News Archive 2012-2013

Professor Yan Wu co-authors journal article with EP alumnus Rick Jackson and student Jay Emmerich

Professor Yan Wu co-authored the article Electrical and thermal characterization of a ferroelectric thin film with an electro-thermal nanoprobe published in Review of Scientific Instruments in July 2012. The article describes research carried out at UW-Platteville by Professor Wu's group. The lead author of the article was UW-Platteville Engineering Physics alumnus Rick Jackson and UW-Platteville student Jay Emmerich was also a co-author. The research project is supported by a $454,282, three-year grant from NSF for advancing nanotechnology education and research in UW-Platteville with a multifunctional atomic force microscope system.

Professor Hal Evensen promotes new MSNT Engineering major at ASEE in San Antonio

Professor Hal Evensen presented the paper "A New Undergraduate Major in Microsystems and Nanotechnology Engineering" at the 2012 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas in June 2012. The paper describes the Microsystems and Nanotechnology Engineering major, which is new to UW-Platteville as of April 2011. The major is interdisciplinary, but Engineering Physics is playing a central role with Professors Evensen, Yan Wu and Wei Li all serving as part of the steering committee and Evensen serving as program coordinator.

Professor Wei Li develops laser simulation software for private-sector use

Working with Engineering Physics student Austen Schultz, Professor Wei Li developed a computer design tool to simulate the lasing spectrum of a distributed feedback (DFB) laser diode. The software has undergone more than 10 revisions and is now complete with graphic user interface (GUI) and functions robustly enough for use in industry, greatly simplifying the design of laser diodes with desired parameters. This accomplishment is the direct result of a UW System Wisconsin Applied Research Grant awarded to Professor Li. The simulation tool has been demonstrated to the industry collaborators, and Professor Li presented the results of the research at the Wisconsin Science and Technology Symposium at Marshfield, Wis. in July 2012. Professor Li is continuing this research in collaboration with industry partners and supported by The WiSys Technology Foundation, Inc.

UW-Platteville hosts WAPT meeting

The UW-Platteville Physics program hosted the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Association of Physics Teachers on October 26–27, 2012. Professor Phil Young was the meeting coordinator and will serve as WAPT president for 2013. High School, college, and university physics teachers from across Wisconsin shared developments in physics education through talks, posters, and workshops. For meeting highlights, see WAPT's meeting web page.

Professor Thomas Scaife co-leads ENGAGE-funded project

Professor Thomas Scaife is working with Kimberly Sargent to study whether providing supplemental instruction about spatial-reasoning skills will increase retention of engineering students at UW-Platteville. The team was awarded a mini-grant by the NSF-funded ENGAGE project to allow them to identify and provide support for incoming engineering freshmen with poor spatial-reasoning skills.

Professor Hal Evensen among EMS faculty mentors of Texas high school students interested in engineering

In April 2012 Professor Hal Evensen, Associate Dean Lisa Riedle and a UW-Platteville student served as judges for an invention contest held at the George Washington Carver High School for Applied Technology, Engineering, and The Arts. This event was the culmination of a year-long project, with Professor Evensen and several other UW-Platteville faculty serving as a technical advisors (via teleconferences) for Aldine students who wanted to participate in the contest. This effort was the latest in a long-term relationship that has resulted in several Aldine students choosing to attend UW-Platteville.

Professors Philip Young, Thomas Scaife, and Andrew Pawl and Lecturer Elizabeth Holden present at AAPT/PERC in Philadelphia

Physics professors Philip YoungAndrew Pawl, and Thomas Scaife and Lecturer Elizabeth Holden each presented at the summer meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers or the associated Physics Education Research Conference in Philadelphia, Penn., during the last week of July 2012. 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 presented research illustrating the benefits of moving to an active learning environment. Scaife contributed a paper entitled “The Dependence of Instructional Outcomes on Individual Differences: An Example from DC Circuits” which was accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the 2012 Physics Education Research Conference. Pawl presented a study of the confidence decline exhibited by MIT students taking introductory physics, done in collaboration with David Pritchard’s PER group at MIT. Holden presented "Learning Physics on the Giant Swing" summarizing an outreach event designed to interest girls in science and engineering during which Holden used a ropes course to teach physics concepts.

Lecturer Elizabeth Holden co-leads study-abroad summer course

Lecturer Elizabeth Holden will co-lead a short-term study-abroad course "The History of Science and Technology in Europe: 1500-present" this summer, traveling to the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. The trip will last just over two weeks and will count as a three-credit general education course. This is a repeat of a very successful trip that took 12 students to Europe for 16 days in May 2012.

Professor Thomas Scaife appointed PACCE liason

Professor Thomas Scaife has been appointed as the liaison to The College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science for the Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement. The press release is available here.

EP Contact

Contact Information


Dr. Andrew Pawl
Dept. of Engineering Physics
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
1 University Plaza, Platteville, WI 53818
Tel: 608.342.1651
Fax: 608.342.1052
Program Office: 210 Engineering Hall

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