Category: Michigan Tech News

Merelaniite article Published by Inside-Science

John Jaszczak 2Merelaniite, a new mineral discovered by Michigan Tech professor John Jaszczak, was named Mineral Of the Year for 2016. The mineral was selected by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA). Sergey V. Krivovichev of the IMA says this annual initiative was started in 2014, and “recognizes a single new mineral species published in the previous year as most interesting and outstanding among others.”

Congrats!


New funding announcement

Ravi Pandey
Ravi Pandey

Greg Odegard (MEEM) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $1,000,000 research and development grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Ravi Pandey (Physics), Julia King (MEEM) and Trisha Sain (MEEM) are Co-Pis on the project titled “Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP).”

This is the first year of a five-year project potential totaling $14,999,995.


Yap featured in Research Magazine – Commercialization

Yoke Kin Yap 011320170045Yoke Khin Yap’s research in high-brightness fluorophores earned him a place in Michigan Tech’s Research Magazine in the article “Commercialization“.

“We are expecting a huge impact to the field of flow cytometery…This will mean a lot for cancer and stem cell research.”

High-brightness fluorophores are dyes that fluoresce in different colors and degrees of brightness. They are used in machines called flow cytometers to detect diseased cells in blood.


Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Raymond Shaw

Raymond ShawThis week’s Dean’s Teaching Showcase recipient is Raymond Shaw from the Department of Physics, winner of the 2016 Michigan Tech Research Award. Shaw was selected by College of Sciences and Arts Dean Bruce Seely precisely because his efforts in the classroom forcefully demonstrate the unity of teaching and research and signal no necessary tension exists between these two core faculty responsibilities.

Seely says “That past fall, the Physics Department honored Ray for the Research Award in the manner it had recognized several other research award recipients — assigning them to teach a large lecture class. In Ray’s case, this was PH 2200, which covered electricity and magnetism for 390 students. He discovered large classes requires ‘one part professor and two parts theater director.’

“Fortunately, he enjoyed significant assistance from a demo crew that prepared attention-grabbing experiments suitable for classroom use, a dedicated assistant who managed iClicker content and online homework systems, the office staff that printed and organized 400 exam booklets every few weeks, and the physics learning center coaches who assisted students with homework and exams.

“At the end of the term, student evaluations ranked the class at 4.36 on the seven dimensions reported on the  evaluation form. This is a very good score for a large introductory class.

“Ray identified several keys to this success, including support from Physics faculty, John Jaszczak, Wil Slough, and Bob Weidman, with extensive experience in large-lecture sections, who shared lecture materials and staging tips, and provided occasional pep talks. In addition, help from the testing center and IT staff members further confirmed that such courses are taught by a team, not just a professor.

“When asked about his contributions to making this class work, Ray noted that because  big classes can seem impersonal, he ‘took it as a challenge to let my students get to know me as a person.’

“He spiced up lectures with personal anecdotes related to the course, like his rapidly-flashing blinker (RC time constants) or electromagnetic phenomena in his research. Other times he used more random elements related to life in general. He once asked students to provide iClicker responses on possible ways of disciplining his son for breaking the TV. (Corporal punishment won, but he did not take that advice) His point — students respond when taught by faculty who are real people and who care about them. As one student commented, ‘Every class was enjoyable due to the somewhat ‘nerdy’ humor followed by funny references to his son (absolutely hysterical).’

“But perhaps as important was Ray’s enthusiasm for the class. Students clearly recognized his passion and excitement about physics. One student said, ‘Your enthusiasm for Physics is inspiring. It makes the lectures much more enjoyable.’  Another added, ‘Your enthusiasm was great. You were always passionate and in a good mood.’

“This might not seem like rocket science, but teaching seems to work better in environments where faculty exhibit their enthusiasm about their field and show how they care about students and their learning.”

Shaw will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with 11 other showcase members, and is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large class teaching, innovative or outside the classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.

by Michael Meyer, Director, William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning


A New Mineral Named after Physics Professor

In Mineralogical Magazine’s recent newsletter, the International Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification announced twelve new minerals that were approved by the commission in November.

Among them is a new bismuth and gold sulfide [Bi3S3][AuS2] from Alsó-Rózsa adit, Nagybörzsöny Mountains, Pest Co., Hungary named jaszczakite, in honor of Michigan Tech professor John Jaszczak (Physics).

The new mineral was proposed by Luca Bindi (Università di Firenze, Italy;) and Werner Paar (Salzburg, Austria).


Cloud in a Box

Cloud Chamber20140324_0003When it comes to climate change, clouds are the wild card. Atmospheric physicists at Michigan Tech use a turbulence-generating cloud chamber to better understand the details and droplets.

There are few absolutes in life, but Will Cantrell says this is one: “Every cloud droplet in Earth’s atmosphere formed on a preexisting aerosol particle.”

And the way those droplets form — with scarce or plentiful aerosol particles — could have serious implications for weather and climate change.

It’s been known for decades that cleaner clouds tend to have bigger cloud droplets. But through research conducted in Michigan Tech’s cloud chamber, which was published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Cantrell, graduate student Kamal Kant Chandrakar, Raymond Shaw and colleagues found that cleaner clouds also have a much wider variability in droplet size. So wide, in fact, that some are large enough to be considered drizzle drops.

Dirtier clouds, Shaw explains, not only have smaller droplets, but also much more uniformity in droplet size, with no observable drizzle drops.

“If clouds have more aerosols in them, the drops would be smaller and more similar in size,” Shaw says. “It would be harder for the cloud to rain, and the cloud would then last longer. If a cloud rains, or has less water in it, it won’t be there to reflect sunlight.”

By Stefanie Sidortsova, read the full story.


Great Lakes Climate Modeling in the News

image98360-persPengfei Xue (CEE) and his modeling work through the Great Lakes Research Center, which led to a more comprehensive climate and hydrodynamics model for the whole Great Lakes region, has been featured in several science media outlets including Science Daily, Phys.org, Terra Daily and Supercomputing Online News. The story was shared numerous times by collaborators and the science community on Twitter.

Weather the Storm: Improving Great Lakes Modeling

The collaborative work brought together researchers from Michigan Technological University, Loyola Marymount University, LimnoTech and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. Pengfei Xue, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Tech, led the study through his work at the Great Lakes Research Center on campus.

One of the important concepts in climate change, in addition to knowing the warming trend, is understanding that extreme events become more severe. That is both a challenge and an important focus in regional climate modeling. —Pengfei Xue

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Allison Mills.


Physics in Michigan Tech News

The Iron Stepping Stones To Better Wearable Tech Without Semiconductors
February 5, 2016
Shaking the Nanomaterials Out: New Method to Purify Water
December 11, 2015
New HOLODEC Study in Science on Using Holography to Better Understand Clouds
October 1, 2015
Michigan Tech Team Helps Clarify the Impacts of Black Carbon in Nature Communications Study
September 30, 2015
A Mousetrap Leads to $2 Million Gift to Physics Department
September 23, 2015
Better Together: Graphene-Nanotube Hybrid Switches
July 31, 2015
Science Helps Students Master Skiing
May 5, 2015
Falling Faster — Researchers Confirm Super-Terminal Raindrops
February 13, 2015
PhD Students Learn to Communicate their Research
February 12, 2015
Flashes from Faster-than-Light Spots May Help Illuminate Astronomical Secrets
January 8, 2015
Physics Chair Elected Fellow of American Physical Society
January 6, 2015
Physics Department Recognized Nationally for Percentage of Women PhDs
October 3, 2014
Michigan Tech Receives NSF Grant for Transmission Electron Microscope
August 26, 2014
A Little Light Magic
July 29, 2014
Three Generations, Seven Graduates, One Family
May 1, 2014