Monday, September 18, 2017

New Student Blogger and... Hello from JMU's Society of Physics Students

We will continue to bring you news about our department this year with the great help of our students as well.  We have a new student blogger this 2017-2018 year, Theodore Chu, a sophomore seen before busy working in the soon to be commissioned Madison Accelerator Laboratory, while  Yvonne Kinsella, now a senior, will return with new interesting developments inside and outside the physics world. 

Theodore (seen smiling here and pretty much everywhere) is  actively involved in the social life and student organizations associated with our department, and he takes this opportunity to introduce to you to our department's section of the Society of Physics Students, with a big Hello: 

With the third week of this semester having passed, hopefully we’ve found ourselves back into a steady rhythm for our coursework and we know exactly what extra-curriculars we have and we’ve set aside some time for our own personal affects as well.  That’s the goal, at least. 

Doesn’t sound like you?  That’s perfectly fine!  Normal, even! That’s where the Society of Physics Students (SPS) comes in!

Our primary goal is to help you, as a physics major, figure out how you’re going to balance your life and its many aspects.  Whether it’s help figuring out some tougher integrals or physics solutions, how you can get involved in the department, or just giving you some people who you can talk to, SPS is here to help you with whatever concerns you may have.  There are a few things we do that are designed to get you more involved in our group.

First, we have a mentor/mentee program that helps you get started getting to know some of your peers in the department by pairing you with another more experienced physics major who might be able to provide some insight on how to be successful in the major.  We also try to assign pairs based on common interests, so you’ve got some things to talk about right off the bat! 

Secondly, we host a number of social events for you to get to know your peers a little better.  Some nights, we’ll hit the town and go for bowling, roller-skating or trivia; other nights, we’ll have movie and game nights right in the physics building!  Every semester, we also host a camping trip amongst SPS, where you can spend a weekend away from college to take your mind off things.  These will be announced periodically throughout the semester, so watch for our e-mails!

Another key part to SPS and the department in general is our involvement in outreach programs towards people outside the sciences.  We have a range of opportunities to get involved in what we love, and we’re more than happy to share our knowledge with anyone who is interested!  Among these events are robotics workshops, science (and comedy) shows, as well as public star-gazing and planetarium shows!  Whether you’re a student here at JMU trying to get involved with hosting these events, or a young mind trying to discover more about the world around you, we can’t wait to see you here!

Before we close, I should mention our current board of executives and how to contact them:

Alexandra Goodis, President

Noah Ripchick, Vice President

Christopher Jackson, Secretary

Theodore Chu, Treasurer

Taylor Hodges, Education Ambassador

Parker Given, Social Media Coordinator

We’ll send out e-mails about anything that might be of interest to you as a physics major, whether this be information about internships, tips for taking the GRE, and any upcoming conferences that you can attend.  Keep an eye out for these, since they’re great opportunities that we’re sending directly to you!  All in all, we can’t wait to see what this semester has in store, and SPS has a number of fun events in store for you all!  Drop by the physics lounge if you ever have any questions, and don’t hesitate to shoot us an email at!  Also, Find, Follow, and Like us at the usual social media outlets. 

Together, to the stars we go!

-- by Theodore Chu

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The new and the old of this new beginning

With the days a tad chilly and breezier than we expected, and after already a full week of classes, we welcome the new freshmen and by now experienced sophomores, juniors and seniors physics majors.  Some enter their first steps into the physics world, while some are getting ready to step outside the ivy towers and blend into the real world.  It will all happen with increasing confidence that more is known about how everything works, because they have inquired into it.

Here is this year's PandA (Physics and Astronomy) team of friends and helpers (left to right):

Front row (sitting): Kenisha Ford, Lynn Lucatorto, Kim Emerson, Chris Hughes, Sean Scully, Klebert Feitosa

Back row: Jason Sterlace, Masoud Kaveh-Baghbadorani, Jacob Brown, Mark Mattson, Harold Butner, Ioana Niculescu, Scottie Pendleton, Gabriel Niculescu, Geary Albright, Costel Constantin, Anca Constantin, Tehani Finch, Giovanna Scarel, Keigo Fukumura, Kevin Giovanetti, Adriana Banu, Harry Hu

We now stare at the specter of the teaching and research we planned for the 2017-2018 year and the life beyond it.  We, the faculty, are eager to get to know you all better every day, whether that is through the derivations and explanations of physical phenomena, the quiz questions, the labs and homework sets we devise especially for you, or through the hall conversations we end up luring
you in, and therefore pausing you from your way to whatever your life takes you at that moment. 

We are, as usual, pretty psyched to keep you posted about our busy schedules, about why, what, and how we learn about state-of-the-art technologies and about the basics of physics needed pretty much everywhere you turn your head to, that we are pursuing in our labs.   

It continues to be a blast!

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Make a nomination for the 2017 JMU High School Physics/Astronomy Teacher of the Year Award!!

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is now accepting nominations for the 2017 JMU High School Physics/Astronomy Teacher of the Year Award!!

The award will be given to a high school physics/astronomy teacher nominated by former students who are currently enrolled at JMU in STEM majors.

The nominee should be an individual who exhibits exceptional dedication to teaching physics/astronomy and has an outstanding record of going above and beyond in providing education and guidance necessary for the success of the students.

 NOMINATION DEADLINE: Friday, September 29, 2017