News Archives for 2012-13

May, 2013

Hoda RashediIAU Symposium 297

Hoda Rashedi (photo above) won one of two top prizes for poster papers ("Best Talent" award) at the IAU Symposium #297, "The Diffuse Interstellar Bands", which was held in Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands, from May 20-24, 2013.

Hoda's poster paper was titled "Relating diffuse interstellar band strengths to line of sight properties".

Jan Cami was one of three co-organizers and co-Chairs for this conference.

Also attending from Western and presenting an invited talk was Els Peeters, while contributed talks were given by Neil Bhatt, Elisabetta Micelotta and Jan Cami.


May, 2013

Dr. Peter Brown

Prof. Peter Brown has been selected as the Distinguished Research Professor of the Faculty of Science for 2013-14.

Department Chair Dr. Shantanu Basu writes, "The DRP is awarded for significant one-time research opportunities. Peter is coordinating a worldwide effort amongst many consortia to analyze the recent meteor fireball over Chelyabinsk, Russia, and working with NASA, the European Space Agency, and other US government agencies."

May, 2013

Dr. John R. de Bruyn

Dr. John R. de Bruyn  continues in his term as "Director for Full Member" in the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) and he has also just completed three years as CAP Councillor for South-West Ontario.

May, 2013

Dr. Blaine Chronik

Dr. Blaine Chronik (shown above in image above taken from CTV news video) is the MR specialist involved in ground breaking ultrasound prostate cancer treatment research being performed at Robarts Research Institute at Western.
[CTV news item]

May, 2013

Dr. Pauline Barmby

Dr. Pauline Barmby has been elected as a director of the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA).

May, 2013

Canadian Association of PhysicistsOlga Lobacheva

Two important items of news from the 2013 CAP Congress, held in Montreal.

Olga Lobacheva's (photo above at right) poster on "NEXAFS Study of Fe-doped strontium titanium oxide" received an Honorable Mention in the overall student poster competition.

In addition, Brock Laschowski, an M.Sc. student in Kinesiology at Western, won a prize from the Division of Industrial and Applied Physics for his poster on "The influence of oar-shaft stiffness and length on rowing biomechanics."

May, 2013

Science Olympics 2013

The Science Olympics were held in the Physics and Astronomy building as well as the North Campus building, on Thursday, May 23, 2013.

[ images of the event ]

May, 2013

Science Olympics 2013

The Science Olympics will be held on Campus this week:

Date: Thursday 23 May 2013
Time: 8:45 am - 2:00 pm
Location: North Campus and Physics & Astronomy Buildings.
Participants: 708 students from 20 schools have entered 220 teams in 26 events.

Details can be found here:

May, 2013

Our NSERC USRA summer researchers for 2013

Teaching Assistant Award winners, in photo from left to right - Marcial Garbanzo Salas, Jeffrey Bailey, Edward Stokan, Graduate Chair Prof. Robert Sica.

Award details:

Award for Administration; Jeffrey Bailey.

Award for Tutoring; Fereshteh Rajabi.

Award for Demonstrating; Marcial Garbanzo Salas.

Award for the Physics and Astronomy Department, Faculty of Science TA Award of Excellence;  Edward Stokan.

[more photos]

May, 2013

Chad Harris (right) received the I.I. Rabi award in MRIChad Harris (right) receives congratulations from Dr. Timothy Scholl

Chad Harris, PhD candidate in Medical Physics, has won the I.I. Rabi Award. This award is essentially the highest honour that a young MRI researcher can receive.

In the photo at left, Chad (right in photo) is shown receiving the award at the annual meeting of the ISMRM which was held in Salt Lake City, Utah in April, 2013. In the photo at right, Chad (on the right) receives congratulations from Dr. Timothy Scholl, representing Dr. Blaine Chronik, who is Chad's supervisor.

There were three international finalists for this award. Aside from Chad, one of the other three finalists was highly honoured 2009 Western physics graduate Adrienne Campbell.

The I.I. Rabi Award is given for original basic science research in magnetic resonance. This includes reports of new MR methodologies and understanding of MR signals, aimed at either human or animal subjects. Examples include manuscripts reporting new hardware, novel pulse sequences, biophysical or signal models, or data analysis techniques. The competition is open to clinical and basic scientists at the undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, resident, and fellow levels working in MR research in academia, industry, or research institutions. Applicants should either be within five (5) years post completion of Ph.D. or three (3) years post completion of appropriate clinical training, as documented by a curriculum vitae and letter of confirmation from their supervisor, mentor, or department head. ISMRM membership is required.

The ISMRM (International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine) is a nonprofit professional association dedicated to promoting communication, research, development and application of magnetic resonance techniques in medicine and biology. The Society presents annual meetings and sponsors other major educational and scientific workshops.The Society is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

[ISMRM Awards page for 2013]

May, 2013

Our NSERC USRA summer researchers for 2013

Our group of NSERC USRA summer researchers have started their work.

May, 2013

Dr. Giovanni Fanchini

Dr. Giovanni Fanchini has won The Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award for 2013-14 for Western University.

The announcement reads, "We are pleased to announce that Prof. Giovanni Fanchini has received the Western University's Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award for 2013-2014. This award was established to recognize, promote and support outstanding new faculty researchers whose work is particularly innovative, impacts positively on the learning environment in the department in which they study, and has the potential to be of significance to society at large. The program is intended to help attract and retain bright young minds at Canadian Universities and to help researchers launch their scholarly careers and enable them to carry their research forward".

May, 2013

Cronyn Observatory public night of May 4, 2013

The first Cronyn Observatory public night of the summer was a great success. About 60 people showed up for a presentation on the Eta Aquarid meteor shower, as well as for observing the planets Saturn and Jupiter through four different telescopes. Volunteers were Parshati, Jan, and Henry from Western, and Dale, Bob, Steve, and Dave #5 from the RASC.

It was a special night, with Rogers TV coming down to take some video and do some interviews.

But it got even more exciting when police sirens were heard outside, followed by the arrival of three fire trucks.  The observatory visitors were promptly evacuated until officials could find the cause of the alarm, which turned out to be an electrical fault.

Firefighters who went up to inspect the observing floor asked Jan what we were observing, to which Jan replied "Jupiter". So these firefighters, decked out in their heavy outfits and wielding their impressive axes, had their first ever view of Jupiter through a telescope. Everyone else got to look at fire trucks in the dark with their lights flashing and spinning!

[images] [ Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory ]

April, 2013

As of July 1, 2013, Drs. Pauline Barmby, Jan Cami, and Gordon Osinski have been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure, while Drs. Blaine Chronik and Martin Houde have been promoted to Professor.

April, 2013

Information Session for prospective students held on March 26, 2013

The Physics Undergraduate Conference (PHUNC) for 2013 was held on April 9.

Plenary speakers (left to right in photo) were Dr. Steve Rehse of The University of Windsor, Dr. Adrian Owen of Western University, and Dr. Robert Boyd of the University of Ottawa and The University of Rochester.

In addition there were 15 student presentations throughout the day.

Student Co-Chairs for this event were Marek Brzozowski, Suzanne Dalgleish, Leesa Fleury, Liz Gray, Gabe Keenleyside, Jim Nicholson, and Kyle Windsor.

[images from PHUNC 2013 presentations]

April, 2013

The late Dr. Yen Fu Bow.

Professor Emeritus Dr. Yen Fu Bow died at age 92 on April 1, 2013 at University Hospital. Dr. Bow was a faculty member in the then separate Department of Physics (there was a separate Department of Astronomy under Head Dr. William H. Wehlau until the departments amalgamated in 1996), from 1966 to 1986. You can view his obituary at  Professor Emeritus Dr. Don Moorcroft recalls that Dr. Bow received his PhD rather late in life, at age 42, from The University of Michigan.

Note that you can view Don Moorcroft's history of the Department either on the departmental news->history archives or on Don's personal web pages.

March, 2013

Information Session for prospective students held on March 26, 2013

An information session for prospective physics and astronomy students was held on Tuesday, March 26 2013, from 5:00pm until 7:00pm.

Pizza and drinks were provided.

[images from information session]

March, 2013

visit by Sun Kwok, Dean of Science at The University of Hong Kong

Dr. Sun Kwok, (centre in photo), Dean of Science at The University of Hong Kong, made a visit to Western's Faculty of Science on March 25, 2013. Also in the photo are Chair of Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Shantanu Basu on the left, and International Education Coordinator Dr. Kanthi Kaluarachchi on the right.

Sun Kwok spent the day visiting and meeting with not only our Dean of Science Charmaine Dean, but also with many faculty members both in Physics and Astronomy as well as other departments in Western's Faculty of Science.

He also gave a presentation on the state of the Science Faculty at The University of Hong Kong, where the programs are being completely refurbished with an emphasis on collaboration between disciplines.

The University Hong Kong welcomes international science students.

[images of visit]

March, 2013

March Open House 2013

The newly renovated Physics and Astronomy building was the new venue for March Open House this year. It was a perfect setting.

[some images of the event]  [ youtube video ]

February, 2013

Dr. Peter Brown

Peter Brown and the Meteor Physics group has performed a preliminary data analysis of the Chelyabinsk meteor.

January, 2013

The Department of Physics and Astronomy, along with The Department of Chemistry, hosted an open house of the shop facilities in the newly renovated Physics and Astronomy building on February 6, 2013.

[more images] [watch the youtube video]

January, 2013

International pot luck lunch - 1 Feb 2013

The tradition of international pot luck lunches continued on Feb. 1, 2013. This time everyone thoroughly enjoyed the new venue, that being our new Physics and Astronomy building commons area.

There was a world-wide representation in dishes, which originated from diverse locales such as Israel, Sri Lanka, India, China, Iran, Belgium, Central America, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, and Sudbury, to name a few.

The lunch was expertly planned and implemented by Kanthi Kaluarachchi, Shailesh Nene, Lisa Tocker, and Phin Perquin.

[more images]

January, 2013

Chad Harris - finalist for the I. I. Rabi Award in basic science for the  ISMRM

PhD candidate Chad Harris has been selected as a finalist for the I. I. Rabi Award in basic science of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

Chad will be given the opportunity to give both a 20 minute talk and a poster paper on his topic of “A new approach to shimming: The dynamically controlled adaptive current network.”

The winner among the finalists will be determined on the basis of the manuscript, abstract, and presentations. Finalists receive a $500.00 prize.

January, 2013

Ed Stokan trying his hand at curling

The department held a fun curling night on Jan. 26, 2013. Many first time curlers came out and had a blast.

Shown in the photo, Ed Stokan tries his hand at delivering a stone.

[more images of curling night]

January, 2013

Elizabeth Silber (left, holding infrasound detector head), with Peter Brown (right)Zbignew Krzeminski holding the infrasound detector head.

Dr. Peter Brown (right side of left photo) and the Meteor Physics group at Western will take their expertise in low frequency infrasound detection abroad, in order to help find a possible source of the so called 'Windsor Hum'. Among the Meteor Physics group are PhD candidate Elizabeth Silber (at left in left photo), and research scientist Zbignew Krzeminski (right photo).

The Windsor Hum is a long standing 'noise' that has plagued a part of the Windsor, Ontario community for several years.  It has been described on Youtube.

The group from Western will work alongside engineer Dr. Colin Novak of the University of Windsor.

The announcement was made at The University of Windsor by Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Canadian federal government is funding the project.

[See it in The Western News] [CBC News] [images of the news conference]

January, 2013

David Holdsworth receives CFI grant. Blaine Chronik is a co-investigator.

David Holdsworth (surgery and Medical Biophysics - photo at right) is the Principal Investigator of one of Western's 5 successful CFI awards:

"Facility for load-bearing imaging, biomechanics and clinical orthopaedics research (LIBCOR)" (total amount: $3,356,688). 

Blaine Chronik (Physics and Astronomy, Robarts scientist - photo at left) is one of the 9 co-investigators on this award.

The proposed facility incorporates infrastructure for load-bearing imaging of joints and quantitative  imaging of soft-tissue, organized within 3 suites: the Dynamic Imaging Suite, the 3D Imaging Suite, and the Software Suite.

Dr. Chronik is responsible for the component of the grant which uses the 3T MRI system within the CFMM at Robarts, and which will be substantially upgraded for orthopaedic imaging applications.

January, 2013

Blaine Chronik receives CFI for MRI research

Dr. Blaine Chronik (photo at left), is the principal investigator in the new "Centre for the Development and Testing of MR-compatible Devices and Technology" which has just been awarded a Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) grant. One of the co-investigators in the Centre is John R. de Bruyn (photo at right).

The project aims to improve healthcare for Canadians by facilitating the development of safer, more advanced medical devices for use within safer, more advanced MRI systems. Proximity and access to this infrastructure will give Canadian companies an additional advantage in the fast-paced and competitive medical device industry.

The project proposes to create a comprehensive medical device testing and development facility to support companies and academic groups in the development of medical devices that are safe and operational even while within an MR scanner. The focus is entirely on the creation of a platform of projects to provide the expertise on the MR-compatibilty aspects of this problem.

John de Bruyn's role will be to characterize materials to be used in testing MR-compatible devices, and to develop “new and improved” materials for this application.

[Western News article] [Western Gazette] [Blaine Chronik's research web page] [ John de Bruyn's research web page]

January, 2013

Ravi Menon, Blaine Chronik, and The Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping receive CFI grant.

Ravi Menon (cross-appointed within Physics and Astronomy - photo at right) is the Principal Investigator of one of Western's 5 successful CFI awards: "Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping (CFMM)" (total amount: $6,235,244).

Blaine Chronik (Physics and Astronomy, Robarts scientist, member of the CFMM - photo on left) is one of the 9 co-investigators on this award. This grant will enable substantial upgrades to the 3 and 7 Tesla MRI scanners within the CFMM at Robarts, maintaining the status of the CFMM as the most advanced human MRI facility in Canada. This grant is highly integrated with Dr. Chronik's grant: "Centre for the testing and development of MR-compatible medical devices and technology". The upgraded MR facilities at the CFMM parallel the testing facilities to be installed in the physics department, and together they represent unparalleled capacity for MR-compatible technology  development.

Blaine's area of research is MRI systems development, while Ravi's research is in functional MRI.

January, 2013

Dr. Paul Wiegert receives award from MNR

Dr. Paul Wiegert (right) is presented with an award of recognition from Aylmer District conservation officer Matt McVittie of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Also present was officer Duncan Hall, who took the photograph.

The award recognizes Paul's long standing assistance in providing the Ministry with sunrise/sunset ephemeris data in the legal pursuit against poaching.

January, 2013

Dr. Peter Brown and Elizabeth Silber are on the team that identifies ancient meteorite.

Above the old Sutter's Mill near Coloma, California, it literally rained meteorites last April 22, 2012. The small fragments could be heard clanking and bouncing from rooftops, in a similar fashion to the famous Canadian Grimsby meteorite of 2009.

Dr. Peter Brown and PhD candidate Elizabeth Silber were on a large international team that has published some astounding results of preliminary research on the Sutter's Mill meteorite in Science Magazine.

It turns out that this object is a carbonaceous chondrite meteorite of the Carbonaceous-Meghei class (CM), containing some of the oldest known material in our solar system.

Brown and Silber studied the infrasound shock waves that were produced as the meteorite entered the atmosphere over California.

[See Western News] [Seti News] [Peter Brown interview on Quirks and Quarks] (photo credit: Eric James, NASA)

January, 2013

January update: See the latest Faculty of Science news article on this award.

Dr.Richard Holt elected as Fellow of the American Physical Society

The American Physical Society, the world's second largest organization of physicists, has elected Dr. Richard Holt to the Fellowship.

This election is in recognition by his peers, of Dick's outstanding contributions to physics.

The citation will read, "For a landmark proposal to test Bell's inequality, and high-precision experiments of key significance to test quantum electrodynamics in two-electron atomic ions."

December, 2012

Christmas party 2012

Images from our Christmas party of Dec. 20, 2012.

December, 2012

Phin Perquin, renovations coordinator

Images of our community enjoying the newly renovated Physics and Astronomy building.

December, 2012

Dr. Andrea Soddu

Dr. Andrea Soddu to join our faculty. See more details.

December, 2012

Prof. Pauline Barmby giving a presentation at Science Here and Now

The Faculty of Science and London Public Library joined forces once again, presenting another installment of Science Here and Now.

The speakers for this December 11 talk were Dr. Pauline Barmby (shown in photo) from Physics and Astronomy and Dr. Linda Howie from Anthropology.

Their presentation was titled, "The End of The World as We Know It?", a look at astronomical catastrophe myths, including the most recent myth which claims that the Mayan calendar indicates the certain end of the world on December 21, 2012.

[See images of the event]

December, 2012

Yves Rambour - Faculty of Science Glass Blowing Shop

The Department of Physics and Astronomy welcomes Yves Rambour to his new home in the Faculty of Science Glassblowing Shop.

This new facility is located in Physics and Astronomy PAB 7.

Yves has been at Western for 10 years, and previously worked at the University of Waterloo. He has 35 years of glass blowing experience and is a member of the American Scientific Glassblowers Association.

December, 2012

Phin Perquin receives the Special Merit Award from Dean Charmain Dean

The Faculty of Science Awards luncheon was held on Thursday Dec. 6.

Physics and Astronomy had many award winners including Phin Perquin, Els Peeters, Jan Cami, Peter Frank, Richard Holt, and Patrick Whippey.

New faculty included two Earth Scientists who are also members of the Planetary Sciences group, Livio Tornebenne and Phil McCausland.

Shown in the photo above, Phin Perquin receives the Dean's Special Award of Merit from Dean Charmaine Dean.

A special surprise award was given to Shailesh Nene for best Bollywood impersonation of actor John Wayne.

[See images of the event]

November, 2012

Phin Perquin

Phin Perquin is the recipient of the Dean's Special Award of Merit for 2012.

Department Chair Shantanu Basu stated that this award was given to recognize Phin's extended service to the Department and Faculty and noted that this is a rare award that is handed out only in occasional years.

As well, Shantanu added that, "Phin has been a staff member in the Department for 36 years, bringing experience and wisdom to many roles over the years, including that of Department Renovations Coordinator the past few years. There were many competing interests that Phin had to manage, and the beautiful result is visible to all."

November, 2012

Fall Preview Day 2012

Fall Preview Day 2012.

[images from the morning session]

November, 2012

Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison 'Jack' Schmitt

On Friday, November 16, 2012, Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison 'Jack' Schmitt gave a public talk titled 'To the moon with Apollo 17'.

This was followed by a book signing and reception in the newly renovated commons area of the Physics and Astronomy building.

This public talk was part of The 2012 Canadian Space Summit, which was held from Nov. 14-16.

The Summit included keynote presentations by Dr. Bonnie Schmidt, of "Let's Talk Science", Dr. Pete Worden, Director of NASA Ames Center, Jack Mustard of Brown University, David Beatty of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Dr. Pascal EhrenFreund of The Elliot School of International Affairs, and Perry Edmunson of COM DEV, as well as a banquet talk by Dr. Peter Smith, the principal investigator for the 2008 Phoenix mission to the Martian arctic.

[see images of Schmitt talk and reception]

November, 2012

Dr.Richard Holt elected as Fellow of the American Physical Society

The American Physical Society, the world's second largest organization of physicists, has elected Dr. Richard Holt to the Fellowship.

This election is in recognition by his peers, of Dick's outstanding contributions to physics.

The citation will read, "For a landmark proposal to test Bell's inequality, and high-precision experiments of key significance to test quantum electrodynamics in two-electron atomic ions."

October, 2012

Chad Harris of the London Rugby team gets tackled by three Oakville Marauders in the final of the McCormick Cup, held on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 

Graduate students Chad Harris and Chris Racknor both play for London senior men's rugby team, which made its first McCormick Cup final in 30 years.

Chad is doing research in medical physics with Dr. Blaine Chronik (MRI Systems) and is shown in the photo being tackled by three players from the opposing team. Chris Racknor is doing his PhD in theoretical physics under Dr. Mahi Singh.

The McCormick Cup is the ultimate prize of the men's senior league of the Ontario Rugby Union, and the final game was held in Toronto on Saturday, October 27, 2012.

London succumbed to the Oakville Marauders 12-3 in the final, even though London was literally camped near the Oakville goal line for part of the game.

October, 2012

Nigerian Scientists visiting Western 

During the week of October 8-12, a group of 4 scientists from the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, Nigeria, paid a visit to Western.

The visitors were Professor Chukwuemeka Okoye (Dean of Physical Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy), Professor Pius Ukoha (Associate Dean of Science, Dept. of Pure and Industrial Chemistry), Dr. Chukwudi Anyanwu (Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Microbiology), and Philip Ayogu (Technologist, Dept. of Chemistry).

They are here to learn about our first year labs in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. They are planning to build new first year labs and would like to learn about our lab experiments, new technology we use in teaching laboratories and the building structure. Physics and Astronomy Dept is hosting them. Professor Kanthi Kaluarachchi organized the visit with assistance from Professor Giovanni Fanchini, Shailesh Nene, and Peter Frank also helped. In Chemistry, Jan Mathers, first year Chemistry lab supervisor helped organized tours in the Chemistry department. In Biology, Winona Gadapati, first year Biology lab supervisor helped organized tours in the Biology department.

International collaboration with the University of Nigeria is presently being discussed.

[more photos]

October, 2012

Melanie Wright receives TA award 

Melanie Wright has officially received the TA Teaching Award for 2011-12. She was unable to attend the presentation earlier in the summer because of her atmospheric research work in the arctic.

The other recipients of the award this past year were Teznie Pugh and Geron Bindseil.

October, 2012

2012 Elizabeth Laird Lecture by Dr. Edward 'Rocky' Kolb 

The 2012 Elizabeth Laird Memorial Lecture was presented by  Dr. Edward 'Rocky' Kolb of The University of Chicago.

Dr. Kolb wowed a packed house of 270 people in Conron Hall with a brilliant presentation entitled "Mysteries of the Dark Universe".

[more images]

September, 2012

Fall  Reception

The annual graduate student fall reception took place on September 7, 2012, at Windermere Manor.

[more images]

September, 2012

Geron Bindseil

Geron Bindseil, working towards a Medical Physics PhD in MRI systems with Dr. Blaine Chronik, has been selected as one of three Learning Development Fellows in the Faculty of Science.

August, 2012

Allison Hill at The Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory

A good crowd showed up to view the stars on the final summer public night of the year.

Allison Hill  (pictured above) gave a presentation in the lecture hall, while Matt Abado along with RASC members Bob Duff and Dale Armstrong operated three telescopes for star and planet viewing. The star viewing started out with observations of the first quarter moon on the 25cm refractor. The two smaller telescopes were pointed at various interesting objects, including the double star Albireo and the planet Neptune.

The fall and winter public programs at Cronyn Observatory will soon begin.

August, 2012

Wehlau Prize winner Emily McCullough (left) with Dr. Amelia Wehlau (right)

PhD student Emily McCullough (left) smiles after receiving the William H. Wehlau Award from Dr. Amelia Wehlau (right).

August, 2012

Physics and Astronomy was represented by two teams at the 2012 Relay for Life, being 'Physicists for Life', and CARTT (Cancer Research Trainee Team

Dr. Gordon Osinski, with students, and research scientists, completed a successful mission to explore the newly discovered meteor impact crater on Victoria Island, in Canada's arctic.

This trip also included Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen, who used this as a training mission for hands-on field work.

Alex Weber, of the London Free Press, interviewed team members on their return.

This account can also be found on our blog site:

August, 2012

Physics and Astronomy was represented by two teams at the 2012 Relay for Life, being 'Physicists for Life', and CARTT (Cancer Research Trainee Team

On Sunday, August 5, 2012, The Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory hosted two associated events. First, the observatory was open for viewing of the night sky.

The second event was the public gathering to watch the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) on the planet Mars. Approximately 70 people attended the event well past midnight.

The MSL landed successfully at 1:31 am DST, August 6.

More photos can be found in Pauline Barmby's blog at our blog site:

June, 2012

Physics and Astronomy was represented by two teams at the 2012 Relay for Life, being 'Physicists for Life', and CARTT (Cancer Research Trainee Team

On June 15, 2012, two teams of medical physicists, medical bio-physicists, cancer researchers, and volunteers participated in  the Relay for Life event held in London, Ontario. The teams were named Physicists for Life, and CaRTT (Cancer Research Technology Transfer).


June, 2012

New Associate Chairs for Undergraduate and Graduate Programs are Dr Martin Zinke-Allmang (left) and Dr. Robert Sica (left)

The department announces the appointment of two new Associate Chairs.

Prof. Bob Sica (right) is new Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, and Prof. Martin Zinke-Allmang (left) is Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies. These appointments are for a two year term, 2012-2014.

Bob and Martin each bring with them extensive experience of well over 20 years in the Department, and a desire to work actively for the upliftment of our programs.

Outgoing Associate Chairs are Prof. Aaron Sigut and Prof. Jeff Hutter.

Robert J. Sica is a Full Professor and geophysicist whose research focus is on atmospheric dynamics and its effects on constituent chemistry such as ozone, water vapor and aerosols. He investigates these problems primarily by using lidars (laser radars). Since arriving at Western in 1988 he has constructed one of the world's most powerful lidar systems for studying the atmosphere from the surface to the edge of space. He is also an active participant in the Canadian Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Change lidar measurements from Eureka in the Canadian high arctic. He was awarded Western's Florence Bucke Science Prize for Research in 2003. Bob has supervised 11 MSc and PhD theses in total. He has introduced innovative new courses at Western in atmosphere sciences as well as the application of basic physical principles to the motion of athletes through the air and water.

Martin Zinke-Allmang arrived at Western in 1990 from the Research Centre in Juelich, Germany, and has been a Full Professor since 1996. He ran a very active and well-funded research program specializing in Thin Film Growth, with well-referenced review articles in Thin Solid Films and Surface Science Reports. Martin has supervised 18 MSc and PhD theses in total. Starting in 1999, he developed a textbook "Physics for the Life Sciences" that has just been published in its 2nd edition with Nelson Ltd. and is used in Canada, the US, South Africa, and soon to be in Germany. He was Director of the Centre for Chemical Physics and a Reviewer of the Canada Research Chair program.


June, 2012

Prof. Gordon Osinski will lead a research team to Victoria Island in the Canadian arctic in July 2012 to study a possible new meteor impact crater site.

In July, Professor Gordon Osinski's research team will head up to Victoria Island (or Kitlineq) in Canada's arctic for what will be his campaign number 14. This latest analogue mission will be the most realistic to date, as the team will search the area of a possible new meteor crater impact site. This is exciting uncharted territory for the team which will include Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen.

[Western News article]


June, 2012

TA Award winners Geron Bindseil (right) and Teznie PughTA Award winner Melanie Wright

Teaching Assistant award winners for 2011-12 are: Geron Bindseil (also winner of Faculty of Science TA award),  Teznie Pugh, and Melanie Wright.

Presenting the awards was Associate Chair of Graduate Studies, Dr. Aaron Sigut. Melanie could not attend the presentation because she was at Resolute Bay (Qausuittuq), Nunavut doing atmospheric research.

[more images]

June, 2012

NSERC Summer Research students for 2012

[click image to enlarge]

Our NSERC summer research students for 2012 are:

Back row:
Alex Tettenborn, James Hopkins (with glasses), Cameron Hopkins

Middle row:
Roger Odell, Leesa Fleury, Andrew Bovin, Ryan Hopkins, William Choi, Saied Sorkhou

Front Row
Maria Goiko, Peter Nguyen, Justin Bandoro, Eamon Duffy, Bartek Ewertowski, Matthew Abado

May, 2012

Dr. Carol JonesDr. Jeff Hutter

Dr. Carol Jones (left) is new Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in the Faculty of Science.

Dr. Jeff Hutter (at right) is new Associate Dean Academic in the Faculty of Science.

Dean of Science Charmaine Dean writes,

"Carol Jones  is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and has held the inaugural position of Assistant Dean, Diversity and Outreach for the Faculty of Science since 2009. During this time Dr. Jones has developed initiatives designed to enhance the working environment here and to strengthen the image of Western through outreach activities and efforts related to diversity on campus.

Her area of expertise is in theoretical Astrophysics, specifically on disks surrounding massive stars. Massive stars affect their surroundings by providing energy via their radiation fields, stellar winds, and by supernova explosions. They also supply heavy elements, the building blocks of planetary systems. Her research focuses on constructing computer models of disk-like material surrounding massive stars, and comparing the results to observations from world-class observatories. She has developed an extensive list of international collaborators and has built a very active and productive research group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Jones has established a reputation as an excellent, award-winning teacher. She is extremely effective in the classroom and has served as an inspiration and mentor to many students.
Dr. Jones looks forward to bringing her administrative experience, her skills as a consensus-builder, and her expertise and passion for training to the role of Associate Dean, Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies for the Faculty of Science.

Jeff Hutter is an experimental condensed-matter physicist with an interest in processes and properties at the nanoscale. He received his BSc and MSc in physics from the University of British Columbia, followed by a PhD from Simon Fraser University in 1997. Jeff joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Western in 1999 after completing a postdoctoral term at the Exxon Research and Engineering Company. He has been an Associate Professor since 2006 and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies since 2008.

Prof. Hutter’s current research projects include: in situ studies of the crystallization of calcium oxalate (the main mineral component of kidney stones), and the inhibition of such crystallization by specific proteins and peptides, using the atomic-force microscope (AFM); measurements of the strength of nanofibres such as spider-mite silk using the AFM; and studies of the viscoelastic properties of hydrogels using light scattering and small-angle neutron scattering.
In his term as Associate Dean, Academic, Prof. Hutter looks forward to working with the member departments of the Faculty of Science to facilitate new programs and initiatives that will increase our profile as a destination of choice for students in the basic sciences."

June, 2012

Graduating class of spring 2012

Graduating class for spring of 2012. Click to view more photos. Prize winners are listed below.

You can also view an historical list of prize winners.

Honors BSc in Science

Abado, Mathew - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Astrophysics - 2012 Spring
Aho, Andrea - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Astrophysics - 2012 Spring
Bandoro, Justin- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Physics - 2012 Spring
Blain, Stephanie- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Major in Planetary Science - 2012 Spring
Embaye, Samuel- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Major in Physics - 2012 Spring
Ens, Travis- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Physics - 2012 Spring
Ewertowski, Bartek- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Physics - 2012 Spring
Goiko, Maria- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Physics - 2012 Spring
Gravelines, Celine- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Major in Physics - 2012 Spring
Hegarty, Elaine- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Medical Physics - 2012 Spring
Hickling, Susannah- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Physics - 2012 Spring
Holden, Matthew- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Major Physics - 2012 Spring
Hrinivich, William (Tom)- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Medical Physics - 2012 Spring
Jalilian, Farhang - BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Physics - 2012 Spring
Jozefacki, David- BSc (4 Yr) Specialization in Astrophysics - 2012 Spring
King, Andrew- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Astrophysics - 2012 Spring
McRae, Corey Rae- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Physics - 2012 Spring
Murrell, Donna- BSc (4 Yr) Major in Medical Physics - 2012 Spring
Nissan, Ramina- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Medical Physics - 2012 Spring
Panjwani, Raja- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Major in Physics - 2012 Spring
Schulman, Rafael- BSc (4 Yr) Honors Specialization in Physics - 2012 Spring

4 Year BSc in Science

Dick, Daniel- BSc (4 Yr)  - 2012 Spring
Letourneau-Shesaf, Tal- BSc (4 Yr)  - 2012 Spring
Prowse, Matthew- BSc (4 Yr)  - 2012 Spring

Undergraduate Award Winners

Mathew Abado

Mathew Abado

Maude Holt Kingston Gold Medal in Astronomy


Matthew Holden

Matthew Holden

Western Gold Medal in Honors Major in Physics,
Dillon Medal for Major in Applied Mathematics,
Borwein Memorial Prize


William (Tom) Hrinivich

William (Tom) Hrinivich

Western Gold Medal in Honors Specialization in Medical Physics


Rafael Schulman

Rafael Schulman

Governor General Silver Medal,
Carrier of the Science Gonfalong at Convocation,
Raymond Compton Dearle Gold Medal,

Undergraduate Award Winners unable to attend the ceremonies

Stephanie Blain - Western Gold Medal in Honors Major in Planetary Science

Samuel Embaye - Western Gold Medal in Honors Major in Applied Mathematical Methods

Travis Ens - Joseph J. and Annie R. Kingston Gold Medal

Maria Goiko - Don R. Hay Prize

Postgraduate Degree Recipients

Postgraduate students receiving degrees at the spring 2012 convocation

Above: Attending postgraduates: back row (left to right) Misha Chavarha, Parshati Patel, Judith Agar
front row: Neven Vulic, Maher Ahmed , Tomas Trebicky

Physics PhD Students

Fox, Matthew S.
Hatef, Ali
Haw, Dustin
Osman, Mohammed Kedir
Trebicky, Tomas
Selim,  Ahmed

Physics M Sc Students

Chavarha, Misha
Zohreh, Nouri

Astronomy MSc Students

Agar, Judith Rosa Rubena
Patel, Parshati
Saha, Rajib Kumer
Samadder, Ruma
Vulic, Neven

Another photo of the graduating undergraduates.

Graduating class of spring 2012 - group b


May, 2012

Astronomy PhD student Aycha Tammour has won a Faculty for the Future fellowship from the Schlumberger Foundation.

Astronomy PhD student Aycha Tammour has won a Faculty for the Future fellowship from the Schlumberger Foundation. Aycha is working with supervisor Dr. Sarah Gallagher.

The Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future fellowships are awarded to women academics in science and engineering from developing and emerging countries, and provide funding for advanced graduate study at top universities abroad. The long-term goal of the Faculty for the Future program is to generate conditions that result in more young women pursuing scientific disciplines. Grant recipients are therefore selected as much for their leadership capabilities as their scientific talents and they are expected to return to their home countries to continue their academic careers and inspire other young women. Launched by the Schlumberger Foundation in 2004, Faculty for the Future has grown to become a community of 257 women from 62 countries.

The website is:

June 5, 2012

London public views Transit of Venus 2012 at Western University Transit of Venus, recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory in visual light

[photos: left: Mitch Zimmer - Faculty of Science, right: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory image in visual light]

Over 2000 Londoners come to Western to view the transit of Venus on June 5, 2012.

Viewing areas were arranged at both the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory as well as a section of Springett Parking Lot.

While the weather had been marginal, with even a bit a spitting rain earlier in the afternoon, the clouds cleared, as if on que!

A large contingent of our RASC (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada) colleagues brought all manner of telescopes and viewing devices for the safe viewing of this rare event.

The transit started at 6:03 local time when the planet venus first touched the edge of the sun from our perspective.

Cronyn observatory was kept open after sunset for the viewing of planets Saturn and Mars.

A large group of local volunteers made the day, (and night!) a huge success.

Volunteers were: Jan Cami, Phin Perquin, Peter Frank, Brian Dalrymple, Nelia Andrade Lo Russo, Clara Buma and Jodi Gutrhie; Kelly Olson, Sarah Gallagher, Els Peeters, Pauline Barmby, Allison Hill, Dilini Subasinghe, Farhang Jalilian, Annemarie Pickersgill, Michel Debruyne, Henry Leparskas, Patrick Cookson, Gabe Keenleyside, Elizabeth Gray, Sarah Dawson, Matt Abado, Laura Lenkic, Alexander DeSouza, Robbie Halonen, Amanda Papadimos, Alyssa Gilbert, Raymond Francis, Tyler August, Tyler Desjardins, Robin Wing,  Michael Bramble and others from the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX); Bob Duff, Peter Jedicke, Rick Saunders, Steve Gauthier, and others from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC).

[view images of the event taken by local volunteers][Jan Cami's blog]

May, 2012

Dr. Richard Crowe

The astronomy community in Canada and Western University lost a long time friend in Dr. Richard Crowe.

Rick, as he liked to be called, was killed in a tragic off-road jeep accident in Arizona earlier this week.

Rick received both is BSc (Honors Astronomy '74) and MSc at Western.

His MSc work on on stellar evolution and was supervised by Dr. Romas Mitalas.

Rick went on to do a PhD in astronomy at the University of Toronto, after which he worked as Canadian resident astronomer at the CFHT in Hawaii.

He then became a member of the astronomy and physics faculty at The University of Hawaii in Hilo, where he spent a career in doing important science outreach work in the community.

Rick was a talented musician, playing clarinet and piano as well as anyone. He also loved to sing and act and was involved heavily in the music community in Hilo.

[Hawaii Tribune News] [University of Hawaii Hilo Newsletter][Physics and Astronomy blog]

May, 2012

Physics and Astronomy display at Slome 2012

The Department of Physics and Astronomy presented a hands-on display at SLOME 2012. This year the display came away with an Honourable Mention award.

The intrepid group of volunteers were Matt Abado, William Choi, Peter Frank, Allison Hill, Cameron Hopkins, Viatrix Lee, Daniel Martire (shown in photo), Roger Odell, and Melanie Wright.

May, 2012

Emily McCullough


Emily McCullough, PhD Candidate in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, and working with supervisor Dr. Robert Sica, has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Northern Science Training Program Malcolm Ramsay Memorial Award from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

[Western Faculty of Science News]

May, 2012

Dr. Carol Jones


Prof. Carol Jones is in a very select group of researchers from Western University and The University of Toronto who will take part in a research exchange between Canada and Brazil.

Dr. Jones' project is titled, "Probing the Physical Characteristics of the Disks Surrounding the Stars". This research will be done at both Western and The University of São Paolo.

[Western News]