News

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.

January 2, 2014
2014: FRIB Groundbreaking Ceremony

On a clear but cold 17th of March 2014, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) was held near the FRIB construction worksite on the MSU campus.

January 1, 2014
2014: FRIB construction approved, funded, and scheduled

On January 22nd, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) gave the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) official notice that it can now begin construction. This notice completes the process begun when President Obama signed into law the 2014 federal budget approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, which includes $55 million to support FRIB construction in the coming year.

October 2, 2013
October 2013: Windows administrator Ehren Benson leaves

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.

October 1, 2013
October 2013: Stephen Zepf named one of top 25 STEM professors in Michigan

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.

September 1, 2013
September 2013: Ruby Ghosh lab's spin-out company receives venture funding award

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.

June 1, 2013
June 2013: Georg Bollen and Elizabeth Simmons both named University Distinguished Professor

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.

May 2, 2013
May 2013: P-A Department's new Chair

On 15 May 2013, the position of Chair of the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy passed from Wolfgang Bauer, who has held the position since 2001, to Phillip Duxbury.

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.

May 1, 2013
May 2013: Megan Donahue writes about her research in MSU Today "Faculty Voice" feature article

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.

March 1, 2013
March 2013: Elizabeth Simmons Named 2013-14 ACE Fellow

The Dean of MSU's Lyman Briggs College and Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, Elizabeth Simmons, has been named a member of the American Council on Education's Fellows Program Class of 2013-2014, one of fifty leaders from U.S. educational institutions so honored this year.

February 2, 2013
February 2013: Stephen Zepf honored with MSU Distinguished Faculty Award

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.

February 1, 2013
February 2013: Elizabeth Simmons receives MSU's 2013 Robert F. Banks Award for Institutional Leadership

The Dean of MSU's Lyman Briggs College and Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, Elizabeth Simmons, has received Michigan State University's 2013 Robert F. Banks Award for Institutional Leadership. This award goes to a member of the faculty, academic staff, or support staff in recognition of extraordinary and sustained institutional leadership that advances MSU’s commitment to connectivity, quality and inclusion. It will be presented to Dr. Simmons by MSU President Lou Anna K.

January 1, 2013
2013: Jay Strader research group discovers densest known galaxy

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.

December 1, 2012
December 2012: Ruby Ghosh's research featured in MSU Engaged Scholar E-Newsletter

The December 2012 issue of The Engaged Scholar, an E-Newsletter produced by MSU's Office of University Outreach and Engagement, featured P-A Research Associate Professor Ruby Ghosh's oxygen sensor research activities.

October 1, 2012
October 2012: Mark Voit named AAAS Fellow

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.

For further information, see the announcement on the AAAS website and this MSU Today story.

September 1, 2012
September 2012: 20th Anniversary of LON-CAPA

The initial roll-out of the Computer-Assisted Personalized Approach (CAPA) system, developed by members of the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy, was 20 years ago this month.

This system, enhanced and merged with other projects, evolved into the current LearningOnline Network with Computer-Assisted Personalized Approach (LON-CAPA) system, which is now used by more than 140 educational institutions worldwide, not only for physics courses, but in many other fields as well.

January 2, 2012
2012: Professor Matthew Comstock Installed as Second Jerry Cowen Chair of Experimental Physics

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.