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LIVE LONG AND PROSPER | Department students and faculty mingled at the fall social, which doubled as a celebration of Dr. Adina Kilpatrick’s tenure.
LIVE LONG AND PROSPER | Department students and faculty mingled at the fall social, which doubled as a celebration of Dr. Adina Kilpatrick’s tenure. For more photos, like our Facebook page: Drake University Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Department News

• The renovations of Harvey Ingham Hall are officially complete. These improvements have provided the physics department with state- of-the-art laboratories, new offices, updated classrooms, and a physics lounge for students and staff.
• A two-week summer camp was held this past June for high school students interested in getting a taste of college-level physics and astronomy. See “One Time at Physics Camp” for more details.
• The department continues to host a stream of guest speakers for students and faculty to enjoy. Two speakers were John Vermedahl, who spoke about his experiences working for NASA’s space shuttle program, and Mark Jarett who talked to students about applied physics and engineering.

Student News

• In the 2016 year, eight students graduated from the physics department, and in 2017, three students graduated.

• Many awards have been given out to deserving students this past year. Daniel Deeter received the Paul Helmick Award for best graduating senior, Katie Huber received the Paul and Dorthy Helmick Award for best student in their junior year, Jamie Flanagan received the John Vermedahl Award for most positive derivative first year, and Ian Ruh of Stillwater, Minnesota won the Physics Prize.

• This year marked the establishment of a student-led space collaboration. 15 students comprised of all grade levels are participating in the endeavor. See “The Island of MISSFIT Toys” for more details.

• The recently graduated student, Daniel Deeter, presented his research on quantum information theory last year at the fall meeting of the Division of Nuclear Physics at the American Physical Society.

• The Society of Physics Students continues to be an active group on campus. Last fall members traveled to Boulder, Colorado to visit the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and then climbed Mt. Bierstadt. During the year events are put on, such as the “Ask a Physicist Booth,” and “Do You Know More Pop Culture Than a Physicist.”

Faculty and Staff News

• This fall, Dr. Adina Kilpatrick received a promotion to the positon of associate professor with tenure.
• Dr. Klaus Bartschat received the Will Ellis Prize for his study of ionized gas from the American Physical Society.
• Dr. Charles Nelson instructed the ten students that attended the 2017 summer camp. Herb Folsom assisted in accompanying lab activities.
• Herb Schwartz received a distinguished service award for over 40 years of service at the Drake Municipal Observatory.
• Adjunct instructors Dr. Samantha Fonseca and Dr. Nicolas Douguet moved to Florida after greatly contributing to teaching and research. Fonseca is now at Rollins University where she is a tenure-track assistant professor, and Douguet has a position as a full-time researcher at the University of Florida Central.

Where are they now?

o Amelia Santrach, Washington University for electrical engineering master’s program
o Paxten Johnson, Serving in Airforce
o Courtney Mueller, University of Swansea for archeoastronomy
o Sean Buczek, University of Florida Central for molecular physics
o Joel Venzke, University of Colorado Boulder for atomic physics
o Joseph Mullen, Job in financial data analytics
o Taylor Harville, Iowa State University for physical chemistry
o Daniel Deeter, University of Minnesota for theoretical physics
o Christian McMurray, Took a long trip to Indonesia
o Jesse Kovak, Forest Ranger

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