Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

About Us: Seminars

Fall 2006 Seminars

Seminars are held on Tuesdays, 3:45-4:45pm in SB110, unless otherwise noted. Meet at 3:30 in SB157 for refreshments (refreshments are available even on Tuesdays with no seminar!). See Calvin's Visitor Resources for maps and directions to the Science Building.

Date Title Speaker

Tuesday, September 12
(part 1)

(in North Hall room 078)

Development of a Fourier Technique for Automated Spiral Galaxy Morphology

Andrew Butler (student)

Tuesday, September 12
(part 2)

(in North Hall room 078)

Maser Emission and Star Formation in the Orion Nebula

Chris Beaumont (student)

Friday, September 22; 2:30 PM.

Engineering Seminar

(in Gezon Auditorium)

Energy: Our Responsibility Dr. Sigval M. Berg, Executive Vice President at the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) in Atlanta, GA.

Tuesday, September 26

(in Science Building 110)

Methods for Producing Metastable Atoms

Prof. Matt Walhout, Ross Norman (student), and Dan VandenAkker (student)

Tuesday,October 10

(in Science Building 110)

Investigating the Role of RhoA in the Development of Nerve Cell Electrical Excitability

Prof. Loren Haarsma and David Will (student)

Tuesday, October 17

(in Science Building 010)

Asteroids Up Close and Personal Prof. Daniel J. Scheeres, University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering Dept.

Friday, October 20, 3:30pm

(in Science Building 110)

Technology Research Jobs Opportunities talk:

An Overview of Research at M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory

Dr. Matthew J. Vanderhill; Staff Scientist, M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory

Tuesday, November 7

(in Science Building 110)

A Classical Description of Double Ionization of Helium by Intense Laser Light

Prof. Stan Haan, Armin Karim (student), and Zach Smith (student)
Tuesday, November 14

(in Science Building 110)

Determining the Physical Properties of an Eclipsing Binary Star System

Prof. Larry Molnar, John VanderHeide (student), and Jessie Taylor (student)
Tuesday, November 21
(part 1)

(in Science Building 110)

In Search of A Super Carbon Nanotube Supercapacitor

Jessie Taylor (student)
Tuesday, November 21
(part 2)

(in Science Building 110)

Studies of An Ultracold Plasma

John VanDyke (student)
Tuesday, December 5

(in Science Building 110)

Towards understanding membrane fusion: Experimental Studies of DEPE and Computer Simulations

Prof. Paul Harper, Joshua VanderHill (student), and Jess Vriesema (student)

September 12 (part 1) : Development of a Fourier Technique for Automated Spiral Galaxy Morphology
       Andrew Butler, Calvin College
  
It has long been known that morphological classification of galaxies is a crucial foundation for understanding the physics of each galaxy type. This classification has historically been a matter of visually inspecting galaxy images and categorizing the galaxies in bins according to their appearance. Recently, however, more efficient, continuous and quantitatively meaningful classification methods have been required for insight into galaxy formation and evolution that must be gained from the ever-growing amount of data available to the astronomical community. Our goal was to develop an automated method of recognizing structures in spiral galaxies and to quantify their strength for classification purposes. I present a preliminary automated method of reconstructing select galaxy images from the Ohio State University Bright Spiral Galaxy Survey using two-dimensional Fourier models of galaxies.

September 12 (part 2) : Maser Emission and Star Formation in the Orion Nebula
       Chris Beaumont, Calvin College
  
The Orion BN/KL region is a nearby star formation region, and a site of powerful maser (radio analog of laser) emission. These masers are centered on, and thought to be powered by, a massive young star. The research that I participated in involved analyzing data from these masers in an attempt to characterize the physical environments associated with massive star formation. In this talk I will discuss what masers are, how we can study masers with radio telescopes like the Very Large Array, and what this information can reveal about star formation processes.

September 22: Energy: Our Responsibility (Engineering Department seminar, Friday, 2:30 p.m. in Gezon Auditorium))
       Dr. Sigval M. Berg, Executive Vice President at the Institute of Nuclear
Power Operations (INPO) in Atlanta, GA.

  
Responsible management of the world's energy resources is essential if we are to reconcile global human need, preserve the biosphere, and provide for future generations. Energy issues are complex. Their solutions are equally so, because of a unique confluence of technical, social, economic, political and environmental factors. This seminar will briefly examine the need for energy resources (including nuclear) and God's call to be responsible leaders and managers of the world in which we live, and be faithful to the Lord whom we serve, Jesus, the Christ.

September 26 : Methods for Producing Metastable Atoms
       Ross Norman, Daniel VandenAkker, and Prof. Matt Walhout; Calvin College
  
Krypton atoms that are decelerated, cooled and trapped by laser light are used in a variety of scientific applications. At Calvin College they are used in studies of subtle quantum mechanical interactions, and at Argonne National Labs (ANL) they serve as the basis for a new isotopic dating technique. For these experiments to work, the atoms must start in a particular energy state that is long-lasting (metastable) and interacts strongly with laser light. While various methods exist for the efficient excitation of this energy state, the work at ANL has introduced minimal contamination as a new design constraint in the excitation method. During the summer of 2006, Ross Norman, Dan VandenAkker and Prof. Matt Walhout began a project that will allow different methods of metastable-atom production to be compared systematically. In their seminar talk, they will discuss the progress that they have made in designing, building, and testing the experimental system, and they will present some intriguing preliminary observations.

October 10: Investigating the Role of RhoA in the Development of Nerve Cell Electrical Excitability
       David Will and Prof. Loren Haarsma; Calvin College
  
Stem cells have the ability to become other types of cells, including nerve cells. PC12 cells can be used to study this transition because, when cultured with Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), they become more nerve-like in at least three ways. (1) They stop dividing. (2) They grow long processes similar to axons and dendrites. (3) They become more electrically excitable. Previous research showed that if, prior to addition of NGF, PC12 cells are transfected with DNA which up-regulates the protein RhoA, the up-regulated RhoA prevents NGF from causing the first two changes. In our experiment, we used electrophysiology patch clamp techniques to study the third change, the development of electrical excitability. We found that up-regulating RhoA, perhaps surprisingly, did not prevent the increase in excitability caused by NGF, indicating that a different signaling molecule or pathway is involved with this change. In our talk, we’ll describe the techniques used to measure the cells’ electrical excitability, and we’ll discuss possible future experiments to further study the signaling pathways in this important transition.

October 17 : Asteroids Up Close and Personal
       Prof. Daniel Scheeres, University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering Dept.
   Over the last 15 years our scientific understanding of asteroids has gone through a dramatic transformation, due both to spacecraft missions to these bodies and to powerful new observational techniques and instruments. The study of asteroids is of compelling scientific interest, as they are thought to be remnants from the solar system's formation, and of societal interest, as they occasionally impact with the Earth. Recently two spacecraft paid extended visits to asteroids: NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission to asteroid Eros in 2000 and the Japanese Space Agency's Hayabusa (Falcon) mission to asteroid Itokawa in 2005. These missions have revealed asteroids to be complex worlds, with their own versions of "oceans", "weather" and "seasons." This talk will discuss these missions and present some of their dramatic findings. Also, some very recent results on binary near-Earth asteroids will be shown.

October 20 : An Overview of Research at M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory
       Dr. Matthew J. Vanderhill; Staff Scientist, M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory
   MIT Lincoln Laboratory has pioneered in advanced electronics since its origin in 1951 as a Federally Funded Research and Development Center of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Its fundamental mission is to apply science and advanced technology to critical problems of national security. The scope of the problems investigated has grown from the initial emphasis on air defense to include communications, space surveillance, missile defense, tactical surveillance, and air traffic control. Throughout its history, the Laboratory has had an extensive program in advanced electronics technology, which has supported the other programs with state-of-the art sensors and processors. The laboratory's approach to problem solving starts with concept development and then moves through simulation and analysis, to the development of hardware with the ultimate goal of demonstrating an integrated system in the field. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the research conducted and then describe what it is like to work at one of the nation's premiere applied technology laboratories, what we offer as a workplace, and why you might consider it for your first or a later professional position.

November 7 : A Classical Description of Double Ionization of Helium by Intense Laser Light
      Armin Karim , Zach Smith, and Prof. Stan Haan; Calvin College
  
We have employed computer models of ensembles of 400,000 "classical atoms" to study the dynamics of double ionization of helium by intense laser beams at 780 nm and 390 nm. This talk will review the technique and our major findings. We find that--as expected--double ionization occurs through recollision, in which one electron ionizes and is subsequently impelled by the laser back to the positive ion where it smashes into the other electron. We also find a previously unreported time delay between the recollision and the final ionization; we use this time delay to explain experimental results from around the world regarding final electron momenta and energies.

November 14 : Determining the Physical Properties of an Eclipsing Binary Star System
      John VanderHeide, Jessie Taylor, and Prof. Larry Molnar; Calvin College
  
One year ago we reported the discovery of a new, fully eclipsing binary star system (known by the catalog number PPM 706067). Such systems are valuable in astronomy because their main physical properties (the mass, radius, and temperature of each star along with the orbital period and separation of the stars) can with effort be determined independent of any theory of stellar structure or assumptions about the system history. This particular system was unusually interesting because it also showed evidence of strong magnetic activity (starspots and X-ray emission). Last spring, our collaborators and we made extensive measurements of the spectrum and the brightness at many wavelengths. Our Rehoboth telescope alone obtained nearly 15,000 images from which brightness could be determined. We will show how analysis of these data lead to a set of physical properties for the system. Furthermore, we will show evidence for substantial changes in the magnetic activity over a timescale of months. Finally, we will suggest a possible model for the system: how it got where it is, what it may do next, and what we must do to test our ideas.

November 21 (part 1) : In Search of A Super Carbon Nanotube Supercapacitor
       Jessie Taylor, Calvin College
  
In the past decade, an abundance of research has been done focusing on carbon nanotubes: their properties, production, and applications. One such application is in the field of supercapacitors, where highly porous electrodes, sometimes made of nanotubes, are combined with electrolytes to produce capacitors with capacitances several orders of magnitude greater than that of conventional capacitors. Recently, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered a new way to produce carbon nanotube aerogels, resulting in a material with, theoretically, a much higher porosity than other CNT aerogels. Such a high porosity should lead to high capacitances. My work this summer focused on creating and studying a capacitor made with this gel. In this talk, I will present the results of my research, placing it within the context of research on supercapacitors and nanotubes.

November 21 (part 2) : Studies of An Ultracold Plasma
       John Van Dyke, Calvin College
  
In the sun and in fusion reactors, plasmas (a gaseous state of matter in which some electrons are free to move from atom to atom) are quite hot. Ultracold plasmas form a newly accessible regime in plasma physics, thanks to advances in laser cooling and trapping of atoms. Cooled neutral atoms are stored in a magneto-optical trap (MOT), and then ionized by a laser pulse. The dynamic evolution of the plasma is studied as the atom cloud expands into the vacuum. In this talk, I will explain the basic techniques used to create an ultracold xenon plasma as well as some of the results and on-going work by the University of Maryland’s Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics group.

December 5 : Towards understanding membrane fusion: Experimental Studies of DEPE and Computer Simulations
      Joshua VanderHill, Jess Vriesema, and Prof. Paul Harper; Calvin College
  
Understanding how membranes fuse is of fundamental importance to understanding cell fusion, viral infection, and inter-membrane transport. Also, there has been a growing awareness that fats with cis double bonds are preferable to fats with trans double bonds. We use laser light scattering to make measurements of a model membrane system composed of DEPE, a phospholipid which has trans double bonds in its tail, and compare its behavior to DOPE, which is identical, except for having cis double bonds in its tails. We also construct ultra-coarse grained simulations of lipid membranes and show some preliminary results.

Secondary

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nulla ut nibh.