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t h e h e r b e r t w. B o y e r S c h o o l o f N at u r a l S c i e n c e s , M at h e m at i c s a n d C o m p u t i n g


• november 2012

Construction on the final phase of the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion is nearing completion and will be ready for the opening of the spring 2013 semester.

a p u b l i c at i o n o f s a i n t v i n c e n t c o l l e g e

INSIDE Dean’s Message

SVC Installing 14” Telescope In New Observatory

Science Pavilion Campaign Update Final Phase of Construction Nearing Completion Two Physics Majors Complete Summer Research Internships

Dr. Anis Maize, Br. Michael Antonacci Share Common Interests Dominion Foundation Makes Partnership Grant for Lab Modules

dean’s MESSAGE

The Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing Advisory Council Members Mr. James F. Will, L.H.D., C’60, D’94 Chair, President Emeritus Saint Vincent College Dr. William E. Amatucci, C’86 Section Head, Space Experiments Section/Plasma Physics Division, Code 6755, Naval Research Laboratory Mr. Thomas Anderson Co-owner, Maritom Dr. Herbert W. Boyer, Sc.D., C’58, D’81 Co-Founder, Genentech Inc. Dr. Angelo DeMezza, C’69 Physician Dr. Umberto A. DeRienzo, C’88 Physician, DeRienzo Family Practice Dr. William A. DiCuccio, C’70 Physician Dr. David A. Dzombak, Ph.D., P.E., DEE, C’79 Walter J. Blenko, Sr. University Professor of Environmental Engineering, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University Dr. Thomas P. Gessner, C’64 Physician Mr. Donald A. Haile, C’63 Venture Partner/Site General Manager Fidelity Investments Ms. Cheryl A. Harper, C’88 Physics and Mathematics Teacher Greensburg Salem High School Mr. Michael L. Keslar, C’80 Executive Vice President BNY Mellon Mr. Francis A. Marasco, C’64 Former President Eckerd Pharmacy Services Mr. Mark J. Pincus, C’96 sanofi-aventis U.S., Research Investigator Early to Candidate Distinct Project Unit Biochemistry and Cell Biology Tucson Research Center Dr. David M. Siwicki, C’80 Physician Ms. Shelley D. Sturdevant, C’88 Technical Director PPG Coil & Extrusion Coatings PPG Industries, Inc. Mr. Stephen P. Yanek, C’68 Program Manager Applied Physics Laboratory The Johns Hopkins University Dr. Daniel J. Yaniro, C’79 Director, VoIP Program and Project Management, AT&T Laboratories


Dear Friends,


all is in the air. As I write this letter to you we have entered the middle of October, trees around campus are showing their colors, the temperatures are crisper and we are at the midpoint of our fall academic term. We are also enjoying the transformation of the West Building of the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion in the last phase of the renovation. The majority of the new roof is now installed along with the many new windows that exist throughout the building to allow the natural light to shine through. The painters began their work in the classrooms, labs and offices last week and soon the carpet and furniture will be installed. Today, in fact, the department chairs turned in their final revisions of their spring 2013 class schedules in which they have programmed the first classes and labs in the renovated West Building. The construction is proceeding as planned and we anticipate moving in during the first week of January. The theme of this issue of the Boyer Bulletin is the West Building, the activities of our students and faculty in the Physics Department, one of the three departments that will be moving in January and upcoming events in the Pavilion. Dr. Daniel Vanden Berk is featured in an article about our new 14” telescope that will be located in the new observatory. We also learn about the friendship and research conducted by Br. Michael Antonacci, O.S.B., and our physics chair, Dr. Anis Maize. Two of our physics students, Kyle Surovec and Phil Meyerhofer, who participated in research this summer through a program funded by the National Science Foundation, are also profiled. I would like to thank three special faculty who have served as department chairs for a number of years and have now returned to the full-time faculty where they are engaged with our students through their classrooms and with their academic communities through their research and projects. These three are Dr. Matthew Fisher, who served the Department of Chemistry for seven years, Br. David Carlson, who led the Department of Computing and Information Science on two different occasions for a total of 20 years, and Dr. Michael Botsko, who served and led the Department of Mathematics for a remarkable 40 years. The three new department chairs are Dr. Jason Vohs in the Department of Chemistry, Dr. Cynthia Martincic in the Department of Computing and Information Science and Dr. Daniele Arcara in the Department of Mathematics. Lastly, I would like to mention two upcoming events that will be taking place in the spring of 2013. The first is the Threshold Series lecture and will be given this year by Vatican astronomer Br. Guy Consolmagno, S.J., on Monday, March 11, 2013. We will also have an open house of the completed pavilion earlier that day when you will be able to tour each part of the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion. I am sure you will agree that it is a beautiful educational facility.

Dr. Stephen Jodis Dean, Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing


Final Phase Of Science Pavilion Construction Nearing Completion


he final phase of construction on the $39 million Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion which houses the classrooms, offices and laboratories for the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing is nearing completion. This construction involves the renovation of the former Physics Building on the west side of the Pavilion and provides classrooms, conference rooms and faculty offices for the Departments of Computing and Information Science (CIS), Mathematics and Physics. The ground floor will continue to house the College’s centralized network servers that support the delivery of Internet, email and other services throughout campus. Two adjacent classrooms will be renovated, one to continue to serve as a classroom and the other as a computing lab. Two physics labs will be constructed on the first floor. The modern physics and optics labs will be used to teach the fundamentals of atomic physics, wave nature of systems, applications of optical principles and radioactivity. The electronics lab will be used to teach circuit design, printed circuit board fabrication and microcontroller programming. Two physics research labs will also be constructed and will be utilized for performing research in computational, experimental and theoretical physics. Among such ongoing projects are the study of electromagnetic properties of quantum systems, material testing, statistical models in thermodynamics and spectral analyses of quasars. The physics space will also contain five laboratory support rooms and a cluster of five faculty offices. The Pavilion already contains a general physics laboratory, physical science laboratory and the Angelo J. Taiani Planetarium. The function of the planetarium is to study observational astronomy and to provide educational shows for the public. One computer classroom and two computer labs for the CIS department will be situated on the second floor. The computer classroom will have more than 20 personal computers and two servers, along with various software available for courses in the Computing and Information Science curriculum including Windows 7 Professional, Visual Studio, Microsoft Office, Python, Prolog, IIS and Apache web servers, the SQL Server database and the MySQL database, as well as software for learning animation and game development. One of the two computer labs will be equipped with 11 PCs and MacIntosh computers along with software for mobile app development and other types of software projects and research. The other computer lab is designed for IT and computer security research and projects. It will be equipped with five personal computers, a server hosting multiple virtual machines, three routers, and three managed switches. The second floor also contains a conference room, a tutoring room and 10 offices to serve the faculty in the Mathematics and Computing and Information Science (CIS) departments. Dr. Stephen Jodis, dean of the Boyer School, said having all of the school’s departments together is an exciting development. “The

110,000-square-foot structure will enhance our sense of community and foster opportunities for interdisciplinary projects and interactions,” he added. The building incorporates sustainable design and achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification. A geothermal heating and cooling system provides environmentally comfortable and responsible energy efficiencies. The building will also employ many other energy-saving devices such as occupancy sensors that automatically turn lights on and off, water-conserving plumbing fixtures in the restrooms and extensive use of glass for natural lighting. Architect for the project is MacLachlan Cornelius and Filoni, Inc. General contractor Jendoco expects to have all of the work completed by the opening of the spring 2013 semester.

Dr. David Grumbine, left, associate professor of physics, meets with Paul Steinhauser, a junior biology major.

Construction is nearing completion on the final phase of the $39 million Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion that will provide classrooms, offices and laboratories for the Departments of Computing and Information Science, Mathematics and Physics.


faculty feature

Dr. Anis Maize with Br. Michael Antonacci, O.S.B.


Dr. Anis Maize, Br. Michael Antonacci Share Common Interest In Physics, Coffee, Soccer


by D O N O R L A N D O

common interest in quantum mechanics has led to a personal and professional friendship for Dr. Anis Maize, professor and chair of physics, and Br. Michael Antonacci, O.S.B., research associate and department tutor, in the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing at Saint Vincent College. “I really didn’t get to know Br. Michael well until his senior year in college,” Maize recalled. “He came in on the weekends to study and I was here doing research. We talked a lot about physics at first and discovered we had a lot of other common interests as well – such as religion, politics, family, biking, soccer and other sports.” “Br. Michael was a very good student who was always in class, did his work well and was very interested in learning,” Maize said. “After he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in physics and mathematics, he told me that he planned to join Saint Vincent Archabbey and become a Benedictine monk and priest. During his novice year, I didn’t see him as much but now he is actively tutoring for the department, helping in the labs and collaborating with me on research.” The pair published their first research about applications of quantum mechanics to electromagnetic interactions in 2011 in the American Journal of Physics along with a collaborator from the University of Alberta, Professor Frank Marsiglio. It was titled, “The Static Electric Polarizability of a Particle Bound by a Finite Potential Well”. The model they presented is a clever and insightful way to represent a bound state in a nucleus or an atom. The simplicity of their approach in obtaining the electric polarizability which measures the response of a system to an external electric field helps to avoid unnecessary approximations and mathematical difficulties. This in turn allows more attention to the physics of the problem and is beneficial to both advanced undergraduate and first-year graduate students. A second research project, with the collaboration of Dr. John Smetanka, is in process that they describe as “an extension of the previous problem to the three dimensional case.” They enjoy their research from a scientific standpoint but they also recognize that it benefits their students. “It’s very useful to them,” Maize noted, “because the projects we do are directed to exploring new solutions that were not possible before.” “It does it in a way that is simple enough for an undergraduate to understand,” Br. Michael added. “Simple and elegant, in fact. The primary goal of the journal that published our research is advancing education.”

The pair is very excited about the completion of the west building of the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion. “We are very much looking forward to moving in January,” Maize commented. “We will be able to organize our physics library and we will have two new research laboratories where we can work with our students on research at any time of the day or night.” Maize, who is currently teaching modern physics, modern physics laboratory, general physics and physics freshman seminar, says the new facility will make it more convenient to work among different laboratories. “We will be able to use the new facility for various research projects,” he said. Br. Michael is busy with department tutoring in general physics and electromagnetism as well as completing his studies in the Seminary in third theology. He expects to be ordained in the summer of 2014 before pursuing graduate studies at either Duke or Boston University. He hopes to join the faculty to teach full time at Saint Vincent after his gets his Ph.D. When they are not involved in working on their research at Saint Vincent, Maize and Br. Michael enjoy dining together in the Saint Vincent Dining Hall. “Every Friday,” Br. Michael noted. “And we talk about soccer, politics in the world, education and other topics. Sometimes prospective students who are visiting campus will join us.” “We also walk a lot,” Maize added. “I live close to campus and always walk to work. We both like walking and we walk everywhere, all directions, quite a bit.” Maize, who has been teaching at Saint Vincent for 23 years, was born in Sharkiah, about an hour from Cairo, Egypt. He was interested in science from the time he was a young student in private schools. He enrolled at Cairo University and earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and earned a second bachelor of science there in physics. Later, he came to the United States and pursued a master of science degree in solid state physics at the University of Louisville and a Ph.D. at Purdue University where he completed his doctoral dissertation on nuclear physics and using electron beams to study the nucleus. He was a post-doctoral research associate at Brown University from 1984 to 1987 where his research focused on photonuclear reactions or the study of the nucleus using light. After brief teaching assignments at the University of Rhode Island and the University of Maine, he joined the Saint Vincent Physics Department in 1990, being drawn to the idea of a small school and the special attention that can be given to students. Over the years, he has been pleased with the accomplishments of the physics majors. “I’ve had many excellent students,” he said. He has a son, Kareem, who graduated from Saint Vincent and is now working for a computer firm in Pittsburgh. Br. Michael, a native of Jeannette, enrolled at Saint Vincent in 2003 before graduating with a double major in physics and mathematics. While a student, he was involved in campus ministry, the outdoors club and enjoyed ultimate Frisbee. Son of Jerome and Sheila Antonacci, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking and camping. He has a brother, Jared, who graduated from Saint Vincent in 2009 with a degree in philosophy and is now working for Omnova Solutions. Any other common interests? “We both love coffee, bananas and hummus,” Br. Michael concluded.


student spotlight

Two Physics Majors Complete Summer Research At Penn State


wo Saint Vincent College physics majors completed hands-on, advanced internships at Penn State University during the summer that prepared them for their future careers in physics. Kyle Surovec of State College and Phillip Meyerhofer of Leesburg, VA, both seniors in the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing, pursued internships that gave them an opportunity to apply everything they have learned at Saint Vincent to actual research applications. Surovec worked in the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department doing nondestructive evaluation with ultrasound and ultrasonics. “We measured the integrity of material with sound waves,” he said. “We experimented with a new method utilizing sol-gel ultrasonics by fabricating our own chemical formulas and applying it to the samples.”

”This summer I was able to take it much further by perfecting the process of mixing the chemicals and depositing it on the material. A major corporation was interested in what we were doing because they wanted to use it for measuring the output and integrity of a nuclear reactor. So, the university received substantial support for our research and provided all of the equipment and supplies that were needed. We were able to meet their challenge and learn a lot in the process.” Surovec is currently in the process of writing an article for a scientific journal about his research. “I will have my name on it,” he noted. “Really cool.” After his expected graduation in May, Surovec plans to become a nuclear Naval engineer, teaching in the Navy’s nuclear school. He credits all of his professors with providing him with an excellent educational experience. “My education is on par with the major universities but I consider myself ahead of them because I have had that one-on-one attention and I know how to work through problems,” Surovec commented. “I haven’t just memorized problems. I think my logic skills have been perfected.” Meyerhofer worked with Dr. Jun Zhu in the Penn State Physics Department’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program, funded by the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network. His research involved graphene— single layer of carbon atoms with interesting properties electrically and mechanically which hold enormous potential for development. “I learned a great deal about nanotechnology and expanded my knowledge of working in a research environment,” he noted.

Kyle Surovec (left) and Philip Meyerhofer

SVC Installing 14” Telescope In New Observatory

Dr. Daniel Vanden Berk, right, introduces Josh Rigone, left, and Cameron Wisniewski to the Boyer School’s new Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain HD telescope.


14” telescope and a new observatory are the latest additions to the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion’s astronomy laboratory. The $13,000 computer-controlled Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain HD telescope and digital camera will be housed in the Pavilion’s nearby observatory which is currently nearing completion. The optics of the telescope, one of the largest in southwestern Pennsylvania, will allow for wide field imaging by astronomy students. The high definition digital images it captures of planets, stars, comets and other celestial phenomena can be incorporated into sky shows in the Angelo Taiani Planetarium and Astronaut Exhibit. “Computer control allows us to point the telescope to any point in the sky by entering the digital coordinates on a keyboard,” explained Dr. Daniel Vanden Berk, assistant professor of physics and astronomy. “The attached digital camera has filters that allow us to photograph different colors and wavelengths of light. It is designed for taking pictures of very faint objects.”

“One type of object we want to monitor over time is quasars,” Vanden Berk continued. “These very distant but very luminous galaxies can tell us a great deal about distant space. Students Josh Rigone and Cameron Wisniewski are working with me on research for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The project has discovered the most quasars thus far, well over 100,000. They are analyzing images to determine whether there are galaxies close to the quasar.” The new observatory will be more than twice as large as the former one which was housed on the roof of the Physics Building. “Located away from the main building on a concrete slab, it will feature increased stability with less vibration and no distortion from rising heat,” he noted. “Future students will have an opportunity to do real astronomy research and complete projects with results that can be published in academic journals. It is rare for a small college to have this kind of equipment and to provide these kinds of experiences.” The new equipment was funded through a grant from the Foundation for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). 7

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Dominion Foundation Grant Will Support Lab Modules On Sustainable Energy Resources


im Mesloh, left, executive director of the Dominion Foundation, recently presented a $25,000 award to Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., center, president of Saint Vincent College, and Dr. Caryl Fish, right, associate professor of chemistry, that will be used to develop and implement laboratory modules on sustainable energy resources and the impact of energy on the environment. They will be integrated into undergraduate courses targeted for both science and non-science majors. The purpose of the modules is for students to better understand contemporary energy issues and gain experience with alternative energy (biofuels and solar energy) and the effects of conventional energy sources on the environment. The development of these modules is the next step in expanding Saint Vincent College’s Environmental Studies Program that already serves a diverse audience through its academic coursework and community outreach.

Fundraising Status through October 2012 Thank you! We’re getting closer, but we still need your help to reach our goal!

$40 million $35 million

Additional Funds Needed $931,626

Funds Committed

$30 million


Profile for Saint Vincent College

Boyer Bulletin Fall 2012  

Newsletter of the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing

Boyer Bulletin Fall 2012  

Newsletter of the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing