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 3 (September 29, 2014)

    • There will be no Physics Table this week! 

      This week, we will NOT meet for Physics Table in the LDC's Shearer Dining Room.  Come, instead, to Alum Joe Swiggum's talk about findings from the Green Bank Telescope in WV, where a light lunch will be provided.  See the related post for details! 

    • Tuesday, September 30th, Phys/Astro alum Joe Swiggum '10 will be on campus to give a talk.  He will present during common time (12:00-1:00 pm) in place of Physics Table for the week.  The talk will happen in Olin 04.  Please join us!  



      In the summer of 2007, the 100-m Green Bank Telescope (GBT) was undergoing track replacement and remained stationary for several months. The 350-MHz GBT Drift Scan survey took advantage of this down time, collecting data and searching for radio pulsars as the sky drifted overhead. About 20% of the 1,500 hours of data collected were allocated for the Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC) --- an outreach program that aims to interest high school students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related career paths by involving students in cutting-edge pulsar research and data analysis. So far, the program has involved more than 2,500 students from 18 states, who have discovered 7 new pulsars and re-detected ~75. The discoveries include several interesting sources: a nearby millisecond pulsar, a disrupted recycled pulsar with a spin period of 33-ms, a 4.8-s pulsar that nulls 75% of the time and most recently, a 185-ms pulsar in the widest-known double neutron star system. Over 75 high school students have been included as co-authors on the first two publications describing their discoveries.

    • Friday, October 3, 8-10 PM if the skies are clear. Join Carleton's resident astronomers to view the moon, stars, planets,  and nebulas.  The event will be cancelled at the last minute if cloudy.  Dress for the weather, since you'll either use a telescope outside or in the domes, which are neither heated nor cooled.

      Open houses are open to the community and held the first Friday of each month. Times vary.  A schedule is on the web at http://go.carleton.edu/observatory

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    • On Wednesday, Oct 22 at 3:30 pm, the Carleton and St Olaf physics departments will be holding a joint poster session for students to present what they did during the summer. This is intended to be an opportunity for physics majors to learn about the breadth of experiences that other physics students had during the summer (plus it's a chance to catch up with Matt Wiebold and Jay Tasson). We welcome posters ranging from summer research projects to posters about internships or teaching experiences. If you are a sophomore this event will help you to begin thinking about what you might want to do next summer. Whether you want to present a poster about your summer work or you just want to attend to learn what others did, please go to the link below to register. Responses should be submitted by THIS FRIDAY Oct 3.  


    • The Women in Physics and Astronomy (WiPA) group at the University of Minnesota is hosting "Physics after Undergrad", an event for undergraduate women in physics and related fields.  We would like very much to invite female undergraduate students in your department to our 


      . The basic information is as follows:

      Date: Monday October 6th, 2014
      Time: 6:15-9:15 PM
      Location: Physics and Nanotechnology Building, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, East Bank (specific room TBA)
      Who: All undergraduate women currently majoring in or interested in physics or related fields (astronomy, engineering, etc)
      RSVP:wipa@umn.edu  (preferably by Sept. 26, 2013)  (RSVP to Trenne also, so we can arrange transport!)
      Cost: FREE

    • For any and all students interested in Physics, especially first-years and sophomores:  join us for a Town Hall meeting during which we'll have department representatives tell you everything you'd like to know about Carleton Physics, like declaring a major, becoming involved in special projects, planning for summer research or internships, and more!

      The fun will take place on Tuesday, October 14th during common time (noon-1pm) in Olin 04.  Come! 

    • The Frank G. and Jean M. Chesley Lectureship has invited Cornelia Lang to speak in the Physics and Astronomy Department on Thursday, Oct. 9th during common time (12:00-1:00 pm) in Olin 04.  


      Observations of Giant Molecular Clouds in the Galactic Center: The Past, Current and Future of Star Formation

      The center of the Milky Way harbors a supermassive black hole and is surrounded by clouds of dense gas, densely packed massive star clusters, and magnetic filaments that appear to be tracing a strong and well ordered magnetic field. This environment is much different than the environment near the Sun and is likely to be common in the centers of most normal galaxies. Therefore, understanding how these clouds remain stable, collapse and eventually form the next generation of stars is crucial to understanding how astrophysics works in this unique region of the Galaxy. I will describe the results of recent observations with the (upgraded) Very Large Array have revealed in great detail the physical conditions in a sample of molecular clouds that have formed stars in the past, are currently in the vicinity of massive stars and that might be forming massive stars in the future.


       Click the 'permalink' for a link to a great article about the galactic center; it's a suggested read before attending this noon talk.

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