Berry College Physics & Astronomy News
Dr. Robb Leaves, Dr. al-Binni Arrives
Dr. Dan Robb's wife (Dr. Natalia Toporikova) recently accepted a position at Washington & Lee
University, and Dr. Robb is leaving Berry in order to move to Virginia with her. Dr. Robb will begin a position at Roanoke College in Fall 2012. We would like to thank Dr. Robb for his four years of excellent work at Berry College. We wish him the best and he will be missed.
Replacing Dr. Robb for the 2012-2013 academic year is Dr. Usama al-Binni. Dr. al-Binni comes to Berry from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he completed his PhD and a postdoc. Dr. al-Binni's research area is theoretical high energy physics. He will be teaching PHY 111/112, as well as Modern Physics and Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics.
Aaron Ostrander wins prestigious Goldwater Scholarship
Junior physics major Aaron Ostrander has been awarded the highly
competitive Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for 2012-2013. The scholarship is awarded to promising students in science and mathematics in order to encourage these students to pursue careers in these fields. The scholarship funds undergraduate education for up to two years. Aaron is Berry's second Goldwater Scholar. Physics major Frank Petruzielo won a Goldwater Scholarship in 2005.
Berry Hosts Venus Transit Event
Berry physics major Kalen Maloney hosted a Venus Transit Event on June 5, 2012. (Dr. Timberlake helped organize the event, but was out of town - in Hilton Head, SC where the skies were overcast - and unable to attend.) Kalen set up two telescopes with solar filters for safe viewing of the transit. One of these telescopes was used for photography and video, while the other was open for public viewing. The event was a big success and Kalen got some great photos and video. For more information, please the Pew Observatory Venus Transit page.
This summer Berry's Pew Observatory acquired a new telescope and a new web page. The new telescope is a 14-inch Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain LX2000GPS. The telescope is mounted on an alt-az mount with GPS capability that allows for automatic alignment and object finding.
The new web page provides general information about the observatory, and features astronomical work at Berry such as our early attempts at
astrophotography and our Venus Transit viewing.
Dr. Timberlake is working with the advancement office to raise funds
for a new observatory building. We now have some very nice telescopes
and equipment for digital astrophotography, but the observatory
building is in a state of disrepair. Hopefully in the next couple of
years we will have a nice new home for our telescopes!
Science Building to be Named After Berry Physics Professor
Berry's Science Building will soon be renamed the McAllister Science
Center to honor Lawrence E. McAllister, former physics professor at
Berry. Dr. McAllister (or Dr. Mac, as he was known) founded Berry's
physics program in 1932 and soon became a legendary teacher and
mentor. Many of his former students contributed funds to the naming
campaign, which has already raised more than 5 million dollars to
support improvements and maintenance to the building as well as
scholarships for science students. A naming ceremony will take place on Mountain Day,
2012. Click here for more information about the naming and the fundraising
Berry Physics Majors Conduct Summer Research
Several Berry students participated in summer research experiences
- Aaron Ostrander: physics REU at Indiana University
- Milo Taylor: physics/astronomy REU at UCLA
- Kylie Berry:
Berry Physics Majors Publish Papers
Two Berry physics major have co-authored recent publications. 2011
graduate Seth Camp co-authored a paper with Dr. Timberlake entitled
"Decay of wave packet revivals in the asymmetric infinite square
well." This paper was published in the American Journal of Physics in
2011. The paper stems from work that Seth did as Dr. Timberlake's
research assistant, funded by the Student Work Program at Berry.
Junior physics major Aaron Ostrander co-authored "Non-Recursively
Constructible Recursive Families of Graphs" with Collen Bouey,
Christiana Graves, and Gregory Palma in The Electronic Journal of
Combinatorics. This mathematical research stems from the REU that
Aaron participated in at the University of Texas at Tyler in 2011.
Kalen Maloney Featured in Student Work Newsletter
Berry physics major Kalen Maloney was the first student worker to be
featured in the new "Student Spotlight" section of the Student Work
Newsletter. Kalen was honored for his exceptional work for the
Department of Physics, Astronomy, & Geology, particularly his work in
setting up physics lab equipment and helping to run Pew Observatory.
Kylie Berry and Milo Taylor Win McAllister Award
The 2012 McAllister Award was split between Kylie Berry and Milo
Taylor. This annual award is presented to an outstanding physics
major at Berry College. The award is named after Dr. Lawrence
E. McAllister, Berry's first physics professor and a legendary
teacher. The 2011 award went to Seth Camp, who is now a graduate
student in physics at Louisiana State University.
Viking Solar System Trail Opens
Drs. Lane, Timberlake and Robb have constructed a one billion to one
scale model of the solar system on the Viking Trail. The trail starts
with the Sun
near at the beginning of the Viking Trail near Deerfield and Morgan
Halls and stretches to Neptune about 3 miles away. The Sun and the 8
planets (yes, just 8) are represented by painted disks that are also
scaled one billion to one. Note: on the scale of this trail, to get to Proxima Centauri, the
closest star after our Sun, you would need to walk all the way around
the Earth and return to the start of the trail!
For more information please see the Solar System Trail page.
Click on the links below to download PDF versions of Physics &
Astronomy news from past years.