Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Westminster students Tyler Heintz ’18 and Ava Hoag '18 recently returned from a summer research program in Italy. For 10 weeks, they studied and researched gravitational microlensing at the University of Salerno, near Italy’s famed Amalfi coast. Microlensing, a prediction of Einstein’s theory of relativity, is the deflection of light by the gravity of a star or planet, and is currently being used to discover small Earth-like exoplanets.
Monday, August 28, 2017
The total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 was the first to cross America in 99 years, and Westminster’s astronomers were not going to miss it. Dr. Thomas Oberst and Dr. Robert Knop, Associate Professors of Physics, traveled to Hopkinsville and Princeton, Ky., respectively, to stand briefly in the 70-mile-diameter umbral shadow of the Moon as it swept by at 1500 miles per hour. For two minutes and 40 seconds, they witnessed one of the rarest of spectacles: the brilliant “diamond ring” of the sun’s last rays peeking through a lunar valley, followed by the ghostly ring of the corona.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
In 2014, officials announced that Westminster College was set to receive a $1.027 million grant through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program of the National Science Foundation, a program aimed to increase qualifications of secondary educators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (or IQ:STEM). Since its inception at Westminster, seven scholars have been accepted into the program; four of which have graduated and are in their first years of teaching.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has announced 240 new Goldwater Scholars and identified 307 students as Honorable Mentions. For 30 years, Goldwater Scholarships have been awarded to thousands of undergraduates pursuing careers in STEM research. Westminster College honors students Tyler Heintz ’18 and Audrey Nickle ’18 were granted Honorable Mention status in the 2017 Goldwater Scholarship competition.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
A multinational team of astronomers led by Dr. Thomas Oberst, associate professor of physics and director of the Westminster College Planetarium and Observatory, has discovered an exoplanet orbiting precariously close to its host star. And it is getting closer. The planet, KELT-16b, is whipping around its star so quickly that its entire year lasts less than one day on Earth. Oberst’s team calculates that it may have only a few hundreds of thousands of years left – a mere instant in astronomical timescales – before being ripped to shreds by the tidal forces of its star.
Monday, January 30, 2017
Westminster College’s Department of Physics will host Dr. Rob Wittenmyer for a Robert M. Woods Memorial Lecture at 7 p.m. on February 15 in Phillips Lecture Hall, Hoyt Science Resources Center. Wittenmyer’s lecture, "The Great Unveiling: A New Golden Age of Exoplanetary Science," is free and open to the public.
Monday, January 16, 2017
"The Night Sky Over Westminster"
The night sky over campus can be especially dark and star-filled if the stadium field lights are off and you pick the right spot. Westminster is far from big city lights and noise, and provides a peaceful retreat. My personal favorite spots for stargazing are the Outdoor Field Station and the College Woods. Our nighttime astronomy labs are a big hit with students, and public stargazing events following planetarium shows can draw a crowd. My most memorable night was when students viewed comet Pan-STARRs through telescopes. A couple weeks later, some of the same students stayed up all night to watch the Lyrids meteor shower.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Westminster College’s Department of Physics will host Dr. David A. Weintraub for the annual Robert M. Woods Memorial Lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, in Phillips Lecture Hall, Hoyt Science Resources Center. The lecture and the reception at 6:30 p.m. are free and open to the public.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
Westminster College will introduce an astronomy minor program for the 2016-2017 school year.
Friday, August 26, 2016
Dr. Thomas Oberst, Westminster College associate professor of physics, and Dr. Phillip Reed, Kutztown University associate professor of physics and astronomy, have been awarded a $250,000 collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for student travel and research in the field of astronomy.
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Bachelor of Science