Dr. Rick McDaniel, Nicholas Jackson and JohnathanArmstrong have been awarded a $7,657 grant from theArkansas Space Grant Consortium to research and builda VLF (very low frequency) radio receiver and antenna.Dr. Rick McDaniel, chairman of the physics department,said the $7,657 will provide a $2,000 stipend for eachstudent, fund a trip to NASA’s Goddard Space FlightCenter in Washington, D.C., and pay for parts to buildthe receiver and antenna.According to Professor McDaniel, "The source of mostnatural radio signals is lightning. When a lightning boltstrikes, a massive amount of charge is moved and thisacts in much the same way as moving charge in a radiotransmitting antenna. The lightning signal, when receivedand ampliﬁed, sounds like a dry, crackling sound similarto the popping of a campﬁre."These sounds are called “sferics,” which can be detectedby the VLF receiver from as far away as 2-3,000kilometers. When the sferic signal travels a long distanceit undergoes dispersion. The modiﬁed sounds are called“tweeks” and “whistlers.”McDaniel said studying whistlers may lead to animproved understanding of the nature and properties of the magnetosphere, and NASA has a continuing interestin studying the properties of the magnetosphere, whichis the area of space around the Earth that is controlled bythe Earth's magnetic ﬁeld.In addition to written reports, the research team willpresent their results at undergraduate research and spacegrant meetings.
Students and Researcher InvestigateBinary Stars
Dr. Shannon Clardy, Kayli Birdsong and Beau Harrisonhave been awarded a $6,700 grant from the ArkansasSpace Grant Consortium use the NFO Webscope toinvestigate the optical variations that occur in binarystar systems and to develop outreach activities aimedto strengthen secondary science education.The NFO Webscope is a fully automated, robotictelescope facility located outside of Silver City, NewMexico. (http://webscope.nfo.edu). The Webscopeallows astronomers to enter data via the Internet aboutan object they want to view. The telescope then makesthe observations at the speciﬁed times, records themand notiﬁes the researcher by e-mail when the job iscompleted.The purpose of the NF Webscope project is to provideastronomy resources and activities to 5th gradethrough 12th grade teachers and their classes, as wellas to provide undergraduates with a research-gradeastronomy facility. The Arkansas school districtscurrently involved in the project include FayettevillePublic Schools, the Ouachita River School District,and the Magnet Cove School District.In addition to written reports, the research team willpresent their results at undergraduate research andspace grant meetings.
Research Team Studying Natural VLF SignalsFaculty Member Receives Sabbatical
Dr. Mollere will be on sabatical for the Fall 2008 andSpring 2009 semesters. He will be spending a portion of his sabatical in Durham, England as a visitor at Saint John's College and will use the facilities of theDepartment of Mathematical Physics. This department isinternational known for its expertise in particle physicsand cosmology. Dr. Mollere's research concentrates onwhat the current measured values of particle masses anddark energy in the universe indicate about the conditionsduring the Big Bang and how this constrains string andmembrane theories which describe the forces of naturein a single form.
Faculty Member Develops Magnetic Model of Little Missouri Hot Spring
This summer Basil Miller will complete his doctoralstudies at the University of Arkansas at LIttle Rock.As part of his dissertation, Professor Miller hasdeveloped a new magnetic model for the regionalarea of the Little Missouri Hot Spring.The area was surveyed using a Bison proton precision magnetometer and the survey developed anew detailed model of the resulting magneticanomalies.According to Professor Miller, the new model of thehot fluid flow in the region will be used to determinethe depth, size, and temperature of the heat source.