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Physics Header

2012-2013 News

Science Building Renamed McAllister Hall

McAllister Hall

The science building has gotten a new name. Thanks to fundraising efforts led by Berry physics alumni, the building has been named after Dr. Lawrence E. McAllister, Berry's first physics professor. You can learn more about Dr. McAllister and the fundraising effort to name the building for him here. Alumni raised almost $6 million in this effort to honor Dr. Mac. The building was officially renamed during a ceremony on Mountain Day, 2012.

Berry Physics Major Published in Physical Review D

Berry senior physics major Aaron Ostrander is the lead author on a new paper published in Physical Review D. The paper is entitled "Gluon Chain Formation in Presence of Static Charges" and Ostrander co-authored the paper with physicists in Indiana and Italy. The paper stems from work Ostrander did as part of an NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates program at Indiana University in the summer of 2012. Physical Review D is one the premier physics journals in the world. Congrats to Aaron!

Physics Major is Student Speaker at December Commencement

December 2012 Graduate
From left to right: Todd Timberlake, Kylie Berry, Ron Taylor.

Physics major Kylie Berry was selected to be the student speaker at Berry's Commencement ceremony in December. Kylie was selected for this honor because of her outstanding academic work as a physics/mathematics double major, as well as her devotion to service and her outstanding work as a First-Year Mentor and student worker. Kylie gave an excellent address and we were proud to have her representing the department at the December graduation ceremony!

Observatory News

The Pew Observatory hosted several events during the year. You can find a detailed list of these events at the Pew Observatory web page. The biggest event of the year was a gathering to view Comet PanSTARRS. The event was nearly spoiled because high winds the week before had blown the observatory roof off of its tracks, so the roof could not be opened. But Dr. T managed to move the 6 inch refractor outside and, after a long wait for the sky to get sufficiently dark, we were able to see the comet. The folks from physical plant were later able to get the roof back on track, but Dr. T is still hopeful that we can get a new observatory building in the near future.

McAllister Award Winner

The 2013 McAllister award winner is Berry senior physics major Aaron Ostrander. Aaron has had an impressive list of accomplishments while at Berry: winning a Goldwater scholarship, publishing two papers (one in math, one in physics), giving conference presentations, and even spending a semester abroad in Scotland. Aaron is currently working to complete his Honors Thesis and will graduate this Spring with an Honors degree with a double major in physics and mathematics.

2013 Physnic

The 2013 Physnic was set to be held at Dr. Lane's home, but bad weather forced a change of plan. We gathered in McAllister Hall to have some pizza and chat. While it was not the ideal setting for a Physnic, it gave us all a chance to relax a bit before the crush of final exams.

Graduate School Plans for Berry Physics Majors

Several Berry physics majors have solidified plans for graduate study after they leave Berry. Kylie Berry, who graduate in December, will enter the graduate program in mathematics at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville this Fall. Milo Taylor will pursue a Master's in applied mathematics at Iowa State University, but plans to follow that by obtaining a PhD in physics or astrophysics. Irene Sain Cappa will be entering the physics PhD program at the University of Maine. Finally, Aaron Ostrander will enter the physics PhD program at the University of Maryland. We wish these students, and all of our physics graduates, the best of luck as they move on from Berry.

Spring Physics Graduates

Spring 2013 Graduates
From left to right: Kalen Maloney, Chuck Lane, Amber Wheeler, Irene Sain Cappa, Milo Taylor, Aaron Ostrander, Kylie Berry, Todd Timberlake.

Four physics major graduated this Spring, giving us a total of five graduates for the year. Our spring graduates are: Irene Sain Cappa, Aaron Ostrander, Milo Taylor, and Amber Wheeler. They were joined at the commencement ceremony by December graduate Kylie Berry and by Kalen Maloney, who needs only one summer class to complete the requirements for his physics degree and graduate next December. 

Physics Alumni News

We love to keep up with our physics alumni! Send your news to Dr. Timberlake at Here's what we've heard from our alumni recently:

  • Seth Camp passed his PhD qualifying exam at LSU.
  • Amanda Stiefel Wells gave birth to a son, Charles.
  • Chad Grennor is a nuclear safety analyst at URS, but is also the guitarist and vocalist for the up-and-coming Annandale band. Check out the band's web page.

Physics & Astronomy Publications and Presentations

The publications and presentations below were co-authored by Berry physics faculty and/or students. Faculty are listed in bold while students are listed in italics.


  • Todd Timberlake, "Mapping the Milky Way: William Herschel’s Star-Gages," The Physics Teacher 51, 48-51 (2013).
  • A. Ostrander, E. Santopinto, A. P. Szczepaniak, and A. Vassallo, "Gluon chain formation in presence of static charges," Physical Review D 86, 114015 (2012).


  • T. Timberlake, "Modeling the History of Astronomy: Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Tycho," 2013 Winter Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers, New Orleans, LA, January 2013.
  • Todd Timberlake, Ron D. Taylor, and Ken L. Martin, "Transfer of Innovative Teaching Methods Between STEM Disciplines," workshop at the AAC&U Network for Academic Renewal Conference on Next Generation STEM Learning: Investigate, Innovate,Inspire, Kansas City, MO, November 2012 .
  • T. Timberlake, "A Body Falling Through the Earth: Newton versus Hooke," 2012 Summer Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers, Philadelphia, PA, July 2012 .
  • M. Belloni, W. Christian, and T. Timberlake, "From Ptolemy to Einstein: Using Computer Simulations in Astronomy," workshop at the 2012 Summer Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers, Philadelphia, PA, July 2012.
  • Charles Lane, “Nonrelativistic SME fermions and CC tests,” IUCSS Summer School on the Standard-Model, Indiana University, Bloomington, IL, June 2012.
  • T. Timberlake, "Engaging with the History of Astronomy," invited talk at the 2012 Gordon Research Conference on Physics Research and Education, Waterville, ME, June 2012.

Older News

Click on the links below to download PDF versions of Physics & Astronomy news from past years.

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