News Archive, 2011-2012 Academic Year
Professors Hal Evensen, Yan Wu and Wei Li play key roles in new Microsystems & Nanotechnology major.
In April 2011, the UW Board of Regents approved a new major in microsystems and nanotechnology
engineering (MSNT). This major is housed within the department of chemistry and engineering physics.
Professor Hal Evensen, EP program coordinator, led a group of faculty
from several departments, including EP faculty Yan Wu and
Wei Li, in the effort to create this major. Several freshmen
have already declared for this new major, which has its first new course, MSNT 1010, starting
in January 2012. Evensen is presently the program coordinator for both EP and MSNT – many
of the students completing the existing minor in MSNT are EPs – and is looking for industrial
contacts to help the major develop and to provide opportunities for these students.
Professor Wei Li returns from sabbatical year in Japan
Professor Wei Li returned in Fall 2011 from
a one-year sabbatical at NTT Photonics Laboratories in Japan. At NTT,
he worked on modeling the quantum cascade laser and DFB
laser parameter extraction. These efforts led to one NTT technical report,
two research seminars, and two simulation packages for the company. Besides technical
gains and achievements at this world-leading research institution,
Professor Li also enjoyed the attractive and unique Japanese culture, and
unfortunately experienced one of the largest earthquakes in Japan's history.
Professor Li has also been awarded a Wisconsin Application Grant for the 2011-2012
academic year to work on laser diode modeling and simulation.
- Professor Doyle St.John develops apparatus to measure lens parameters.
- Professor Doyle St.John developed a simple apparatus for determining
the focal length of a lens. The system is completely automated with a microcontroller and LCD readout. Professor St.John
wrote a scientific article describing the apparatus which was accepted for publication by the journal Optical Engineering this spring. This work was supported by a UW-Platteville Scholarly Activity Improvement Fund grant.
- Professors Philip Young, Andrew Pawl and Thomas Scaife present research at AAPT meeting in Omaha, NE.
- Physics professors Philip Young, Andrew Pawl and Thomas
Scaife each presented results of their physics education research at
the summer meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the Physics Education Research Conference, both
held in Omaha, Neb., during the first week of August 2011. Young is the PI on a $200,000, five-year grant from the NSF
that has enabled the transition to a studio format of instruction in the introductory physics courses at UW-Platteville, and
his research has illustrated the benefits of moving to an active learning environment. Pawl presented the results of a SAIFfunded
study on student reasoning in mechanics involving 40 UW-Platteville students that was performed in collaboration
with David Pritchard’s PER group at MIT and a study of student behavior when working online homework that was
performed in collaboration with UW-Platteville student Joseph Peterson. Scaife, newly hired in 2011, presented results from
his graduate work at the Ohio State University using statistical methods to better understand which instructional practices
have the most significant learning impact. The research was done in collaboration with Aaron Warren of Purdue University
North Central and Andrew Heckler of OSU.
- Physics hires/promotes three.
- Elizabeth Holden, hired to a 1 year appointment in 2010, was promoted this year to a permanent lecturer position. In addition to teaching a regular load of Physics/EP courses, Ms. Holden
will be co-teaching the "Women in Science and Engineering" course this year (Women's Studies 2730).
- Dr. Paul Strycker was hired this year to a permanent lecturer position. Dr. Strycker recently completed a Ph.D. in astronomy at NMSU.
- Dr. Thomas Scaife was hired this year to a tenure-track assistant professorship. Professor Scaife recently completed a Ph.D. in physics education research at OSU.
- Lecturer Paul Strycker co-authors paper published in journal Icarus.
- A paper coauthored by Lecturer Paul Strycker using Hubble Space Telescope
spectra to investigate the composition of Jupiter's clouds was published by the planetary science journal Icarus. To read the
article, “Jovian Chromophore Characteristics from Multispectral HST Images,” visit
- Lecturer Elizabeth Holden presents at Midwest Culturally Inclusive Conference.
- Lecturer Elizabeth Holden co-presented a talk
with Tammy Salmon-Stephens (director of Women in Engineering and Engineering Advising) at the Midwest Culturally Inclusive
Conference held at UW-Platteville on Sept 16-17,
2011. Their talk, titled
“Transformative Teaching Techniques for Men and Women in
STEM Fields: A Course in Women’s Studies”, described the course
"Women in Science and Engineering", which they co-teach. Ms. Holden
also had a short story called “A Small Act of Selfishness”
published in the October 2011 issue of the online literary magazine
Stirring ( www.sundresspublications.com/stirring).
- Society of Physics Students hosts outreach activities year-round.
- The UW-Platteville Society of Physics Students (SPS) is a student
organization with the intent to enrich peoples lives with physics. As part of their commitment to community outreach,
the students held a Physics Phunshop for the local middle schools on Oct. 8, 2011. The middle school students
participated in activities demonstrating many topics in physics including Newton’s laws, optics, wave motion, rotational motion
and energy. SPS also hosted an engineering
physics Thanksgiving lunch in conjunction with hosting the fall
2011 SPS Zone 9 Meeting Conference on Nov. 18 and 19, 2011.
Other outreach opportunities on the horizon for the SPS include
hosting three educational sessions in February to help Boy Scouts earn a nuclear science
merit badge and giving workshops explaining basic principles
of physics to Girl Scouts.
- Society of Physics Students to return to QuadCopter competition.
- The Society of Physics Students is buzzing due to the new and improved design
for their quad-copter, which is currently being completed by the quad-copter team. Last year the students took third place in
the Collegiate Aerial Robotics Demonstration competition. In this robotics competition, they had to fly to complete a series of
tasks using the quad-copter’s maneuverability. SPS’ Quad-copter team is also trying to make a ground vehicle for the next
robotics competition that they enter.