Winter 2020

Chair's message | Welcoming alumna from Malaysia, celebrating open house

We love to hear from you and follow your careers. Our current students would appreciate you coming back to Athens to meet with them. They really do want to hear how other students have established their careers.

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Notable alumni | Zainuriah Hassan pioneers scientific advances in U.S., Malaysia

Dr. Zainuriah Hassan was an important member of the wide band gap semiconductor effort in condensed matter physics during her time at Ohio University. Now she is a leading researcher in Malaysia, leading an effort to develop high efficiency, high lumen white LEDs in a key technology transfer for her nation.

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Notable alumni | Andreas Weichselbaum models quasiparticles that could be future of quantum computing

Dr. Andreas Weichselbaum is working on a tiny puzzle that could have a giant impact on the future of computing. He is a theoretical physicist in the field of condensed matter and strongly correlated systems.

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Venki Ramakrishnan receives honorary degree from OHIO

"Venki Ramakrishnan is President of the Royal Society and Group Leader at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK.  In his research he is particularly noted for his contributions related to understanding the atomic structure of the ribosome—the site within living cells where the genetic information is read to synthesize proteins from amino acids," said President Dr. M. Duane Nellis.

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Robert Kirshner receives honorary degree from OHIO

Dr. Robert P. Kirshner is Clowes Research Professor of Science at Harvard University and Chief Program Officer for Science at the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, where he leads a team responsible for distributing more than $100 million per year for research and technology to enable fundamental scientific discoveries.

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Ohio Today honors Harold Brown, one of the last living Tuskegee Airmen

Lt. Col. Harold Brown is an Ohio University alumnus who flew a P-51 Mustang fighter in World War II, spent time in a German POW camp, then returned home to begin a career that would eventually find him retiring as vice president of academic affairs at Columbus State Community College.

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Greg Petersen returns to lead workshop on software design

Ohio University Nanoscale and Quantum Phenomena Institute hosted physics alumnus Dr. Greg Petersen, who led a workshop for graduate and undergraduate students titled ‘Modern Software Design for Physicists’ aimed at teaching modern design principles.

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Faculty news

Physicists identify ways to unmask elusive quarks within neutron stars

“We examined various scenarios of how quarks may emerge and interact,” Dr. Madappa Prakash said. “We studied manifestations of their presence through calculations of the sound velocity (a proxy for the relationship between pressure and density in matter containing quarks), mass-radius relations of cold stable neutron stars, and tidal effects in binary neutron star mergers.”

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Hla develops robust molecular propeller that enables unidirectional rotations

A team of scientists led by OHIO Professor of Physics Dr. Saw-Wai Hla and Dr. Gwenael Rapenne from Toulouse developed a molecular propeller that enables unidirectional rotations on a material surface when energized.

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Sandler strengthens collaborations with Brazilian scientists

Dr. Nancy Sandler was one of the few international invited speakers at the recent Brazilian Workshop for Semiconductor Physics 19, held at the Federal University of Ceará, in Fortaleza, Brazil.

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Glidden Visiting Professors investigate electronic properties of materials

Appointed in consecutive years, Glidden Visiting Professors Daiara Faria (2018-19) and Edson Vernek (2019-20) share a research focus on nanoscience that have led them to exciting collaborations with colleagues in Ohio University’s Physics & Astronomy Department.

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OHIO physicists present research at Open Access meeting in China

Three Ohio University physicists traveled to Chengdu, China this semester, to present their research at the EMN Open Access Week 2019, the International Conference on Energy, Materials and Nanotechnology.

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‘Fast and Furious’ researchers shed light on nanostructures

Direct observation of ultra-fast energetic (hot) electrons created by light photons in plasmonic nanodevices has been a nearly impossible task until now. Dr. Alexander Govorov’s team published a paper on “The fast and the furious: Ultrafast hot electrons in plasmonic metastructures. Size and structure matter.”

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Student news

Chakrabarty spends summer interning on Wall Street

Nilaj Chakrabarty recently spent his summer interning at a global investment bank in New York City. He worked at the bank’s risk management department using the math and computer skills he’s learned through his research.

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Rowley wins praise at poster competition

Graduate student Joey Rowley was selected from a poster competition to give a talk at the 2019 National Nuclear Physics Summer School (NNPSS), held this year in Knoxville, TN. The NNPSS is a two-week series of lectures for graduate students from across the country in the field of nuclear physics.

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Carver places first in Society of Physics Students Research Conference

Senior Miranda Carver presented a 15-minute talk, "An Analysis of 𝛾 𝑝→𝑝𝜋0𝜋0 Reaction at CLAS." Carver did summer research in particle physics at Italy’s National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Genova, under the direction of Andrea Celentano, and at OHIO with Dr. Kenneth Hicks, a professor in the department. The National Science Foundation and the department sponsored her travel to Italy.

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Sophia Medvid analyzes vibrational modes of a mellophone

“I'm studying the vibrations of the bell of a mellophone to see if it significantly affects the sound of the instrument,” says Sophia Medvid.

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Matthew Connell probes ‘The Kinematics of diHiggs Decay Products in the bbVV Final State’

“I traveled to Germany last summer to participate in a summer internship at the Second Institute for Physics at Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen. I worked to analyze data for the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is operated by CERN in Geneva, Switzerland,” says Matthew Connell.

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Upcoming events

Save the date | Arts & Sciences Student-Alumni Networking, Jan. 30

Mark your calendars for the college’s annual Alumni and Student Networking Reception on Jan. 30, 2020. You have valuable experiences to share about career choices, graduate school and internships. Come back to Athens to help fellow Bobcats get a jump on their careers.
Network with students — from first-year students to graduate students — and other alumni and key stakeholders in the “Art and Science of Networking.”
  • Bring your business cards — and expand your Bobcat network with other alumni and students.
  • Review resumes with students.
  • Post jobs and share internships.
  • Get a FREE updated photo for LinkedIn.
RSVP online, or contact Lisa Cohen, Director of External Relations, at
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You’re invited to Settling Ohio: First Nations and Beyond, Feb. 21-22

The first people in Ohio arrived more than 13,000 years ago. These Native Americans overcame rapid changes in climate, eventually building the state’s first homes and becoming the state’s first farmers. More than 200 years ago a series of events and actions began to shape the state of Ohio we see today — its government, its economy, and its people. Empires clashed and diverse peoples mingled.

Hear from historians, scholars and the Chief of the Eastern Shawnee. The Settling Ohio conference is Feb. 21 and 22 at Baker Center. It is free and open to the public.
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