Ehren Benson, the P-A Department's Windows Systems Administrator for nearly seven years, has accepted a position with MSU IT Services' Virtualization, Storage & Systems group. His last day with the department was Wednesday, 23 October 2013. A recent winner of the P-A Outstanding Staff Award, he will be missed for his diligence and dedication in providing computing services to this department and others.
Professor Stephen Zepf, Associate Chair for Astronomy & Astrophysics, was named one of the top 25 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professors in Michigan by the "Online Schools in Michigan" website (http://onlineschoolsmichigan.com), one of four MSU professors to be included on their Top 25 list for this year. For further information, see also this MSU Today article.
Opti O2, a Michigan State University Department of Physics & Astronomy spinout company started by Ruby Ghosh, received a venture funding award at the Entrepreneur-YOU Business Competition on 24 September 2013 in Troy, MI.
Physics and Astronomy Professors Elizabeth Simmons and Georg Bollen were both designated University Distinguished Professor at the June 21st meeting of the MSU Board of Trustees, as reported in this MSUToday article.
Dr. Bauer will continue as a professor in the P-A Department, but has also accepted a position in the office of MSU's executive vice president for administrative services.
Astronomy & Astrophysics Professor Megan Donahue's article for the "Faculty Voice" feature of the MSU Today online newsletter appeared in May 2013. It describes her experiences as a member of a team of researchers exploring some of the largest galaxy clusters in the universe using a very extensive set of observations from the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Department of Physics & Astronomy's Associate Chair for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Professor Stephen Zepf, is one of ten Michigan State University faculty members who will be honored for their outstanding contributions to education and research with Distinguished Faculty Awards at the annual MSU Awards Convocation on Feb. 12th, 2013.
MSU Astronomy & Astrophysics Assistant Professor Jay Strader (pictured at lower right) was the lead author for an Astrophysical Journal Letter (volume 775, letter 6, 20 Sept 2013) describing the characteristics of an ultra-compact galaxy called M60-UCD1, with a density 15,000 times that of the region of the Milky Way near the Sun, making it the densest galaxy currently known. Typical spacing between stars in M60-UCD1 is only 4% that found in our stellar neighborhood.
G. Mark Voit, MSU Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, was one of four MSU faculty members among the 701 scientists selected as AAAS Fellows in 2012 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
In an investiture ceremony at MSU, Dr. Matthew Comstock was installed as the Department of Physics and Astronomy's second Jerry Cowen Chair of Experimental Physics. Professor Chih-Wei Lai was installed as the first holder of this Chair in 2008 (he continues to hold this Chair). The Chair's donor and Jerry Cowen's son, Randy Cowen, two of Jerry's daughters, as well as his widow Elaine, were in attendance to help celebrate the occasion.