A group of RC physics students (left to right above, Jacob Barfield, Eve Allen, Duncan Maclean, Gretchen Michaels and Lydia Tung) visited the site of the largest, steerable radio telescope in the world, which is only three hours drive from Roanoke.  In Green Bank, WV, there are over 10 different radio telescopes in operation, including the largest of these the GBT (Green Bank Telescope).  The collecting area of the GBT could contain two full-size football fields.

Located in the National Radio Quiet Zone, which does not permit microwave ovens or even certain washer/dryers due to the output of small-frequency electromagnetic radiation, the observatory contains several radio telescopes with different purposes.  Some are used to track the positions of near-earth objects like asteroids and comets, while other telescopes are used to study the presence of molecules possibly connected to life on other planets.

Recent graduate Jacob Barfield and current students Lydia Tung, Eve Allen, Gretchen Michaels, and Duncan MacLean were even allowed to steer a smaller radio telescope with only a 100′ diameter.  The crab pulsar was the target which can easily be viewed during the day time since radio waves are not interrupted by visible radiation (think, AM/FM radio stations).  Some of the most interesting thoughts were related to the size of the GBT, the amount of radio wavelength emission that originates in space, and the possibility of life outside of our own solar system.

It was a great day for asking big questions and showed vividly how astronomical study leads us into the unknown.

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Roanoke College sophomore and physics and mathematics double major, Liam Lambert, has received an Honorable mention in the prestigious Goldwater scholarship competition. He has worked on research on iron oxide nanoparticles with Dr. Rama Bala for the past year and a half. He has shown important results on the transformation and growth of these nanoparticles, which serve as excellent catalysts for the growth of carbon nanotubes.

Here are few words of reflection that Liam likes to share about his research experience, applying for Goldwater scholarship and his future interests.

“The last couple of semesters in research have been a huge growth process in myself, which has culminated in my being awarded an honorable mention for the Barry S. Goldwater scholarship. I did not initially plan on applying for the scholarship because I was not sure of wanted I wanted to do as a career after college and this scholarship is heavy on future intent to do research. I was encouraged to apply anyway and through the process of reflecting on my past research and some of the possibilities for my future I began to see the joy that I could get out of being a researcher.

The application was long and time intensive, but this just gave me more time to reflect and ask questions about myself. I feel as though this scholarship has both encouraged me in my current research project on the characterization of nanoparticle transformations and pushed me to ask more questions which could potentially turn into other research projects. Although I did not receive the full award of the scholarship I am ready to pursue it for next year”.

Congratulations Liam! Please also see the College’s story on Liam’s Goldwater application at the link

https://www.roanoke.edu/about/news/goldwater_honorable_mentions

 

 

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This happened back in November 2016, but is so neat that it needs to be written about on the blog! MCSP Physics Majors Josh Carr, April Raab, Jacob Barfield, Taylor Ferebee, Hanna Lyle and Connor Sampson (left to right in the picture above) attended PhysCon 2016, a quadrennial meeting sponsored by the National Society for Physics Students,  in San Francisco.

The theme of the conference was “Unifying Fields: Science Driving Innovation”, and our majors got to hear talks by such physics luminaries as Eric Cornell, Persis Drell, S. James Gates, and Neil Turok. The picture below shows Jacob meeting Eric Cornell after his talk. In addition, each of our majors presented their research at a poster session, and had a great time exploring San Francisco, including a trip to the SLAC linear accelerator. As seen in the picture above, Hannah and Josh clearly enjoyed their trip to the accelerator. All in all, it was a great opportunity to learn some new science, present their research findings, and explore a new city!

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MCSP Students = Bakers?

March 15, 2017

How are Math and Baking related? Well, Tuesday, March 14, 2017 was Pi Day, a day entirely devoted to Pi = π ≈ 3.14. And, as mathematicians can also be quite “punny”, we relate “pi” to “pie”. I mean, typically they are both related to circles. Anyway, to celebrate Pi Day, the Roanoke College Math Club has […]

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Cregger > Cameron

March 6, 2017

Roanoke’s Cregger Center has a big “wow” factor. If you ask Mathematica, a software package used extensively at Roanoke, it will verify that the title “Cregger > Cameron” is true.* It may be that Mathematica is making a statement about alphabetical order, but it might be making a value judgment about the spacious new Cregger […]

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Women physics majors attend CUWiP conference at Virginia Tech

March 2, 2017

Two Roanoke College physics majors,  Morgan Heckman and Rae Galatas, along with physics faculty member Dr. Rama Bala, attended the 2017 Annual Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWip) held at Virginia Tech from Jan 13-Jan 15, 2017.   “The primary goal of the CUWiP conference is to help undergraduate women continue in physics by […]

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I’ve Been Pigged!

February 22, 2017

Well, it’s tough to admit, but on Feb 21, 2017, I was pigged…or, rather, my office was pigged. Why bring this up on a math blog post? Well, you may have heard about the game Pass the Pigs, which can be a very educational game in that it teaches people about probability. This game is very similar […]

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A Sign of Sports Math’s Popularity

February 8, 2017

J.K. Rowling would not be impressed, but Roland Minton was pleased with the throng clamoring for an autographed copy of his new book Sports Math. True, there was only one person in line, but he was very enthusiastic. Sports Math is a textbook for a course in sports science or sports analytics, such as the […]

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Having A Ball

February 3, 2017

Bowling…what a great way to start off the semester! The RC Math Club sponsored a bowling night tonight, and of course, it got a little crazy. It began normally – some students showed off their ability to bowl without getting the ball in the gutter, while others (myself included) just tried to alternate between the two […]

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Stat Crew Goes Live

January 19, 2017

Everybody is getting interested in the Stat Crew! The Crew has been working home basketball games, recording locations of all shots and rebounds and creating reports that evaluate the performance of each player and each five-person lineup. Shown here are Crew members Maria Kuchenbuch, Cameron Eck, and David Moreau, with a guest analyst. At Wednesday […]

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