2011 Annual Alumni Newsletter

Hello Alums!


Welcome to your annual holiday newsletter.  Thanks to those of you who contributed this year.   It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!  And if you forgot to send in your entry this year mark your calendar now to remember to submit next year.


Before exploring the news of your colleagues and friends, let me give you a brief update on all our activities in Olin and Goodsell for the year.  Mary Drew, our Departmental Administrative Assistant, keeps us all going and makes life for everyone around Olin ever so much nicer.  We don’t know how we could function without her!  (Plus, we all owe her many thanks for her expert job at putting together the newsletter.) Our resident wizards Mark Zach, Tom Baraniak, and Bruce Duffy keep the shop, the labs, and the computers all running smoothly and help us keep pace with the technological challenges we encounter.  Arjendu Pattanayak is still over in Laird serving as Associate Dean of the College, but we hope he returns to Olin soon.  Nelson Christensen and Marie Anne Bizouard continue with their LIGO work and they welcomed their newest addition, Antigone Florian Yvonne Christensen born in August this year. Our experimentalists are keeping their labs humming with activity. Melissa Eblen-Zayas continues her study of colossal magnetoresistance and is preparing to teach Electronics next term - complete with electronics simulations and screen casts! Marty Baylor is working on optical signal processing as well as 3-D waveguides in optofluidic devices.  Dwight Luhman continues to set new low temperature records in Olin with his study of the 2-D quantum properties of supercooled thin films of helium. Joel Weisberg is spending his sabbatical in Northfield this year, but using the opportunity to travel to Australia, Puerto Rico and Wisconsin to work with his pulsar collaborators. Bill Titus is back from sabbatical and working on gravitational modeling while preparing to team-teach a geophysics course with his daughter, Sarah.  We have enjoyed the curricular and collegial benefits of having planetary astrophysicist John Weiss ’99 and general relativity theorist Jay Tasson here as visiting professors this year.  Periodically we also have the pleasure of seeing Rich Noer, Bruce Thomas and Bob Reitz around Olin when they come to campus for visiting speakers and comps talks.  Finally, both Olin and Goodsell got much-needed new roofs this summer, so we remain dry and prospering here in our little corner of campus.


Thanks to all of you who visited this year. Your visits mean a lot!  Several of our alums visited and lectured over the last year. Andrew Noble  ’00 described his research at the interface between physics and ecology.  Alisa Walz-Flannigan ’98 talked about the physics involved in diagnostic radiology in her work at the Mayo Clinic.  Kareem Kazkaz ’95 discussed both the history of the neutrino and his work at Lawrence Livermore as well as a public talk on nuclear politics. Emily Baker ’01, told us about life inside a NASA flagship mission and her work as a Science Planner on the Cassini mission. This fall Becky Anthony ‘03, Grace Elwell’10 and Kendra Strode ‘10 were part of a young alum panel discussion.  We were also delighted to see so many of you at reunion and hear all about your latest news.  And next June we hope to see many of you at our annual physics & astronomy reunion party.


Please – take care and stay in touch!



Cindy Blaha