Category Archives: News

Interview on “Superior” Supercomputer

Computational StructureAny university involved in compute-intensive research would love to have a supercomputer at its disposal. Michigan Technological University is one of the fortunate ones to have a super-fast machine accessible by the entire research community on campus. The computer is known as “Superior” and we sat down with Gowtham S., Director of Research Computing at the University, to hear more about it.

insideHPC: The system’s installation just had its one year anniversary. What are some of the current projects that are harnessing all of this power?

Gowtham S.: Modeling the circulation and particle transport in the Great Lakes system, multi scale modeling of advanced materials and structures, nanostructured materials for electronics, biosensing and human health implications, and unsupervised learning in Big Data and social networks are some of the on going projects that use the power of Superior. Here is the complete listing of all 30 projects.

These projects have produced nearly two dozen publications as well, and several proposals are underway for even more projects. That makes us quite happy.

Read the full interview at insideHPC.

This interview refers to three projects within the Department of Physics.

  • Physics, Johana Chirinos, Investigations in ultra-high-energy cosmic ray physics
  • Physics, Ranjit Pati, Computational study of charge and spin transport in nano-scale junctions from first-principles
  • Physics, Ravindra Pandey, Computational studies of nanostructured materials for electronics, biosensing and human health implications

Proposals in Progress for July 14, 2014

PI Claudio Mazzoleni (Physics) and Co-PIs Lynn Mazzoleni (Chem), Raymond Shaw (Physics) and Will Cantrell (Physics), “Azores Integrated Measurements (AIM): Free Tropospheric and Marine Boundary Layer Aerosol Properties at the Eastern North Atlantic Permanent ARM Facility and the Pico Mountain Observatory, Azores,” US Department of Energy.

PI Dongyan Zhang (Physics) and Co-PIs Nazmiye Yapici (Physics) and Jim Baker (IEE), “High Brightness Fluorescence Reagents for Biomedical Applications,” NSF.

PI John Diebel (IIE) and Co-PI Yoke Khin Yap (Physics), “High Brightness Fluorescence Biosensors and Chemosensors,” University of Michigan/MIIE.

Read more at Tech Today.

In Memoriam: Robert Mount

Robert Mount
Robert Mount

Professor Emeritus Robert H. “Bob” Mount, a longtime member of the physics faculty, passed away July 2 at his home in Hancock. He was 86 years old.

Mount came to Michigan Tech in 1954 from Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co., where he was employed as the chief geologist. He retired from the University in 2000. For much of his career, he taught introductory physics courses. “His 46 years of service is the second-longest in department history—the longest being James Fisher,” said physics professor Bryan Suits.

His colleagues remember Mount as health conscious. “His extensive early-morning exercise routine was very important to him,” Suits said. “He would retire early so he could get up at 3 or 4 a.m. to do his workout. Hence, he often passed when it came to attending the department’s evening events—they were past his bedtime.”

Professor Don Beck also remembered his physical fitness—and his motorcycle, which he rode to campus whenever weather permitted. “He was an amiable colleague,” said Beck, “and he had an extensive collection of college-level books that he managed to fit into one of our smallest offices.”

Mount donated most of that collection to the Society of Physics students upon his retirement. “Fourteen years later, those books are still in the undergrad physics room and are consulted and used on a regular basis, sometimes even by grad students and professors,” said Professor Raymond Shaw.

Professor Robert Nemiroff remembers Mount as a cheerful sort, before and after his retirement. “He always seemed in good spirits and had kind words or a humorous story for me, and I would expect for his students as well,” he said.

Mount was also an animal lover with a big heart, said Professor Jacek Borysow. “Bob took all the ugliest dogs from the animal shelter and took care of them,” he said. “I think there were times when he had something like six dogs, and they all had missing legs, ears or tails, and they were very old.”

Mount served in the army at the end of World War II and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and an MS in Geophysics from Michigan Tech.

Bob is survived by his children, Becky, Nancy, Rob and Jeff (Elyssa), and his grandchildren, Rachel and Gabe. He is also survived by his pets, Peppy, Kitsalee, Linky and Mama, his devoted and adoring lap cat.

Mount’s body will be cremated, and no public visitation or service will be held. O’Neill-Dennis Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

From Tech Today.

Please feel free to leave comments on your experiences with Keith Baldwin.

Associate Professor Huentemeyer Provides Updates on HAWC

Petra Huentemeyer
Petra Huentemeyer

Astrophysics Highlights from the APS April Meeting

HAWC Observatory Online
At a press conference, Petra Huentemeyer of Michigan Technological University gave a status update and early results from the High-Altitude Water Chernkov (HAWC) observatory. HAWC will produce a wide-field picture of the universe in TeV gamma rays and cosmic rays. With just one third of its total planned array online, HAWC has already exceeded the sensitivity of its predecessor MILAGRO.

Read more at the American Physical Society News, by Calla Cofield.

Professor Daavettila and the Nuke Program

Don Daavettila
Don Daavettila

Physics Faculty Emeritus Don Daavettila fondly recalls the days of the nuclear engineering master’s program at Michigan Tech. And the fact that nuclear power seems to be coming back in vogue after nearly fifty years doesn’t surprise him.

“Nuclear is the way to go,” says the former chemistry and physics professor. “It’s a solid 20 percent of where we get our power today.”

Read more at TechAlum Newsletter, by Don Daavettila.

Professor Daavettila

Physics alumni Kim Bylund (Warner), Ken Kok, and Marty Vonk share experiences with Professor Daavettila in From the Email Bag.

Read more at TechAlum Newsletter.

Perry Martin and California Chrome

Perry and Denise Martin, along with Steve and Carolyn Coburn, are co-owners of Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome. Perry Martin earned a degree in applied physics from Michigan Tech in 1978. Perry is President of Materials Technology Labs in McClellan, California.

Extra points: Kentucky Derby winner (partially) made in Michigan

His name may be California Chrome, but you can trace the Kentucky Derby-winning horse owner’s roots to Michigan.

Perry Martin, one of the co-owners, graduated from Michigan Tech in 1978. Catherine, his 83-year-old mother, is from Iron Mountain but now lives in Dickinson County.

Read more at Detroit Free Press.

Kentucky Derby hopeful has Tech connections

Perry Martin grew up in Chicago, developed a love for horses there, but did find his way to the U.P. He recalls with pleasure his many happy summers with his grandparents and their beagle “Duke” in Iron Mountain.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Burt Angeli.

Best Grad Student Talks and Posters 2014

Physics Poster Session 2014We are pleased to announce the following awards in association with the recent graduate oral and poster presentations.

Best Talks

Hao Zhou – Observing Very High Energy Gamma-ray Emission from Geminga with the HAWC Observatory

Hugo Ayala Solares – Observing the Galactic Diffuse Gamma-Ray Emission

Best Posters

Joseph Niehaus – Laboratory Measurements of Contact Freezing by Dust and Bacteria at Temperatures of Mixed Phase Clouds

Ran Duan – A Multi-band, Unidirectional, Phase-preserved Lensing Invisibility Cloak

Join us in applauding these and all of the graduate students for their effort and accomplishments.

The Physics Department Poster Session was held on April 17, 2014, in the Fisher Atrium. The physics graduate student talks were held throughout the latter part of Spring Semester 2014.

Congratulations to the four winners and everyone else on their presentations!

View the 2014 Physics Department Poster Session photo gallery.