Jamu, now at the Massechusetts Institute of Technology, received his PhD at Western under the supervision of Dr. Blaine Chronik.
Dr. Silvia Mittler was presented with an award of appreciation during the celebration of 25th anniversary of Sciencetech Inc.
Sciencetech is a leading developer of optics and spectroscopy solutions for science and industry, based here in London, Ontario.
Dr. Mittler assisted in the design, engineering, and fabrication of a THz (Terahertz) polarizing beamsplitter, which is used in Sciencetech's spectrometer equipment.
Dr. Robert Sica and collaborators, including past graduate student Paul Doucet, have been published in the prestigious Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
The paper is titled "Smoke in the Stratosphere: The Untold Story of Pyrocumulonimbus" [high resolution PDF].
See Dr. Sica's web site.
We welcome Mr. Shailesh Nene to our staff. Shailesh will be associated with the First Year undergraduate laboratory.
Nathan Armstrong has been named Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Journal (CUPJ).
The weekly basketball group said goodbye to Talayeh Hezareh (centre), who will be greatly missed as a talented player and wonderful teammate.
Physics and Astronomy recipients of Faculty of Science Awards for 2010 (more images):
- Staff Award of Excellence: Brian Dalrymple
- Award of Excellence in Undergraduate teaching: Dr. Carol Jones
- Award of Excellence in Outreach and Recruitment: Astronomy Group
- Acknowledge of "Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers": Prof. Emeritus Patrick Whippey
- Ontario Early Researcher Award: Drs. Sarah Gallagher, Tamie Poepping, and Giovanni Fanchini
- Canada Research Chair Renewal: Dr. Martin Houde
- Chair Completing Term: Dr. John R. de Bruyn
- Retiring Staff: Michel Debruyne
- Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure: Dr. Paul Wiegert
- Promotion to Professor: Drs. Shantanu Basu and Peter Brown
- 25 Years of Service: Jackie McLean, Dr. Mahi Singh
- USC Teaching Honor Role: Dr. Eugene Wong
- Faculty Scholars Award: Dr. Eugene Wong
- Dean's Special Award of Merit: Prof. Emeritus Patrick Whippey
The 2010 Elizabeth Laird Memorial Lecture was presented by Dr. Jayant Narlikar of Pune, India (centre). The presentation was titled "Searching for Micro-organisms in the Earth's Upper Atmosphere". More photos.
Mathieu Boudreau is the recipient of The Lillian Margaret & Walter David Jackson Scholarship in Physics for 2010. For his medical physics research, Mathieu is investigating anisotropic apparent diffusion coefficients in an elastase-induced emphysema rat model using hyperpolarized 129Xe MRI at low field strengths.
He is supervised by Dr. Giles Santyr.
Two public astronomy nights were held at the Elginfield Observatory in July and August. These were highly popular, with 500 people showing up for the July event. These events were special because Elginfield is a research facility, so public nights are normally held at the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory on campus.
Some of our student research project titles from the astronomy undergraduate research symposium for 2010.
Michel (Mike) Debruyne retired after 37 years at Western. A celebratory party was held at the Grad Club. See photos.
[click image for more photos]
On Friday August 6th 2010 a group of Native Canadian children from all over Canada and various reservations visited Prof. Silvia Mittler and her research group for an introductory session to OPTICS and PHOTONICS.
The event was part of a weeklong scientific travel and information experience for 50 youth aged 12-15, and was organized by the NATIONAL SCIENCE CAMP of INAC (Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada).
The event at Prof. Mittler's lab was aided by CIPI and OCE. David Doran ( of CIPI) brought the new “CIPI OPTICS and PHOTONICS hands-on and demonstration suitcase”. Accomanying David was Jessie Maggard, the London based Business Development Manager of OCE. In addition, Andreas Schönfeld, a German DAAD undergraduate summer exchange student, PhD student Erden Ertorer, and PDF Ireneus Iwanowski) of the Mittler group were present during the event and assisted with the scientific demonstrations, explanations and the hands-on experiences.
After the children had returned from a visit to Sarnia and the Sarnia local industry, they were welcomed in the Physics and Astronomy First Year Laboratory in the Material Science Addition. They were introduced to “What is Light: It is an Electro-Magnetic Wave and a Photon” by way of a power point presentation by Prof. Mittler, followed by some experimental demonstrations supporting the theoretical explanations.
The group was then split into two parts. One group stayed in the First Year lab and had hands on experiences with 5 different experiments, while the other group enjoyed a lab tour into Prof. Mittler’s Laboratory for Photonics of Surfaces and Interfaces in the Physics and Astronomy Building. Both the optics lab and a sample preparation-chemistry lab were shown, and a quick insight in modern interdisciplinary optics and photonics research given. The highlight of the lab tour was the opportunity to work with a real high-tech clean room glove box.
PhD student Robbie Halonen is the 2010 recipient of the William H. Wehlau Scholarship. He is supervised Dr. Carol Jones.
Robbie's research is in the area of radiative transfer within the extended atmospheres of hot (Be) stars.
Dr. Jan Cami and colleagues have made the discovery of complex carbon molecules, commonly known as Buckyballs, in the neighbourhood of a planetary nebula within our milkyway galaxy.
Because their shape resembles a dome, Buckyballs are named after American architect Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the geodesic dome. These tiny particles fall into the general class of fullerenes, or buckminsterfullerenes.
Western astronomer Dr. Els Peeters, and Dr. Cami's graduate student Sarah Malek were also involved in this groundbreaking discovery.
The Teaching Assistant awards for this year.
Stephanie Keating - Award for Tutors - TAs who run tutorials
Edward Stokan - Award for Demonstrators - TAs who teach in Physics Labs at the first, 2nd, and 3rd year levels
Mohammed Osman - Award for Administrative / Marking - TAs who assist Instructors with course administrative and marking duties
The 2010 Faculty of Science Award of Excellence for Teaching Assistants, for the Department of Physics & Astronomy, UWO was Chris Wyenberg.
Drs. Shantanu Basu and Peter Brown have been promoted to Full Professor, and Dr. Paul Wiegert has been promoted to Associate Professor.
Professor Gordon Osinski is leading a team of Canadian scientists who will be designing a robotic arm which could potentially be used by a NASA mission in obtaining rock samples from the moon.
See details in Western News.
See more images.
A reception was held to celebrate the achievements of Professor Michael Cottam during his tenure as Associate Dean of Research and previously Assistant Dean Graduate Program within the Faculty of Science. Mike's term ends on July 1, 2010.
Among those who honoured Mike's accomplishments over the past six years were Provost and former Dean Fred Longstaffe, as well as current Dean David Wardlaw.
Professor Els Peeters was one of seven University of Western Ontario researchers to receive a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Accelerator Supplement grant.
Dr. Peeters' research is in the role played by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), the most complex molecule in space, as important agents in many fundamental physical and biological processes in our universe. See more in the Western News.
Professor Carol Jones was one of two recipients of the Faculty of Science Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching for 2010.
Dr. Jones teaches courses in three departments, these being Physics and Astronomy, Mathematics, and Applied Mathematics. Dr. Jones' research is in the field of the astrophysics of hot stars and extended atmospheres.
Click image to view more photos.
A reception was held to honour the achievements of outgoing chair professor John R. de Bruyn, shown above with his wife Sally.
Associate Dean Dr. Michael Cottam, representing the Faculty of Science and Dean David Wardlaw, spoke of John's achievements.
John recounted that the highlight for him personally was his ability to work on the rejuvenation within the department faculty, which now has a new strong, young contingent of members, following several retirements.
Another project of which John is rightly proud involved the co-ordination and planning of the massive renovations which are now taking place in the physics and astronomy building.
Click image to view more photos.
Members of The Physics and Astronomy Department participated in a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation on June 22, 2010. They did so by riding a unique 30 wheeler cycle around downtown London.
Sarah Kefayati won first prize for her poster at the London Imaging Discovery Day 2010. Her poster was entitled: "Stereoscopic PIV Measurements to Characterize Volumetric Flow and Shear Stress in a Stenosed Carotid Artery Bifurcation Model under Realistic Flow Conditions".
Sarah is supervised by Dr.Tamie Poepping.
Graduating class for 2010. Click to view more photos. Prize winners are listed below.
You can also view an historical list of prize winners.
The students who received their plaques yesterday at our Reception were:
Bondy, Justin - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Physics - 2010 Spring
Chippin, Sam - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Physics - 2010 Spring
Dittmer, Andrew - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Physics - 2010 Spring
Flood, Samantha - BSc (4 Yr) Specialization in Astrophysics - Fall 2009
Immucci, Andrea - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Medical Physics - 2010 Spring
Kehl, Natalie - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Physics; Major in Applied Mathemathics - 2010 Spring
Legg, Peter - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Physics - 2010 Spring
Moldovan, Nataliya - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Major in Medical Physics; Major in Medical Cell Biology - 2010 Spring
Nakagawa, Ryo - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Major in Materials Science; Major Biology - 2010 Spring
Pokluda, Alexander - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Computer Science; Major in Physics - 2010 Spring
Quinn, Matthew - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Medical Physics - 2010 Spring
Rajchgot, Jason - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Medical Physics - 2010 Spring
Shankman, Cory - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Astrophysics; Advanced Minor in Physics - 2010 Spring
Witters, Christopher - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Astrophysics; Minor in Philosophy - 2010 Spring
The following students did not come to the Reception yesterday but graduated this June 2010 ConvocationBoundy, Brian - BSc (4 Yr) Major in Physics; Major in Computer Science - 2010 Spring
Chu, Chia-Min - BSc (4 Yr) Major in Materials Science; Major in Physiology - 2010 Spring
Edey, David - BSc (3 Yr) Major in Materials Science / BESc Mechanical Engineering Oct 2009 - 2010 Spring
Hardy, Eamonn - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Medical Physics - 2010 Spring
Keypour, Jonathan - BSc (4 Yr) Physics Specialization - 2010 Spring
Kucheran, Konrad - BSc (3 Yr) Major in Medical Physics - 2010 Spring
Lendzian, Roland - BSc (4 Yr) Major in Materials Science - 2010 Spring
Muscedere, Eric - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Medical Physics - 2010 Spring
Nissan, Ramen - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Medical Physics - 2010 Spring
Pasarikovski, Christopher - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Medical Physics - 2010 Spring
Graduate students who were receiving their degrees at the spring 2010 convocation were:
Michael Attard PhD
Jian Liu PhD
Christopher Mokry PhD
2010 Prize Winners in alphabetical order:
Sam Chippin was winner of The Raymond Compton Dearle Gold Medal.
Nataliya Moldovan was a double Western Gold Medal winner. Nataliya did a double major in Medical Physics and Cell Biology.
Alexander Pokluda was winner of The J.B. Bancroft Science Medal and Prize.
Matthew Quinn was a winner of four awards:
- The Governor General Silver Medal
- The Strik-Couprie-Inch Cancer Research Course Medal and Prize
- The Western Gold Medal
- The Donald Hay Prize
Cory Shankman was winner of The Maude Holt Kingston Gold Medal in Astronomy.
Eric Barbagiovanni (left) was winner of "Best Poster Paper" award in the Division of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics at the Canadian Association of Physicists Congress 2010. The papers by Eric and Elizabeth Silber (centre) were ranked in the top 6 finalists for the overall competition, while the paper by Bushra Hussain (right) was ranked as a top ten semifinalist.
Eric's paper was entitled "Quantum Dot Effects on the Binding Energy in Silicon". He is co-supervised by Dr. Lyudmila Goncharova and Dr. Peter Simpson.
Elizabeth Silber's paper was titled "Infrasonic Detection of a Near-Earth Object Impact over Indonesia on 8 October, 2009". Elilzabeth is supervised by Dr. Peter Brown.
Bushra Hussain's paper was titled "Design of a Vector Doppler System for Accurate Measurement of Blood Velocities". Bushra is supervised by Dr. Tamie Poepping.
Professor emeritus Dr. Patrick Whippey has organized his 27th consecutive London and district Science Olympics in 2010 in which 203 teams participated.
The Astronomy Group within the Department of Physics and Astronomy was the winner of the 2010 Faculty of Science Outreach Award. This award acknowledges the members of the Astronomy Group for promoting science within the broader community.
[Click on image to view all photos]
(all photos: Mitch Zimmer, Faculty of Science)
A strong showing by the volunteers propelled the Physics and Astronomy exhibit at the SLOME Career Exploration Day into a second place award.
Our exhibitors were Allison Hill, Melanie Wright, Natalie Kehl, Mitchell Gracie, Farhang Jalilian, Patrick Cookson, and Nathan Armstrong.
Peter Frank plays the crucial role of organizing, managing, and transporting the displays and exhibitors each year , so none of this would be possible without his efforts.