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.
On 18 November 2011, P-A Chair Wolfgang Bauer made the announcement that the following faculty members had received honors from prestigious national scientific organizations.
Relics of the Big Bang is a new show designed and produced by researchers in the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy and the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory in conjunction with Abrams Planetarium staff, with the assistance of MSU students in many fields including graphic design, narrative writing and sound engineering.
The first annual Joint ATLAS-GRETINA-HRIBF-NSCL-FRIB Users Meeting will be held at the MSU Biomedical & Physical Sciences Building in East Lansing, Michigan, from 18-20 August, 2011. Many scientists in low-energy nuclear physics now carry out experiments at several user facilities, and major equipment such as GRETINA will rotate between the respective laboratories. Hence the time is right to bring the U.S. low-energy user community together to discuss science, plans, and needs within a single user meeting.
Physics-Astronomy Professor and former departmental chair Raymond "Chip" Brock was one of 10 MSU faculty members named University Distinguished Professor by the MSU Board of Trustees in recognition of achievement in the classroom, laboratory and community at its 17 June 2011 meeting. This honor is awarded at the MSU President's recommendation to ten faculty members campuswide every two years.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) recently announced 68 Early Career Research Program financial awards for young faculty from amongst 1150 applicants for the fiscal year 2011. One of the awardees was Dr. Pengpeng Zhang of the MSU P-A department. Dr. Zhang's project, Utilizing Molecular Self-Assembly to Tailor Electrical Properties of Si Nanomembranes has potential applications ranging from nano-electronics to energy harvesting. It was selected for funding by the DoE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES).
In 2010, Physics and astrophysics senior Jessica Muir was named 2010 Marshall Scholar.
Physics alumna Dr. Azam Niroomand-Rad (M.S. 1971, Ph.D. 1978) received the 2010 MSU College of Natural Science Outstanding Alumni Award.
Nathan Sanders, a Physics/Astrophysics senior, recieved a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
Two incoming freshmen to MSU with physics/astronomy majors interview on 1320 WILS.