Department news

Dr. FamianoDr. Michael Famiano awarded a Fulbright Award to Japan

Famiano is an associate professor of nuclear astrophysics. After receiving his Ph.D., he worked as a fellow for the Science and Technology Agency of Japan at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research near Tokyo. He also held a post-doctoral position at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory in East Lansing, Michigan, before coming to WMU.

Famiano’s primary research interest is in stellar nucleosynthesis. His Fulbright award proposes to evaluate the effects of relativistic electron-positron plasmas on astronomical observables, then taking the results and applying them to advanced computational techniques in which hot stellar environments are simulated.

Dr. Ali Sami Alnaser with John

Dr. Ali Sami Alnaser awarded 2017 Alumni Achievement Award

Alnaser (Ph.D. '02) is a professor and head of the physics department at American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Alnaser's research interests are centered around the use of ultra-strong lasers in photographing and manipulating experimentally the structure of matter on extremely short time scale.

He has published more than 60 peer reviewed articles, 70 conference papers and received the Distinguished Arab Scholar Award from the State of Kuwait in 2011.

Dr. Gorczyca

Dr. Thomas Gorczyca awarded WMU Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award

Gorczyca is a first-rate theoretical atomic physicist specializing in the area of photon and electron initiated collisions. His impressive publication record lists more than 110 peer-reviewed articles, as well as more than 30 invited talks. To support his research, he has had continuous funding for more than 15 years, largely from NASA, as the principal investigator. Notably, Gorczyca was elected to Fellowship in the American Physical Society last year, a recognition awarded to less than 1 percent of the active members. You can read more about Gorczyca and his many achievements in WMU News.

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Summer 2017 newsletter

Our department's annual newsletter is now available. Please take a moment to visit our newsletter page and catch up on all our recent news and events. You can also find our previous newsletters archived on this page. We hope you enjoy. If you have any information that you would like included in our next newsletter, please contact us.

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Pile of Money

Dr. Elena Litvinova awarded NSF CAREER award

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Litvinova $474,998 for her project entitled "CAREER: From Fundamental Interactions to Emergent Phenomena: Geometrical Aspects of Nuclear Dynamics”. The project will address important issues of the nuclear structure theory and include innovative outreach activities at the interface of science and visual arts. Litvinova's award started September 1, 2017.

More information, including the award abstract, can be found on the NSF website.

Department grants, one new and one renewal

Dr. John Tanis received word that his NSF grant, titled “Radiative Double Electron Capture (RDEC) of Ions with Quasi-free Electrons”, was renewed and will be funded at the level of $120,000 for another three years.

Dr. Michael Famiano and Dr. Zbigniew Chajecki have been awarded an NSF grant worth $420,000 to study how heavy elements were formed and provides further constraints on the characteristics of dense nuclear matter.
Students gathering near front of classroom

Department of Physics Award Ceremony

In April, the Department of Physics honored undergraduate and graduate students during their awards ceremony. Students were selected based on their outstanding work during the 2016-17 academic year. Congratulations to all the winners.
Group of presidential scholars

Spencer J. Henning is the Presidential Scholar in Physics

Henning is a graduate of the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center, Kalamazoo Central High School and a recent graduate of Western Michigan University where he majored in physics and minored in astronomy and mathematics. Henning is a Kalamazoo Promise Scholar who came to WMU on a Medallion Scholarship. He has conducted research in WMU's particle accelerator laboratory and worked on astrophysics data analysis with faculty members.
Science olympiad students in a lab at WMU

Science Olympiad draws 400 hundred students to WMU

In February, over 400 middle and high school students competed in the Region 10 Science Olympiad at WMU. Many faculty, staff and students from the department volunteered to help with this event. Students blew away the department in demonstrating their skills and knowledge in the Wind Power event, and enlightened us with tests and demonstrations in Optics. Many teams geared up to show off their Rube Goldberg machines in Mission Possible. Special thanks to the WMU Physics Club for volunteering for this event.
Dr. Marc Humphrey

Physicist melds scientific, humanitarian drive at UN's 'nuclear watchdog'

Since earning his B.S. in physics and applied mathematics from WMU and his Ph.D. in physics at Harvard University, Dr. Marc Humphrey has applied his training in unconventional ways. A recent article featured on WMU News delves into how Humphrey uses his training in physics while working at the International Atomic Energy Agency's Department of Safeguards. Humphrey’s story was also featured in the WMU Magazine and the Western Michigan University Brand Book.

Dr. Koretsky with Portage Northern middle school students

Engaging young minds

The Department of Physics was thrilled to welcome about 200 eighth graders from Portage Northern Middle School on November 21, 2016. The students got to experience the best of Western's STEM-based programs during a field trip on campus. (Image left: students with College of Arts and Sciences dean, Dr. Carla Koretsky, in front of the Tandem Van de Graaff Accelerator.)


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