Page 1

Spectrum

The University of Utah

115 South 1400 East, 201 JFB Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0830 www.physics.utah.edu

INSIDE:

Newsletter for friends and alumni of

Department of Physics & Astronomy

Observatory Sees First Light First images being viewed by Willard L. Eccles Observatory at Frisco Peak.

First Light Bolide Meteor Student Symposium Science Day Upcoming Events

CALENDAR December 11, 2009 Fall Classes End January 11, 2010 Spring Semester Begins January 18, 2010 Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Did you know? The Spectrum is also available electronically. To receive the Spectrum by email, please contact newsletter@physics.utah.edu

February 15, 2010 President’s Day Holiday

April 7, 2010 Frontiers of Science The Search for Ear th-like Planets Around Other Stars

Renovations Astronomy Film Festival GradSAC News

March 10, 2010 Frontiers of Science Cloaking: Where Science Meets Science Fiction March 22-27, 2010 Spring Break

Awards, Achievements & Promotions

T

he new Willard L. Eccles Observatory’s 32” reflecting telescope took its first pictures the night of Oct. 15, 2009. The new observatory, with telescope built by DFM Engineering, is located at an elevation of about 9,600 feet on Frisco Peak, near Milford, Utah. The university announced plans for the telescope in 2006, and Associate Professor Wayne Springer says he is “relieved, excited and exuberant” that it has started observing the sky.

T

o celebrate the initial operation of its new $860,000 research observatory, the department held a “first light” celebration, on Nov. 11, which included a symposium and reception in the James Fletcher Building. During the symposium, Department Chair and Professor Dave Kieda summarized efforts to build the university’s new astronomy program. Springer discussed the observatory’s status and its first results. Assistant Professor Kyle Dawson discussed the department’s involvement in an international observing project known as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III, particularly a portion of the program that will study the mysterious “dark energy” believed to make up 73% of the universe. College of Science dean Pierre Sokolsky, discussed how private donors have helped the department’s efforts. Springer says sources of the The “first light” photo is an edge-on view observatory’s funding included $600,000 from the Willard of the spiral galaxy NGC 891, said Wayne L. Eccles Foundation, $160,000 from the Katherine W. and Springer, who heads the project. Ezekiel R. Dumke Foundation, $40,000 from the University and another $60,000 yet to be raised.

Springer is also applying for a $300,000 grant from the

Off-The-Wall Demonstrations Story suggestions, upcoming events & comments always welcome. Contact us at newsletter@physics.utah.edu or contact Kathrine Skollingsberg at (801) 585-0182 © 2009 University of Utah

SPECTRUM Volume 1, Issue 2 Fall 2009

(From left) Wayne Springer, Dave Kieda, & Steve Denkers at the Ground Breaking Ceremony on July 16.

National Science Foundation so the telescope can be operated remotely from campus, 250 miles away. He hopes this will be achieved by the end of summer 2010. “I’m very excited about the possibilities with an observatory located on a mountaintop in a region with dark skies,” he says. “We will certainly utilize the facility for education of students and for public outreach opportunities,” including star parties in Salt Lake City that will use the telescope by remote control.


Adam’s Off-The-Wall Demos

Events

Past Events Since the beginning of Fall semester, the Department of Physics & Astronomy has been involved in many activities and events that have increased its visibility in the community, and helped strengthen internal relations as well.

Alumni Day

The Alumni Association of the College of Science presented the second annual Alumni Day as a way to reconnect its members with their home departments as well as to renew old friendships and make new friends. Short presentations were given by faculty, and posters were displayed from many of the research groups in Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics.

Oct 10, 2009 Henry Eyring Bldg College of Science 50 Attendees

In each newsletter, Adam Beehler, Lecture Demonstration Specialist, explains one of his demonstrations. This demo is a fan-favorite done at his demo shows, as well as at the 2008 State of the Department address.

Ballistocardiography

For more information visit www.science.utah.edu/cosaa.html

M

Science Day

Enhanced to show details

Science Day at the U attracted more than 800 students, parents, and educators Nov. 7, 2009 from Idaho and Utah. There were 61 workshops covering 31 specific research A. Ray Olpin topics presented by faculty from various departments under the College of University Union Science, the College of Mines & Earth Sciences and the Utah Museum of Natural 800 Attendees History. Students learned about career possibilities from scientists at Idaho Technology, Kennecott Utah Copper, and XMission, in a series of “Industry Workshops”. Students also received academic advice about specific majors, science-related careers, and undergraduate research offered by each department. For more information visit www.science.utah.edu/cosdayedu.html.

AGIS-Utah Collaboration Meeting The AGIS collaboration is designing and preparing a proposal for a next- Nov. 13-14, 2009 generation ground-based gamma-ray observatory: the Advanced Gamma University of Utah Imaging System (AGIS). The observatory will consist of 36 telescopes of a Prof. Dave Kieda Schwartzchild-Couder design, and will cover an area grater than a square 50 Attendees kilometer. The Utah AGIS meeting was held to review the design and plan how to move the project into the Research and Development phase, after a successful endorsement by the DOE Particle Astrophysics Science Assessment Group (PASAG) in October 2009. Participants included scientists from two National Labs, NASA, and 11 universities.

Graduate Student Symposium

any are familiar with using rockets, toy guns, fire extinguishers, and others to illustrate Newton’s third law. Ballistocardiography is a non-invasive method of measuring the ballistic forces on the heart and body through recoil and impact. Here is what I do. First, I place a frame with a swinging pendulum on top of a board that is free to roll on some rods. One rod has a mirror attached to it with a laser pointer aimed at the mirror. Any small oscillations of the pendulum can readily be seen in the reflected laser beam on the wall. One could now explain the action and reaction forces between the pendulum and the board. Next, I remove the pendulum frame and have a person lie down on the board. The person’s job is to lie perfectly still. Among the inevitable random motion of the person’s body, one can observe the reflected laser beam “beat” with the contractions of the person’s heart. Clearly, the body and board are feeling forces exerted upon them by the heart.

A

s blood is ejected by the left ventricle, there is an action vector upwards (toward the head), and the reaction impels the body downwards (toward the feet). Next, the blood is projected through the descending aorta, producing an action vector toward the feet that originates the corresponding reaction vector that impels the body upwards.

Nov. 14, 2009

The aim of the annual Graduate Student Symposium is to present all University of Utah unaffiliated graduate students with an overview of all the research activities Prof. Jordan Gerton within the department so students can become more efficient at finding an 50 Attendees advisor/group and a research project. Faculty with open research positions give short talks introducing their group’s research, providing a flavor of the possibilities within each group so students can make a connection between names and faces of faculty members, and identify groups of interest. All unaffiliated graduate students are required to attend (~20% of physics graduate students), but nearly half of the graduate student population attended, making the latest symposium a success.

W

Bolide Meteor Over Utah

Nov. 18, 2009 A bright meteor in the night sky provided many Utah residents with a rare 00:07, Alt. 27 km treat at exactly 12:07am on November 18, 2009. The Bolide meteor was part of the recent Leonid meteor shower that was also visible during that Terminal location: time. The fireball was reportedly seen over areas of South Eastern California, 40.286 N, -113.191 W. Northern Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado. The shock from the final breakup triggered seven seismological stations in Northern Utah and an analysis of the seismic data revealed the meteor’s location above the Dugway Proving Grounds. Our new Willard L Eccles Observatory at Frisco Peak caught the meteor on security cameras, as it flew by and exploded. The footage (provided by Prof. Wayne Springer) as well as the story received both local and worldwide media attention, appearing on NBC’s “Today“ show, BBC News, and the Associated Press, among others.

Spectrum - Fall 2009

Adam Beehler Lecture Demonstration Specialist beehler@physics.utah.edu

Enhanced to show details

ith its hydraulic pump activity, the heart is capable of impelling a volume of 70-80 ml of blood per beat at considerable speed into the aorta. The body displacements are proportional in amplitude to the volume, speed, and acceleration of ventricular left ejection and inversely proportional to the subject body mass. Although this technique has been known for over 50 years, because the mass of the accelerating blood is small compared to the mass of the body and table (Newton’s second law), errors in measurements were large until modern signal processing techniques came to the rescue.

You can also view this demo, and a complete materials list, online at www.physics.utah.edu/~beehler/newsletterdemos/demos.html

Spectrum - Fall 2009


News

Events

Upcoming Events

International Year of Astronomy Draws To A Close

Over the next few months, the department is hosting or will be involved with a number of exciting events and conferences.

Martin Luther King Week

In celebration, the department hosted many entertaining and educational events throughout the year, including Astronomy Day (May 2), a special lecture by former NASA Astronaut and Pilot, Lt. Col. Duane “Digger” Carey RET (Oct. 13), as well as the monthly Film Festival, and weekly Star Parties at our own South Physics Observatory. The IYA organizers would like to thank those individuals, departments, and organizations without whose aid and support, this celebration could not take place. Organizers would also like to thank the public and all those who attended these events for making the International Year of Astronomy such a great success. For more information on upcoming events, please visit: www.physics.utah.edu/calendar.html

GradSAC News by Eric Sor te - GSAC Chairman

The Graduate Student Advisory Counsel (GSAC) has been making some changes recently to create a more interactive and cohesive environment for graduate students in the department. First, Graduate Student Seminars have been reinstated. Seminars are held the first Wednesday of each month at 3pm in JFB 102. These seminars are given by graduate students to an audience of fellow graduate students. So far, we’ve had a great deal of interest in giving talks, and each seminar has been very well attended. The graduate students have heard talks from William Baker, Nick Borys, and Zayd Ma to date, and there is substantial interest from the graduate student body in giving talks in the coming months. These seminars have been a great success. Additional monthly activities and gatherings have been largely successful as well and are ongoing, helping new and current graduate students to mix and interact. If you are a current graduate student in the department interested in giving a talk, please contact myself or Chair-Elect Zayd Ma. It is a great way to practice for an APS talk or qualifying exam, or simply to let us know what you are working on. Additionally, the GSAC website has been reworked and updated with many new useful tools. Among other features, current graduate students can register on the site and provide biographical and research information about themselves to the student body. Also, alumni of the college can now register and provide employment information in order to maintain a standing network of department alumni on which new graduates can rely for job searching purposes. In addition, an effort is made to list all new publications our graduate students author and coauthor. The website is a great resource for answering questions, researching faculty as potential advisors, and planning your graduate school career and beyond. To contact the GSAC Chairman or Chair-elect, send email to: Zayd Ma: zaydma@physics.utah.edu Eric Sorte: sorte@physics.utah.edu Visit GSAC’s new website: www.physics.utah.edu/gsac

Spectrum - Fall 2009

BOSS Collaboration Picture courtesy of Fermilab

The Department of Physics & Astronomy hosted the final showing of the IYA 2009 Film Festival on December 12, 2009, marking the end of the University of Utah’s International Year of Astronomy (IYA) celebration. The IYA marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first recorded astronomical observations and the publication of Johannes Kepler’s Astronomia nova.

January 18 - 22, 2010

Diversity – The New Frontier in Science Keeping the Dream Alive The 26th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration will be cosponsored by the College of Science and the Office for Equity & Diversity. The week’s events will focus on the challenge of fostering diverse participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Events include a rally, march, speakers, panel discussions, cultural events, and science demonstrations. Keynote Address by Dr. Robert P. Moses, Civil Rights leader and founder of The Algebra Project. Further details will be posted online in the coming weeks. www.diversity.utah.edu

www.science.utah.edu

March 8 - 10, 2010

The Department will host the first dedicated collaboration meeting for the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) in Salt Lake City. BOSS is one of the four component surveys of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey 3 (SDSS3) collaboration, which the Department has joined as part of its astronomy initiative. Over the next 5 years, the BOSS project will use the 2.5-meter SDSS telescope in Apache Point, NM to construct the largest-ever three-dimensional map of galaxies in the universe. The March meeting will be the first opportunity for all project collaborators to meet and work together following the commissioning of the BOSS instrument during Fall 2009. www.physics.utah.edu/boss

SnowPAC & SnowCluster 2010 Conference

Commencement, Convocation & Graduation

March 23 - April 2, 2010

May 7, 2010 University Commencement Activities

In its 2nd year, the annual SnowPAC winter workshop, in conjunction with the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, will incorporate the specialized SnowCluster workshop. SnowPAC will cover current topics in Astrophysics & Cosmology, and SnowCluster will cover physics of galaxy clusters and the latest in X-ray and SZ observations.

Huntsman Center - 9:00am

Department of Physics & Astronomy Graduation Reception James Fletcher Building - 11:00am

SnowPAC 2010 will be held March 23-28, 2010 SnowCluster will be March 28 - April 2, 2010

College of Science Convocation

More information available at www.physics.utah.edu/snowpac or www.physics.utah.edu/snowcluster

For more information, visit: www.sa.utah.edu/commencement

Kingsbury Hall - 1:30pm

Spectrum - Fall 2009


News

Awards, Promotions & Recognition Christoph Boehme

“Spherical Cowboy” award Fall Meeting of the 4Corners Section of the APS. Oct 2009

Paolo Gondolo

Promotion to full Professor

S t a f f

Physics & Astronomy Renovation Update

Adam Beehler

A major portion of the construction is now complete. In the next few months, the renovations will focus on setting up offices and labs for the incoming professors. Afterwards, if funds allow, improvements and upgrades will be made to the class labs of the South Physics Building. Below are a few of the areas already completed.

American Association of Physics Teachers Apparatus Award

Faculty Interaction Area James Fletcher Building Anil Ghimire

Graduate Student Recruitment Initiative University of Utah During Construction

Richard Ingebretsen

Completed

Distinguished Teaching Award ΣΧ Fraternity (3rd year in a row)

F a c u l t y

Jessica Johnston

John Lupton

Awarded tenure as Associate Professor

Dane McCamey

Australian Research Council Discovery Fellowship Australian Research Council

Eugene Mishchenko Awarded tenure as Associate Professor

Brian Saam

University Research Council Faculty Scholarly & Creative Research Grant Univ. of Queensland Award for Internat’l Collaborative Research Promotion to full Professor

S t u d e n t s

Receiving Area James Fletcher Building

Best Undergraduate Talk Fall Meeting of the 4Corners Section of the APS

During Construction

Completed

Sang-Yun Lee

Young Research Award Internat’l Conference for Amorphous & Nanocrystalline Semiconductors

Graduate Offices 208 South Physics Building

Sanjeev Singh

Best Poster Award Excited State Processes in Electronic & Bio-Nanomaterials Conference

During Construction

Completed

Graduate Offices 209 James Fletcher Building Eric Sorte

Oleg Starykh

Awarded tenure as Associate Professor

Best Graduate Talk Fall Meeting of the 4Corners Section of the APS During Construction

Spectrum - Fall 2009

Completed

Spectrum - Fall 2009


News

Awards, Promotions & Recognition Christoph Boehme

“Spherical Cowboy” award Fall Meeting of the 4Corners Section of the APS. Oct 2009

Paolo Gondolo

Promotion to full Professor

S t a f f

Physics & Astronomy Renovation Update

Adam Beehler

A major portion of the construction is now complete. In the next few months, the renovations will focus on setting up offices and labs for the incoming professors. Afterwards, if funds allow, improvements and upgrades will be made to the class labs of the South Physics Building. Below are a few of the areas already completed.

American Association of Physics Teachers Apparatus Award

Faculty Interaction Area James Fletcher Building Anil Ghimire

Graduate Student Recruitment Initiative University of Utah During Construction

Richard Ingebretsen

Completed

Distinguished Teaching Award ΣΧ Fraternity (3rd year in a row)

F a c u l t y

Jessica Johnston

John Lupton

Awarded tenure as Associate Professor

Dane McCamey

Australian Research Council Discovery Fellowship Australian Research Council

Eugene Mishchenko Awarded tenure as Associate Professor

Brian Saam

University Research Council Faculty Scholarly & Creative Research Grant Univ. of Queensland Award for Internat’l Collaborative Research Promotion to full Professor

S t u d e n t s

Receiving Area James Fletcher Building

Best Undergraduate Talk Fall Meeting of the 4Corners Section of the APS

During Construction

Completed

Sang-Yun Lee

Young Research Award Internat’l Conference for Amorphous & Nanocrystalline Semiconductors

Graduate Offices 208 South Physics Building

Sanjeev Singh

Best Poster Award Excited State Processes in Electronic & Bio-Nanomaterials Conference

During Construction

Completed

Graduate Offices 209 James Fletcher Building Eric Sorte

Oleg Starykh

Awarded tenure as Associate Professor

Best Graduate Talk Fall Meeting of the 4Corners Section of the APS During Construction

Spectrum - Fall 2009

Completed

Spectrum - Fall 2009


News

Events

Upcoming Events

International Year of Astronomy Draws To A Close

Over the next few months, the department is hosting or will be involved with a number of exciting events and conferences.

Martin Luther King Week

In celebration, the department hosted many entertaining and educational events throughout the year, including Astronomy Day (May 2), a special lecture by former NASA Astronaut and Pilot, Lt. Col. Duane “Digger” Carey RET (Oct. 13), as well as the monthly Film Festival, and weekly Star Parties at our own South Physics Observatory. The IYA organizers would like to thank those individuals, departments, and organizations without whose aid and support, this celebration could not take place. Organizers would also like to thank the public and all those who attended these events for making the International Year of Astronomy such a great success. For more information on upcoming events, please visit: www.physics.utah.edu/calendar.html

GradSAC News by Eric Sor te - GSAC Chairman

The Graduate Student Advisory Counsel (GSAC) has been making some changes recently to create a more interactive and cohesive environment for graduate students in the department. First, Graduate Student Seminars have been reinstated. Seminars are held the first Wednesday of each month at 3pm in JFB 102. These seminars are given by graduate students to an audience of fellow graduate students. So far, we’ve had a great deal of interest in giving talks, and each seminar has been very well attended. The graduate students have heard talks from William Baker, Nick Borys, and Zayd Ma to date, and there is substantial interest from the graduate student body in giving talks in the coming months. These seminars have been a great success. Additional monthly activities and gatherings have been largely successful as well and are ongoing, helping new and current graduate students to mix and interact. If you are a current graduate student in the department interested in giving a talk, please contact myself or Chair-Elect Zayd Ma. It is a great way to practice for an APS talk or qualifying exam, or simply to let us know what you are working on. Additionally, the GSAC website has been reworked and updated with many new useful tools. Among other features, current graduate students can register on the site and provide biographical and research information about themselves to the student body. Also, alumni of the college can now register and provide employment information in order to maintain a standing network of department alumni on which new graduates can rely for job searching purposes. In addition, an effort is made to list all new publications our graduate students author and coauthor. The website is a great resource for answering questions, researching faculty as potential advisors, and planning your graduate school career and beyond. To contact the GSAC Chairman or Chair-elect, send email to: Zayd Ma: zaydma@physics.utah.edu Eric Sorte: sorte@physics.utah.edu Visit GSAC’s new website: www.physics.utah.edu/gsac

Spectrum - Fall 2009

BOSS Collaboration Picture courtesy of Fermilab

The Department of Physics & Astronomy hosted the final showing of the IYA 2009 Film Festival on December 12, 2009, marking the end of the University of Utah’s International Year of Astronomy (IYA) celebration. The IYA marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first recorded astronomical observations and the publication of Johannes Kepler’s Astronomia nova.

January 18 - 22, 2010

Diversity – The New Frontier in Science Keeping the Dream Alive The 26th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration will be cosponsored by the College of Science and the Office for Equity & Diversity. The week’s events will focus on the challenge of fostering diverse participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Events include a rally, march, speakers, panel discussions, cultural events, and science demonstrations. Keynote Address by Dr. Robert P. Moses, Civil Rights leader and founder of The Algebra Project. Further details will be posted online in the coming weeks. www.diversity.utah.edu

www.science.utah.edu

March 8 - 10, 2010

The Department will host the first dedicated collaboration meeting for the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) in Salt Lake City. BOSS is one of the four component surveys of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey 3 (SDSS3) collaboration, which the Department has joined as part of its astronomy initiative. Over the next 5 years, the BOSS project will use the 2.5-meter SDSS telescope in Apache Point, NM to construct the largest-ever three-dimensional map of galaxies in the universe. The March meeting will be the first opportunity for all project collaborators to meet and work together following the commissioning of the BOSS instrument during Fall 2009. www.physics.utah.edu/boss

SnowPAC & SnowCluster 2010 Conference

Commencement, Convocation & Graduation

March 23 - April 2, 2010

May 7, 2010 University Commencement Activities

In its 2nd year, the annual SnowPAC winter workshop, in conjunction with the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, will incorporate the specialized SnowCluster workshop. SnowPAC will cover current topics in Astrophysics & Cosmology, and SnowCluster will cover physics of galaxy clusters and the latest in X-ray and SZ observations.

Huntsman Center - 9:00am

Department of Physics & Astronomy Graduation Reception James Fletcher Building - 11:00am

SnowPAC 2010 will be held March 23-28, 2010 SnowCluster will be March 28 - April 2, 2010

College of Science Convocation

More information available at www.physics.utah.edu/snowpac or www.physics.utah.edu/snowcluster

For more information, visit: www.sa.utah.edu/commencement

Kingsbury Hall - 1:30pm

Spectrum - Fall 2009


Adam’s Off-The-Wall Demos

Events

Past Events Since the beginning of Fall semester, the Department of Physics & Astronomy has been involved in many activities and events that have increased its visibility in the community, and helped strengthen internal relations as well.

Alumni Day

The Alumni Association of the College of Science presented the second annual Alumni Day as a way to reconnect its members with their home departments as well as to renew old friendships and make new friends. Short presentations were given by faculty, and posters were displayed from many of the research groups in Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics.

Oct 10, 2009 Henry Eyring Bldg College of Science 50 Attendees

In each newsletter, Adam Beehler, Lecture Demonstration Specialist, explains one of his demonstrations. This demo is a fan-favorite done at his demo shows, as well as at the 2008 State of the Department address.

Ballistocardiography

For more information visit www.science.utah.edu/cosaa.html

M

Science Day

Enhanced to show details

Science Day at the U attracted more than 800 students, parents, and educators Nov. 7, 2009 from Idaho and Utah. There were 61 workshops covering 31 specific research A. Ray Olpin topics presented by faculty from various departments under the College of University Union Science, the College of Mines & Earth Sciences and the Utah Museum of Natural 800 Attendees History. Students learned about career possibilities from scientists at Idaho Technology, Kennecott Utah Copper, and XMission, in a series of “Industry Workshops”. Students also received academic advice about specific majors, science-related careers, and undergraduate research offered by each department. For more information visit www.science.utah.edu/cosdayedu.html.

AGIS-Utah Collaboration Meeting The AGIS collaboration is designing and preparing a proposal for a next- Nov. 13-14, 2009 generation ground-based gamma-ray observatory: the Advanced Gamma University of Utah Imaging System (AGIS). The observatory will consist of 36 telescopes of a Prof. Dave Kieda Schwartzchild-Couder design, and will cover an area grater than a square 50 Attendees kilometer. The Utah AGIS meeting was held to review the design and plan how to move the project into the Research and Development phase, after a successful endorsement by the DOE Particle Astrophysics Science Assessment Group (PASAG) in October 2009. Participants included scientists from two National Labs, NASA, and 11 universities.

Graduate Student Symposium

any are familiar with using rockets, toy guns, fire extinguishers, and others to illustrate Newton’s third law. Ballistocardiography is a non-invasive method of measuring the ballistic forces on the heart and body through recoil and impact. Here is what I do. First, I place a frame with a swinging pendulum on top of a board that is free to roll on some rods. One rod has a mirror attached to it with a laser pointer aimed at the mirror. Any small oscillations of the pendulum can readily be seen in the reflected laser beam on the wall. One could now explain the action and reaction forces between the pendulum and the board. Next, I remove the pendulum frame and have a person lie down on the board. The person’s job is to lie perfectly still. Among the inevitable random motion of the person’s body, one can observe the reflected laser beam “beat” with the contractions of the person’s heart. Clearly, the body and board are feeling forces exerted upon them by the heart.

A

s blood is ejected by the left ventricle, there is an action vector upwards (toward the head), and the reaction impels the body downwards (toward the feet). Next, the blood is projected through the descending aorta, producing an action vector toward the feet that originates the corresponding reaction vector that impels the body upwards.

Nov. 14, 2009

The aim of the annual Graduate Student Symposium is to present all University of Utah unaffiliated graduate students with an overview of all the research activities Prof. Jordan Gerton within the department so students can become more efficient at finding an 50 Attendees advisor/group and a research project. Faculty with open research positions give short talks introducing their group’s research, providing a flavor of the possibilities within each group so students can make a connection between names and faces of faculty members, and identify groups of interest. All unaffiliated graduate students are required to attend (~20% of physics graduate students), but nearly half of the graduate student population attended, making the latest symposium a success.

W

Bolide Meteor Over Utah

Nov. 18, 2009 A bright meteor in the night sky provided many Utah residents with a rare 00:07, Alt. 27 km treat at exactly 12:07am on November 18, 2009. The Bolide meteor was part of the recent Leonid meteor shower that was also visible during that Terminal location: time. The fireball was reportedly seen over areas of South Eastern California, 40.286 N, -113.191 W. Northern Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado. The shock from the final breakup triggered seven seismological stations in Northern Utah and an analysis of the seismic data revealed the meteor’s location above the Dugway Proving Grounds. Our new Willard L Eccles Observatory at Frisco Peak caught the meteor on security cameras, as it flew by and exploded. The footage (provided by Prof. Wayne Springer) as well as the story received both local and worldwide media attention, appearing on NBC’s “Today“ show, BBC News, and the Associated Press, among others.

Spectrum - Fall 2009

Adam Beehler Lecture Demonstration Specialist beehler@physics.utah.edu

Enhanced to show details

ith its hydraulic pump activity, the heart is capable of impelling a volume of 70-80 ml of blood per beat at considerable speed into the aorta. The body displacements are proportional in amplitude to the volume, speed, and acceleration of ventricular left ejection and inversely proportional to the subject body mass. Although this technique has been known for over 50 years, because the mass of the accelerating blood is small compared to the mass of the body and table (Newton’s second law), errors in measurements were large until modern signal processing techniques came to the rescue.

You can also view this demo, and a complete materials list, online at www.physics.utah.edu/~beehler/newsletterdemos/demos.html

Spectrum - Fall 2009


Spectrum

The University of Utah

115 South 1400 East, 201 JFB Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0830 www.physics.utah.edu

INSIDE:

Newsletter for friends and alumni of

Department of Physics & Astronomy

Observatory Sees First Light First images being viewed by Willard L. Eccles Observatory at Frisco Peak.

First Light Bolide Meteor Student Symposium Science Day Upcoming Events

CALENDAR December 11, 2009 Fall Classes End January 11, 2010 Spring Semester Begins January 18, 2010 Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Did you know? The Spectrum is also available electronically. To receive the Spectrum by email, please contact newsletter@physics.utah.edu

February 15, 2010 President’s Day Holiday

April 7, 2010 Frontiers of Science The Search for Ear th-like Planets Around Other Stars

Renovations Astronomy Film Festival GradSAC News

March 10, 2010 Frontiers of Science Cloaking: Where Science Meets Science Fiction March 22-27, 2010 Spring Break

Awards, Achievements & Promotions

T

he new Willard L. Eccles Observatory’s 32” reflecting telescope took its first pictures the night of Oct. 15, 2009. The new observatory, with telescope built by DFM Engineering, is located at an elevation of about 9,600 feet on Frisco Peak, near Milford, Utah. The university announced plans for the telescope in 2006, and Associate Professor Wayne Springer says he is “relieved, excited and exuberant” that it has started observing the sky.

T

o celebrate the initial operation of its new $860,000 research observatory, the department held a “first light” celebration, on Nov. 11, which included a symposium and reception in the James Fletcher Building. During the symposium, Department Chair and Professor Dave Kieda summarized efforts to build the university’s new astronomy program. Springer discussed the observatory’s status and its first results. Assistant Professor Kyle Dawson discussed the department’s involvement in an international observing project known as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III, particularly a portion of the program that will study the mysterious “dark energy” believed to make up 73% of the universe. College of Science dean Pierre Sokolsky, discussed how private donors have helped the department’s efforts. Springer says sources of the The “first light” photo is an edge-on view observatory’s funding included $600,000 from the Willard of the spiral galaxy NGC 891, said Wayne L. Eccles Foundation, $160,000 from the Katherine W. and Springer, who heads the project. Ezekiel R. Dumke Foundation, $40,000 from the University and another $60,000 yet to be raised.

Springer is also applying for a $300,000 grant from the

Off-The-Wall Demonstrations Story suggestions, upcoming events & comments always welcome. Contact us at newsletter@physics.utah.edu or contact Kathrine Skollingsberg at (801) 585-0182 © 2009 University of Utah

SPECTRUM Volume 1, Issue 2 Fall 2009

(From left) Wayne Springer, Dave Kieda, & Steve Denkers at the Ground Breaking Ceremony on July 16.

National Science Foundation so the telescope can be operated remotely from campus, 250 miles away. He hopes this will be achieved by the end of summer 2010. “I’m very excited about the possibilities with an observatory located on a mountaintop in a region with dark skies,” he says. “We will certainly utilize the facility for education of students and for public outreach opportunities,” including star parties in Salt Lake City that will use the telescope by remote control.

Spectrum Newsletter: Fall 2009  

Fall 2009 newsletter for faculty, students, friends & alumni of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah.