• Latest Physics newsletter, July - september 2007 (12/2/07)
  • Congratulations to Professor Yves Idzerda, who has been elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Fellowship is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the membership of APS (12/2/07)

Science Cover

  • Dr. Jonathan Cirtain, who earned his Ph.D. in Physics at MSU in 2005, has the cover story on the December 7, 2007 issue of Science. Jonathan leads a team of solar physicists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center studying X-ray jets at the base of the solar corona using data from the Japanese Hinode satellite. With Hinode's high sensitivity, Cirtain's team observed an average of 240 jets per day. They conclude that magnetic reconnection, a process where two oppositely charged magnetic fields collide and release energy, is frequently occurring in the low solar corona. This interaction forms both Alfven waves and the burst of energized plasma in X-ray jets.

"These observations show a clear relationship between magnetic reconnection and Alfven wave formation in the X-ray jets." says Cirtain. "The large number of jets, coupled with the high speeds of the outflowing plasma, lends further credence to the idea that X-ray jets are a driving force in the creation of the fast solar wind."

It is extremely unusual for a young scientist, only two years post-Ph.D., to capture the cover story on Science. Associated with the news story surrounding this discovery, Jonathan was interviewed on December 6 on the National Public Radio program, "All Things Considered": http://tinyurl.com/2yn4gv (12/07/07)

  • A recent Physical Review Letter by MSU Physics Professor Yves Idzerda and graduate student Keith Gilmore, as well as M.D. Stiles at NIST, is attracting a lot of attention in the technical press, as their work provides the first theoretical calculations of the damping mechanism for excited magnetic states in these key metals. See here for more details.

The original paper is: "Identification of the dominant precession-damping mechanism in Fe, Co, and Ni by first-principles calculations", Physical Review Letters 99, 027204. (13 July 2007)

  • Asteroid named after Physics Faculty Member!

Asteroid 120120 has been named "Kankelborg" in honor of Associate Professor of Physics Charles Kankelborg. The naming citation reads in part: An avid and well-rounded astrophysicist, Charles Kankelborg (b. 1967) develops innovative instruments for observing our solar system in the extreme ultraviolet. (18 June 07)


Department Head Bill Hiscock has been elected to serve a two-year term as vice-Chair of the Aviation Committee of the Aerospace States Association (ASA). ASA is a bi-partisan scientific and educational organization of Lieutenant Governors and Governor-appointed delegates. (06/01/07)

  • MSU Physics researchers say new telescope making it easier to predict solar explosions. Read article... (06/01/07)
  • Ian Lake is the 2007 recipient of the William E. Parkins Engineering-Physics Award. This award honors the MSU student with the top grade point average in engineering, math, and physics courses. Ian is a double major in Physics and Computer Science. (05/30/07)


  • I'm very pleased to announce the success of several members of our department in being named for College and MSU campus awards:
    • Professor Yves Idzerda has been selected to receive the 2007 Cox Faculty Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching. Way to go, Yves!
    • Professor Dick Smith has been selected as one of the 2007 recipients of the Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring -- congratulations, Dick!
    • Graduate student Sytil Murphy has been selected to receive the College of Letters and Science Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for Science Departments for 2007. Congratulations Sytil!
    • Student Christoffer Renner has been selected to receive the 2007 Dean's Award for Excellence as the Outstanding Graduating Senior in Science, by the College of Letters and Science. Congratulations Christoffer! 
      -Bill Hiscock(04/12/07)


  • Professor Bennett Link has discovered strong evidence that neutron stars with strong magnetic fields are heated by the decay of those fields. His work is reported in a new Physical Review Letter and is also attracting attention in the popular science press: http://www.physorg.com/news91719551.html (03/01/07)


  • Congratulations to Assistant Professor Jiong Qiu! She has been selected by the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society to receive the 2007 Karen Harvey Prize, awarded in recognition for a significant contribution to the study of the Sun early in a person's professional career. The Harvey Prize was previously (2003) awarded to MSU Solar Physics professor Dana Longcope; faculty in the MSU Solar Physics group has received 40% of the Harvey Prizes awarded! (02/01/07)


  • Congratulations to the Space Science and Engineering Laboratory (SSEL) Ground Station Team. MSU's SSEL has been officially recognized as one of the first 20 ground stations worldwide to successfully track and downlink data from NASA's GeneSat satellite, launched Dec. 16. SSEL has downlinked over 500 data packets, a remarkable achievement since GeneSat's low inclination orbit means it is never higher than 30 degrees above the horizon as seen from Bozeman. MSU news article here(01/02/07)


More archived news items here...

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