Instead of a Physics and Astronomy colloquium this Thursday, January 27th, we will be having a departmental pot-luck luncheon at the usual colloquium time of 12:40. If you’re around, stop by the department office to sample the cooking of your favorite professors.
Scott LaBrake, Senior Lecturer of Physics and Astronomy and accelerator manager, and Maria Battaglia ’12 attended the 21st international Conference on the Applications of Accelerator in Research and Industry (CAARI) in Fort Worth, Texas in August. LaBrake gave an invited talk on Teaching Materials Analysis using PIXE at Union College, which detailed the use of the departments 1MV particle accelerator to study environmental pollution in atmospheric aerosols and liquid precipitation in New York State using the ion beam analysis technique of PIXE. Battaglia presented a poster detailing her research project on the Trace Elemental Composition & Concentration of Liquid Precipitation in New York Using PIXE that demonstrated seasonal variations in the elemental composition and concentration of rainwater and snow. LaBrake also submitted a paper at the conference that has been accepted for publication in a special edition of Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B along with co-authors Mike Vineyard, the Frank and Marie Louise Bailey Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Maria Battaglia ’12, Chad Harrington ’11, Colin Gleason ’11, Katie Schuff ’12, Shivani Pathak ’10, Rob Moore ’12, and Colin Turley ’13.
Michael Vineyard, the Frank and Marie Louise Bailey Professor of Physics and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, gave a talk titled “Rutherford Back-Scattering Experiment in the First-Year Seminar at Union College” at the 2011 Winter Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers in Jacksonville, FL, in January. The meeting celebrated 100 years of nuclear physics that began with the discovery of the atomic nucleus in 1911 by Ernest Rutherford. Scott LaBrake, Senior Lecturer and Accelerator Manager, was co-author of the paper.
Speaker: Prof. Chad Orzel, Union
Title: “Talking to My Dog About Science: Why Public Communication Matters, and How Social Media Can Help”
Abstract:: At a time when the primary challenges facing the world are scientific in nature– pandemic disease, global climate change, green energy and technology– it is more important than ever that the general public have some understanding of and appreciation for science. At the same time, polls show that public understanding of science lags far behind the necessary level, and well-funded media operations attempting to sow doubt about issues like climate change have had a major negative impact. In this talk, I will discuss some of the problems with communicating science to the general public, and discuss the new opportunities for public communication afforded by Internet technologies.
As always, the colloquium will be at 12:40 in Room N304, with pizza and soda available at 12:20 for those attending the talk. For details of future colloquia, see the Winter 2011 colloquium schedule.