Texas Tech University

2017 Departmental News

  • On March 9, George Laity BS 2008 (Physics), PhD 2013 (EE), discussed Understanding Vacuum Power Flow at the Sandia Z Accelerator for Improving High Energy Density Physics Experiments at the departmental colloquium. George is now a staff scientist at the Sandia National Laboratories.
  • Charles Ramey received the prestigious Duncan McBride PER Conference Award to attend the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) 2017 Summer Meeting and the 2017 Physics Education Research Conference (PERC). He spoke on "Utilizing Letters to Investigate Students' Ability to Communicate Physics."
  • "Archeology Meets Particle Physics" appeared in Symmetry magazine on April 4, describing the efforts of Drs. Nural Akchurin and Shuichi Kunori and their undergraduate researchers in using cosmic muons to explore archeological structures in Asia Minor.
  • LIGO collaboration, including two TTU scientists, detects Gravitational waves for third time Learn More
  • Texas Tech researcher helped reveal cosmic explosions during search for light from LIGO's newest detection Learn More
  • Dr. Robert Morehead talks 2017 Solar Eclipse KTTZ1, KTTZ2, KLBK
  • Prof. Wigmans published a new book titled "Calorimetry: Energy Measurement in Particle Physics (2nd Edition)" by Oxford University Press Learn More
  • SPS's Annual Departmental Banquet took place on April 14 at the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center. The featured speakers were Dr. Katherine Hayhoe from the Depart- ment of Political Science, who discussed climate change, and our own Dr. Robert Morehead, who described re- search opportunities at the Preston Gott Observatory. At the same event, the departmental awards were presented.
  • Dr. Beth Thacker attended the American Physical Society (APS) meeting in Washington, DC in January 2017 and the Transforming Research in Undergraduate STEM Education (TRUSE) conference at the University of St. Thomas Minnesota in July 2017, presenting on "Large-scale Assessment Yields Evidence of Minimal Use of Reasoning Skills in Traditionally Taught Classes" and "Promoting and Assessing Thinking Skills in a Laboratory-based Physics Course," respectively. Recently, she also began serving on the Advisory Board for the Center for Integration of STEM Education and Research (CISER) and is a Fellow in the STEM Center for Outreach, Research, and Education (STEM-CORE), a Pedagogical Specialist for the STEM Teaching, Engagement and Pedagogy (STEP) Program, and as Course Coordinator for OnRamps, a Dual Enrollment program run in conjunction with the University of Texas.
  • We have had the pleasure of Dr. Tana Joseph visiting us this fall and early winter as a Fulbright Scholar. Dr. Joseph's primary area of research is understanding the extragalactic populations of binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes. Dr. Joseph earned her PhD in 2013 from the University of Southampton and spent several months visiting Texas Tech during her thesis to work with Tom Maccarone, who moved from Southampton to Texas Tech while she was a graduate student. After that, Dr. Joseph was a Square Kilometer Array Fellow at the University of Cape Town. She currently holds the position of Outreach Astronomer at the South African Astronomical Observatory, a position that was created for her to accommodate her pursuit of research activities and efforts toward public understanding of astronomy. After leaving Texas Tech in February, Dr. Joseph will commence an Isaac Newton Fellowship at the University of Manchester in the UK.
  • Manuel Pichardo-Marcano, a graduate student in the department working with Tom Maccarone, has distinguished himself in two ways. First, he was recently co-author on a paper published in Nature Astronomy that was based on some research in solar physics he worked on as an undergraduate. Second, he has been one of the founders and key contributors to Astrobitos, which is a Spanish language version of the popular Astrobites, a web site for which graduate students in astronomy write sum- maries that are aimed at undergraduate-level students, of recent high profile research results.
  • Justin Perea, a senior in the department, has been accepted to work with data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey through the Faculty and Student Teams program. This program is aimed at giving students from underrepresented minority backgrounds access to the Sloan survey for free (a great benefit to Texas Tech, as membership in the project normally costs almost a quarter of a million dollars), as well as some salary and travel support for undergraduate and graduate research work.
  • We are also happy to welcome to Lubbock a new postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Liliana Rivera-Sandoval, who will work in Dr. Maccarone's group on studies of double white dwarf stars in globular clusters and on a survey for very faint X-ray sources in the Galactic Bulge. She is arriving after doing her PhD work at the University of Amsterdam.
  • The Bucy Distinguished Lecture was delivered by Naomi J. Halas, the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and founding director of the Laboratory for Nanophotonics at Rice University on May 4 at the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center. Her public lecture was titled "Solar Steam Generation and Applications."
  • Congratulations to our 2017-2018 Fellowship Recipients: AT&T Chancellor's Graduate Fellowship to I. Taulli, and J.T. & Margaret Talkington Graduate Fellowship to H. Farooq, A. Gordienko, A. Poursoroush, M. Servati and S. Siddique Learn More
  • We had a welcoming BBQ party for our new physics majors on September 6th organized by GRASP.
  • LIGO Scientists' New Finding Could 'Change The Way We Do Astronomy'. Texas Tech faculty members were instrumental in a critical part of this discovery Learn More
  • On Monday, September 11, Professor Bill Poirier, adjunct professor of physics and professor of chemistry, gave a presentation and took part in a roundtable discussion as part of an event called "Physics of the Observer-A Documentary." The purpose was to discuss the role of the observer in modern physics, both in the context of cosmology and quantum physics, at a level appropriate for an educated but non-expert audience. The whole event was filmed for broadcast on the internet.
  • Dr. Tom Maccarone hosted an international conference of about 30 attendees at the Museum of Texas Tech University from September 18-20. Dr. Maccarone has been one of the key leaders in developing the science case for a NASA study of a possible billion-dollar space mission called STROBE-X that would provide an unprecedented sensitivity to variable sources of X-rays in the sky. The meeting aimed to collect the world's experts on X-ray variability so they could define both the key goals of the mission and key capabilities needed for the satellite.
  • Debra Boyce, Academic Analyst, attended all 11 units of Raider Research University and received the 2017 Inaugural RRU Travel Scholarship award. She used these funds to attend the NCURA (National Council of University Research Administrators) regional meeting in Oklahoma.
  • Deven Bhakta, now a graduate student in the department, received a second place award in the oral presentation category at the 2017 Texas Tech University Undergradu- ate Research Conference.
  • On September 21-22, TTU hosted our Brazilian colleagues at the International Cultural Center at the FAPESP Week. The high energy physics group present- ed their joint LHC/CMS project with their colleagues from the State University of Sao Paulo at this meeting.
  • Professors Luis Grave de Peralta and Mahdi Sana- ti gave invited presentations at the UMT International Conference on Pure and Applied Sciences on October 5-7 in Lahore, Pakistan. Professor Arfin Lodhi, now retired from our faculty, was the chair of the organizing committee. 
  • Professor Bill Poirier was a speaker at the Perimeter Institute's Quantum Foundations Seminar, on October 24 in Waterloo, Canada. He talked about "Quantum Me- chanics Without Wavefunctions."
  • Associate Dean and Professor Jianwei Zhang from Tongji University, School of Physics in Shanghai, visited our department on November 14 to start collaborative stu- dent exchanges and research between our universities.
  • Prof. Akchurin was interviewed by Science News Learn More
  • Dr. Tom Maccarone has a paper that was just accepted to Nature. He is the second author and was primarily responsible for the interpretation of the discovery made by his colleague Simone Scaringi at the University of Canterbury.
  • Graduate Students Sueli Skinner-Ramos, Manuel Pichardo-Marcano, Leopold Diaz, and Palmer Wilson were judges at the Oak Ridge Science Fair on December 4.
  • The National Council has reviewed all chapter reports and has awarded the Texas Tech University SPS Chapter as a 2016-17 Distinguished SPS Chapter on December 8.

 

Department of Physics and Astronomy