News and Events
Congratulations to Dr. Bruce Rafert, professor of physics and former NDSU Provost on his recent retirement. Bruce has had a long and prosperous career in science, notably rising to the rank of Provost here at NDSU. Bruce worked tirelessly to push NDSU to new heights. We wish Bruce and his family well in this next, exciting stage of their lives.
Two Faculty Promoted and Granted Tenure
The department is excited to announce the promotion and tenure of Dr. Warren Christensen and Dr. Andrew B. Croll! The two faculty members have worked hard to reach the significant and sustained level of teaching, research and service required for advancement. Dr. Christensen has focused on physics education research, and in his words "I view my role at NDSU as someone who seeks to improve the instruction, the collegiality, and overall climate for students and faculty". Dr. Croll's work spans several different area's of polymer science and engineering, notably working on the relation between thin polymer films, material properties and geometric complexity (such as origami).
Tenure is one of the most misunderstood parts of our higher education system, so it is worthwhile to explain what that means here at NDSU. In essence, tenure guarantees a faculty members academic freedom. The department chair, or dean, or president cannot force a tenured faculty member to research a specific topic under threat of termination. It does not mean a tenured faculty member cannot be fired for not living up to the requirements of their contract (for example, not showing up to teach or not doing research). The actual policy is included below for the interested reader.
"Tenure assures academic freedom and enhances economic security for faculty members who show promise of sustained contributions in those three areas [teaching, service, research]. Tenure aims to both recognize a candidate's potential long-term value to the institution as evidenced by professional performance and growth and to provide the expectation of continued employment. The decision to award tenure rests on criteria that reflect the potential long-term contribution of the faculty member to the purposes, priorities, and resources of the institution, unit, and program. With the individual autonomy derived from academic freedom and tenure comes the responsibility to create and/or maintain an ethical, respectful, and professional work climate for oneself, one's colleagues, one's students, and others with whom one relates professionally. Due to the emphasis on institutional purposes and priorities, tenure recommendations should be reviewed at department, college, and university levels."
Faculty and Students Receive Awards
It is another busy awards season here in the NDSU physics department. Undergraduate students Carly Snell and Parker Gunderson received Eivind Horvik Memorial Award for the best overall performance in the calculus-based physics sequence. Vijay Shah and Jacob Wieber received Sinha Family Scholarship intended to support physics majors with junior or senior standing. Special considerations are given to the students’ academic merit and financial need. Vijay Shah and Matthew Urich received Physics Achievement Award. This award is given annually to Physics majors based upon their academic performance with emphasis placed on excellence in Physics and Mathematics and distinction in undergraduate research.
Congratulation Carly, Parker, Vijay, Jacob, and Matthew! We are very proud of your accomplishments and wish you continued success in your future.
Graduate student Guilherme Volpe Bossa is this year's recipient of the Graduate School Research Award in the College of Science and Mathematics. This is well-deserved recognition for his outstanding research.
Finally, faculty member Dr. Sylvio May was awarded the Paul Juell Award for Excellence in Mentoring Award by the College of Science and Mathematics! Well deserved, Dr. May!
Students Participate in University Physics Competition
On the weekend of Nov. 13-15 two groups of NDSU physics students participated in the "University Physics Competition". The contest allows students to flex their Physics muscles attempting to solve a very challenging problem. This year group one, Matt Urich, Parker Pavlicek, and Eric Kubischta --
solved Problem A "Terraforming Mars" and were ranked as "Accomplished Competitor". Group 2, Mitch Zubich, Joseph Roth, and Lane Morrison, solved Problem B "Golfing around a tree" and were ranked on the level of a Bronze medal!
Congratulations Matt, Parker, Eric, Mitch, Joseph, and Lane!
Research Hilighted with 'Inside Cover'
Recent work by Alan Denton and undergraduate student Wei Kang Lim has been published in Soft Matter. The work also garnered the researchers the prestigious 'inside cover' of the journal. Read more here.
NDSU accepted into the APS bridge program
Recently the department has gone through the process to become a 'Partnership Institution' in the American Physical Society's bridge program. We are now happy to announce that we have been accepted! The program is designed to help minority students achieve their Ph.D. degrees. These students will be a welcome addition to our state, our doctoral program and ultimately as a member of the highly skilled North Dakota workforce! read more here.
Faculty Member to give Invited Talk
Faculty member Yongki Choi was invited to speak at an international conference in Ulsan, South Korea this December. It is always an honor to be invited to such a prestigious meeting, congratulations Yonki and NDSU Research! More information can be found on the meeting website :"The 20th Innovative Workshop on Soft/Bio Materials" and "The 6th Discussion Meeting on Polymer Physics Theory".
Physics Students Organize Community Outreach Event
On Nov. 12, 2015, our Society of Physics Students (SPS) group organized a Science Fun Night at Longfellow Elementary School in Fargo. The SPS coordinated with the school's PTA, recruited and trained undergraduate and graduate student volunteers, and set up and facilitated several hands-on science activities spread throughout the school. Stations included Force & Motion, Magic Magnets, Soapy Science, Light Show, and Making Waves, as well as demonstrations with liquid nitrogen and giant bubbles. The Longfellow PTA kindly assisted with registration, scheduling, and dinner. The event drew close to 100 curious K-5 students, plus parents and guardians. Fun and science were enjoyed by all. See the pictures of the kids (young and old) below!
Researcher accredited as HLC Reviewer
Bruce Rafert has been rigorously trained and certified by the HLC to undertake institutional accreditation visits for both Open and Standard Pathways accreditation visits. The certification resulted from completion of the HLC training for Open and Standard Pathways at their October 2015 training session, three intensive days of individual and group training, simulations, and extensive homework.
Bruce is only the second NDSU Faculty member trained as an HLC reviewer. Peer reviewers are selected through an application process https://www.hlcommission.org/Peer-Review/peer-reviewer-application.html Their roles are described https://www.hlcommission.org/Peer-Review/peer-reviewer-roles.html
This places new responsibility on Bruce's shoulders, but it is a very important roll to fill.
Two Student Teams Win Bronze Medal in University Physics Competition
Our Department had two teams (out of 131 teams total) participate in
the 5th annual University Physics Competition on November 14-16, 2014.
One team, with Austin Usselman, Joseph Roth, and Tyler Antony, investigated
the problem "Circumbinary Planets". The other team, with Wei Kang Lim,
Mitchell Zubich, and Lane Morrison, studied the problem "A Water Fountain".
Both our teams were ranked on the level of a Bronze Medal. Congratulations
to Austin, Joseph, Tyler, Wei Kang, Mitchell, and Lane for this remarkable
NDSU Researcher Receives Prestigious Air Force Grant
Andrew Croll has been honored with an Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator award (YIP)! From the Office of Scientific Research website:
"The Air Force YIP supports scientists and engineers who have received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last five years and show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research. The objective of this program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering; enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators; and increase opportunities for the young investigator to recognize the Air Force mission and related challenges in science and engineering."
Andrew's award was for his proposal "Crumpled and Prescriptively Folded Polymer Films for Advanced Lightweight Materials". The award will bring $300 000 to the university over the next 3 years.
NDSU Researcher Co-Organizes International Workshop
Thomas Ihle (NDSU) and Vladimir Lobaskin (UC Dublin) are organizing a cross-disciplinary CECAM-workshop entitled "Collective Dynamics in Physics, Biology and Social Sciences" from May 20-22, 2015, at the University College Dublin, Ireland, see http://www.cecam.org/workshop-1207.html
Interested researchers are encouraged to apply for participation.
NDSU Physics on Journal Cover!
A recent collaboration between Andrew B. Croll, Fardad Azarmi and a co-advised graduate student Jared Risan has been honored with the cover of the Journal of Polymer Science B! See the link for more information: Journal of Polymer Science B.
Student Featured by NDSU
NDSU Physics Education student Kyle Mueller has recently been featured on the NDSU news site. The story describes his work towards deeply understanding how to teach the unique way of thinking required to do well in physics. The article also highlights all of the excellent 'out of class' work Kyle has been doing to further his goal of becoming an educator. Way to go Kyle!
Invited Article Published
NDSU researchers were recently invited to write a review article by the editors of the journal Langmuir. Erik Hobbie and co-workers were invited to write an article reviewing the technique they commonly use to separate nanoparticles and nanotubes by size or type. Read more at Langmuir!
2014 Undergraduate Physics Research Symposium
Our (semi) annual research symposium is back! Get ready to see some of the excellent research being done in the region by undergraduate students!
The Symposium will occur on Friday April 11th, at the South Engineering (Physics) Building at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND from 1-5pm. We plan to have a series of approx. 10-15-minute talks, followed by refreshments and posters. We hope this will provide enough flexibility for students and faculty to travel to and from Fargo the same day as the symposium if they so choose.
NDSU Research Garners Journal Cover
A recent collaboration between Erik Hobbie, Alexander Wagner and Alan Denton has recently been featured on the cover of the journal Soft Matter! See the link for more information: Soft Matter