UCF Physics

Category Archives: 2011

The Sound of the Beginning: Echoes of the Big Bang in the Night Sky

Liam Mcallister

Date: Monday Nov. 14th, 2011

Speaker: Liam McAllister (String Theorist, Cornell University)
Place:  Health & Public Affairs 125
Date:   Thursday, November 17, 2011
Time:   6.00pm
Level:  Only high school math is required
Website: goldmanlectures.com

What powered the Big Bang?  How did galaxies come to be, and what explains the intricate patterns they form on the sky?  In the past decade, we have learned the answers to these questions: observations with microwave telescopes have shown us that the universe began with a period of extremely rapid expansion called inflation.  Amazingly, the patterns on the sky are a consequence of quantum mechanical effects during inflation. Quantum mechanics describes the physics of the very small, but, because of inflation, it is also responsible for the shapes of objects that are millions of light-years across.  I will explain what we know about how the universe began and give an accessible account of cosmic history.  No prior knowledge of these topics will be required to understand the talk.

Nanotechnology journal highlights UCF research

Source: COS News Blog
Date: Thursday May. 12th, 2011

Research from UCF scientists was highlighted in the IOP Science Nanotechnology journal in the electronics and photonic category. You can view it by clicking here.

Nanotechnology encompasses the understanding of the fundamental physics, chemistry, biology and technology of nanometre-scale objects.

The article, “High Yield Fabrication of Chemically Reduced Graphene Oxide Field Effect Transistors by Dielectrophoresis,” was written by Daeha Joung, A. Chunder, Lei Zhai, and Saiful I. Khondaker, an Associate Professor for the Nanoscience Technology Center in the Department of Physics & School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Central Florida.

Faculty staff campaign

Source: COS News Blog
Date: Thursday May. 12th, 2011

This year’s faculty and staff contributions in the College of Sciences not only reached the expected goal, but exceeded it dramatically. Last year, COS raised just over $28,000 and this year COS came in at over $42,000!

The college’s participation stayed fairly consistent down 1% from last year and COS hopes to boost that next year. In only a few years of doing this campaign, UCF had a goal of $415,000 but raised $540,000 with participation from almost every entity on campus.

Student research work recognized with awards

Source: COS News Blog
Date: Wednesday May. 04th, 2011

Several students from the College of Sciences were recently awarded for their hard work at the 2011 UCF Graduate Research Forum. Their official award was for outstanding presentations.

Joanna Fletcher,  an Anthropology student, won for her research titled “Monitoring the Applicability of Ground-Penetrating Radar on Detecting Shallow Graves Using Proxy Cadavers.”

William Hawkins, an Anthropology student, won for his research titled “Monitoring the Long-Term Applicability of Ground-Penetrating Radar Using Proxy Cadavers.”

Silki Arora, a Physics student, won for research on “Volume and Structural Changes in Single Red Blood Cell Investigated by Direct Optical Imaging and Spatially Resolved Absorption Spectroscopy.”

Kristina Kraakmo, from the Mathematics department, won for her research titled “Numerical Simulations for Cratering Effects of Rocket Exhaust on Soil.”

Astha Malhotra, from the Chemistry department, won for research on ”Buffer-Stable Fluorescent Chitosan-PGA Hybrid Nanoparticles.”

For a full list of winners please click here.

Physics professor cited as expert in Orlando Sentinel

Source: COS News
Date: Wednesday Apr. 20th, 2011

From Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinel.

By the time Challenger exploded in 1986, it was painfully obvious the shuttle could not provide the routine access to space that we were promised. But because of the huge investment and lack of alternatives, we were locked into a lemon. The space station was designed in the same flawed manner, a monolith in search of a mission.

There is a better way.

To explain, let me introduce Joshua Colwell, a professor of physics at University of Central Florida. Colwell is trying to figure out how dust managed to stick together in the early solar system and form planets. In other words, how did our Earth go from being a dust bunny to our home?

Colwell’s research involves creating very low-speed collisions with dust. This requires zero gravity. The experiments last less than a minute, so he doesn’t need to take a $1.5 billion shuttle flight to the $100 billion space station to do them.

Instead, Colwell will be flying his experiments on the New Shepard, a spaceship being built by Blue Origin. Established by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin is one of many fledgling commercial space carriers looking to break the government monopoly on space.

New Shepard will take Colwell’s experiment on a suborbital flight. This will provide a few minutes of zero gravity, more than enough for dust collisions.

Read the entire article here.

UCF Developing National Model for Blended Online Courses

Source: UCF Newsroom
Date: Monday Apr. 11th, 2011

The University of Central Florida is developing a national model for blended learning, a practice that combines web-based learning with traditional classroom instruction.

The Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) awarded UCF a $250,000 grant, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others. NGLC is coordinated by EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit group that promotes the use of information technology to advance higher education.

For the grant, UCF will develop a “Blended Learning Toolkit” that will include: strategies for blended course design and delivery; models for blended Composition and Algebra courses; assessment and data collection protocols; and “train-the-trainer” materials.

The toolkit and course models will be provided to the American Association of State Colleges (AASCU), the partner in the grant. The association will then engage 20 member institutions, which will use the kit’s course templates and models, or build their own courses using the strategies and resources provided.

“This project will bring national and international recognition to our leadership in the field of blended learning, and will bring exposure to our faculty and the groundbreaking work they are doing reinventing instructional approaches for math and composition curricula,” said Tom Cavanagh, assistant vice president for UCF’s Center for Distributed Learning.

The benefits of blended learning are many. For universities, blended courses encourage collaboration and compensate for limited classroom space. For faculty, they can be a method to infuse new opportunities for engagement into established courses. For students, the courses offer convenience combined with instructional interaction.

UCF’s blended courses consistently rank higher than other modes in student course evaluations and have the highest levels of student success and the lowest withdrawals of any modality — including purely face-to-face.

“This project will allow other institutions to benefit from UCF’s highly successful online learning and assessment models,” said Joel Hartman, vice provost for Information Technologies and Resources. “There is great potential for future adoption beyond the project itself, and what we create and learn will ultimately benefit UCF and our students.”

In the long-term, the program could be distributed to the more than 420 AASCU member colleges and universities.

In addition to developing a blended learning infrastructure at AASCU institutions, the project aims to increase access to education and improve student success and retention. The NGLC program specifically targets improving college readiness and completion among low-income students.

At UCF, blended learning is managed by the Center for Distributed Learning, which provides leadership in distance learning policies, strategies and practices. The department collaborates with colleges to develop UCF’s online programs and works with faculty and students to ensure successful course experiences.

In the fall 2010 semester, 26,000 UCF students enrolled in at least one online, blended or video course. UCF currently offers more than 2,500 online, video and blended classes.

To learn more about Next Generation Learning Challenges, visit http://nextgenlearning.org/.

For more information on UCF’s Center for Distributed Learning, go to http://online.ucf.edu/.

A Theory of Everything

Source: UCF Today
Date: Monday Apr. 11th, 2011

Physicist Garrett Lisi will be presenting “A Geometric Theory of Everything” at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, in Engineering 2, Room 102.

In this talk, rich in graphics, Lisi will describe the fundamental geometry of our universe and some new ideas about unification.

Everything in our universe is composed of elementary particle fields interacting, according to the laws of quantum physics. These balanced physical interactions correspond to the geometry of elegant mathematical structures twisting over spacetime. By examining the pattern of particle interactions we see that these structures describing our universe appear to be parts of a larger structure, long revered by mathematicians for its complex beauty.

After Lisi received his Ph.D. from UC San Diego he moved to the island of Maui to find an optimum balance between surfing and pursuing his own theoretical research. Driven to solve a mystery in the foundation of Quantum Field Theory, Lisi soon found himself looking at the most beautiful unified model of particle physics anyone had ever seen.

His story and work have been featured on TED and in Outside magazine, The New Yorker and recently inScientific American.

UCF Recognizes Its ‘Eternal Knights’

Source: UCF Today
Date: Wednesday Apr. 06th, 2011

The UCF community honored 14 students who passed away during the past academic year at the Eternal Knights Memorial Service on campus Wednesday.

In its tenth year, Eternal Knights recognizes students’ family and friends as the university community joins together to remember loved ones and offer condolences.

During the eulogy, students were individually recognized and given the title “Eternal Knight.”

“Although UCF is very large, every student contributes to the fabric of what we are,” said Michael Kilbride, president of UCF’s Student Government Association.

In addition to the ceremony, students and faculty and staff members from across the main campus and UCF’s Regional Campus communities commemorated the lives of lost students by participating in a 30-second moment of silence.

“Whether on campus for one semester or for several years, they were all a valuable part of the UCF community, and we miss them,” said Dr. Maribeth Ehasz, vice president for Student Development and Enrollment Services.

The following individuals were remembered at this year’s ceremony:

– Charles Greely, Office of Undergraduate Studies

– Benny Abreu, Rosen College of Hospitality Management

– Kelly McConnell, Office of Undergraduate Studies

– Gerald-Mark Breen, College of Health and Public Affairs

– Helen Hoekstra, College of Sciences

– Gregory Martin, College of Health and Public Affairs

– Frank Marchica, College of Business Administration

– Jennifer Roqueta, College of Business Administration

– Vanessa Marson, College of Health and Public Affairs

– Jennifer Laird, College of Sciences

– David Schaefer, Rosen College of Hospitality Management

– Chelsea Torres, Rosen College of Hospitality Management

– Tina Davia, College of Health and Public Affairs

– Maria Vanegas, College of Engineering and Computer Science

UCF, Medical Community to Offer Free Cancer Risk Assessments

Source: UCF Today
Date: Wednesday Apr. 06th, 2011

Cancer of the head and neck is the sixth most-common form of cancer in the United States. Yet, many people don’t recognize the symptoms of these life-threatening diseases, which can be easily treated if diagnosed early.

The University of Central Florida Communication Disorders Clinic, Florida Hospital Cancer Institute and The Ear Nose and Throat Surgical Associates will jointly offer free individual risk assessments for head and neck cancer on Tuesday, April 26.

The risk assessments will take place from 1:30 to 2 p.m. at the Winter Park Memorial Hospital Medical Library, 200 Lakemont Ave., Winter Park, and from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the YMCA Crosby Wellness Center, 2005 Mizell Ave., Winter Park.

Each assessment is painless and only takes about 10 minutes.

To schedule a risk assessment, call the Florida Hospital Friends and Family Helpline at 407-303-3627.

Risk factors for head and neck cancer include tobacco and alcohol use, human papilloma virus (HPV) diagnosis, regular exposure to ultraviolet radiation and acid reflux disease diagnosis, according to Bari Hoffman Ruddy, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders and lead coordinator of the event.

Earlier in the day, an expert panel comprising physicians and nurses, a dentist, a speech pathologist and Hoffman Ruddy will discuss current trends and team managment in treating head and neck cancers.

The panel discussion will take place from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the Winter Park Memorial Hospital Medical Library.

To attend the panel discussion, please RSVP by calling 407-303-1700.

For further information, contact Bari.HoffmanRuddy@ucf.edu.

S. Goldman Lectures in Mathematical Physics

Source: Department of Physics
Date: Wednesday Apr. 06th, 2011

A Geometric Theory of Everything

When: April 14, 2011
Time: 5:30-7:00 PM
Where: Engineering #2, Room 102

Abstract:

Everything in our universe is composed of elementary particle fields interacting according to the laws of quantum physics. These balanced physical interactions correspond to the geometry of elegant mathematical structures twisting over spacetime. By examining the pattern of particle interactions we see that these structures describing our universe appear to be parts of a larger structure, long revered by mathematicians for its complex beauty. In this talk, rich in graphics, Garrett Lisi will describe the fundamental geometry of our universe and some new ideas about unification.

About the Speaker:

GARRETT LISI is an unusual physicist. After receiving a Ph.D. from UC San Diego he moved to the island of Maui to find an optimum balance between surfing and pursuing his own theoretical research. Driven to solve a mystery in the foundation of Quantum Field Theory, Garrett soon found himself looking at the most beautiful unified model of particle physics anyone had ever seen. His story and work have been featured at TED, in Outside Magazine, The New Yorker, and recently in Scientific American.

For more information read an article called “A Geometric Theory of Everything” or visit the S. Goldman Leturer’s web site.