Category Archives: News

Halley Darling ‘13 attends NSF-Sponsored Workshop at Arecibo Observatory, Organized by Prof. Koopmann

Prof. Koopmann and Halley Darling ‘13 at the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico

Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Rebecca Koopmann, ’89, organized the fourth annual NSF-sponsored ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA) Undergraduate Team Workshop at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico January 16-20, 2011. The Arecibo Observatory is home to the 305-m diameter Arecibo telescope, the largest telescope in the world.

Halley Darling, ’13, a Physics & Astronomy major, accompanied Koopmann and a select group of 16 other undergraduate students and 12 faculty members from 14 colleges and universities across the United States. Together they conducted observing runs, toured the telescope, and worked on group activities designed to model scientific collaborations.

As part of the workshop, Darling presented a poster about her Summer 2010 research project at Union (sponsored by NASA New York Space Grant). Entitled “ALFALFA HI Observations of the NGC 5846 Group of Galaxies,” the poster described the Union team’s research on environmental effects (such as gravitational interactions) on a concentration of galaxies. Ana Mikler, ’12, and SreyNoch Chin, ’12, were coauthors on the poster.

Darling used her new skills to help Koopmann conduct a remote observing run from her Union campus lab in Science and Engineering. Two first-year students, Lucas Viani ’14 and Alexandrea Safiq ’14, were enthusiastic participants. They can be seen steering the telescope on the ALFALFA blog.

The ALFALFA project, led by astronomers Riccardo Giovanelli and Martha Haynes of Cornell, is a multiyear survey of a large area of the sky at radio wavelengths appropriate for the detection of neutral hydrogen gas in other galaxies. It is expected that more than 30,000 galaxies out to a distance of 750 million light years will be detected by the survey.


Prof. LaBrake, Maria Battaglia ‘12 Present at Accelerator Conference

Maria Battaglie presents her poster

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.


Prof. Vineyard Presents at AAPT meeting

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.

Summer Research Poster Session Thursday 9/16

The annual Summer Research Poster session will be held Thursday, September 16th in the Department, from 12:20 pm to 1:40 pm. Pizza and soda will be available in room N304 for people attending the poster session. You can check out the list of presenters and poster titles to get an idea of the range of activities.

This is the official kick-off of the fall colloquium season. Come see the fascinating things our students did on their summer vacations.

Prof. Surman Presents at International Conferences

Associate PRofessor Rebecca Surman was invited to present her research at two international workshops this summer. She gave a talk on Neutron capture in the r-process at the ExtreMe Matter Institute (EMMI) workshop on Neutron Matter in Astrophysics: From Neutron Stars to the r-Process in Darmstadt, Germany, and spoke about “Neutrinos and nucleosynthesis” at the NOW 2010 neutrino oscillation workshop in Conca Specchiulla, Italy. She also submitted a poster to the Nuclei in the Cosmos IX, July 19-23, in Heidelberg, Germany with collaborators from the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Prof. Vineyard Presents at AAPT Meeting, Gordon Conference

Michael F. Vineyard, the Frank & Marie Louise Bailey Professor of Physics, presented a poster titled “The Upper-Level Laboratory at Union College” at the 2010 Gordon Research Conference on Physics Research and Education at Mount Holyoke College, in South Hadley, Mass. in June, and at the 2010 Summer Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers in Portland, Oregon, in July. The poster, co-authored by physics senior lecturer Scott LaBrake, professor Seyffie Maleki and associate professor Chad Orzel, highlighted some of the development work they did on experiments in an advanced laboratory course.

Physics and Astronomy Summer Research 2010

Once again, we are happy to have a large collection of students and faculty working on research this summer. Many (but not all) of them are shown here:

Summer Research Students and Faculty 2010

In this picture: Front row (left to right): Katie Schuff, Ana Mikler, Katie O’Brien, Colin Gleason, Chad Harrington. Second row: Anna Sise, Erin Osgood, Prof. LaBrake, Prof. Maleki. Third row: Prof. Orzel, Tim Kuehn, Prof. Reich, Mark Sullivan, Prof. Marr. Fourth row: Pavel Aprelev, Hannah Ryan, Rob Moore, Prof. Koopmann, SreyNoch Chin, Colin Turley, Prof. Vineyard. Back row: Adam Margulies, John Sheehan, Pengfei Zhang, Prof. Wilkin, Prof. Newman, Amer Khraisat, Prof. Amanuel.

For more information on summer research at Union, see the Undergraduate Research Page, or come to the Summer Student Seminar Series.

Undergraduate Researchers Meet at Union to Discuss Gas Content of Galaxies

ALFALFA Workshop group photo

Members of the NSF-sponsored Undergraduate ALFALFA Team met June 30, 2010, for a Summer Research Workshop. 20 participants from Union, Siena, Skidmore, and Hartwick Colleges reported progress on their research projects analyzing data from the Arecibo Legacy ALFA Survey, a survey of gas in nearby galaxies. In the afternoon, students and faculty at more distant institutions joined the group at Union for a
Summer Research Progress Telecon. Students presented brief summaries of progress at their institutions. Many of the schools are
researching the gas content of galaxies in moderately dense “group” environments and collaborating to compare and publish the results.

Union students SreyNoch Chin, ’12, Halley Darling, ’13, Ana Mikler, ’12, and Katie O’Brien, ’11, participated in the workshop and
presented their results during the telecon. Ana Mikler was the leader of an activity to demonstrate how to create contour maps of gas emission from galaxies. Each group followed her instructions to produce a contour map for one of their galaxy sources.

Union to Host APS Section Meetings

The Joint Meeting of the New York and New England sections of the American Physical Society will take place April 23-24, 2010 at Union College. The topic for the meeting is “Modern Nuclear Applications: Medicine, Power, and Non-Proliferation, and the meeting program includes talks by experts in all three fields, as well as an after-dinner lecture by Union College professor of history Mark Walker.

There will also be a student poster session on Friday from 5-6pm, including several posters by Union students.