Physics Department Newsletter

Volume 1 Spring 2009

Greetings from the Chair
First of all, we wish to honor the memory of Professor Charles Leming, who passed away in August 2008 at the age of 64. Charlie was a close friend and mentor to many of us and a widely respected physicist. Charlie provided tremendous leadership as a member of the department from 1970 - 2007, and as Department Chair from 1998 2007. We will all miss his knowledge of physics, his keen sense of humor and his devotion to scholarship and service. The purpose of the newsletter is to bring you up to date regarding the activities in the department and to initiate a conversation between the faculty, alumni and friends of the department. We are experiencing an exciting time here at Henderson and we look forward to the many opportunities that lie ahead of us. Of course, we always like to hear from you and we will provide contact information below for you to get in touch if you desire to do so. Also, if you know someone who might enjoy receiving this newsletter but is not, please let us know. Our goal is to distribute a newsletter twice a year. A lot happens here at HSU and we want to do a better job of keeping you informed. We hope you enjoy this update and look forward to hearing from you with questions or comments. Please contact me at (870) 230- 5170 or to email me at , if you would like to become more involved. Thanks! Rick McDaniel Professor and Chair of Physics

Inside this issue
Department News Faculty Research Student Spotlight Student Events Alumni News Crossword 2 3 4 5 6 7

Department News
New Faculty
Dr. Shannon Clardy joined our department as an assistant professor in the fall of 2008. Her area of expertise is astronomy. Also, Shannon is an acomplished Oboist. She is a frequent performer during campus and area concerts. After earning her B.S. from Southern Methodist University, Dr. Clardy earned her Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The area of focus for her disertation was the classification of high-mass stars. Dr. Clardy has been appointed the faculty advisor to the Society of Physics Students (SPS). With her leadership and guidance, the SPS members are busy planning new activities and events. Dr. Clardy, her husband Michael, and her son Calvin (3 years) are settling in and have truely found a home here at Henderson State University.

Proposed Physics Tracks
A Physics Department internal review of the undergraduate curriculum will begin in the Fall of 2008. The goal is to allow students to choose a concentration within the major that most closely aligns with their future plans. The changes are further designed to provide students with increased knowledge of physics along with the technical, scientific, and academic skills required to achieve success in later academic programs or in technical fields in the workforce. We are currently looking at adding the following tracks: Classical Physics, Engineering Physics and Teaching. The classical physics track is primarily intended for those students who are planning to continue in graduate school in physics or astronomy. The engineering physics track will be designed for students who are planning to continue to graduate school as an engineer or work as an applied physicist in industry. The teaching track is intended primarily for those students who plan a career in physics education. As the proposals are refined they will go first to the department for review, and if found desirable by the faculty, on to the Ellis College Curriculum Committee.

Planetarium Upgrade
Beginning November 2009, the Reynolds Planetarium will have been in operation for ten-years. Since its opening , the Reynolds Planetarium has had 76,351 visitors. During the Summer of 2009, the Reynolds Planetarium will add a digital projector which combines a high resolution, high brightness DLP projector with a fisheye lens and a specialized computer control unit. This will immerse the viewer in digital images that cover and move over the full dome. According to Dr. Mollere, "Any MPEg file may be shown on the full dome and new digital shows dealing with astronomy, archeology, history, biology, etc are planned". Shows using the Zeiss projector with its clear skies and numerous stars will be updated with the latest discoveries. The Zeiss projector will continue to highlight "what's up" in the night sky. This will provide us with a depth of shows and the best of both worlds. According to Dr. Mollere, "the Reynolds Planetarium will present new digital shows this fall and is planning on a grand re-opening of the planetarium to celebrate".

Sigma Pi Sigma Inductions
Henderson State University is proud to hold a charter and maintain a chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society. Physics students who meet high academic standards are invited to join the chapter, usually in their junior or senior year. Students from the 2008 - 2009 school year who maintain the high scholarship required of Sigma Pi Sigma and are invited to join include: Johnathan Armstrong, Larry Bagley, Kayli Birdsong, Chris Brown, Micah Cassiday, Cole Deaton, Nick Jackson, Wresha Parajuli, and Jesse Youngblood. If you are a current student or former student and are interested in becoming a member of Sigma Pi Sigma, please contact Dr. Shannon Clardy. An annual formal induction ceremony is held every Spring semester.


Faculty Research
Research Team Studying Natural VLF Signals
Dr. Rick McDaniel, Nicholas Jackson and Johnathan Armstrong have been awarded a $7,657 grant from the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium to research and build a 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 each student, fund a trip to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Washington, D.C., and pay for parts to build the receiver and antenna. According to Professor McDaniel, "The source of most natural radio signals is lightning. When a lightning bolt strikes, a massive amount of charge is moved and this acts in much the same way as moving charge in a radio transmitting antenna. The lightning signal, when received and amplified, sounds like a dry, crackling sound similar to the popping of a campfire." These sounds are called “sferics,” which can be detected by the VLF receiver from as far away as 2-3,000 kilometers. When the sferic signal travels a long distance it undergoes dispersion. The modified sounds are called “tweeks” and “whistlers.” McDaniel said studying whistlers may lead to an improved understanding of the nature and properties of the magnetosphere, and NASA has a continuing interest in studying the properties of the magnetosphere, which is the area of space around the Earth that is controlled by the Earth's magnetic field. In addition to written reports, the research team will present their results at undergraduate research and space grant meetings.

Students and Researcher Investigate Binary Stars
Dr. Shannon Clardy, Kayli Birdsong and Beau Harrison have been awarded a $6,700 grant from the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium use the NFO Webscope to investigate the optical variations that occur in binary star systems and to develop outreach activities aimed to strengthen secondary science education. The NFO Webscope is a fully automated, robotic telescope facility located outside of Silver City, New Mexico. ( The Webscope allows astronomers to enter data via the Internet about an object they want to view. The telescope then makes the observations at the specified times, records them and notifies the researcher by e-mail when the job is completed. The purpose of the NF Webscope project is to provide astronomy resources and activities to 5th grade through 12th grade teachers and their classes, as well as to provide undergraduates with a research-grade astronomy facility. The Arkansas school districts currently involved in the project include Fayetteville Public Schools, the Ouachita River School District, and the Magnet Cove School District. In addition to written reports, the research team will present their results at undergraduate research and space grant meetings.

Faculty Member Develops Magnetic Model of Little Missouri Hot Spring
This summer Basil Miller will complete his doctoral studies at the University of Arkansas at LIttle Rock. As part of his dissertation, Professor Miller has developed a new magnetic model for the regional area of the Little Missouri Hot Spring. The area was surveyed using a Bison proton precision magnetometer and the survey developed a new detailed model of the resulting magnetic anomalies. According to Professor Miller, the new model of the hot fluid flow in the region will be used to determine the depth, size, and temperature of the heat source.

Faculty Member Receives Sabbatical
Dr. Mollere will be on sabatical for the Fall 2008 and Spring 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 the Department of Mathematical Physics. This department is international known for its expertise in particle physics and cosmology. Dr. Mollere's research concentrates on what the current measured values of particle masses and dark energy in the universe indicate about the conditions during the Big Bang and how this constrains string and membrane theories which describe the forces of nature in a single form.


Student Spotlight
Jesse Youngblood, a senior physics major in the department and resident of Norman, AR, had the privilege of working for 9 weeks as an intern at the Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory of Kennedy Space Center, a NASA complex located at Cape Canaveral, FL. Jesse spent his time testing electrical properties of various powdered minerals including lunar simulate, or simulated moon dust, as well as actual moon dust obtained from the Apollo 14 mission. This electrical data, namely dielectric constant, is an important parameter in making ground penetrating radar measurements on the lunar surface. The data was obtained under high vacuum conditions in order to simulate conditions present on the moon. Along with the help of his advisor, Basil Miller, Jesse applied for and was accepted by Arkansas Space Grant Consortium for a $6,500 grant, the stipulations of which were to perform research at a NASA facility if feasible or to research at the college attended. Jesse and Mr. Miller traveled to Kennedy Space Center’s Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory, or ESPL, in May to tour the site and to inquire about the possibility of working in the lab over the summer. There, upon meeting with ESPL researchers Steve Trigwell, Carlos Calle and Ellen Arens, everyone agreed that such an arrangement would be beneficial to all involved. Jesse worked in the ESPL testing dielectric constants of powdered minerals, culminating in the testing of actual lunar soil obtained by Apollo 14 astronauts. The dielectric constant data was obtained under high vacuum by testing each material’s capacitance, its ability to store electric charge, and dividing by the capacitance of the vacuum, that is no material present. The capacitance was measured using parallel cylindrical electrodes attached to an RLC meter. The material was heated in a cup under vacuum and then vibrated, dropping the powder into a test cell composed of the electrodes surrounded by a polycarbon container. The dielectric data obtained will hopefully be used to promote ground penetrating radar measurements on future missions to the moon in order to locate subsurface mineral resources.

2008 Physics Graduates
As a department, we continue to average four to five majors per year. For the past four years, we have ranked second in Arkansas in the number of physics bachelors degrees awarded by a public university. The following students graduated in the 2008 - 2009 school year with a Bachelors Degree in physics: • • • • • Johnathan Armstrong Cole Deaton Nick Jackson Michael Ugbade Jesse Youngblood

Heart and Key Scholarships
Two physics students were presented with scholarships during the annual Heart & Key awards assembly April 15, 2009. The event is presented each year by Heart & Key to publicly recognize the recipients and to show appreciation to the organizations, departments, and donors presenting these awards. • • Bob Davis was awarded the Mel and Gene Buck Physics Scholarship. Wresha Parajuli received the Don Avery Physics Scholarship.

Ellis College Awards
Four physics students were presented with academic achievement awards during the annual Ellis College awards Ceremony April 23, 2009. • • • • Chis Massey received the freshmen physics academic achievement award. Wresha Parajuli received the physics sophomore academic achievement award. Larry Bagley received the junior physics academic achievement award. Johnathan Armstrong received the outstanding physics graduating senior award.


Student Events
Society of Physics Students
The department has an active chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS), which allows the student to interact socially with student colleagues and faculty as well as to carry out interesting extracurricular physics activities. SPS has meetings every other Thursday at 5 PM in REY 131. The meetings are open to anyone who wishes to join. We often have snacks and beverages for the attendees and encourage all who enjoy physics to attend. The SPS officers this year are: • President - Bob Davis III • Vice President - Beau Harrison • Secretary - Wresha Parajuli • Treasurer - Michael Bilodeau • Faculty Advisor - Dr. Shannon Clardy

Halloweeen Candy
Ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night . . . all of them turned out in force for Henderson Halloween in Garrison! The picture below shows Kayli, Shannon, Wresha and Clay passing out candy to community children.

SPS Activities
Science Night at Magnet Cove

Physics Cookout
This Fall we held our annual physics cookout at Degray Lake lower Dam. After the cookout, we conducted an observation session with the telescopes. The picture below shows Beau and Wresha setting up one of the telescopes. The members of the Society of Physics Students and Henderson physics faculty participated in Science Night at Magnet Cove school. We had a great time with the parents and students showing all the wonderful physics "toys". The picture above shows Dr. Clardy and Steven demonstrating standing wave patterns on the Chladni Plates while Wresha is setting up the Van Da Graf electrostatic generator.


Alumni News
We continue to be extremely proud of the accomplishments of our students. Drop us a line and tell us what you have been doing since attending Henderson. Especially, let us know about any new plans, jobs, children, spouses, etc. Please include your graduation date. • Grady Hodges (2002) and Jay Tolson (2004) are employed as mechanical technicians with Controlled Automation in Bryant, AR. Jon Hodges (2004) is living in Greenville, SC and finishing his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University. Justin Dyal (2004) is employed as a Chemist in Little Rock. Erin Camp (2005) is employed as a Systems Analyst by the Mustang Tech Group in Dallas, Tx. She works in the simulations and algorithms group. Her current project is developing guidance laws for small munitions and developing algorithms that will allow radar to track moving targets in urban environments. Travis Baily (2005) is employed as a drilling fluid engineer with Baroid Fluid Services, a subsidiary of Halliburtion. Robert Nichols (2005) is employed as a manufacturing engineer with IC Bus of Oklahoma, LLC. They build school and commercial buses. Robert is in charge of the pre-paint process which includes everything needed to build basically a stripped down body from raw 14 and 16 gauge coiled steel. Including but not limited to fabrication of basic steel parts, roll forming, robotic resistance welding, manual mig welding processes and fixturing, basic assembly processes and fixturing, safety/quality/cost/process improvements, and overall manufacturing support for large new programs such as outsourcing the manufacturing of the seat assembly. Alex Hill (2005) is employed as an environmental scientist at Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health in North Little Rock. Jessica Conry (2006) is enrolled into the PhD nanotechnology program at the University of Arkansas. She is currently working with in the laser optics lab. • • • • Adam Hughes (2006) is is enrolled into the PhD Space and Planetary Science (SPAC) program at the University of Arkansas. His research area will be super-massive black holes. Adam was recently selected as a student ambassador for the NASA International Year of Astronomy (IYA) program for 2009. The program was created by the National Space Grant Foundation to encourage undergraduate and graduate students to participate in NASA’s IYA activities and to help generate excitement about NASA scientific discoveries in astrophysics, planetary science, and solar physics. Amelia Church (2007) is finishing her M.S. in Physics at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. Her masters thesis is concerns the growing of carbon nanotubes and seeing how/if they, combine with silver, M0S2, or other known friction reducing substances, to significantly lower the coefficient of friction. She intends to continue her graduate work pursuing the PhD. Jason Dubose (2007) is finishing his M.S. in Materials Engineering at the University of Houston. He is employed as a materials engineer with Sulzer Turbo Services in La Porte, Tx. Cole Deaton (2008) is studying for the MCAT and taking courses in preparation for Medical School. Michael Ugbade (2008) in enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering program at the University of Arkansas. Chad Reed (2008) is teaching chemistry and physics at Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock. Johnathan Armstrong (2009) is graduating in May and has been accepted into the Applied Sciences graduate program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Nicholas Jackson (2009) is graduating in May and is spending the summer in a REU at Fermi Lab.

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A Waves Crossword
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2. Unless struck very hard a tuning fork only vibrates at its ______________ frequency. 5. Most waves require a __________ in which to travel. 6. The human ______ is divided into three sections. 9. The ________ is the time for one complete cycle for an oscillation of a wave. 10. A string vibrates with a frequency of 197 Hz. Assuming the speed of sound in the air is 394 m/s. The wavelength of the sound waves produced by the string is _________. 11. The maximum displacement from equilibrium is called the ____________. 14. The frequency of the thirteenth note is exactly twice that of the first note, and together the 13 notes constitute an __________. 15. Frequency and wavelength are ______ proportional. 16. The perceived highness or lowness of a sound, depending on the frequency of the sound waves is ____________.

1. In a transverse wave, vibrations are are ____________ to the direction of wave motion. 2. When the amplitude is halved, the energy decreases by a factor of ___________. 3. A frequency shift that is the result of relative motion between the source of waves and an observer is called the ___________ effect. 4. Sound waves that the average human can hear, called audible sound waves have frequencies between _______ and 20,000 Hz. 7. A condition that exists when the frequency of a force applied to a system matches the natural frequency of vibration of the system is ___________. 8. A ______ is an interference between two sounds of slightly different frequencies, perceived as periodic variations in volume whose rate is the difference between the two frequencies. 12. The _______ of a wave is the time for a particle on a medium to make one complete vibrational cycle.


P h ys i c s D ep a r tme nt H en de r s on State Univer s ity 1 10 0 He nder s o n Str eet Bo x 778 4 A r ka d e l ph ia , AR 7 1 99 9

We are always happy to hear from you. Contact information is provided below. Chair: Dr. Rick McDaniel (870) 230-5170 Planetarium: Mr. Jim Duke (870) 230-5006 Department of Physics Henderson State University 1100 Henderson Street Box 7784 Arkadelphia, AR 71999

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