UCF Physics

Category Archives: 2010

Career Services preps for move

Date: Monday Dec. 13th, 2010

Look around campus; UCF is constantly expanding, and Career Services is doing the same.

In less than two weeks, UCF Career Services will be moving into a new a new 25,000-square-foot building next to Memory Mall. Career Services will close its Ferrell Commons location Dec. 17 and will reopen in the new Career Services Experiential Learning Building on Jan. 3.

“The new facility is going to be amazing,” said Lynn Hansen, the executive director of Career Services. “It is going to give us the space we need to do the things that we need to do.”

The current Ferrell Commons location is not far from the entrance to the Marketplace cafeteria, but students don’t walk by Career Services unless cutting through to a more traveled walkway.

Maria Roman of Career Services teaches a resume workshop and said that their workshops usually have about 10 students in attendance. However, their last resume workshop had 25 students in attendance as more students use Career Services toward the end of each semester.

“Right now, in Ferrell Commons, we’re kind of tucked into a little corner and everyone walking by may or may not realize that Career Services is here,” Hansen said. “I’m hoping that we draw a lot more attention with that new facility and that location.”

Besides helping students on resumes, Career Services also conducts practice job-interview sessions and has programs to help students find what major they should pursue based on interests.

Currently, Career Services is pushing for more students to use KnightLink, a job-listing site that allows employers to specifically seek out UCF students for internships, part-time and full-time work. Starting in January, all students will be required to sign up to KnightLink at the career services website before being assisted.

Hansen said signing up on KnightLink will act as a record system. The system will allow advisers to give more appropriate direction during different stages of a student’s college career.

As the new Career Services Experiential Learning Building is receiving its last remaining touchups, Career Services is already beginning to pack their things in preparation for the big move. Now it’s up to the students to use the resources that are laid out in front of them.

“I have absolutely no idea what that’s going to do to our traffic and to our numbers, so hopefully we’ll be able to keep up with the additional traffic that that generates,” Hansen said.

Congrats! More Than 4,380 Knights Plan to Graduate Dec. 17-18

Date: Friday Dec. 10th, 2010

More than 4,380 University of Central Florida students plan to graduate during three ceremonies next week.

Ceremonies will be held at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, and 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, at the UCF Arena.

The anticipated fall graduates include 3,546 students who filed for bachelor’s degrees, 761 for master’s degrees, five for education specialist degrees and 73 for doctoral degrees.

The 9 a.m. ceremony on Dec. 18 will feature graduates from the College of Education, College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Nursing and College of Sciences. The speaker will be Bill Vogel, superintendent of Seminole County Public Schools.  In this role, he oversees a district of about 65,000 students. Since 2003, he has served on the UCF College of Education’s Progress Energy/UCF Leadership Institute Advisory Council.

The procession of graduates will begin 20 minutes before the start times of each ceremony.

Guests need tickets to attend the ceremonies. Guests without tickets can watch live broadcasts of all ceremonies at the Fairwinds Alumni Center across from the UCF Arena. Webcasts also are available live and after the ceremonies at http://webcast.oir.ucf.edu.

Following the three ceremonies, UCF will have awarded more than 211,000 degrees since classes began in 1968. President John C. Hitt will have awarded about 156,000 of those degrees.

For more information about commencement, including details about parking and area hotels, click here.

Carbon-Rich Planet: A Girl’s Best Friend?

Date: Thursday Dec. 09th, 2010

A peculiar gas-giant planet orbiting a sun-like star 1200 light-years away is the first carbon-rich world ever observed.

The implications are big for planetary chemistry, because without much oxygen, common rocks throughout the planet would be made of pure carbon, in forms such as diamonds or graphite.

“On most planets, oxygen is abundant.  It makes rocks such as quartz and gases such as carbon dioxide,” said University of Central Florida professor Joseph Harrington, one of the study’s lead researchers. “With more carbon than oxygen, you would get rocks of pure carbon, such as diamond or graphite, and lots of methane gas.”

“This planet tells us that there are many other strange worlds out there, beyond even the imaginations of the people doing the science,” added Nikku Madhusudhan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the lead author of the study, which appears in the Dec. 9 issue of the journal Nature.

Harrington and his team at UCF led the Spitzer observations and data analysis.  The UCF team used NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to measure the light of the planet, WASP-12b, as it passed behind its star, a so-called secondary eclipse.

Madhusudhan performed the chemical analysis of data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. By using UCF’s data and other published results at different infrared wavelengths, he compared the infrared behavior of common gases to determine the composition of the planet’s atmosphere.  Researchers were surprised to find methane, a trace gas on Earth, because it typically does not exist in the searing-hot temperatures found on this planet.

Carbon is a key building block of life, but could life exist if there is too much carbon? NASA’s recent announcement of a bacterium that thrives in a poisonous arsenic environment is yet another example of life’s incredible adaptability.

“I wouldn’t discount any cool planet as a possible haven for life, no matter what its chemistry,” Harrington said.

WASP-12b isn’t cool enough for life.  It is so close to its star that its “year” is just 26 hours, and its daytime temperatures of about 4700 degrees Fahrenheit make it the second-hottest planet ever measured.  It is also the second-largest known planet, as it is more than 80 percent wider than Jupiter.

The planet was discovered last year by a UK consortium, the Wide Angle Search for Planets.  Some of the Spitzer data used by the UCF team were contributed by WASP team member Peter Wheatley of the University of Warwick.

Other authors of the paper are Kevin Stevenson, Sarah Nymeyer, Christopher Campo, Jasmina Blecic, Ryan Hardy, Nate Lust, Christopher Britt and William Bowman of the University of Central Florida; Drake Deming of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; David Anderson, Coel Hellier and Pierre Maxted of Keele University, United Kingdom; Andrew Collier-Cameron of the University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom; Leslie Hebb of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.; Don Pollacco of Queen’s University, United Kingdom; and Richard West of the University of Leicester, United Kingdom.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, also in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

For more information about Spitzer, visit http://spitzer.caltech.edu or http://www.nasa.gov/spitzer.  More information about NASA’s search for exoplanets is at http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov.

Physics workshop Dec. 20-22

Date: Wednesday Dec. 01st, 2010

UCF is hosting the workshop “Quantum Coherent Properties of Spins III” from Dec. 20-22.

It is the third part in a series that was created to give scientists working in the field of magnetism and spin phenomena an opportunity to get together to discuss and present their latest results.

This workshop focuses on problems associated with the collective quantum properties of assemblies of spins, including decoherence, experiments on relevant systems, numerical work on aspects of this physics and review of some of the chemistry of these systems, particularly magnetic molecules.

The workshop will include 30-50 participants and guest speakers from the United States and abroad. Organizers include UCF professors Eduardo Mucciolo and Enrique del Barco, Stephen Hill from FSU and Philip Stamp from UBC.

The series started in 2008 at Tulane University in New Orleans and the second conference was held last year at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

For more information regarding the workshop, please visit the conference website here.

Last open house of the semester at Robinson Observatory

Date: Wednesday Dec. 01st, 2010

The last open house of the semester at the Robinson Observatory is December 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The observatory is free and open to the public. During the open house there are several 8-inch telescopes set up for viewing with an eyepiece in addition to a 20-inch telescope for deep sky observation.

All dates and times are subject to clear skies for observing. The next event will occur in mid-January, after the start of UCF’s spring semester. For an updated schedule visit the Robinson Observatory website here.

UCF lands $1.3M in retraining grants

Date: Friday Nov. 19th, 2010

The University of Central Florida got $1.3 million in grants to offer two new programs to retrain those who will lose their jobs as the space shuttle program ends.

The grants are part of the 2010 New Florida Initiative program, which awarded 11 universities $10 million for 31 projects on Nov. 15. The goal of the program is to create partnerships among universities in the areas of health, science and engineering while creating high-wage jobs. Grants awarded to UCF cover space technology, nanoscience, work force development, engineering and medicine.

UCF’s College of Engineering & Computer Science will use one grant to create a Florida Center of Excellence in Advanced Aero-propulsion in partnership with Florida State University. Certificate programs will be offered in the areas of active flow and noise control, which play critical roles in today’s aerospace, propulsion and power-generation industries.

The grant also will pay for research initiatives aimed at developing innovative engineering technology. The technology is expected to create jobs and new companies. One area of particular interest is wind tunnel technology. A portion of the grant also will help sponsor a week-long summer engineering camp for high school students interested in this field.

Another grant will help UCF’s Department of Physics work with Space Florida and the Kennedy Space Center to create a Center for Microgravity Research. The goal is to establish Florida as an international center for microgravity research, a new area with plenty of economic opportunities.

The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the second largest in the nation with more than 56,000 students.

Read more: UCF lands $1.3M in retraining grants | Orlando Business Journal

UCF To Help Local Space Industry, State Economy

Date: Wednesday Nov. 17th, 2010

ORLANDO, Nov. 15, 2010 – The University of Central Florida will offer two new programs to retrain residents who lose their jobs as the space shuttle program ends, thanks in part to grants from the Florida Board of Governors of the State University System.

UCF received five grants worth about $1.3 million for projects that will help strengthen education, research and Florida’s economy.

The grants are part of the 2010 New Florida Initiative program. The goal of the program is to create partnerships among universities in the areas of health, science and engineering while creating high-wage jobs.

Eleven universities were awarded $10 million for 31 projects. The grants were announced Monday.

Grants awarded to UCF cover space technology, nanoscience, workfoce development, engineering and medicine.

“From aerospace to nanotechnology and biomedical engineering, UCF has built solid research foundations in several areas that are already transitioning to the marketplace,” said MJ Soileau, UCF’s vice president for Research and Commercialization. “We are excited about the potential statewide impact of these projects.”

UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science will use one grant to create a Florida Center of Excellence in Advanced Aero-propulsion in partnership with Florida State University.

This grant establishes two training programs that will aid local residents who may lose their jobs due to the changes at NASA. Specifically, certificate programs will be offered in the areas of active flow and noise control, which play critical roles in today’s aerospace, propulsion and power-generation industries.

The grant also will pay for research initiatives aimed at developing innovative engineering technology. The technology is expected to create jobs and new companies helping Florida’s economy. One area of particular interest is wind tunnel technology. A portion of the grant also will help sponsor a weeklong summer engineering camp for high school students interested in this field.

Another grant will help UCF’s Department of Physics work with Space Florida and the Kennedy Space Center to create a Center for Microgravity Research. The goal is to establish Florida as an international center for microgravity research, a new area with plenty of economic opportunities.

Working together, the groups will grow and develop the new commercial suborbital spaceflight industry in Florida. More flights provide scientists with a great opportunity to conduct more regular research that will likely have global applications.

“This day marks the realization of a vision we announced in partnership with the Legislature that we would ensure our State University System both pursues and achieves our obligation to help transform Florida’s economy into one that is sustainable and knowledge-based, featuring high-skill and high-wage jobs,” said Ava L. Parker, chair of the Florida Board of Governors.

2011 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference: Student Competition

Date: Monday Nov. 15th, 2010

2011 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference:

This year, we’re holding a Student Competition, open to all full time Florida University and College students. The deadline for submission is December 3rd. Please visit the Student Contest page for the full details.

Student Competition Instructions:

Sponsored by Masten Space Systems Administered by Florida Space Grant Consortium

NSRC 2011 Student Competition welcomes applicants to participate in this year’s student contest. Entries from any Florida undergraduate and graduate university will be accepted. The competition is divided into two categories, i) a proposed experiment to fly in the microgravity environment of a suborbital flight, open to teams and individuals; ii) an essay on the benefits of suborbital spaceflight, which is open to individuals only. Full details are listed below.

Participation:

The student competition is open to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students at any 2 or 4-year college or university in the State of Florida. (Valid student ID required.) Category 1 (Experiment proposals) also require identification of a sponsoring Faculty Member.

Notice of Intent To Participate:

If you intend to submit an entry into either part of the student contest, please fill in a Notice of Intent Formand email it to Constantine Tsang at con@boulder.swri.edu as soon as possible.

Suborbital experiment proposals may be presented on disciplines related, but not limited, to:

  • Microgravity
  • Space Life Sciences
  • Technology Payloads
  • Astronomy, Solar Physics, or Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric/Ionospheric/Auroral Science
  • Education/Public Outreach

This category is divided into two sub-divisions; A) fully autonomous experiments without astronaut interaction and B) experiments which require a single astronaut participation. Entries will be judged according to the sub-category in which they are entered. Please indicate the sub-division in which you are in (1A or 1B) when submitting.

Concepts may include hardware, uniquely applicable software, or mission results that serve to advance or broaden the application of suborbital space flight research and education.

All proposed payloads must conform to:

  1. 1) Payload size must not exceed 5 [L] x 3 [W] x 4 [H] feet
  2. 2) Payload weight must not exceed 180 pounds
  3. 3) Payload must be all-inclusive, i.e., provide its own power, data recording, command computer, etc. This can either be fully autonomous or require interaction from one suborbital payload specialist during flight, as defined above.
  4. 4) Payload will not have access to outside atmosphere (except view through a window). If concept requires a window, specification of window material should be mentioned in the proposal. Internal glove box designs are permissible.
  5. 5) Maximum ten flights per experiment, with three to four minutes of microgravity per flight

The proposal can be submitted either by individuals or as teams of any size (individuals may participate on more than one team). The length of the proposal must not exceed 7 single-space pages, 12 point font, which includes any specs, figures and references. Please also include the name and address of a sponsoring Faculty member from your College or University. 

Category: Essay 2:

An essay which answers the following question:

“What are the future benefits of suborbital flights in 5-10 years time?”

Essays can be written from either technical or non-technical perspectives. They can include topics on education, public outreach, space commerce, law, art, adventure, etc. Essay length must not exceed 1000 words. Only individuals may submit an essay entry. A sponsor from your University or College is not required in this category.

Judging:

The Suborbital Applications Research Group (SARG) committee members, as well as Florida Space Grant Consortium Staff, will conduct judging for both the experiment payload and essays. The entries will be assessed on merit, creativity, and feasibility.

Submissions:

Submissions for both categories must be electronically submitted in PDF format no later than Friday, December 3, 2010, 10 pm EST, to Brendan Gannon at bgannon@mail.ucf.edu. For Category 1 (Experiment proposal) the proposal must be submitted by the sponsoring Faculty member. Please also indicate in the email the names of all team members (and sponsor, if Category 1) and their institutions.

Proposal Elections:

Finalists for all three categories (automated payload, manned payload and essays) will be chosen by January 24, 2011. The top three teams (or individuals) in each category will be invited to present at NSRC 2011, held at the University of Central Florida in Orlando during the Student Session. All student teams who are invited to present will receive complimentary registration to attend NSRC 2011 for the day of the Student Session. (Full access discounted registration rates will be available for students.)

Category 1 (Experiment Proposal) finalists will have a maximum of ten minutes to present their proposal, followed by three minutes for questions, while finalists for Category 2 (Essay) will have an opportunity to introduce their essay and read an excerpt lasting no longer than 5 minutes during the Student Session. The winners of all three categories will be announced in advance of the Conference and will be presented with cash prizes and Certificates of Award at the Conference during the Student Session.

Timeline:

December 3, 2010 Deadline to submit instrument proposals and essays
January 24, 2011 Finalists of the student contest, both categories, are announced
February 28, 2011 NSRC 2011 begins

Contact:

For more information, please contact Brendan Gannon (Florida Space Grant Consortium) atbgannon@mail.ucf.edu
Or visit  NSRC 2011 Website  |  NSRC 2011 Student Competition Flyer 

UCF Winter Workshop 2011: Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference

Date: Monday Nov. 15th, 2010

UCF Planetary Science’s second Winter Workshop, is also the second meeting of the Next-Generation Suborbital Research Conference. The meeting will be held in the UCF Student Union from February 28-March 2, 2011. UCF and SwRI are sharing organization of the meeting. Learn more and register or read the UCF News story.

Registration is open!