Friday, May 25, 2012

The Science enabled by Photon Sources: Local interest in Virginia

On May 16 2012 the Workshop on "The Science enabled by Photon Sources: local interest in Virginia" took place at JMU. Several Faculty members of the Department of Physics and Astronomy were in the Organizing Committee (Dr. Whisnant, Dr. Hughes, and Dr. Scarel). Dr. Hughes, Dr. Utter, Dr. Feitosa, Dr. C. Constantin, and Dr. Scarel were among the presenters. The Workshop gave an ample view of the vast capabilities of photon Sources in various fields of Science. Dr. Ward Plummer (Louisiana State University), one of the keynote speakers, gave a historical picture of the evolution of Photon Science and offered an overview of the possible developments. His talk touched topics related to physics and materials science, in particular related to superconducting materials. The need of photon sources to improve the research in materials science was illustrated in the presentations of various JMU faculty members, who underlined the need for better imaging techniques, and more sensitive tools to perform chemical analysis in soft and hard materials. Dr. Peter Abbamonte (University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign), another keynote speaker, illustrated how the mystery of the lack of a band gap in graphene was solved using high energy photons produced in a storage ring. Other presenters from JMU and from other Universities in Virginia and Washington DC described the power of photon sources in understanding phase transitions in oxides, collective excitations, and the properties of photon themselves. Dr. Stefan Vogt (Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University), the third keynote speaker, succeeded in convincing that photon sources offer enormous possibilities in the fields of biology and medicine. A new JMU Chemistry faculty member supported the view. Other presentations illustrated new fascinating mysteries awaiting to be investigated with the powerful photon sources in the fields of environmental sciences, electronics and spintronics, and mentioned the technical challenges associated to the process of data acquisition. A radio interview of Dr. Scarel aired on May 11 2012 can be found at
Here is Dr. Utter ....
Here is Dr. Abbamonte ...
... and here is Dr. Scarel

Saturday, May 19, 2012

2nd Annual Video Contest

Judging for JMU physics' 2nd annual video contest is underway.  If you want to take a look at some of the videos high school students from Virginia and Maryland have entered, look here:  

Details about this year's contest are on the department webpage,