Physics and Astronomy
Contact
Department Chair:
Yumi Ijiri

Administrative Assistant:
Diane Doman

Department Email:


Phone: (440) 775-8330
Fax: (440) 775-6379

Location:
Wright Laboratory of Physics
110 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Past Speakers

Past Speakers

2012-2013

Dr. Charles Adams, Professor, Department of Physics, Durham University
"Making Photons Interact"

Karina Leppik, Science Flight Planner, SOFIA
"What do you get when you mix an old Boeing 747 with a telescope?"

Dr Claudia de Rham, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Case Western Reserve University
"Our Accelerating Universe"

Dr. Ian Shipsey, Julian Schwinger Distinguished Professor of Physics, Purdue University
"Observation of a New Boson at 125 GeV - Is It the Higgs and What's Next?"

Margaret B. Hays Lecture

Dr. Ian Shipsey, Julian Schwinger Distinguished Professor of Physics, Purdue University
"In the Shadow of the Higgs: The Greatest Discovery in Particle Physics in 30 Years"
Dr. Chris Martin, Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy Department, Oberlin College
"The Intersection between Science and Politics: How Science is Used and Abused in Congress"

Dr. Karen Lewis, Department of Physics, The College of Wooster
"20,000 Square Degrees and Counting:  Optical Spectroscopy of the XMM-Newton Slew Survey"

Dr. Andrey Timokhin, Research Fellow, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
"Radio Pulsars: Celestial Electric Lighthouses!"

Dr. Katherine Jones Smith, Department of Physics, Reed College
"Fractals and the Drip Paintings of Jackson Pollock"

Honors Colloquium

Michael Rowan, Physics Honors Student, Oberlin College
"High-Precision Measurement of Lithium"
Dr. Dimitry Budker, Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley
"Defects in Ensemble: Physics and Applications of Nitrogen-Vacancy Centers in Diamond"

Dr. David Sholl, School of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
"Finding Needles in a Haystack:  Selecting Nanoporous Materials via Screening of Thousands of Structures for Large-Scale Energy Applications"

David L. Anderson Lecture

Dr. Saul Teukolsky, Hans A, Bethe Professor of Physics and Astrophysics, Cornell University
"The Coming Revolution in Astrophysics: Black Holes and Multi-Messenger Astronomy"
Dr. Will Fischer, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Toledo
"Revealing the Hunter's Secrets with HOPS, the Herschel Orion Protostar Survey"

2011-2012

Dr. Brian Arbic, Professor of Geological Sciences, University of Michigan
"Predicting the Maelstrom:  The Physics of the Ocean"
Dr. Harsh Mathur, Associate Professor of Physics, Case Western Reserve University
"Fractal analysis and drip paintings"

Dr. Terrence Sheridan, Professor of Physics, Ohio Northern University
"Symmetry-breaking transitions in small Debye clusters"

Dr. Cody C. Leary, Assistant Professor of Physics, The College of Wooster
"Measurement, control and collisions of photon spatial wavefunctions"

Honors Colloquia

Sophia L. Chen
"Frequency Comb Spectroscopy of Rubidium:  Measuring Atomic Energies to High Precision"

Joseph Galamba
"The Hydrogen Molecule Ion and Dimensional Scaling"

Chris Pierce
"Quantum Sieving of Hydrogen and Deuterium Gas in an Iron-Based, Metal-Organic Framework"
Jacob Baron
"Studying Atoms with a Laser Ruler: Spectroscopy of Lithium with an Optical Frequency Comb"

2010-2011

Dr. Robert Brown, Institute Professor, Case Western Reserve University
"A New Imaging Modality:  Magnetic Particle Imaging"


Margaret B. Hays Lecture

Dr. Robert Brown, Institute Professor, Case Western Reserve University
"All Those Headlines About the Brain?  It's MRI!"
Dr. Rémi Soummer, Assistant Astronomer, Space Telescope Science Institute
"Directly Imaging Extra-Solar Planets with the Hubble Space Telescope"
Dr. Thomas Greenslade, Jr., Professor of Physics, Emeritus, Kenyon College
"The Adventure of the Reluctant Collector"

Dr. Evalyn Gates, Director, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
"The Dark Universe: An Update on the Cosmic Census


David L. Anderson Lecture

Dr. Evalyn Gates, Director, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
"Einstein's Telescope: The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy"
Dr. Robert Harmon, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Ohio Wesleyan University
"Differential Rotation on II Pegasi as Revealed by Photometric Starspot Imaging"
Dr. Eric Goff, Associate Professor, Department of Physics, Lynchburg College
"Soccer Ball Aerodynamics"


Honors Colloquia

Jaie C. Woodard
"Computational Modeling of Small Biomolecules and Implications for Protein Unfolding Studies"
Jennifer M. Schloss
"Carbon Capture with a Molecular Sponge: Quantum Dynamics of Trapped CO2"

2009-2010

Dr. Daniel Gibson, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Denison University
"Electron Interferometers or Stock Market Predictors? The curious story of negative ions"

Dr. Joris Verbiest, West Virginia University
"Gravitational Wave Detection with Pulsars"

Dr. Kathy Harper, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Denison University
"Expert-Novice Difference in Physics Problem Solving and Their Implications for Physics Instruction"

Dr. Deva O'Neil, Visiting Assistant Professor, Physics Department, The College of Wooster
"Extending the Standard Model: How Many Higgs Are Out There?"

Dr. Michael Brown, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Swarthmore College
"Plasma Physics Applied to Astrophysics"

Dr. Rob Salgado, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Mount Holyoke College
"New Ideas for Teaching Relativity"

Dr. Aaron Santos, Post Doctoral Researcher, University of Michigan
"Coarse-grained Models of Nanoparticles: An Attempt to Make Nano-LEGOs"

David L. Anderson Lecture

Honors Colloquia

Sarah K. Hoffman
"Electroweak-Unified Maxwell's Equations"
David H. Lesser
"Atmospheric Remote Sensing and the Oberlin Millimeter-wave Telescope"

William D. Striegl
"Two-Photon Spectroscopy of Alkali Atoms"
Michael S. Friedman
"Hydrogen Storage in a Molecular Honeycomb"

Nathan J. Brown
"Quantum Mechanics in Phase Space"

2008-2009

"How to Make the World Better Through Engineering"
Chris Kelly, OC '95, Physics Department, University of Michigan
"Biophysics of nanoparticles interacting with the plasma membrane of living cells"
Dr. F. Jay Lockman, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Green Bank, WV
"Recent Discoveries with the Green Bank Radio Telescope"

Dr. Lynne Talley
, OC '76, Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego
"Climate change and the oceans: a view from the IPCC"
Dr. Jeff Severinghaus, Professor of Geosciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego
"A view of climate change from bubbles of air trapped in ancient ice"

Kyle standing on Jearl Walker

"Mapping Phonon Flux in Calcium Tungstate:  A Solid State Physicist Contributes to the Hunt for Dark Matter"

Honors Colloquia

Sean B. Bernfeld
"Stabilization of a Femtosecond Laser Frequency Comb"
Jesse B. Hopkins
"Materials for Hydrogen Storage: Investigating the Dynamics of Trapped Hydrogen"
Everett Schlawin
"So Two Gas Clumps Go Into a Bar...The Story of the Inner Milky Way"

Benjamin M. Breslauer
"How Did We Ever Not Disprove Dark Matter!"

Brian S. Burkholder
"Spin Flips and Stuck Molecules: Ortho-Para Conversion in MOF-74"

Seth Shulman, author of "Unlocking the Sky," "Owning the Future," and "Undermining Science"
"The Telephone Gambit"

2007-2008

 

Dr. William Waite, OC '92, Research Geophysicist, U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole Science Center
"Gas Hydrates:  A Multidisciplinary Research Opportunity"
Dr. Peter Lax, Courant Institute, New York University
"The Speed of Sound"
Sponsored Jointly with the Math Department

Dr. Barbara Andereck, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Ohio Wesleyan University
"Operators and States:  Mathematics Informs Physics, Light Informs Quantum Mechanics"
Dr. Amy Bug, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Swarthmore College
"Classical and Quantum Monte Carlo" or "God Does Not Play Dice with the Universe, But Physicists Do"
Support provided by the OCCaM Grant from the Booth Ferris Foundation

Margaret B. Hays Lecture: 

Dr. Robert Greenler, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
"The NASA Shuttle Launch, Dark-Moon-Ray Mystery"

Carl J. Rosenberg, Principal, Acentech Incorporated
"Acoustics in Buildings:  Physics, Music, Physiology, Statistics, and more"

Dr. John Linder, Department of Physics, College of Wooster
"Can Noise Improve Hearing? Stochastic Resonance in Hair Cells"

Dr. Lucinda Shellito, Assistant Professor of Meteorology, University of Northern Colorado
"Sweating it out in a Paleo Hot-House: Unearthing the role of greenhouse gases in climate changes of the deep past"
Support provided by the OCCaM Grant from the Booth Ferris Foundation
Dr. Jason Pinkney, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Ohio Northern University
"The Search for Supermassive Black Holes using Gas Kinematics"

Dr. Martin Harwit, OC '51, Professor Emeritus, Department of Astronomy, Cornell University
"Discovery and the Search for Understanding of the Universe"

David L. Anderson Lecture

Dr. Martin Harwit, OC '51, Professor Emeritus, Department of Astronomy, Cornell University
"An Exhibit Denied -- Lobbying the History of the Enola Gay"

Honors Colloquia

Courtney Epstein
"A Talk about Practically Nothing:  The Interstellar Medium,  Also featuring:  Pulsars with an Image Problem"

Patrick Landreman
"Quadratic Residues and the Acoustics of Finney Chapel"
 

2006-2007


Dr. Dan Styer, Physics and Astronomy Department, Oberlin College
"How Do Two Moving Clocks Fall Out of Sync?  (A Tale of Clocks, Threads, and Trucks)"

 Dr. Frank C. Peiris, Department of Physics, Kenyon College
"Interrogating and Exploiting Self Assembly"

Dr. Owen Gingerich, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and the History of Science, Harvard University
"Copernicus, Kepler, and the Ellipse"

David L. Anderson Lecture

Dr. Owen Gingerich, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and the History of Science, Harvard University
"Proof vs Persuasion:  How Galileo Changed the Rules of Science"

Dr. Edward F. Kuester, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder
"Metamaterials"

Dr. Brett Pearson, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Physics and AstronomyStony Brook University.
"Learning to Control Molecules using Ultrafast Lasers"

Dr. Jason Stalnaker, Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology
"Atomic Clocks, Frequency Combs, and the Search for Varying "Constants" "

Dr. Eric J. Heller, Departments of Physics and Chemistry, Harvard University
"What do electrons in semiconductors and rogue waves in the ocean have in common?"

Dr. Lucas Illing, Senior Research Scientist, Department of Physics and Center for Nonlinear and Complex Systems, Duke University.
"Chaos, Synchrony and Complexity"

Dr. Matt Trawick OC '91, Department of Physics, University of Richmond
"Gluing Oil to Water for Fun and Profit: Self-Assembled Nanostructures in Diblock Copolymer Thin Films"

Dr. Frank DiSalvo, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University
"Ordered Intermetallic Catalysts for Fuel Cell Applications."
Sponsored Jointly with the Chemistry Department

Dr. John Scofield, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Oberlin College
"Prospects for Commercial Wind Power in Oberlin: a preliminary report on Oberlin's wind monitoring effort"
Sponsored Jointly with the Oberlin Wind Power Initiative

Dr. Chris Mihos, Department of Astronomy, Case Western Reserve University
"Using intracluster light to probe galaxy clusters"
Sponsored Jointly with OCCaM

Honors Colloquia

Mick Brown
"Measurements of the Geomagnetic Field Above Antarctica Using the Trace Molecule 16O18O"

Greg Howland
"Woodwind Air Columns in the Time Domain"

Dan Hemberger
"Aiding the Search for Gravitational Waves with Pulsar Timing"

James Atwood
"Parallel Special Relativistic N-Body Simulations"

Wendy Everett
"Studies of General Relativity in the Weak Field Limit"

2005-2006

Dr. Robert Kaye, Physics Department, Ohio Wesleyan University
Searching for gold in the "wild west" of the nuclear landscape.

Marc Millis, NASA Glenn Reserach Center
Pondering Space Flight Breakthroughs

Dr. Jeffrey Sudol, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Denison University
Magnetic Field Changes During Solar Flares

Dr. Jeffrey Dyck, Department of Physics, John Carroll University
Thermoelectric materials: from solid state cooling to harvesting waste heat

Honors colloquia

Mark Stockett
"Thin-film optics for solar energy"

Rob Yatteau
"Tuned Handbells and Holographic Interferometry"

Hugh Churchill
"Low-temperature Quantum Dynamics of Trapped H2"

2004-2005


Student Summer Research Presentations

Speakers:   Mark Stockett, Curtis Asplund, Natalie Hinkel, Michael Herbst, Christie Simmons, Hugh Churchill, Karles Saucedo-McQuade, Wendy Everett, James Wingert, Dan Berwick, Casey Dreier

Dr. Robin E. Snyder (OC'92) Biology Department, Case Western Reserve University
"Physics tricks for fun and profit: A physicist's adventures in theoretical ecology"

Dr. Theodore Norris (OC'82), Departments of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, University of Michigan
"Imaging with time-reversed single-cycle pulses"

Dr. Robert Kirshner, Professor, Department of Astronomy, Harvard University
"Supernovae and Dark Energy"

David L. Anderson Lecture

Dr. Robert Kirshner, Professor, Department of Astronomy, Harvard University
"The Accelerating Universe"
 

Margaret B. Hays Lecture

Dr. Eugene Hecht, Professor, Department of Physics, Adelphi University
"The Light Around Us"

Federighi Inaugural Lecture

sponsored by the Office of the President of Oberlin College and the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs
Dr. Dan Stinebring
, Francis D. Federighi Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Oberlin College
"Milky Way Ecology: How Stars Recycle in a Turbulent Medium"

Dr. David Burrows, Professor, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Penn State University
"The Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Explorer: Early views into Black Hole creation"

Honors colloquia


Christie Simmons
"The Quantum Dynamics of H2 in a C60 Lattice"

Susannah Burrows
"Probing the Atmosphere at the South Pole"

Michael Herbst
"Nonlinear Optics and an Experimental Test of Bell's Inequality"
 

Sigma Xi Lecture 

Dr. Chris Martin, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Oberlin College
"Science in Antarctica"

2003-2004

Student Summer Research Presentations

Speakers:  Natalie Hinkel, Dan Berwick, Curtis Asplund, Burt Betchart, Anna Clausen, Christie Simmons, Alex Hill 

Dr. David Spergel , Professor, Department of Astrophysical SciencesPrinceton University
"Precision Cosmology with the WMAP"

David L. Anderson Lecture

Dr. David Spergel , Professor, Department of Astrophysical SciencesPrinceton University
"The Early Universe's Baby Picture: What It Reveals About Our Past and the Future"

Dr. John Fortman, Emeritus Professor, Chemistry Department , Wright State University
"The Chemistry and Physics of Flight"
Special Seminar to Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the First Flight, Sponsored Jointly with the Chemistry Department

Dr. John Schiffer, Physics Division, Argonne National Laboratory
"How Plasmas Crystallize"

Dr. Phil Pritchett (OC'65), Department of Physics and Astronomy, UCLA
"Particle-in-Cell Simulation: A Third Approach to Plasma Physics"

Dr. John Campbell, Physics Department, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
"Rutherford, Maestro of the Atom"

Donald Smith, Physics Department, University of Michigan
"The ROTSE-III Telescope System: Chasing Celestial Explosions"

Sharmila Kamat, Physics Department, Case Western Reserve University
"Hunting for WIMPs with Ultra-Cold Detectors"

Christopher Martin, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
"Radio Milky Way: broadcasting 24 hours a day to a receiver near you"

Josh Winn, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
"Peering into galaxy centers with gravitational lenses"

Dr. Roger Herman, Professor, Department of Physics, Pennsylvania State University
"Molecular Hydrogen in C-60 (Buckeyball) Lattices"

Dr. John Lindner , Professor, Physics Department , Wooster College
"Noise and Disorder"

Honors colloquia


Alex Hill
"Probing the Interstellar Medium on Solar System Size Scales"

Karl Duderstadt
"Osmatic Engines and Their Fundamental Efficiency"

Burt Betchart
"Bell Inequality Violations at Oberlin"

2002-2003

Jay Whitacre (OC '94) from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Informal talk with students and faculty about science at JPL

Yashwant Gupta, Associate Professor, National Center for Radio Astrophysics , Pune, India
"Whence the Radio Signals from Pulsars?"

Prabasaj Paul, Assistant Professor, Denison University
"Designing Good Photonic Crystals"

Jennifer Hampton
(OC '95), Departments of Chemistry and Physics, The Pennsylvania State University
"Nanoscale Ferroic Materials for Use in Data Storage"

Dr. David Goldstein
, Natural Resources Defense Council , San Francisco, California
"Environmental Protection as Economic Development Policy:  Energy Efficiency as a Driver of Economic Growth and Innovation"

Dr. Barbara S. Andereck, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Ohio Wesleyan University
"Liquid Crystals, Superconductivity, and the Early Universe"

Dr. Naomi Mcclure-Griffiths (OC '97), Bolton Fellow at the Australia National Telescope Facility
"Shells, Bubbles and Chimneys in the Southern Milky Way"

Honors Colloquia

 

Chris Kelly
"Magnetic Characterization of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Synthesized via teh Polyol Method"

Dan Reeves
"Scintillation Arcs and the Interstellar Medium"

2001-2002

Dr. Eaton Lattman, Chair of the Department of Biophysics at Johns Hopkins University
"What is the Dielectric Constant Inside a Protein Molecule?"  

Dr. Timothy Sullivan, Chair of the Department of Physics at Kenyon College
"Tracking Brownian Motion in 3D or How to Abuse a Microscope to Get More Data"

Dr. Robert Berrington, Member of High Energy Astrophysics Theory Group at Naval Research Laboratory
"Galaxy Cluster Dynamics"

Dr. Steven Doty, Department of Physics and Astronomy , Denison University
"On the Road Toward a Picture of Stellar Birth: Peering Out of Flatland"

Edward Myers (OC '96) graduate student, Department of Physics, Cornell University
"Manipulating Nanomagnets With a Spin-Polarized Current"

Miguel Morales, graduate student, Department of Physics , University of California, Santa Cruz
"Astronomy at a Trillion Electron Volts: Using Particle Physics to Explore the High Energy Universe"

Dr. Leon Lederman (Founder and Inaugural Resident Scholar at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy , Director Emeritus of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory , winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics )
"As Simple as Possible"

Margaret B. Hays Lecture

Dr. Leon Lederman
"Schools for the 21st Century"

Dr. Martin Greenwald, Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center
"Turbulence, Transport and Confinement in Magnetic Fusion Plasmas"

Dr. Harry J. Augensen, Professor of Physics & Astronomy , Widener University
"Astronomical Influences on Earth's Climate"

Shaply Lecture

Dr. Harry J. Augensen, Professor of Physics & Astronomy , Widener University
"From Musician to Astronomer: The Great William Herschel Metamorphosis"

Dr. John Scofield, Chair of Department of Physics, Oberlin College
"A Mechanical Design History for Oberlin's Lewis Center: Reconciling Green Intentions with Not-So-Green Performance"

Honors Colloquia

Marie Rinkoski
"Gas Storage in C60"

Scott Forth
"Infrared Absorption of Hydrogen in Buckyballs"

Timothy Wotherspoon
"The WKB Approximation in Power-Law Potentials"

Jeremy Gaumer
"A Study of ZnO Thin Films for use in CIS Solar Cells"

Michael Dubson, Senior Instructor, Department of Physics , University of Colorado
"Giant Telescopes, Spy Satellites, and Video Astronomy"


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