2010 Department News

October 27, 2010  

The Department of Physics & Astronomy sent sixteen of our Physics undergrads to the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference 2010 held at Dalhousie this year.

In particular, five of our students were recognized for their talks or posters as follows:

1st Place, Best Talk Overall: Hilary Noad, Level 5 Arts & Science and Physics ( Supervisor Dr. Graeme Luke)
2nd Place, Best Talk Overall: Evan Sinukoff, Level 5 Physics Co-op (Supervisor at NASA)

2nd Place, Best Poster Overall: Kathleen Nelson, Level 4 Physics Co-op (Supervisor at SFU)

1st Place, Best Condensed-Matter Talk: Hilary Noad
2nd Place, Best Condensed-Matter Talk: Rob D'Ortenzio, Level 4 Physics (Supervisor Dr. David Venus)
3rd Place, Best Condensed-Matter Talk: Dan Thompson, Level 5 Physics Co-op (Supervisor Dr. Duncan O'Dell)

1st place, Best Astro Talk: Evan Sinukoff

All sixteen students had participated in summer research in the department or at outside institutions (Western, Waterloo, Lethbridge, SFU, NASA) and were supported by the department as well as by their supervisors. All sixteen presented talks or posters at CUPC.

October 14, 2010  

Graduate student Kiana Setoodehnia's work has been featured in the current issue (Oct 2010) of "Physics - Spotlighting Exceptional Research" by the American Physical Society.

September 16, 2010  

TheRoyal Society of Canada, the country's oldest and most prestigious scholarly organization, has announced honours to three members of the department,Bruce Gaulin,Kari Dalnoki-Veress, andDoug Welch.

Bruce Gaulin, a professor in physics & astronomy and director of the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research, has been named as a Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada with the following citation: " Bruce Gaulin's neutron and x-ray scattering work established new low temperature properties in exotic magnets, especially those related to geometrical frustration. He is also recognized for leadership in North American neutron scattering. " Being elected a Fellow is considered the highest honour that can be attained by scholars, artists and scientists in Canada.

Professor Kari Dalnoki-Veress received the Rutherford Memorial Medal in Physics with the Society citing Dalnoki-Veress as "a dedicated young scientist with a genius for simple but profound investigation. In an era dominated by large funding initiatives and complex instrumentation, Dalnoki-Veress is an inspired scientist and research supervisor who can find deep insight from brilliant direct experiments."

Professor Doug Welch received the McNeil Medal for his outreach work in communicating astronomy to the general public with the citation "Doug Welch is a professional astronomer who has always engaged in numerous and varied science outreach activities - from showing passers-by the sky through telescopes to reviving and reinvigorating a local planetarium, writing a children's book on astronomy, podcasting about astronomy, an art exhibition on supernovae, and running a nationwide lecture series."

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September 8, 2010  

Physics and Astronomy ProfessorDoug Welchhas been awarded the prestigiousMcNeil Medalby the Royal Society of Canada. Awarded for demonstrating an outstanding ability to promote and communicate science to students and the public within Canada, Doug joins previous medal winners that include David Suzuki, Jay Ingram, and Bob McDonald.

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June 14, 2010  

Congratulations to Kate Ross, Patrick Clancy, and Clare Armstrong for their research presentations at theCanadian Association of PhysicistsCongress in Toronto last week. Kate Ross and Patrick Clancy (both working under the guidance ofProf. Bruce Gaulin) won 3rd and 1st place in the division of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics. Clare Armstrong (supervised byProf. Maikel Rheinstadter) won first place in the division of Medical and Biological Physics. The first place winners then went head-to-head in the finals with Clare claiming first place and Patrick second.

June 11, 2010  

Scott Geraedts has been awarded the Governor General's Academic Medal at the June 8, 2010 Faculty of Science Convocation where he graduated with a BSc in Honours Physics. This award is given to the student from a first baccalaureate degree program who has attained the highest standing throughout the program.

From the Convocation program:

"Scott Geraedts is a native of Grimsby, a proud Welcome Week coordinator, and a graduate of the Physics program at McMaster.

Scott has been the recipient of two NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards. During his first of these, he participated in nuclear astrophysics experiments at TRIUMF and at Yale to help determine the origin of elements in exploding stars, and became a valuable member of the US Nuclear Data Team. The following year, Scott turned his attention to theoretical condensed matter physics, and worked at the University of Waterloo creating computational models of unusual phases of matter.

He has presented his work at the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference and at two international Nuclear Physics meetings. He has published two papers in major physics journals, including his senior thesis. Scott has earned many academic awards at McMaster, including being named multiple times to the Provost's Honour Roll for achieving a perfect 12.0 grade point average.

Scott will be pursuing his PhD in Physics at CalTech in September."

Scott is the fourth McMaster University Honours Physics graduate in five years to receive the Governor General's Academic Medal. Daniel Laycock (2006) received his Master's of Physics from McGill University in 2008 (Dark Matter Annihilation) and is currently pursuing a PhD in Geophysics at the University of Alberta. Matthew Farrar (2007) is currently a PhD candidate in Physics at Cornell University focusing on developing optical tools to study aspects of neuropathology and, specifically, spinal cord injury. Emma Mazurek (2008) is currently a medical student at McMaster.

May 20, 2010  

Professor EmeritusJim Waddingtonwill have the art of the Group of Seven showcased with his modern-day photographs of the original locations at the McMichael Gallery starting May 22, 2010.

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April 22, 2010  

Professor EmeritusJules Carbottewill be awarded a Doctor of Science at the Faculty of Science Convocation on the afternoon of June 8. This McMaster Honourary Degree will be part of the 2010 Spring Convocation ceremonies.

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April 14, 2010  

Department Professor and Associate Member of the Perimeter Institute,Cliff Burgesshas been awarded the2010 Canadian Association of Physicists Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics. Cliff was cited for "his prolific and influential work in theoretical physics, which covers many different topics ranging from condensed matter theory to particle physics and string theory. Professor Burgess made seminal contributions in all these fields." The citation goes on to note especially Cliff's recent pathbreaking work in string theory and its connections to the very early evolution of the universe.

As the most highly cited theoretical particle physicist in Canada, Cliff has also been awarded a prestigious Killam Research Fellowship, and been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

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February 19, 2010  

Physics & Astronomy professorWilliam Harrishas been recognized by the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) as the 2010 recipient of the Society's Beals Award. This award for an outstanding achievement in research is the Society's most prestigious, and recognizes Bill as a leader of the Canadian research community. As announced by the CASCA Board, "Dr. Harris is being recognized for the signficant impact his research has had in many areas of astrophysics ranging from our understanding of globular clusters, globular cluster systems, galaxy formation and evolution, and observational cosmology. Dr. Harris will present the Beal's lecture at the Society's annual meeting, in Halifax, May 25-28".

This is third major award for Bill in the last five years. Previously he held a Killam Research Fellowship, and was recently elected to the Royal Society of Canada.

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January 4, 2010  

In a study published in the December 24, 2009 issue of Nature, assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy,Alison Sills, and a team of international colleagues, have reported that they have found two populations of "blue straggler" stars in the globular cluster Messier 30 whose origins have been likened to "vampirism" and "cosmic facelifts".

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