Category Archives: News

2015 Astronomy Research and Education Award for Nemiroff

Nemiroff and BonnellThe Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), one of the most innovative and respected astronomy science education organizations in the U.S., is proud to announce the recipients of its 2015 awards for excellence in astronomy research and education.

The awards will be formally presented at an ASP Awards Ceremony and Banquet on October 10, 2015 at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, CA as part of ASP’s Annual Meeting and Public Festival (Universe 2015).

The Klumpke-Roberts Award for outstanding contributions to public understanding and appreciation of astronomy is awarded to Dr. Robert Nemiroff (left) and Dr. Jerry Bonnell (right) for their work on the Astronomy Picture of the Day. Dr. Robert Nemiroff is a Professor in the Physics department at Michigan Technological University. He is an active researcher, teaches undergraduate and graduate physics courses, and supervises graduate students. Dr. Jerry Bonnell is a research scientist with the University of Maryland Astronomy Department on contract to the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. They are the co-creators and co-editors of Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). Since 1995, they have selected and explained one image of our universe every day. Their explanations include links to additional information, deepening the educational value of the site. Each day’s image and explanation are archived, forming what is one of the largest annotated archives of diverse astronomy images on the web. APOD’s home site is hosted by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and currently gets an average of 1 million hits per day. Its three major social media sites collectively have over 2 million followers. APOD is translated into 21 languages, including Arabic, Russian, Spanish, Indonesian, and Chinese, and has mirror sites in at least 23 countries.

Read more at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Meyer Gives the Keynote for Student Technology Conference

STC 2015Mike Meyer gave the keynote address on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, for the Student Technology Conference held in Houghton this week. The conference concerns content-rich academic, computing, and telecommunications technologies in student living areas. The keynote address was entitled “The Transition to Teaching 24:7.”

Meyer is a Senior Lecturer in Physics and the director of the Center for Teaching and Learning on campus.

The conference is a ResNet activity. ResNet is an international organization providing a forum for discussion, collaboration, and development for IT professionals in higher education. The conference runs June 16-19, 2015.

APOD is 20 Years Old

APOD VermeerAstronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) was launched this day in 1995. The massively followed online site is maintained by APOD co-founders Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell.

The 20th anniversary APOD image is a digital re-pixelation of a Vermeer using over 5,000 APOD images that have been featured on the site.

Nemiroff and Bonnell were interviewed by The Verge.

20 years of space photos: an oral history of Astronomy Picture of the Day

Exploring the cosmos one day at a time

APOD launched on June 16, 1995. In advance of its milestone birthday, I spoke on the phone with the two guys who have run the site by hand for two decades, a seemingly unfathomable task in the age of ephemeral content. How do they do it? A combination of Microsoft Word, a fiery passion for astrophotography, and lots and lots of emails.

So where did the idea originally come from?

Robert Nemiroff: Jerry Bonnell and I shared an office at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and we were both — we’re still — active researchers. But the web was growing up, and so we brainstormed to try to figure out how we could contribute to this web. One idea, we thought, was maybe we can make lots of money, and buy a Hawaiian island or something. But that never worked out. [Laughs.]

Read more at The Verge, by Sean O’Kane.

Volunteers Needed for KSEF

KSEF GroupMichigan Tech and the surrounding community are joining together to host the inaugural Keweenaw Science and Engineering Festival to stimulate and sustain interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the Keweenaw for all ages. ​This four-day festival is an open forum to showcase all facets of STEM in the Western Upper Peninsula. Current scheduled events have something for all ages and include the Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers, Nerd Night for teens with Tech’s Physics Department, the Family Engineering Day, Summer Concert Series, Science Pub Crawl, The Wonders of Physics, science comedian Brian Malow and David Gaynes presenting his documentary Saving Hubble and more! This event is scheduled for August 5 to 8, and most of the activities are free.

See the event calendar on the current schedule. Volunteers are still needed to help with the festival. If you would like to get involved and run a hands-on demonstration, assist with set-up, work the KSEF booth or have questions on how to volunteer contact Amanda McConnon at amcconno@mtu.edu.

From Tech Today, by Center for Pre-College Outreach.

Sun, sand, science
Festival intended to spark STEM interest

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Meghan Marquardt (subscription required).

Mike Meyer on Classroom Control

 

Mike Meyer
Mike Meyer

Michael Meyer, director of Michigan Tech’s William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning, was quoted in an article in Inside Higher Education about how a professor should regain control of a class (or not lose control in the first place).

From Tech Today.

How Not to Lose Control of a Class

“I haven’t seen anywhere near somebody losing control to the extent we saw at Texas A&M as it’s been reported, but I have seen cases on different campuses where it’s very clear that the learning is done,” said Michael R. Meyer, a professor of physics and director of Michigan Technological University’s William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning. “That happens when somebody says or does something that fractures the relationship with at least a significant proportion of the students, and there really isn’t a trust anymore.”

At that point, Meyer said, professors and students alike tend to go into “survival” mode, where the goal is simply getting through the end of the course. A common cause of such friction? Students feeling like they’re being held accountable for behavioral expectations that weren’t made clear to them, Meyer said. These expectations go beyond which assignments are due when. Rather, they address such behaviors as cell phone, computer and social media use in class, how to ask questions and what happens when someone shows up late.

“If you don’t address them, or talk about them with students, there’s bound to be bad feelings on both sides,” Meyer said.

Read more at Inside Higher Education, by Colleen Flaherty.

Yap Quoted on Water-Purification Methods

 

Nanotech Filter
Nanotech Filter

Professor Yoke Khin Yap (Physics) was interviewed by the Columbus Dispatch to comment about a recent work reported by Ohio State University researchers. The recent work on water/oil separation filters was first pioneered by Yap in collaboration with Jaroslaw Drelich in 2011. The Columbus Dispatch is a daily newspaper based in Columbus, Ohio.

From Tech Today.

Ohio State researchers develop mesh that captures oil

Other scientists have explored how small particles could help deal with oil spills.

For example, a team of MIT engineers in 2012 devised a way to pull clean water and reusable oil from spills using nanoparticles. And two Michigan Tech University professors published research in 2011 about a fine mesh they coated with nanotubes to attract oil and repel water. Nanotubes are slightly larger than nanoparticles.

Yoke Khin Yap, a physics professor at Michigan Tech who co-wrote that study, said Bhushan and Brown’s findings could improve water-purification methods.

To work on large oil spills, though, the OSU mesh would have to be capable of performing on a much larger scale, Yap said. “We’re not talking about filtering 100 milliliters of liquid — we’re talking about a big volume for an oil spill in the oceans. So it really depends on the speed of this kind of separation process.”

Read more at The Columbus Dispatch, by Laura Arenschield.

Nerd Night at KSEF

KSEFKeweenaw Science and Engineering Festival

Michigan Tech and the community will come together to host the inaugural Keweenaw Science and Engineering Festival.

The event is designed to stimulate and sustain interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the Keweenaw.

This four-day festival is an open forum to showcase all facets of STEM in the Western Upper Peninsula. Current scheduled events include the Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers, Nerd Night with Tech’s Physics Department, the Family Engineering Day, Summer Concert Series, Science Pub Crawl, The Wonders of Physics, science comedian Brian Malow and David Gaynes presenting his documentary “Saving Hubble” and more!

This event is scheduled for Aug. 5 – 8, 2015, with most of the activities free to the public. Check out the current schedule. If you would like to get involved and run a hands-on demonstration or volunteer please contact Amanda McConnon at amcconno@mtu.edu.

From Tech Today, by the Center for Pre-College Outreach.

Nerd Night (Teens)

Wednesday, August 5th, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Continental Fire Company, 408 E Montezuma Ave. Houghton
Teens! Bring your friends and come discover the WOW! of science with amazing demonstrations and hands-on activities presented by the Michigan Tech Physics Dept.