Recent News


Cancer Research Award Recognition

Two department majors, Max Kreider and Andy Rodriguez, were awarded a Cancer Research Award for 2019-2020. Their student-led project was titled "A Spectral Phasor Approach for Monitoring Cellular Metabolism in Turbid Media," sponsored by Profs. Urayama and Vishwanath. Max and Andy, along with the other awardees, were recognized at the Love.Honor.Care basketball game on February 23.

21st Annual SQuInT Workshop in Albuquerque, NM

Four physics students traveled to the 21st Annual SQuInT Workshop in Albuquerque, NM. Graduate students Ken DeRose, Mitch Mazzei, and Alex Staron, as well as UG student Jayson Rook, all presented posters of their research with Drs. Bali and Rice. In addition, two Miami Alums were also presenting. Charles Baldwin (MS ’11) presented a poster and Shohini Ghose (BS ’96) gave an invited talk.

View a TED talk Shohini gave last November.

Ken DeRose was one of twenty students selected for a Best Poster award from over seventy presenters comprising mostly of raduate students and postdocs from SQuInT-member research universities (Stanford, Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Caltech, Maryland, UT Austin, and Arizona), national labs (NIST, Sandia, NASA Ames, and LANL), and research labs in industry (Google, Microsoft, and Northrup Grumman)

MU Optics students presented at University of Arizona, Tucson

Professor Samir Bali and MS students Ken DeRose, Ajitha Dharmasiri, Alex Staron and UG student Kefeng Jiang, presented at the Optics and Photonics Winter Workshop hosted by University of Arizona in Tucson, Jan 3 - 7. Each of the students presented a poster on their research, and Professor Bali gave an invited talk. The University of Arizona covered travel expenses for Professor Bali, two of the students, and all local expenses for the whole MU group.


Physics professors and their students presented at MCAW

Professors Imran Mirza, Samir Bali and several Miami students presented at the Midwest Cold Atom Workshop hosted this year by University of Urbana-Champaign, Nov 10-11. MCAW is an annual workshop featuring faculty and student presentations by internationally renowned cold atom and quantum optics groups from Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin, Chicago, Michigan, Urbana-Champaign, Michigan State, Argonne National Lab, and a few others. Professor Mirza gave a poster presentation titled "Electromagnetically induced transparency in chiral and bidirectional disordered waveguide QED". MS students Ajitha Dharmasiri, Ken DeRose, and undergraduate Garrick Chang, presented posters on their research. Professor Bali gave an invited talk, "Quest for cold atom ratchets to simulate biomolecular motors".

Miami students presented at Frontiers in Optics / Laser Science

The annual premier internationally-attended conference was hosted by the Optical Society of America, in Washington DC, September 16-20. Dean's scholars Kefeng Jiang and Linzhao Zhuo (BS 2019) presented a talk entitled "Observation and analysis of Dicke narrowing in an optical transition", and a poster entitled "Slow light < 400 m/s in alkali vapor in the advanced undergraduate laboratory". MS student Ajitha Dharmasiri (MS 2019) presented a talk entitled "Ratchets in cold atom dissipative lattices". Their advisor is Dr. Samir Bali.

Two physics double majors named Goldwater Scholars

Congratulations to Bob Krueger and Audrey Short for being named Goldwater Scholars for 2018-19. Also newly inducted members of Sigma Pi Sigma, Bob and Audrey are among just 211 students nationwide to receive the prestigious scholarship.

Burçin Bayram delivers the Harrison-MacRae Lecture

Dr. Burcin Bayram was selected to deliver Harrison-MacRae Lecture at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada on April 27th. The award is given to distinguished scientists on topics within the fields of chemical physics or physical chemistry. "In addition to presenting the lecture, I was also asked to deliver a second talk about my Advanced Spectroscopy Course to the department faculty who wanted to implement some of my methods into their curriculum," Bayram said. During her visit, she also met with students and toured the department's research facilities. Of note, Queen's University Emeritus Dr. Arthur McDonald was a co-recipient of a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2015 for his research in neutrino oscillations.

Science Friday at Miami University

Physics major Tiago Schaeffer had the opportunity to present the Physics Department activities and research to Ira Flatow, host of Public Radio’s Science Friday, a weekly call-in talk show. Mr. Flatow visited research labs and interviewed several researchers during his visit to campus. Science Friday, known simply as Sci Fri, prerecorded the Miami University show in Hall Auditorium on April 21 during a live performance and was broadcast on April 27th.

Tiago said, “I was ecstatic to be invited to meet a figurehead of the scientific journalism community, and to talk with him in a more casual setting. The departments’ student representatives introduced themselves and each of the students talked one on one with Ira Flatow about our research. He was very interested in our work and asked great questions about the research.” After that, the group had breakfast and casual conversation about the future of science with President and Dr. Crawford and other faculty.

Tiago added, “I went to the show, which was quite interesting and informative, keeping a good balance between covering the details of the topic and keeping it short and to the point. Afterward, I attended an after party at the President’s house, where I was able to have another great conversation with Ira Flatow, as well as many other faculty members. I wholly enjoyed the experience, and was honored to be selected as the Physics Department representative.”

11 inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma

The 2018 Sigma Pi Sigma induction banquet was held on April 19, at the University of Dayton, where local chapters came together to honor new members of the physics honor society. This year, Miami University inducted 11 new members - Tiago Schaeffer, Avnika Bali, Dharma Raj Basaula, Darren Wong, Bob Krueger, Tyler Thurtell, Zeeshan Ali, Matthew Brigham, Adam Eaton, Jayson Rook, and Audrey Short.

Founded in 1921, Sigma Pi Sigma is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies, and is an organization of the American Institute of Physics. The Miami University chapter was installed in 1932, and is the 23rd oldest chapter out of the 550+ chapters nationally. Membership is limited to the upper third of a graduating class, by academic performance.

David Eicher returns to Miami to deliver Benson Memorial Lecture

David Eicher, editor-in-chief at Astronomy magazine, returned to Miami University's Physics Department on April 12 to deliver the annual George C. Benson Memorial Lecture, a talk titled, "The New Cosmos: Astronomy's Ongoing Revolution." Speaking to a packed auditorium in 319 Kreger Hall, Mr. Eicher spoke on a variety of topics covered in his book of the same name. For more, see his blog.

MQuIS group attend SQuInT Conference Santa Fe

For the third year in a row, members of the Macklin Quantum Information Sciences (MQUIS) group presented their research at the Southwestern Quantum Information and Technology (SQuInT) meeting. Five MS students, Anthony Rapp, Kenneth DeRose, Tyler Thurtell, Daniel King, and Mitchell Mazzei, and undergraduate Jayson Rook (BS 2020) presented posters. Their research centered on making better single photon memories, applications of category theory to quantum field theory, optical ratchet devices, Dicke-narrowed optical transitions, and a new class of photonics devices exhibiting parity-time symmetry. Research advisers Dr. Samir Bali and Dr. Perry Rice also attended.

Heather Statt receives award for poster presentation

The department congratulates senior Engineering Physics major Heather Statt for receiving an honorable mention on her poster presented at the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWIP). One of 45 presenters, she was commended for her ability to explain her research clearly and concisely to judges unfamiliar with condensed matter research (Dr. Khan).

Audrey Short and Jennifer Wallace also attended the conference with Heather, and all the women said that it was an exceptionally good experience. Heather commented, "This event was fun, motivating, exhausting, and well worth the time. I met women from different career backgrounds, as well as fellow undergraduates. We took the opportunity to share, empathize, laugh, and bond. I am so thankful for the opportunity, and to be able to call Miami University my home."


Miami Chapter of SPS awarded "Outstanding Chapter" designation

The Miami chapter of the Society of Physics Students was awarded Outstanding Chapter designation by the national office. Recognized for their commitment to outreach and fostering a strong community through social activities, this is the highest level of distinction awarded. The Miami chapter was one of 72 chapters out of 813 honored this year. This speaks well to the leadership of our SPS Officers: Patrick Carroll (President), Abby Hurley (Vice President), Tiago Schaeffer (Secretary), Vinoin Vincely (Treasurer), and Amber Williams (Activities Officer). Dr. Chris Beer is the faculty advisor.

Teresa Kolb retires

Administrative Assistant in Physics for 13 years and Miami employee for nearly 38 years, Teresa Kolb retired on November 30, 2017. The department honored her with an Open House in the Heritage Room at Shriver Center on Nov 28. With many long-time friends, co-workers, and family in attendance, the department presented her with an Apple watch and accessories, and recognized her contributions to the department over the years.

Alumnus Ryan Perhala honored as 18 of the last 9

Captain Ryan Perhala (BS Physics '09) visited campus on October 26 and 27 as an honoree of the 2017 Class of 18 of the Last 9. Ryan is an instructor pilot at the United States Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nevada and spent two days in Oxford meeting with students, touring the remains of Culler Hall (now absorbed by Armstrong Student Center) and visiting Kreger Hall.

OSAPS 2017 Fall Meeting at Miami University

Miami University hosted the 2017 Fall Meeting of the Ohio-Region Section of the American Physical Society (OSAPS) in conjunction with the Southern Ohio Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (SOS-AAPT) on October 13-14. About the OSAPS Fall Meeting

Astronaut Scholarship Presentation

The department congratulates Avnika Bali, Biochemistry and Biological Physics double major and Jana Cable, Microbiology, on their selection as this year's recipients of the Astronaut Scholarship. Presentation of the award was on Sept 28th in Hall Auditorium by Apollo 16 Astronaut and moonwalker Charlie Duke, Brigadier General, USAF, Ret. e-Report

Mentoring Program organizer recognized by AAPT

Patrick Carroll was recognized at the Summer Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers in July 2017 for "Implementing a Student Driven First-Year Mentoring Program." Together with graduate student Sara Zanfardino (not a member of AAPT and therefore not on the award), they brought together a group of capable mentors to provide a top-notch service for our students. Patrick is completing the combined BS/MS degree in Physics and researches with Jennifer Blue. Sara earned her BS in Biochemistry and is now an MS degree student in Physics, researching with Karthik Vishwanath.

Dr. Carlton Caves, U of NM, Arfken Scholar-in-Residence

Arfken Scholar-in-Residence Carlton Caves, Distinguished Professor at Univ of New Mexico's Center for Quantum Information and Control, delivered a public lecture titled, "What the #$*! Do We (k)now about Quantum Mechanics" on April 18th. Afterward, a reception was held in the Edwards Seminar Room for guests to mingle. Dr. Caves also presented two short courses on Quantum Metrology, met with students and researchers, and gave a seminar on Gravitational-Wave Detection Wednesday afternoon, during his stay at Miami Physics.

Dr. Crawford delivers annual Benson Memorial Lecture

Gregory Crawford, President of Miami University and Professor of Physics, delivered the 49th Annual George C. Benson Memorial Lecture on April 12th in Benton Hall. His talk was titled, "Physicians and Physicists: The Power of Collaboration." A nearly full auditorium listened intently and asked compelling questions regarding the research and patents of Dr. Crawford. Following the lecture, a reception was held in the Benton Hall Lobby for attendees to mingle and continue the conversation.

Adam Eaton presents at international meeting

Undergraduate Adam Eaton presented his research from the Vishwanath group at Photonics West, sponsored by the SPIE in San Francisco on January 28 - February 2, 2017. Dr. Vishwanath said, "Not only is Adam a junior who produced work acceptable for presentation at an international meeting, he wrote a competitive travel award application that was judged to be worthy of support when compared against applications from several students, including doctoral students, across the country and internationally. It is a significant honor and great achievement for Adam."

Mahmud Khan receives university award

Assistant Professor Mahmud Khan was selected to receive a 2017 Miami University Junior Faculty Scholar Award. He will receive a plaque in honor of the achievement and a $2000 stipend. The Distinguished Scholar Awards Program celebrates the accomplishments of outstanding Miami scholars each year. Exemplary Miami faculty members are nominated by their peers for their superior research and scholarly activities.

Super Bowl of Chili results

The 9th Annual Super Bowl of Chili was held on February 3rd at lunch time in the department office. There were five entries in the competition this year. Voting by all the tasters resulted in a tie for first place between graduate student Benjamin Blankartz with a German chili, and staff member Judy Eaton with a spicy beef chili. In third place was Teresa Kolb with a white chicken chili, a perennial favorite. The lunch buffet was supplemented with an array of salads and desserts.


Undergraduates Patrick Carroll and Amber Williams earn OSA Poster Award

At the 2016 Quadrennial Physics Congress in the Silicon Valley on November 3-5, Patrick Carroll and Amber Williams were selected as recipients of the OSA Poster Award. Presenting research conducted with Dr. Mahmud Khan as part of PHY293, (Contemporary Physics Lab,) they were judged on their development of scientific ideas and methods, the effectiveness of the poster in communicating what has been accomplished, and the ability of the presenters to discuss this information and respond to questions about the material. The quadrennial meeting brings together physics students, alumni, and faculty members for three days of frontier physics, interactive professional development workshops, and networking. It includes the largest gathering of undergraduate physics students in the world.

Jeff Brock Receives Graduate School Presentation Award

Physics grad student Jeff Brock (Khan research group) received one of the top three presentation awards for his work at the 2016 Graduate Research Forum on November 4th. Over 140 graduate students submitted research, and graduate alumni and faculty judges evaluated all presenters for their ability to effectively communicate their work and answer questions.

Dylan Palo CAS Student Spotlight

Senior physics and mathematics double major Dylan Palo is the subject of a Student Spotlight on the College of Arts and Science website. Dylan, a member of Paul Urayama's research group, is a CAS Dean's Scholar, Undergraduate Summer Scholar and recipient of Miami's Undergraduate Research Award.

Jeff Brock selected to compete at APS GMAG

Graduate student Jeff Brock was selected as a finalist for Best Student Presentations in the American Physical Society Topical Group on Magnetism and its Applications (GMAG). He competed in New Orleans in November as the only MS student in a group with four PhD finalists. To reach this esteemed group, Jeff, a member of Mahmud Khan's research group, submitted an abstract to present a talk at the conference. Once accepted, he submitted an extended abstract and was selected to be a finalist.

18 of the last 9

The Department of Physics welcomed back Matt Dopkiss '07, BS Engineering Physics, Managing Partner of Dynamit Technologies LLC, as part of the 2016 honorees for 18 of the Last 9, the annual program sponsored by the Miami University Alumni Association and based on the popular “30 under 30” model. Miami's program recognizes 18 Miami alumni who have graduated in the past nine years. This year’s inductees were selected from more than 100 nominees, and were on campus October 27-28 to speak in classrooms, meet with student groups, and reconnect with faculty. Matt's agenda included lunch with the Society of Physics Students and a meeting with the Astronomy Club.

Annual George C. Benson Memorial Lecture held April 7th

Dr. Stacy McGaugh of Case Western Reserve University and Director of the Warner and Swasey Observatory delivered the lecture, "Gravity and Cosmology a Century after Einstein" in 152 Shideler Hall to a full house. Following the lecture, a reception was held in the Shideler Lobby where discussions continued late into the evening. Events for the 2016 Benson Memorial Lecture also included a demonstration of a Chaotic Water Wheel, build by the Society of Physics Students prior to the lecture, and a student Meet-and-Greet that afternoon.

Three Minute Thesis competition results

The Physics Department was well-represented at the Graduate School's Three Minute Thesis competition. Selected to compete in the final round of ten on Feb 25 was Md Salah Uddin, "Testing with Anti-matter" and Jeffrey Brock, "New Materials for Energy Efficient Refrigeration." Jeffrey Brock finished second in the competition and was a co-winner of the People's Choice Award. Further, Jeffrey Brock will represent Miami in the regional competition in Chicago on April 8th. The research advisor for Salah Uddin is Herbert Jaeger; the research advisor for Jeffrey Brock is Mahmud Khan. The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an exercise that develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of research students' capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes in a language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.


Arfken Scholar-in-Residence Nov 3-6, 2015

Shane Stadler, Professor of Physics at Louisiana State University and novelist was the 15th Arfken Scholar-in-Residence. Events included the Wednesday seminar on November 4th, and a public lecture on Thursday evening, November 5th titled, Magnetic Refrigeration...the New Cool. Dr. Stadler also gave two short courses during his visit, met with groups of students and faculty, and signed copies of his books, Exoskeleton and Exoskeleton II: Tympanum, for the department. Prior to the public lecture, the Society of Physics Students hosted physics demonstrations in Kreger Hall. Photos can be viewed on our Facebook page.

Foucault Pendulum installed in Kreger Hall

One year after the physics department moved to Kreger Hall, the building was completed with the installation of the new Foucault Pendulum in August 2015. As part of the "Ohio Percent for Art" program, Miami University commissioned artist David Griggs to create the pendulum. Griggs masterfully intertwined physics, astronomy, Oxford, and Miami University into his overall design. For the full story and video, see Miami News.

The Kreger Proclamation

The official dedication of Kreger Hall as the new home of the Department of Physics took place on April 10, 2015 on the front steps of the new facade on Spring Street. Those in attendance listened to brief talks by Department Chair Herbert Jaeger, Undergraduate Representative Jeff Brock, State Senator William Coley II, and President David Hodge. Also participating in the ribbon cutting was Provost Phyllis Callahan.

The ribbon cutting was just one event in a week-long celebration, kicked off by the annual Benson Lecture on Tuesday night with Alumnus Jeffrey Smith '91. SPS was busy during the week with physics demonstrations prior to the lecture, movie night on Thursday featuring "Interstellar," and a bonfire and potluck on Friday evening. Other events for the week included an alumni dinner, an open house and campus tours, and a student research poster session. The celebration concluded on Saturday afternoon with a catered SPS Spring Picnic, this year held in the quad on the north side of Kreger Hall. 

Paul Urayama named Distinguished Educator

Associate Professor Paul Urayama is one of two recipients of the 2015 College of Arts and Science Distinguished Educator Award. These awards honor two faculty members for excellence in teaching and related professional activities. Beside receiving a cash award for professional use, Paul had the honor of making a presentation to the academic community on November 18, 2015. His talk was titled From biomolecular folding to cellular metabolic sensing: A journey of student-driven biophysical research. Following the talk, a reception was held in the Edwards Seminar Room in Kreger Hall.

Burçin Bayram named Woman Physicist of the Month

The American Physical Society's Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) selected Associate Professor Burçin Bayram as Woman Physicist for the month of May 2015. Her "enthusiasm for science, creativity in the lab, and dedication to the success of her students" are just a few of the qualities mentioned in an article on the APS website, where she is recognized for her work in the classroom, the lab, and in outreach activities.

Benson Lecture April 7, 2015

Alumnus Jeffrey Smith '91, Space Biology Project Manager at NASA Ames Research Lab, presented the 47th annual Benson Lecture titled, "Space Biophysics: Accomplishments, Trends, Challenges." Dr. Smith spoke to a full house that included many alumni who returned to Oxford for the Kreger Proclamation, a week-long event to dedicate the newly renovated Kreger Hall as the new home of the Department of Physics. Dr. Smith captivated his audience and fielded many questions after the lecture. A reception was held in the Edwards Seminar Room following the lecture.

Grad Student Rey Ducay wins thesis competition award

Rey Ducay of the Bali research group received the People's Choice Award at the Graduate School's Three Minute Thesis competition on March 12, 2015. The Three Minute Thesis is a research communication competition that develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills. It supports the development of research students' capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes in a language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.

Arfken Scholar-in-Residence March 3-6, 2015

The 14th Arfken Scholar in Residence was Dr. Ergin Ahmed, Assistant Professor of Research at Temple University. Dr. Ahmed met with students and faculty in various research labs, gave the Wednesday seminar and two short courses, and presented a public lecture titled "Quantum Optics and Precision Measurements with Diatomic Molecules."

SPS Named Notable Chapter

The National Council of the Society of Physics Students named Miami University's SPS a "Notable Chapter" for 2013-14. This award recognized "efforts to build the SPS community." This is the second consecutive Notable Chapter award for the Miami group, whose activities include physics demos prior to public lectures, semi-annual picnics, and a monthly movie night for students.

2015 Super Bowl of Chili Competition

The 8th Annual Super Bowl of Chili was held January 30, 2015 for faculty, staff, and students. This year, First Place went to custodian Dale Ramsey and an honorable mention went to department chair Herbert Jaeger. Also on the menu were cheesy potatoes, a wide array of snacks and dips, caramel cake, and spicy chocolate cookies.


SCALE-UP Teaching Method implemented in Physics

With the start of the fall semester, the introductory courses in Physics are being taught differently. The method known as SCALE-UP was the subject of a recent news article by the university.

Video about Bayram Research

Burçin Bayram and her students were featured in a video titled "Measuring Energy Transfer." Produced by the College of Arts & Science in September 2014, the video highlights the research being done in the Bayram lab.

Summer Scholar Oliva and Urayama Research featured

The "I Am Miami" series of articles recently featured University Summer Scholar Art Oliva and the work he is doing in Paul Urayama's research lab studying how mitochondria act under high pressures. Full article

Video about Bali Research

Samir Bali and his students were featured in a video titled "Sensing with Light." Produced by the College of Arts & Science in June 2014, the video highlights the research being done in the Bali lab.

Bayram Research Highlighted

A recent e-Report article highlights the newly installed laser system and the research being conducted in the Bayram research lab. The purchase of the laser was made possible by a $150,000 grant from the NSF awarded in June 2013 for "Polarization Quantum Beat Spectroscopy in Diatomic Molecules."

Michael J. Pechan retires

Kathy and Mick Pechan

After 33 years at Miami University, Michael J. Pechan retired in May 2014. During his tenure, Mick served as department chair, adviser and mentor to countless students, and as principle investigator on one of the longest running grants at the university. A retirement reception was held in his honor on May 9th at the Marcum Hotel and Conference Center on campus for colleagues, family and friends. Mick and Kathy are moving to the Washington, DC area where Mick will work for the Department of Energy as a program director.

2014 Physics Scholarships and Awards Presentations

Mario Freamat and Ethan Clements

The department held its annual Scholarship and Award Presentations on May 7th. Nineteen students in entry-level courses were recognized for outstanding work, and more than $54,000 in scholarships were awarded. In addition, Mario Freamat received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the senior class. Presented by senior representative Ethan Clements and surprised by the honor, Dr. Freamat said, "You've just made my year!" Michael Pechan was also recognized on his retirement. This was the last awards presentation in Culler Hall, as the department will move to a newly renovated Kreger Hall in August.

The Physics of Baseball discussed at the 2014 Benson Lecture

Benson speaker Alan Nathan

The 2014 Benson Memorial Lecture was held on March 19, 2014 with Alan M. Nathan of the University of Illinois speaking on "The Physics of Baseball: You Can Observe A Lot By Watching." With the use of photos from high speed cameras, Dr. Nathan discussed the science behind events during game play and the unexpected outcomes that sometimes result.

Alternative Spring Break
The Miami Chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) took students to Chicago on March 22-25, 2014 for an alternative Spring Break trip. The students met with professionals in the STEM fields and spent a day touring the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, home to 2,500 researchers from 34 countries. The students hope this trip will mark the start of an annual tradition.

Alumna named 2014 TED Fellow
Shohini Ghose, an associate physics professor at Wilfrid Laurier University is a 2014 TED Fellow. A 2001 graduate of Miami University with a BS in Physics, Dr. Ghose did undergraduate research with Perry Rice in theoretical quantum mechanics. She returned to Miami Physics in 2011 to give a seminar titled "Quantum signatures of Chaos."

2014 Super Bowl of Chili
The 7th Annual Super Bowl of Chili was held January 31, 2014 for faculty, staff, and students. In the closest voting yet, there was a tie for First Place between administrative assistant Teresa Kolb and grad student Eitan Lees, with an honorable mention going to custodian Dale Ramsey. Also on the menu were cheesy potatoes, a wide array of snacks and dips, carrot cake, and spicy chocolate cookies.

Physics department visits Kreger Hall
Six months before the scheduled opening of Kreger Hall, members of the Miami Physics Department had their first meeting in the building on January 22, 2014. Faculty and staff, together with contractors and architects, toured the building and had many questions answered. The group concurred that after seeing building plans for the last few years, it was helpful to see the actual office and lab spaces.


Miami SPS named "Notable Chapter"
December 2013 - The Society of Physics Students National Council named Miami's SPS a "Notable Chapter" for efforts in outreach and chapter activities. Specific activities mentioned included a visit to GE Aviation and hosting a booth at Nano Days at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Previous SPS advisor Paul Urayama and current advisor Christopher Beer are commended for their "dedication to support a functioning SPS Chapter and efforts to bring out leadership in their students."

Dr. T. William Houk retires
After 39 years of service to Miami University, Bill Houk retired at the end of the fall 2013 semester. During his tenure, Bill has served on University Senate, as department chair, and as adviser and mentor to countless students. The Physics Department honored Bill at a reception on November 25, 2013 at The Marcum Conference Center and Hotel. More than 100 guests attended to celebrate, reminisce, and honor him.

13th Annual Arfken Scholar-in-Residence held Nov 5-8, 2013
The 13th Arfken Scholar-in-Residence was Nourredine Melikechi, Professor and Dean, College of Mathematics Natural Sciences and Technology at Delaware State University. Dr. Melikechi is also a member of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, NASA. He met with students and faculty in various research labs, gave the Wednesday seminar and two short courses, and presented a public lecture on "Exploring Martian Rocks and Soils With Single Laser Pulses: A Wonderful Journey of Remote Analysis of a Planetary Surface," to a packed house on Thursday evening.

Senior Dirk Auman receives Astronaut Scholarship
A biochemistry and engineering physics double major, Dirk Auman was awarded one of 28 Astronaut Scholarships nationwide. The $10,000 prizes are awarded each year by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation to top science and engineering students. Presentation of the scholarship was made by Space Shuttle Astronaut Charlie Precourt on August 28, 2013.

Bayram Receives NSF Award
Burcin Bayram received NSF funding for three years in the amount of $150,000 for her proposal entitled "Polarization Quantum Beat Spectroscopy in Diatomic Molecules.” The Bayram research group will initiate pico-femto second laser spectroscopy in diatomic molecules to investigate energy transfer processes arising from collisions between atoms and molecules.

ALPhA Laboratory Immersion at Miami University
Miami Physics hosted a workshop for the Advanced Laboratory Physics Association (ALPhA) on June 24-26, 2013. Participants chose from two different advanced lab experiments: "Laser Induced Fluorescence in Iodine," conducted by Burcin Bayram; and, "Quantized Conductance and the Arduino Platform for Advanced Labs," by Herbert Jaeger and Khalid Eid. The immersion program provided participants with two to three days of intensive hands-on work with a single advanced laboratory experiment.

2013 Scholarships & Awards Presentation
The 2013 Scholarships and Awards Presentation was held on May 1 in 46 Culler. Scholarships totaling about $40,000 were announced, as well as Undergraduate and Graduate achievements. Bill Konyk presented James Clemens with the Faculty Member of the Year award as voted by the senior majors. A reception was held prior to the event in the Edwards Seminar Room.

Jaeger places first in Red Brick Run
Congratulations to department chair Herbert Jaeger who placed first in his age group in the 34th Annual Red Brick 5K in Oxford on Sunday, April 21st. With a time of 22:21.73, Jaeger improved from his previous two third place finishes and last year's second place finish. Also walking in the 5K was Physics Administrative Assistant Teresa Kolb who was happy to improve on her time from last year.

SPS Picnic coldest in recent memory!
The Society of Physics Students' spring picnic was at Peffer Park on April 19th, a day involving rain, a cold front, and falling temperatures. At picnic time, the temperature hovered around 40 degrees F, and snowflakes were spotted in the air. Not to be dissuaded by the weather, the SPS group provided freshly grilled burgers and hot dogs, and the faculty, grad students, and staff provided delicious side dishes.

Benson Lecture with Nobel Laureate Eric Cornell
The annual George Benson Memorial Lecture was held on April 17, 2013. Nobel Laureate Eric Cornell, Senior Scientist at NIST, JILA, and Professor Adjoint at University of Colorado discussed "How symmetric is the Electron?" Prior to the lecture, the Physics Department hosted a reception at in Culler Hall. At the same time, the Society of Physics Students conducted physics demonstrations in Culler Hall for the guests' enjoyment and participation.

2013 Superbowl of Chili
The 6th annual Superbowl of Chili took place during lunch on Friday, February 1st in the physics office. Six different pots of chili vied for top honors this year, with grad student Diane Beamer's sausage and beer chili receiving the most votes. Bill Houk receives an honorable mention for the second place finish with his renown Texas-style chili. Students, staff, and faculty also contributed and feasted on chips, dips, fruits and desserts.

On the Cover of the AJP
Miami Physics is proud to announce that for the second time in six months, one of our research groups will grace the cover of the American Journal of Physics. The January 2013 issue has Assistant Professor Khalid Eid's paper on "Quantized Conductance" published inside, and photos of the set up are on the cover. The Eid Research Group consists of both undergraduate students and MS students who conduct research in nano-science and nanotechnology.


Recipient of Presidential Award gives Wednesday's seminar
Alumnus Dave Bonner (BS 2002, MAT 2003), one of 97 teachers nationwide to receive the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, gave the Wednesday seminar on November 7, 2012. His talk was titled, "You are the game-changer in the success of our country!"

Bayram Research Group awarded for best poster
From a field of 40 entries, the Bayram Research Group's poster based on a Quantum Beat Spectroscopy study was selected as the top research poster at the Ohio Section of the APS (OSAPS) Fall meeting on October 5-6, 2012. Dr. Bayram's group simultaneously excited hyperfine levels of the cesium 8p level by a short laser pulse and measured the first time atomic polarization quantum beats using a delayed-detection method in conjunction with pump-stimulated probe excitation technique. Led by Dr. Burçin Bayram, the group consists of Oleg Popov (MS 2012, now a PhD student at UC Riverside), graduate student Stephen Kelly, and undergraduates Andrew Salsman and Patrick Boyle.

Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar
Christopher Essex, professor of applied mathematics at the University of Western Ontario and a former director of the University's Theoretical Physics Program, presented "Climate as a Problem of Fundamental Science" on October 4, 2012. In the spirit of liberal education, Dr. Essex entertained questions following the lecture, as well as during the reception afterward. The presentation was sponsored by the Department of Physics, Iota of Ohio, and Phi Beta Kappa. Co-sponsors were the Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science, and the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability.

2012 Provost Student Academic Award
Two physics majors are among the 15 students who received the 2012 Provost Student Academic Award. Congratulations goes to Joshua Kaine, biochemistry and biological physics double major, computer science minor, from Cincinnati; and, James Morton, quadruple major in computer science, electrical engineering, engineering physics, and mathematics and statistics, Chinese minor, from Oxford.

Astronaut Scholarship presented at Miami University
The Physics Department welcomed Astronaut Joe Allen back to Miami University. Dr. Allen was in Oxford on September 4th, to present the 2012-13 Astronaut Scholarship to Prashant Rajan, a zoology and biochemistry double major. Dr. Allen was the department’s 1971 Benson Memorial Lecturer, and was friends with the late Jim Poth, Professor emeritus of the Physics Department. We are honored that Jim’s wife, Alice, was able to attend events surrounding Dr. Allen’s visit. Of the 27 participating schools, Miami University students have won more scholarships than any other school. For more information about the Astronaut Scholarship, visit their website at

Bayram and Freamat article on cover of American Journal of Physics
Associate Professor Burçin Bayram and Visiting Assistant Professor Mario Freamat authored the paper "Vibrational spectra of N2: An advanced undergraduate laboratory in atomic and molecular spectroscopy," selected to be featured on the cover of the August 2012 edition of American Journal of Physics.

Bali receives ACS award
Dr. Samir Bali was recently honored to be one of four researchers of 184 grant awardees to be featured in "Researcher Stories" at the site of the Annual Report on Research 2011 from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund. Dr. Bali and his team have developed a new method and a tool to measure the optical properties of turbid materials.

Beyond the First Year Conference
Four Physics faculty members attended the Conference on Laboratory Instruction Beyond the First Year of College (or BFY Conference) held at University of Pennsylvania & Drexel University in Philadelphia. Jan Yarrison-Rice and Khalid Eid presented six workshops highlighting PHY293 through two selected nanoscience experiments, entitled “Frontiers in Contemporary Physics Education: Gold Nanoparticle Photoabsorption & Quantization of Conductance Experiments.” Six other workshops were conducted by Burçin Bayram and Mario Freamat highlighting the Advanced Spectroscopy course PHY441/541: “Simple Laser-Induced Fluorescence Setup to Explore Molecular Spectroscopy.” In addition, Khalid Eid, along with N. Lindquist from Bethel, presided over a Breakout Discussion Session on Nano and Condensed Matter & Materials Physics instructional labs.

Alumnus received Presidential Award
Congratulations to Dave Bonner (BS 2002, MAT 2003) who was selected one of 97 teachers nationwide to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. He traveled to Washington, D.C. this summer to meet President Obama and accept his award. The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding kindergarten to 12th grade science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process at the state level.

Alumna Teacher of the Year
Hope Spangler Strickland (MAT 1993) was selected as Dayton Public Schools' 2012 Teacher of the Year. A teacher at Stiver School for the Arts, Mrs. Strickland serves as coordinator for the Physics Department's annual Stiver School visit, which brings 40-50 students to campus for a day of physics.

Herbert Jaeger approved as next Chair of Physics
The Miami University Provost has approved the appointment of Herbert Jaeger as the next chair of the Department of Physics for a five year term commencing with the 2012-13 academic year. College of Arts and Science Dean Phyllis Callahan made the announcement on May 1, 2012, stating, "I believe Dr. Jaeger will be an effective advocate for your department and I look forward to working with him. I hope you will join me in thanking Dr. Jaeger for his willingness to serve the department in this capacity."

2012 Awards Presentation
The Annual Physics Department Awards Presentation was held Wednesday, April 25, 2012 in 46 Culler. Students were recognized for outstanding academics, research, and graduate student teaching. Scholarship awards were announced, and Dr. Michael Pechan was chosen by the senior class as this year's Outstanding Faculty Member, selected for having had the most influence on their education in Miami's Physics Department.

Teaching Honors Awarded to two graduate students
Graduate students Jason Barkeloo and Andrew Jacobs have been selected as the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Outstanding Teaching Assistants in physics at Miami University. Andrew Jacobs (BS Physics 2007) is also the recipient of the 2011-12 College of Arts and Science Graduate Student Teaching Award. Andrew returned to Miami in 2010 and will complete his MS in Physics this August, after which he will enter a physics PhD program at the University of California, Merced.

Kashika Goyal in select group of undergraduates
Kashika Goyal (ZOO, BS2013) is one of six undergraduate students nationwide who have been selected this year to give an oral presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in the premier annual conference of the American Physical Society for Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP). Kashika was also one of eight students selected by Miami University to present her research at Miami's “Poster-on-the-Hill” event at Washington DC during Spring Break 2012. Kashika's research is carried out exclusively in the Physics Department in Professors Samir Bali and Lalit Bali's group, and focuses on developing novel optical sensing methodologies for applications in bio and environmental sensing. She is the first author on two papers submitted for review to refereed journals.

Janet Hurn published
Janet Hurn had a contribution published in Quick Hits Teaching with Technology: Successful Strategies by Award Winning Teachers. Her article is The Inverted Hybrid Science Classroom. “I am excited to share what is going on in the classroom in Miami Physics. This isn’t your typical classroom, and I think it is the future of education. I love teaching this way,” said Hurn.

Kreger Hall to become the new home for Physics
Renovations will transform Kreger Hall into the new home of the Physics Department by 2014. Changes in teaching methods, growth of the department, and advancements in research necessitate moving to a larger facility to accommodate the department's mission.

2012 Benson Lecture
The annual George C. Benson Memorial Lecture was held on March 29, 2012. Dr. Daniel P. Lathrop of the University of Maryland presented, "Laboratory Models of the Earth's Core." The lecture was in 46 Culler Hall, and was followed by a reception in the Edward's Seminar Room.

2012 Year of the Arts Lecture
In conjunction with Year of the Arts at Miami University, special guest lecturer Charles M. Falco spoke on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in the Art Building. His lecture was, "The Science of Optics: The History of Art." The Physics Department, the School of Fine Arts, and the College of Arts and Science sponsored this lecture, and held a reception after the lecture.

Yarrison-Rice article recognized
Jan Yarrison-Rice was recognized recently by Semiconductor Science and Technology, having her publication selected as one of the highlighted articles for 2011. "Nanoscience is alive and well at Miami University and continues to be internationally recognized," said Yarrison-Rice, regarding her noteworthy accomplishment.

2012 Superbowl of Chili
The annual Superbowl of Chili was held on February 3, 2012, with a different varieties of chili submitted by faculty, grad students, and staff. Judging was done by informal taste tests by all members attending. Top honors go to Bill Houk for his Texas style chili, with honorable mentions to grad student Andrew Makepeace for a beef, sausage, and beer chili; and grad student Diane Beamer for an Italian sausage and sweet pepper chili.


Arfken Scholar-in-Residence
Daniel Steck of the Oregon Center for Optics & Department of Physics at the University of Oregon visited the Department of Physics for a week in November as the 12th annual Arfken Scholar-in-Residence. Dr. Steck delivered the public lecture titled, "Chaos, Quantum Mechanics, and Colling Atoms with laser Light" on Thursday, November 10, 2011 to a full house in 115 Shideler Hall. A reception was held after the talk in for students, faculty and guests to mingle. Dr. Steck also gave the Wednesday Seminar in 46 Culler Hall titled, "Controlling the Motion of Ultracold Atoms." During his visit, Dr. Steck also presented two short courses for faculty and students. The first, "Optical Lattices and the Casimir-Polder Effect," was on Monday; the second, "Dynamics Under Continuous Position Measurements," was held on Thursday afternoon.

Emeritus James Poth passes away
Physics emeritus James Poth, 78, passed away on September 12, 2011. A private burial was held at the Oxford Cemetery. A memorial service was held on October 8, at the Faith Lutheran Church in Oxford.

Emeritus Dave Griffing passes away
Physics emeritus Dave Griffing, 85, passed away June 12, 2011 at the Knolls of Oxford after a battle with stomach cancer. A memorial service was held on July 19 at the Oxford Presbyterian Church.

2011 Awards Presentation
Traditionally, the last weekly Physics seminar is dedicated to recognizing student accomplishments in Physics for the academic year. The annual Awards Presentation, held April 27, included Culler Awards given to outstanding physics students in introductory courses from all majors, physics scholarship announcements, and recognition for outstanding research and teaching. Two new scholarships were awarded for the first time, and another new scholarship was announced by Miami Physics alumnus Russell Starkey, who set up the award for incoming freshmen.

Three faculty members receive Shoupp Awards
Three members of the Physics faculty were selected to receive Shoupp Awards for 2011-12, for two research projects designed to establish collaboration with business and industry. The research projects and awards are as follows: Samir Bali, “Measurement of the Refractive Index and Attenuation Coefficient of Turbid Media,” $10,000; and Herbert Jaeger and Michael Pechan, “Linear Generator For Novel Fixed-Shaft Wind Turbine,” $20,000.

New alumnus Ciccone featured on website
Matthew Ciccone graduated in May 2011 with a BS in Physics. Matt was a featured student on the home page of Miami University's website. He had the following to say about his Miami Experience. "During freshman year, I took an honors course in physics, called Energy and the Environment. I never believed I was very good at math or physics, but taking that course, I realized how interesting it was. I knew majoring in physics was going to be a challenge, but it was the right decision for me."

2011 Benson Lecture
The Annual George Benson Memorial Lecture was Wednesday evening, March 30, 2011. Miami alumnus Dr. Norman Salem of Martek Biosciences Corporation discussed, "What does physics have to do with nutrition, omega-3 fatty acids, and brain development?" Dr. Salem graduated from Miami University in 1972 with a BS in Physics.

2011 Arfken Scholar-in-Residence
The Annual George and Carolyn Arfken Scholar-in-Residence for 2011 was Evgeny Tsymbal of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Hosted by Khalid Eid, Dr. Tsymbal visited the week of February 15-18, and gave the Wednesday Seminar and a public lecture on Thursday evening titled "Magic of Magnetism: From a Compass Needle to Data Storage." There were two short courses given during his visit. On Thursday, February 17, Dr. Tsymbal discussed "Physics of Spin Dependent Tunneling." On Friday, February 18, he discussed "Electronically-Driven Magnetoelectric Phenomena at Interfaces."

SPS visits uranium enrichment facility
The Society of Physics Students visited a uranium enrichment facility on January 21, and were treated to a tour of gaseous diffusion and gas centrifuge facilities at USEC Inc., a leading supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants. Companies like USEC are continually on the look out for students with quantitative-modeling and problem-solving skills such as those obtained by training in physics. With energy being a long-term national issue, companies like USEC may represent a promising career path. SPS thanks Angie Duduit and department alumnus and former VP of American Centrifuge Russ Starkey for helping to organize the tour, Sandy Fout for giving the presentation and tour, along with American Centrifuge engineers Greg Corzine, Don Weber, Bob Lykowski and Jason Bolling. SPS vice-president Eric Todd organized the details for the students.


Megan Marshall named Astronaut Scholar
Physics/Mathematics major Megan Marshall was named 2010-11 Astronaut Scholar from Miami University. The $10,000 scholarship was awarded in a presentation on November 22 at 7:00pm in Room 1000 in the Farmer School of Business. The award was presented by Astronaut Fred Gregory, veteran of three Space Shuttle missions and a member of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. For more information on the scholarship, visit the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation's website.

Urayama receives NSF grant
Paul Urayama, associate professor of physics, has been awarded a $141, 556 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a cellular biophysics program that will involve undergraduate students in all stages of the research process.

Marshall receives Provost's award
Megan Marshall was one of eleven Miami University students who were recipients of the 2010 Provost's Student Academic Achievement Award. The $1,000 award is given annually to students who have completed their junior year, have an outstanding record of academic achievement and have made significant intellectual contributions to the university.

Bali and Harnish in SPS feature
Past SPS chapter-president Peter Harnish along with faculty mentor Prof. Bali are featured in the Spring 2010 issue of The SPS Observer (on page 10), in an article called "Using Lasers to Probe Nearly Everything." The same issue also has a photo on page 18 of graduate student Emmy Mills dining with Vera Rubin, an American astronomer known for the galaxy rotation problem. The SPS Observer is the magazine of the Society of Physics Students, an organization for all students interested in physics.

Professors Bali and students published in VJBO
Professor Samir Bali, his father, Adjunct Professor Lalit Bali, and three of their students received notice in July that their paper, "Measurement of the refractive index of highly turbid media," was accepted for the Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics. Originally published in Optics Letters, the editor-in-chief of the VJBO saw the article and accepted it for inclusion.

A Farewell to Schrade
After 3.5 years as a student worker in the Physics Office, Melissa Schrade graduated. A farewell lunch buffet was held in her honor on Friday, April 30. Attended by faculty, staff, and students, Melissa was presented with a token of thanks for outstanding service to the department. With a degree in Systems Analysis, Melissa will work for Westfield Insurance Company in Cleveland.

Eid receives Shoupp award
Khalid Eid, Assistant Professor of Physics, is one of five faculty members receiving the Shoupp Award for research for 2010-11. The awards are named in honor of the late William E. Shoupp, a charter member and chair of the Miami University Research Advisory Council.

2010 Award Presentations
The annual Physics Department Awards Ceremony was held on April 28, 2010. Approximately $34K was awarded in scholarships, and 45 students were recognized with Culler Book Awards for outstanding performance in entry-level classes. Also awarded was the AAPT Award for Teaching Excellence and the Outstanding Faculty Award.

Miami Physics recognized
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) has released its latest findings on enrollment of and degrees awarded to physics majors around the country. Among universities with master’s programs in physics, Miami University ranked first in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded annually and second in the number of master’s degrees awarded annually. Miami averaged 15 physics bachelor’s degrees, and eight physics master’s degrees, per year for the classes 2005 to 2007.

2010 Benson Lecture
The 2010 George C. Benson Memorial Lecture was given by Miami Alumnus Craig Benson. Mr. Benson earned his Masters in Physics in 1988 and his M.B.A in Operations Research in 1989 both from Miami. Mr. Benson is a senior scientist at Wyle Laboratories Advanced Non-Destructive Inspection Division, specializing in eddy current and ultrasonic methods, and robotic deployment of these methods to inspect military aircraft engines and aircraft structures. Mr. Benson is the son of Letitia Benson Patterson and George Benson, for whom this lecture series was established.

Library workshop held
The Physics Department sponsored a one-hour, hands-on workshop for Physics graduate students/senior undergrads titled, “Using Library Resources for the Prospectus and Thesis”. The workshop was held on Tuesday, March 23 in Brill Science Library, led by librarian Meghan Gamsby. Each student was able to login to a computer provided by the library, and follow Meghan directly on the computer.