Montana State University

Department of Physics

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173840
Bozeman, MT 59717-3840

Tel: (406) 994-3614
Fax: (406) 994-4452
Location: EPS building, Room 264

Department Head:
Prof. Yves Idzerda

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News Archive - 2012

 MSU Graduate Michelle Larsen (B.S. 12/'93; M.S. 12/'95 with Greg Francis; Ph.D. 5/'01 with Bennett Link) will become the next President and CEO of the Adler Planetarium beginning January, 2013. This is a highly visible and prominent position; the Adler is the oldest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, and is one of the more prominent cultural institutions for astronomy education in North America. She will be the first female President of the Planetarium. For more information see this article and this link
Dick Smith 11/30/12

 Professor Yves Idzerda has been appointed to serve on the APS Committee on Meetings for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2013 and ending December 31, 2015. The APS Committee on Meetings deals with all meetings for all units of APS (48,000 members). The APS March Meeting is the largest and, according to Yves, the most fun, but he may be biased.
Dick Smith 11/30/12

 MSU Space Science and Engineering Lab (SSEL) featured in recent TV spot showing how our students are building real satellites for NASA.
See video here...

 Courtney Peck (B.S. 2012) is one of nine grad students and postdocs affiliated with MSU to receive NSF fellowships for AY12-13.

 On Oct. 28th, Dr. Carla Riedel gave a colloquium titled "Hunting the Higgs" in which she explored such questions as: What is this particle, and why has it been so aggressively sought? Why has it been so difficult to discover? How certain are we that we have it? And where do we go from here? Slides of the presentation are now available here...
Dick Smith 10/30/12

 Happy Birthday to HRBE
We are wishing a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to MSU's grand little satellite, which has now operated for more than one year in orbit around Earth. The William A. Hiscock Radiation Belt Explorer (HRBE), formerly known as Explorer-1 [Prime] Unit 2 (E1P-U2) has now exceeded one year of operation in orbit around Earth, wildly surpassing all design expectations. HRBE was launched into space at 3:48 a.m. MDT on October 28, 2011, and began operating about 3-hours later. Today the satellite remains healthy and continues to gather scientific data on the ionizing radiation environment in near-Earth space, in a region known as the Van Allen Radiation Belts.
Full story here...
Dave Klumpar 10/29/12

 We note with sadness and respect the passing of Emeritus Professor Jack Drumheller, on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012.
Jack was an Emeritus Professor of the department, retiring in 1998, after serving as Dean of the College of Letters and Science (1991-1995) and Interim Provost of MSU (1995-1996). He joined the Physics department in 1964 when the Ph.D. program was just getting started. Jack's research focused on various solid state problems in the areas of electron paramagnetic resonance, magnetic susceptibility, dielectric susceptibility and high temperature superconductivity. His more recent work centered on the magnetic properties of crystals in which the magnetic ions lie in chains or a plane. He mentored a large number of Ph.D. students, and taught numerous sections of introductory engineering physics, solid state physics, E&M and many others. We invite those of you who knew and worked with Jack to share your stories and photos of him with us by email. They will be collected and shared with the family.
In remembrance of Jack Drumheller, a memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 27 at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Chapel, 113 S. Willson Ave. with a reception immediately following at the family’s home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Jack’s memory to the Physics Department Scholarship Fund, EPS Building, MSU, Bozeman, MT 59717.
John Earl Drumheller Obituary
Dick Smith 10/09/12

 Misha Drobizhev, Aleks Rebane and their collaborators in the Cell Biology and Chemistry & Biochemistry departments at MSU have a new publication in Nature Scientific Reports titled "Primary Role of the Chromophore Bond Length Alternation in Reversible Photoconversion of Red Fluorescence Proteins"

 6th Solar Information Processing Workshop
The department welcomes participants and companions attending the 6th Solar Information Processing Workshop, August 13 - 16, 2012. The workshop addresses generally how information about the Sun can be derived, stored, shared, transformed and analyzed using appropriate techniques from many other disciplines, including image processing and computer vision techniques applied to solar physics, as well as other topics such as machine learning, data mining and new computing strategies. For more information on the workshop see or drop in on some of the sessions.

Dick Smith 08/13/12

 ALS User, Yves Idzerda, Elected to NUFO Management
Yves Idzerda, Advanced Light Source user from Montana State University, and a member of the ALS Users' Executive Committee and the Proposal Study Panel, was recently elected vice-chair of the National User Facility Organization (NUFO) Steering Committee; he will become chair in 2013. Read more...

Dick Smith 05/31/12

 Prof. Yves Idzerda has been elected to be the Vice Chair of the American Physical Society Topical Group on Magnetism and its Applications (GMAG) and will be the Chair-Elect in 2013
Dick Smith 05/31/12

 Journey of a Lifetime!
On Tuesday, June 5, 2012, Venus will pass between the Earth and the Sun for the last time in over 100 years. This historic astronomical event will be visible in Bozeman from 4 pm until sunset. The Montana Space Grant Consortium (MSGC), in association with the College of Letters and Science and College of Engineering, is organizing a public event at Bobcat Stadium to celebrate the last transit of Venus in our lifetime.
Please join us!
Date:  Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Time:  4 to 7 pm
Location:  MSU Bobcat Stadium
Dick Smith 05/22/12

 The work of Sarah Jaeggli on the formation of molecular hydrogen in the cool, dark region of sun spots has earned her a 2012 AURA Science Award (See related item below)
Dick Smith 05/01/12

 Congratulations to all our graduating students for 2011-2012,  and our Award Winners for 2012. Read more...
Dick Smith 05/01/12

 Congratulations to the group of Rufus Cone who have just had one of their papers selected as a Phys. Rev. B Editors' Suggestion. For each issue, the editors list a small number of papers published in Physical Review B that the editors and referees find of particular interest, importance, or clarity. 
Optical decoherence and energy level structure of 0.1%Tm3+:LiNbO3
Y. Sun, C. W. Thiel, and R. L. Cone [Phys. Rev. B 85, 165106 (2012)] Published Fri Apr 6, 2012
Dick Smith 04/12/12

 Congratulations to Senior Courtney Peck on her award of a National
Science Foundation Graduation Research Fellowship
. Courtney is one of
our top seniors, and winner of one of the Chamber of Commerce Awards
for Excellence. Courtney has decided to continue
with graduate study in solar physics at UC - Boulder. We wish her well.
Dick Smith 04/10/12

 For Zach Dupree, Physics and Math double major, MSU has been all about connections. Zach is a McNair Scholar who aspires to earn a doctorate in astrophysics.
Read more about his experience...
Dick Smith 04/10/12

 SSEL: Hiscock Radiation Belt Explorer a 100% success!
Read the MSU news item here...
Dick Smith 03/06/12

 30th Annual Awards for Excellence to honor 40 MSU seniors and their mentors, Tuesday, Feb. 21, MSU Campus
Congratulations to Courtney Peck, Physics Major, and her mentor, Assoc. Prof. Jiong Qiu. Congratulations also to two other student winners who have had affiliations with the department, Ryan Hannahoe and Casey Donoven. Honored students were nominated by faculty in their college or department. Qualified seniors must have at least a 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, as well as demonstrated campus leadership and community service. The award-winning students each selected a mentor who will be honored with them at the event. The MSU Alumni Foundation and the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the banquet.
Dick Smith 02/21/12

 How the Sun Gets Its Spots: New Theory Proposed for Solar Mystery.
Reports on the Ph.D. thesis work of Postdoctoral Associate Sara Jaeggli is showing up in a variety of sources on the internet. The articles describe her investigation of the formation of molecular hydrogen within the dark region of the sunspot. Sarah recently joined the group of Charles Kankelborg and is workiing on the IRIS project. Read more at Yahoo, and Sara's homepage...
Dick Smith 02/06/12

 Workshop Held in Honour of Dick Canfield and His Contributions to Solar Physics
Dick Smith 02/06/12

 Congratulations to John Neumeier, Ben White, and their collaborators for a PRL in the Feb. 3rd issue, titled "Giant Nernst Effect and Bipolarity in the Quasi-One_Dimensional Metal Li0.9Mo6O17". The article received acknowledgement as "Editors Suggestion" and was further selected for a Synopsis in Physics.Very nice! Read more...
Dick Smith 02/03/12

 The LIGO collaboration with member Neil Cornish have another article just published in Physical Review Letters, Dec. 30, 2011 issue, titled "Directional Limits on Persistent Gravitational Waves Using LIGO S5 Science Data". Congratulations, Neil!
Dick Smith 01/06/12

 Pure Gold Award to Charles Kankelborg
Congratulations to Charles on his Pure Gold Award. Charles was nominated by one of his PHSX 261 students as "one of those blessed instructors who can bring brightness and life into any subject...always willing to take time out to speak with his students, regardless of office hours, about anything from homework to hobby electronics...[with only] two expressions from the Professor: a straight face when in serious thought, or a hearty smile at all other times." Congratulations, Charles! Read more...
Link to MSU Pure Gold
Dick Smith 01/06/12

 New KITP Scholar
The scientific reputation of Nico Yunes has been acknowledged with selection as a KITP Scholar for 2012-2014. The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics supports research efforts of faculty at non-major-research institutions to participate in high quality scentific symposia on topics of emerging importance in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. Assistant Professor Anton Vorontsov was selected as a KITP Scholar for 2010-2012.
Link to the KITP program
Dick Smith 01/06/12

 Celebrating Einstein
The Montana Space Grant Consortium has provided support for an Educational Enhancement Project under the direction of Assistant Professor Nico Yunes. Celebrating Einstein will include a week long event held in Bozeman, Montana in March of 2013 with a public lecture series by world-leading experts on black holes, gravitational waves and cosmology, a scientific relativity conference held at Montana State University, local elementary and middle school classroom lectures by MSU graduate students and an Art Exhibit on General Relativity and Gravitational Waves by an MSU professor held at the Exit Gallery. The highlight of the week will be a multimedia music performance held at the Emerson Cultural Center, featuring a live orchestra combined with gravitational wave sounds transposed and amplified to the audible range of human hearing, together with original poetry and film that will include the scientific visualization of black hole collisions and gravitational waves. The performance of the original music score will be professionally recorded and combined with the visual and audio elements to create a multimedia product for use in planetariums, theaters, classrooms, and outreach events. Celebrating Einstein will expose students and the general public to the world of relativity and gravitational waves, one of NASA’s primary research goals. Watch for it!
Dick Smith 01/06/12

 The latest issue of Confluence from the College of Letters and Science features several articles about recent activities in the Physics Department, including: "Mystery of Missing Sunspots (p18), 2011 Fred L. Scarf Award to Andres Munos-Jaramillo (p22), the MSGC Research Symposium and our newest faculty member in the department, Nico Yunes (p30). Enjoy!
Link to a pdf of the magazine here.
Dick Smith 01/06/12

 2012 Harvey Prize Winner
The 2012 Harvey Prize is awarded to Dibyendu Nandi of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata for his advances in the use of kinematic dynamo models to elucidate the typical and atypical solar cycle, and for his outstanding leadership within the solar physics and space climate communities. This prize is awarded by the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society each year.
More details here).
Dibyendu Nandi was a member of Piet Marten's research group from 2002 to 2008, and has collaborated closely with several of our faculty since his graduation, including visits of at least a month once a year. Much of the work that the Karen Harvey prize was awarded for was done while Dibyendu was here. That makes for four Karen Harvey prize winners in or from our solar group: Dana Longcope in 2003, Jiong Qiu in 2007, Brian Welsch (Loncope Ph.D. student) in 2010, and now Nandi. We believe that there is no solar physics group in the country that gets close to that record. Congratulations to Dibyendu and to the entire solar physics group.
Link to MSU news item
Dick Smith 01/03/12


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Updated: October 7, 2013 10:49