Recent Events

Westminster College Physics Students Present their research at the 2011 Undergraduate Research Symposium.


April 27, 2011 nine physics major and minor students presented their reserach at the 2011 Undergraduate Research Symposium wihich is sponsored by the Drinko Center. Of those students who presented, there were two groups of two students who did combined research, Robert Briggs and Wesley LaQualia presented " Using Particle Tracking to Measure Flow Instabilities," William Armentrout and John-Tyler Soltys presented "It’s Elementary! A Basic Lab Setup to Determine the Mass of the Muon," Jeremy Booher presented " The Physics of Sand Castles: an Observation of Instability in Dry Granular Media," Daniel Giles presented " Surface Tension Broken from Beneath," Andrew Wasil presented "Shear Thickening Non-Newtonian Physics.", two physics minors presented their reserach projects Timothy (Eric) Dennis presented "Luminosity of the Sun," and finally Christina Erceg presented "Interference Patterns in Soap Films."

Westminster College Physics Students Present their research at the 2010 Undergraduate Research Symposium.


April 23 and 24th 2010 three senior physics students presented their research at the 2010 Undergraduate Research Symposium which is sponsored by the Drinko Center, Stefanie Cumberledge presented her research entitled " Measuring Light Pollution at Westminster College," Kurtis Gills presented his research entitled " Wavelet Analysis of 2D Interacting Vortices In Channel Simulation," and Kevin Mack presented his research entitled "Exploring Frequency Dependent Permeability in a Steel Core Inductor."

Westminster College Physics Students Present their research at the 2009 Undergraduate Research Symposium.


April 2009: Five students presented their research at the 2009 Undergraduate Research Symposium which is sponsored by the Drinko Center. Senior Mark Amaismeier presented his research entitled "Ducted Wind Turbines," his advisor is Douglas Armstead. Junior Stefanie Cumberledge presented her research entitled "Liquid Drop Collisions," Senior Christopher Ellwanger presented his research entitled "Measuring Light Pollution at Westminster College Observatory," Senior Andrew Smith presented his research entitled "Electrowetting: Physics Capstone Project," and First Year John-Tyler Soltys presented his research entitled "Magic Via Modular Arithmatic."


Mr. Thomas Oberst sucessfully defends his dissertation.


December 2008:  Thomas Oberst successfully defended his disertation "Submillimeter Spectroscopy of the Carina Nebula" at Cornell Universtiy.  His work helps extend astronomical observations to a part of the electromagnetic that had not been explored before.  Because of the extreme difficulty in making these observations, the measurements took place at the research station at the south pole.


Westminster College Physics Alumna Gwendolyn (Myron) Brunner '96 receives the Distinguished Alumni Award for Physics.


October 2008:  Gwendolyn Brunner received the Distinguished Alumni Award for her work as a medical physicist.  While on campus, Gwendolyn addressed a group of students on the topic of medical physics as a career track for physics majors.  She delivered a public talk titled "Physics and Cancer" describing the ways that physics has improved the diagnosis and imaging of cancer.  After graduating from Westminster in 1996, Gwen earned an M.S. in radiological medical physics from the University of Kentucky.  Gwen presently works as a medical physicist at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center.


Mr. Thomas Oberst joins the Westminster College Physics Department.


August 2008:  Mr. Thomas Oberst, a doctoral candidate at Cornell University, has been hired as an Instructor in the Physics Department.  The Department welcomes him and his wife Emily to Westminster College.  Mr. Oberst is a 2001 graduate of Duquesne University, where he earned a B.S. in both Physics and Mathematics.  He received his M.S. degree in Physics from Cornell University in 2006.


Dr. G. Samuel Lightner, IV retires after 38 years with the Westminster College Physics Department.


June 2008:  Dr. Lightner has retired after serving the Physics Department and the entire College with distinction for 38 years.   He was instrumental in the creation of the College's Faculty Handbook and worked on nearly every committee during this years at Westminster.  In recent years, Dr. Lightner has served as Planetarium Director and Department Chair.  Upon his retirement, Dr. Lightner was awarded emeritus status by the College.  Though he and Sara have retired to a distant (and warmer) locale, we hope they will remain an active part of our community.


Westminster College physics major presents her research at the 2008 Undergraduate Research Symposium.


April 2008:  Lisa Gayetsky presented the results of her senior capstone project at the 2008 Undergraduate Research Symposium.  The title of her talk was "Study of Rigidity and Morphology of Beta-Lactoglobulin Spheruylites using Cross-Polarized Miocroscopy."  Her research was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Armstead.


Dr. David Newman (U of Alaska, Fairbanks) delivers the 2008 Woods Lecture


April 2008: 

The Woods Memorial Lecture honors Dr. Robert M. Woods, professor of physics at Westminster College from 1947 - 1972.  It is made possible by a gift from the Woods family that has been supplemented over the years by gifts from friends and alumni.












Physics faculty publish new research.


August 2007:

Dr. Armstead has just published a paper, "Simulations of Ferrite-Dielectric-Wire Composite Negative Index Materials," in Physical Review Letters.  He and his collaborators performed computer simulations of a material composed of ferrite sheets within a grid of metal wires.  When electromagnetic waves (with frequencies ~40 GHz) passes through such a material, it experiences unusual effects due to the way the ferrite sheets interact with the radiation's magnetic field and the way the metal wires interact with the radiation's electric field.  One way to describe those unusual effects is to describe the material's refractive index (which characterizes the speed electromagnetic waves travel through the material) as negative.

August 2007:

Dr. Caylor and Westminster College senior Lisa Gayetsky have just published a paper, "Measuring the Forces Between Magnetic Dipoles," in The Physics Teacher.  They describe a laboratory activity in which students can accurately measure the force between two magnets (or one magnet and a piece of steel).  In particular, students can use these measurements to show that this force doesn't vary inversely with the square of the distance between the magnets, but can be very precisely described as varying inversely as either the fourth power of the distance (for two magnets) or the seventh power of the distance (for a magnet and a piece of steel).


Dr. Douglas Armstead joins the Westminster College Physics Department.


August 2007:  Dr. Douglas Armstead has been hired as an Assistant Professor of Physics.  the Department welcomes him and his wife Sophie to Westminster College.  Dr. Armstead received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2002, conducted post-doctoral research at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, and has most recently taught Physics at the College of Wooster.


Dr. William Johnson retires after 36 years with the Westminster College Physics Department.


June 2007:  Dr. Johnson has retired after serving the Physics Department and the entire College with distinction for 35 years.  Her served as the Chair of the Physics Department for many years and conducted a research program in collaboration with NASA.  Upon his retirement, Dr. Johnson was granted emeritus status by the College and was awarded the 2007 Distinguished Faculty Award. (See the article on Dr. Johnson featured in the Spring 2007 edition of the Westminster Magazine.)  Our best wishes to him and Pat.  Don't be a stranger!


Dr. G. Samuel Lightner elected to Executive Committee of the American Physical Society's Forum on Education.


Spring 2007:  Dr. Lightner has been elected as an APS/AAPT Member-At-Large for a three-year term on the Forum's Executive Committee.  "The Forum on Education (FEd) exists to involve its members in activities related to physics education, at all educational stages, from elementary to grad school and life-long learning."


Westminster College physics majors present their research at the 2007 Undergraduate Research Symposium.


April 2007:  Justin Bardash presented the results of his senior capstone project at the 2007 Undergraduate Research Symposium.  the title of his talk was "Automating the Resistance measurement at t Superconductor Transition."  His research was conducted in collaboration with Er. Johnson.

April 2007:  Colin Campbell presented the results of his senior capstone project at the 2007 Undergraduate Research Symposium.  the title of his talk was "Sticking and Slipping Water Droplets."  His research was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Caylor.

April 2007:  Jacob Flickinger presented the results of his senior capstone project at the 2007 Undergraduate Research Symposium.  the title of his talk was " Pressure Drop Relation to Turbulent Flow in Tubes."  His research was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Johnson.

April 2007:  William Giles presented the results of his senior capstone project at the 2007 Undergraduate Research Symposium.  the title of his talk was "Analysis of Laser Speckle."  His research was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Caylor.


Senior physics major Colin Campbell wins First Place in the student poster session at the Spring 2007 meeting of the Western Pennsylvania section of the American Association of Physics Teachers.


April 2007:  Colin's poster, The Depinning Transition of Periodically Oscillated Sessile Drops, was voted as the top poster by the professional physicists and physics teachers at the meeting.  The poster described research performed with Dr. Caylor.  Congratulations Colin!


Alumnus Jim Adams, NASA Deputy Director for Planetary Sciences, delivers the 2007 Woods Lecture.


April 2007:

"A New 'Look' at the Sun"

STEREO (SolarTErrestrialRElationsObservatory) is the third mission in NASA's Solar Terrestrial Probes program (STP). This two-year mission will provide a unique and revolutionary view of the Sun-Earth System.

 


"Space: Why Bother?"



A discussion of NASA's recent scientific contributions and a vision for the future.

 

 

The Woods Memorial Lecture honors Dr. Robert M. Woods, professor of physics at Westminster College from 1947-1972.  It is made possible by a gift from the Woods family that has been supplemented over the years by gifts from friends and alumni.