Dr. Kurt Retherford (BS ’94) Exploring Europa

Dr. Kurt Retherford, BS ’94, is the lead scientist for one of nine instruments that NASA recently selected to include on its next mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa. While an undergraduate researcher in the Physics department (Scherb & Roesler labs) he began studying the moons of Jupiter. Now at the Southwest Research Inst., he recently used the Hubble Space Telescope to co-discover evidence for large plumes of water vapor emitted from Europa’s icy surface that may connect to a habitable subsurface ocean.

More About the Europa Mission

UW Physics Students Rock the LHC

As the Large Hadron Colider nears data taking at a record 13 TeV, graduate students have some fun.  Can you identify the two from UW?

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Garage Physics launches high altitude balloon

Garage Physics launch and recover a high altitude ballon. Pictured are Brett Unks and undergraduates Bella Nasirudin and Catherine Tuanqui at the launch site, Governor Nelson Park in Middleton. The balloon was recovered in Edgerton after a couple hour flight. The payload featured a digital temperature logger, an Android phone running Justin Vandenbroucke’s cosmic ray detector app., an external camera, and a GPS unit. Also participating in the development were Asst. Prof. Justin Vandenbroucke, plant pathology graduate student Alex Biligri, and Physics graduate student Shaun Alsum.


Garage Physics homepage

Rock the LHC Video Contest

As physicists eagerly await new data from the Large Hadron Collider, a contest has been opened for videos that communicate the enthusiasm for this enterprise.

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Campus-wide Awards to Physics Undergraduates

Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowships

Generous grants from the Hilldale Foundation and the Wisconsin State Legislature provide for awards of $3,000 each to undergraduate students and $500–$1,000 to their faculty/staff advisors to work in collaboration on research projects.

Student (Advisor) Project
Thomas Feigenson
(Jim Lawler) Improved Experimental Co I-II Values and Abundance Determinations From Spectroscopic Data
Noah Johnson
(Mark Ediger) Molecular Orientation in the Vapor-Deposited Glass of p-TTP
Colin Wahl
(Saverio Spagnolie) Microorganism Billiards
Bai Yang Wang
(Mark Eriksson) An Exploratory Study of Charge Noise and Mobility for Improved Performance in Semiconductor Quantum Devices
Yufan Xu
(Cary Forest) Hardening of Materials Using Plasma Immersion Ion Implantation (PIII)

Theodore Herfurth & Teddy Kubly Awards

A generous grant from the Herfurth and Kubly families provides for these longstanding awards which honor senior students exemplifying a composite of superior academic achievement, community service and leadership in extra and co-curricular activities, financial self-support, and both prepared and extemporaneous oral expression.

Nicholas Derr

12 Annual Integration Bee

12th Annual University of Wisconsin Integration Bee. First Prize $100.
Written qualifier May 4 6-7pm in 2103 Chamberlin. Top 10 scores go to the finals. Finals (live at the board): May 7 6pm in 2241 Chamberlin. Spectators welcome!
Open to all UW students.

For more information Jim Reardon reardon@physics.wisc.edu. Sponsored by the UW Physics Department and the Wonders of Physics

More info and practice integrals

Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship Awarded to Thomas Feigenson

Undergraduate student Thomas Feigenson, working with Prof. Jim Lawler, has won a Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship. The Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowships support undergraduate research done in collaboration with UW–Madison faculty or research/instructional academic staff. Approximately 105 Hilldale awards are available each year.

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The LHC is back in business, now ready for proton-proton collisions at a record 13 TeV

After two years of intense maintenance and consolidation, and several months of preparation for restart, the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, is back in operation. Today at 10.41am, a proton beam was back in the 27-kilometer ring, followed at 12.27pm by a second beam rotating in the opposite direction. These beams circulated at their injection energy of 450 GeV. Over the coming days, operators will check all systems before increasing energy of the beams.

More Info CERN

High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory (HAWC)

High on a sleeping Mexican volcano, a new particle astrophysics observatory is about to blink to life, commencing an all-sky search for very high-energy gamma rays — a search that could greatly expand the catalog of known gamma ray sources and chip away at the mystery of the cosmic rays that constantly bombard our planet.

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New polar neutrino detector on the way

IceCube, the cubic kilometer, sub-polar detector that in 2013 gathered the first-ever evidence of cosmic neutrinos, is the star of particle astrophysics at the South Pole. Soon, however, a complementary detector known as the Askaryan Radio Array or ARA will join the hunt for the highest energy neutrinos.

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