2014 Department News

October 28, 2014  

The Department sent 25 undergraduate students to the annual Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference (CUPC) which was held at Queens University in Kingston. McMaster students turned out in full force and impressed everyone with their energy, scientific results, and presentation skills. 

A few of our students were singled out by awards for their talks:

First place: Jasper Grond
Third place: Reuben Gazer

Biological/Soft Condensed Matter:
First place: Claire Preston
Second place: Alina Barrett
Third place: Miles Couchman

Medical Physics:
Second place: Erica Dao

Quantum Condensed Matter:
Second place: Anna Millington

Congratulations to all award winners, and congratulations as well to the rest of the McMaster contingent, all of whom did an excellent job and were wonderful ambassadors for the department.

October 23, 2014  

Dr. Rob Cockcroft helps host Bob McDonald of Quirks & Quarks answer the question "How many stars can be seen in the sky?" Take a listen to the episode at the link below. 


October 8, 2014  

McMaster's Sidewalk Astronomy was featured on CHCH News this morning checking out the lunar eclipse. Graduate students Tara Parkin and Kazimierz Sliwa were up early looking through a powerful telescope. Kaz explains the phenomenon: “What’s going to happen is the moon will actually enter the earth’s shadow, and once it’s right behind the earth, the light from the sun will actually go through our earth’s atmosphere and create this red glow on the surface of the moon.” 


September 26, 2014  

Congrats to Kate Ross (PhD Physics and Astronomy, 2012), Kate is the recipient of the Alice Wilson award in natural sciences, which is the RSC's recognition for early career excellence for women. 


September 4, 2014  

Congratulations and thanks to all 14 speakers for the 2014 Symposium Day. It was a great spotlight onto the research being done in the department, and the quality of the talks was very high.

A special thanks to our session chairs, Rory Woods, Laura Toppozini, and Mingxuan Fu.

Congratulations to our three winners for best talk: Gwen Eadie (working with Bill Harris), Alannah Hallas (working with Graeme Luke), and Solomon Barkley (working with Kari Dalnoki-Veress).

September 4, 2014  

Congratulations to Alannah Hallas on her Vanier Graduate Scholarship! Alannah is supervised by Dr. Graeme Luke in the area of experimental condensed matter.The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) are awarded to the top doctoral students and are the most prestigious doctoral awards in Canada.


July 16, 2014  

PhD candidate Alannah Hallas won the poster prize competition at HFM2014 held last week in Cambridge, UK.  Her prize consists of a cash award of 200 GBP (about $ 400) and a personal subscription to Nature Materials!

June 24, 2014  

Congratulations are in order to three of our graduate students, Mark Ilton, Richard Alsop, and Murray Wilson who excelled at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Physicicists (CAP) Congress held at Laurentian University, in Sudbury during the third week of June. In the student competition at CAP Congress, there are finalists in each division, and the winners of the divisions go on to an overall CAP competition.

Mark Ilton - Best overall Talk and First Place in the Division of Cond. Mat. & Materials Physics
"A single liquid on a homogeneous substrate can lead to quantized contact angles and running droplets"
Supervised by Kari Dalnoki-Veress

Richard Alsop - First Place in the Medical and Biological Physics Divison
"Aspirin Reorganizes the Lipid Membrane"
Supervised by Maikel Rheinstadter

Murray Wilson - Finalist in the Division of Cond. Mat. & Materials Physics
"Muon Spin Rotation Investigation of Doped IrTe_2"
Supervised by Graeme Luke

June 20, 2014  

Congratulations are in order to three of our graduate students, Marie-Pier Neault, Rory Woods, and Gwendolyn Springford who excelled at the annual meeting of the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) held at l'Université Laval, in Quebec City during the second week of June.

Marie-Pier Neault - Best Student Poster
"The centres of galaxy group dark matter haloes"
Supervised by Laura Parker

Rory Woods - Honourable Mention, Poster
"Modelling Radiation on Cosmological Scales IV: A New Hope (Method)"
Supervised by Hugh Couchman and James Wadsley

Gwendolyn Springford - Honourable Mention, Talk
"Measuring the Masses of Galaxies: Tests of Bayesian mass estimation"
Supervised by Bill Harris

June 17, 2014  

Michael Birch has been awarded the Governor General's Academic Medal at the June 12, 2014 Faculty of Science Convocation where he graduated with a BSc in Honours Math and 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:

"Michael Birch earned three National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Undergraduate Student Research Awards and presented at the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference (CUPC) twice, winning the Best Speaker in Nuclear and Particle Physics Award in 2012. He chaired the 2013 CUPC Organizing Comittee and held leadership positions within the McMaster Chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society, the McMaster Science Society, the McMaster Undergraduate Physics Society and the CLAY and Horizons student leadership conferences."

We are very excited that Michael has decided to pursue graduate studies in the Physics and Astronomy Department at McMaster under the supervision of Dr. An-Chang Shi.

March 25, 2014  

Undergraduate student Benjamin Davis-Purcell has been selected as a recipient of an Undergraduate Research Scholarship from the Canadian Institute of Nuclear Physics in the inaugural year of the program. The scholarship will provide funding for a 16 week research project for hardware and software development for nuclear physics experiments.

February 26, 2014  

First-year physics PhD graduate student Tara Power won Best in Show in the student poster competition at the Minerals and Materials Society's annual meeting in San Diego. Her poster described her research into the phenomenon of grain boundary premelting using Monte Carlo simulations.

February 24, 2014  

4th year Honours Physics Co-op student Benjamin Davis-Purcell won 3rd place in the student presentation competition at the Winter Nuclear Particle Physics Conference in Banff last weekend for his talk "Neck Optics Tuning of the SNO+ Experiment". He competed against both Master's and PhD students. Congratulations to Benjamin!

February 24, 2014  

Laura Toppozini made 1st place at the Neutrons in Biology and Biotechnology conference in Grenoble past week for her contribution "The Structure of Cholesterol in Lipid Rafts: Experiment and Simulation". The price was awarded by Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt during the conference dinner.

February 10, 2014  

Recent PhD grad, Kate Ross, has won a major US science prize, theNSSA 2014 Prize for Outstanding Student Research. Kate received her PhD in experimental physics in the fall of 2012 and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University and the NIST Center for Neutron Research.

The NSSA offers 4 major prizes every two years, for excellence related to neutron scattering.  The 4 prizes recognize achievement at different levels of seniority - the most senior one being the Clifford G. Shull Prize, named in memory of the American scientist who co-founded the field of neutron scattering, and who shared the 1994 Nobel Prize for Physics with McMaster University's Bertram Brockhouse.  This is the 1st time a Canadian has been a recipient of any of the NSSA major prizes.

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