April 4, 2015
April 2015: Yearly Departmental Awards for 2015

The 2015 Department of Physics & Astronomy Awards were presented at a reception held at 3:00 pm on Thursday, 30 April 2015 in the main conference room, 1400 BPS Bldg.

The award presentation was followed by a concert by the Grand Canonical Ensemble (Physics Choir).

April 3, 2015
April 2015: WKAR Radio interviews Joey Huston & Wade Fisher about LHC research

WKAR Radio's Current State program aired an interview on April 21st with MSU Physics & Astronomy Professor Joey Huston and Associate Professor Wade Fisher about the recent re-start of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which had been down for two years for maintenance and upgrades. MSU's High Energy Physics group has an extensive presence in the LHC research program. The interview may be heard online via this article on the WKAR web site.

April 2, 2015
April 2015: Tyce DeYoung provides MSU Today "Faculty Voice" piece

Physics & Astronomy Associate Professor Tyce DeYoung discusses his research into high energy neutrino physics in an April 1st, 2015 "Faculty Voice" piece at MSU Today. He is part of the research team for the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole and tells of its role in trying to unravel mysteries related to the elusive elementary particle.

April 1, 2015
April 2015: Chris Adami research featured in APS News front-page story

Chris Adami, Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, does research in diverse fields ranging from computational biology to quantum information theory.

March 1, 2015
March 2015: MSU Nuclear Physics graduate program continues its #1 U.S. News & World Report ranking

In the 2014 US News and World Report's rankings of graduate school programs published Monday, March 9, 2015, Michigan State University's Nuclear Physics graduate program continues its placement at the top of the list, a position it has held since 2010:

February 2, 2015
February 2015: MSU honored for number of physics education degrees granted

The Physics Teacher Education Coalition ("PhysTEC", a partnership between the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers) has recognized Michigan State University as a member of its "5+ Club" - institutions of higher education which have granted five or more physics education degrees in a single year over the past few academic years. Since the typical number for most universities is zero, MSU's 7 graduates during the 2012-2013 academic year is notable.

February 1, 2015
February 2015: Brian O'Shea receives 2015 MSU Teacher-Scholar Award

Brian O'Shea, who specializes in computational astrophysics and is jointly appointed to the faculties of Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, is one of four recipients of MSU's 2015 Teacher-Scholar Award.

January 6, 2015
2015: Welcoming New Faculty in 2015-16 Academic Year

The Department of Physics and Astronomy has welcomed three new faculty members in the 2015-2016 academic year.

January 5, 2015
2015: Jay Strader Receives Packard Fellowship

On October 15th, Assistant Professor Jay Strader of the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy was named one of this year's 18 recipients nationwide of a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering. Accompanying this prestigious honor is an individual research grant of $875,000 distributed over the next five years.

January 4, 2015
2015: Scientific Symposium Honoring Former NSCL Director Konrad Gelbke

In lieu of the weekly Physics-Astronomy Colloquium, members of the department (and others) are invited to the Scientific Symposium Honoring Former NSCL Director Konrad Gelbke at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts' Pasant Theatre from 2:00 to 5:30 pm on Thursday, 08 October 2015. P-A attendees of the symposium do not have to register.

January 3, 2015
2015: Noted Astronomer Andrea Ghez to Give Special Colloquium Talk and Public Lecture September 29th

The MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy will host noted astronomer Andrea Ghez of UCLA, Monday, September 28th and Tuesday, September 29th.

January 2, 2015
2015: MSU Plays Major Role in Unique Gamma-Ray Observatory

Members of the Michigan State University Department of Physics and Astronomy are major players in the new High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma-Ray Observatory in Puebla, Mexico, which will observe very high-energy gamma rays and cosmic rays coming from extreme sources in the universe, such as black holes, dark matter and exploding stars. HAWC is a collaborative effort between the United States and Mexico. The site was chosen for its high altitude (13,500 feet) and proximity to the LMT Alfonso Serano, a large radio telescope.

January 1, 2015
2015: Galaxy Cluster Star Formation Modelled as "Rain"

The majority of the hundreds of millions of galaxies in the universe are members of giant clusters of galaxies, ranging from small groupings of 50 or so (such as the Local Cluster that our own Milky Way galaxy is part of) to larger collections of over 1000 galaxies. Observations over the years of the rates of star formation in the central bright galaxies in these clusters have shown a wide variation. It has not been clear why these galaxies in some clusters have formed millions of stars in the past million years (and seem to have done so at similar rate for a good part of their lifetimes), while similar, central galaxies in other clusters appear to have formed no new stars for a substantial fraction of their lifetimes. There are some clusters whose brightest galaxy lies between these extremes as well, showing evidence of ample star formation during some periods of time and little star formation at other times.

September 1, 2014
September 2014: MSU joins ICECUBE collaboration

In September 2014, MSU officially joined the ICECUBE collaboration, which runs a high energy neutrino observatory located at the South Pole. Particle Astrophysics is an emerging area in the PA department with strong representation in ICECUBE, as well as involvement in the HAWC experiment, which is a high energy gamma ray detector in the mountains of Mexico. Professor Jim Linnemann has played a key role in promoting particle astrophysics at MSU, and the arrival of Ty DeYoung and Kendall Mahn, who are members of ICECUBE, is a very significant expansion of effort in this area.

August 1, 2014
August 2014: Abrams Planetarium celebrates its 50th anniversary with major upgrade

This year the planetarium marks its 50th anniversary with the installation of a new star projector and the arrival of a new director, Shannon Schmoll. The planetarium’s new projector – the Digistar 5 – was installed in August, just in time for a series of new shows in the fall.

For more information about Abrams Planetarium's programs, see

June 2, 2014
June 2014: Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA) renewed

On 30 June 2014, Professor Hendrik Schatz, director of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA), a NSF physics frontiers center, received news that it would be continued for another five years. In this phase of the program, JINA will strive to understand the evolution of the elements in the universe. The lead organization in this renewal is MSU, with Notre Dame and U. Chicago as participating units. These centers are amongst the most prized and prestigious centers funded by the NSF and accolades should go to Hendrik Schatz and his team for this success.

June 1, 2014
June 2014: FRIB starts technical construction

The DOE Office of Science Office of Project Assessment concluded its June 24-26 review of the FRIB project and will recommend to the DOE Office of Science Acquisition Executive that FRIB is ready for technical construction (CD-3b). The review committee was organized into eight subcommittees and FRIB staff gave 45 presentations. MSU President Simon and Executive Vice President Udpa represented MSU at the review.

January 5, 2014
2014: We Welcome New Faculty in 2014

The Department of Physics and Astronomy has welcomed six new faculty members in 2014.

January 4, 2014
2014: Noted Climatologist Kevin Trenberth to Give Colloquium Talk and Public Lecture September 18th

The MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy will be visited by internationally noted climatologist Dr. Kevin Trenberth, Distinguished Senior Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), on Thursday, September 18th, 2014.

At 4:10 pm, Dr. Trenberth will give the weekly departmental colloquium talk on the topic "Earth's Energy Balance Revisited". See this for more details.

January 3, 2014
2014: Lisa Lapidus Lab Results Lead to Potential Parkinson's Treatment

Physics & Astronomy Professor Lisa Lapidus's research deals with the physical properties of proteins and how they behave under various conditions. This research has recently yielded promising results about a protein common in brain tissue which lead to the possibility that the protein's aggregation in cases of Parkinson's Disease and other brain disorders may be influenced by other molecules in such a way as to prevent this aggregation and thus short-circuit the development of the disorder.