Radiations is a weekly electronic newsletter published by the Physics and Astronomy Department of Carleton College. The deadline for materials to be included in Radiations is 7:30 AM Monday of the week you would like the information to appear. Contact tfields@carleton.edu if you want to be added or removed from this mailing list.

Volume 21, Issue 1 (September 15, 2014)


      September 16th (Tuesday) Noon-1pm, we'll gather in the 2nd floor lounge in Olin to have an enjoyable lunch and discussion with other Physics Pholks.  Please join us!  We'll be serving pizza and drinks to kick off the term, say "hi" to old friends, and to greet new students.

      ALL students interested in Physics, faculty, and staff are welcome and encouraged to join us; you do not need to have any certain level of experience with physics.  First-year students are definitely welcome! 

    • Dr. Ivan Deutsch, Professor and Regents Lecturer of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of New Mexico, will speak on Friday, September 19th during 6a (3:10-4:10 pm this week) is Olin 02.  The title of his talk is "Breaking Heisenberg:  Controlling the Quantum World". 

    View all items in Events This Week.
    • All senior physics majors, and any juniors who might be doing comps this year, need to attend a planning 
      meeting on Wednesday Sept 24, 3:10 pm, in Olin 02.  This is a very important meeting, so you need to put
      this on your calendar.  If you absolutely can't make it, email Joel (jweisber) to make alternate arrangements
      to get the info you will need.  Thanks!

    • It's already time to get ready for the fall picnic!  We have reserved the Hill of Three Oaks for Friday, September 26th.  We'll have the grill going, so c'mon over between 5 and 7 pm to grab a bite to eat and just relax after the crazy first two weeks of term.  

      Please RSVP to Trenne (tfields) if you'd like to come.  You'll need to include several bits of information:  

      • Say that you plan to come!
      • Include your Carleton ID # 
      • Indicate whether you are omnivore, vegetarian, or vegan

      Please RSVP by the end of this first week. 

      Seniors, I'll need 3-4 volunteers to pick up food and get everything out to the hill.  Thanks! 

    • Thursday, 10/9/14 in Olin Hall 149 (with telescopic observing following the lecture, if clear, at Goodsell Observatory)

      Journey to the Center of the Milky Way

      The Center of our Milky Way Galaxy is vastly different than the place where the Sun resides (the "Solar Neighborhood"). The physical conditions are significantly more extreme in the Galactic center: denser molecular clouds (which are the birth place of new stars), star clusters more closely packed than in the rest of the Galaxy, and a 4 million solar mass black hole confirmed to be at the very core. Detailed observations of our own nucleus provides us with a window into understanding other galaxies in our universe. Cornelia Lang (from the Department of Physics & Astronomy at University of Iowa) will describe her observations using telescopes like the Very Large Array radio interferometer, the Spitzer infrared space observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope that reveal the extreme astrophysics of this unusual environment.

    View all items in Future Events.
    • To:                All Physics Majors and Students Interested in Physics
      From:            Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Date:             14 September 2014

      Welcome back everyone! It's wonderful to have you back on campus, and we hope you've enjoyed your summer.  Here’s a quick orientation for the coming year.

      Who’s who?

      Marty Baylor and Arjendu Pattanayak are both back from sabbatical, and Eric Hazlett has joined our department as the newest experimental physicist. Eric earned his PhD from Penn State University, and he has most recently been a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on trapping atoms to explore quantum interactions. Please stop by and introduce yourself to Eric. His office is Olin 335, and his lab is Olin 306.

      In addition, the Student Departmental Advisors for this year are Shail Mehta and Carolyn Raithel. They are excellent resources if you have questions about the department.

      How to get involved in the department?

      Physics and astronomy faculty are always excited to work with students on a variety of research projects. During the year, you can earn credit for this research by registering for Special Projects, which are worth 2 or 3 credits. The list of available projects for this fall is posted on the web: https://apps.carleton.edu/curricular/physics/ResearchatCarleton/projects/

      I’d encourage you to talk with faculty about projects that look interesting to you.

      The department is looking for Department Curriculum Committee (DCC) members from each of the sophomore, junior, and senior classes.  The DCC usually meets about once per term, and they discuss issues related to the departmental curriculum and maintaining an engaging physics community here at Carleton. This year the department will be undergoing an external review, which involves bringing physicists from other schools to visit Carleton and help us evaluate our program. The DCC will play an important role in this process. Please send me an e-mail (meblenza@carleton.edu) if you are interested in being involved.

      What’s coming up in the department?

      Radiations, which appears weekly on-line and in your in-box, is the best way to find out what is going on in the department. We use Radiations to advertise department activities,  internship opportunities, and curricular updates, so please try to glance at it each week. If you are not on the Radiations e-mail list, please send Trenne Fields, our departmental administrative assistant, a quick e-mail (tfields@carleton.edu) so that she can add you to the list. 

      Physics Table, a chance for students, faculty, and staff to get together for lunch, will be during Common Time on Tuesdays this term. Most Tuesdays we will eat in the LDC Shearer Dining Room, but the first week of classes we will have a pizza lunch on 2nd floor Olin on Tuesday, September 16.

      There are several get-togethers and meetings that we are planning for early in fall term:

      Senior physics majors meeting       Wed Sept 24, 3:10 pm                      Olin 02

      Fall picnic (all physics students)     Fri Sept 26, 5-7 pm                           Hill of Oaks

      Making Olin your “home away from home” 

      As you know, physics majors tend to spend quite a bit of time in Olin. This year, the department has requested keys to Olin 204/210 and Olin 301/302 for all declared physics majors. These keys can be picked up at Facilities. If you are doing research with a faculty member, fill out a key request form with your research advisor. Then pick up a key from Trenne.  Because all majors will have keys, there should be no need for propping open doors. Please make sure that when you leave a lab for the evening that you close and lock the door after you.

      Juniors and seniors, in addition to the mailboxes outside Trenne's office on third Olin, there are cubbies with your names on them in Olin 210 on the northeast wall. This space will give you some place to store books, papers, etc. that often proliferate as the term progresses. Cubby space will be available by the end of the first week of classes.

      You are invited to help us make our Olin “home away from home” a place filled with good humor and hard work and a space with a strong sense of community. Please let me know if you have ideas for strengthening the physics community, and best wishes for a wonderful fun-and-physics-filled year ahead!

    View all items in FYI.