Kaitlyn O’Brien ’11 traveled with her advisor, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Rebecca Koopmann, to the second annual NSF-sponsored ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA) Undergraduate Team Workshop at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico recently. O’Brien joined 18 undergraduate students from 14 colleges and universities across the United States to learn about radio astronomy, observing at Arecibo Observatory, and applications to the study of other galaxies.
The ALFALFA project uses the Arecibo telescope, the world’s largest, to search for radio emission by hydrogen gas in other galaxies. For her sophomore project, O’Brien is researching a concentration of galaxies within the ALFALFA survey area to determine which galaxies are gravitationally associated and how their proximity has influenced their evolution. The undergraduate student workshop was made possible by an NSF grant to Union, and was organized by Koopmann and collaborators at Arecibo Observatory, Cornell University, and other institutions.
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The Society of Physics Students and Breazzano House are hosting a showing of the NOVA special “The Elegant Universe,” based on the best-selling book by Brian Greene, at Breazzano House on Monday Feb. 16 and Monday Feb 23, at 6pm. The program uses interview clips, re-enactments, and state-of-the-art computer graphics to explain the history and meaning of string theory, the exotic theory that some physicists hope will provide the elusive “Theory of Everything.”
Prof. Samuel Amanuel and Anna Gaudette ’09 co-authored a paper with Prof. Sandy Sternstein of RPI in the December issue of the JOURNAL OF POLYMER SCIENCE PART B-POLYMER PHYSICS. The paper, titled “Enthalpic Relaxation of Silica-Polyvinyl Acetate Nanocomposites” was based on work done by Gaudette in Prof. Amanuel’s lab at Union. They studied the effect on of adding nanoparticles on the glass transition in a rubber compound.
The paper shows that nano particles substantially reduce physical aging in polymers, which has immediate application in industry such as determining shelf life, and predicting and enhancing long-term reliability of polymer products. The paper also provides crucial evidence to understand the underlying mechanism of reinforcement in polymer composites and polymer nanocomposites.
Nathan Calabro ’08 presented results of his senior thesis project at the first ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA) Undergraduate Team Workshop at Arecibo Observatory in January.The observatory, located in Puerto Rico, is home to the 305-m diameter Arecibo telescope, the largest telescope in the world. Calabro’s project is contributing to the development of an interactive exhibit showcasing ALFALFA results, to be displayed at the observatory’s Angel Ramos Foundation Visitor Center.Astronomers around the world are collaborating on the ALFALFA project, led by astronomers Riccardo Giovanelli and Martha Haynes of Cornell University.The project is mapping a large area of the sky at radio wavelengths appropriate for the detection of neutral hydrogen gas in other galaxies and is expected to detect more than 30,000 galaxies out to a distance of 750 million light years.“Calabro’s exhibit will allow visitors to explore the properties of galaxies and compare observations made at radio wavelengths at Arecibo to optical and other wavelength observations made at other observatories,” said Rebecca Koopmann, associate professor of Physics and Astronomy.The Undergraduate ALFALFA Team workshop, made possible by a National Science Foundation grant to Union, was organized by Koopmann and collaborators.“The workshop highlight was an ALFALFA observing run in which each student had the chance to control the telescope to make ALFALFA observations,” Koopmann said. Students also had the opportunity to tour the facility, including the 450-foot high platform above the reflecting surface.
See the story in the Union College Chronicle.
Three Union College students showcased their work in the first “Independent Sector Undergraduate Research Exposition” this week at the Legislative Office Building in Albany.The students were among 70 chosen statewide by a faculty review panel for the daylong event, which featured a display of student research posters and special presentations. A book chronicling all of the research projects will be given to state legislators. […]Crystal Smith ’08Faculty sponsor: Rebecca Surman, Physics and Astronomy“Analysis of Proton-Rich Elemental Abundances Created in Outflows from Gamma-Ray Burst Accretion Disks”[…]Prof. Surman said the event will help legislators “appreciate the value of undergraduate research experiences and understand the resources required to make it happen.”(Read the full story at the Union College Chronicle.)