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- Physics Grad Kate Miller Featured in Physics in Your Future APS Brochure
- Gravitational waves: U-M physicists involved in second detection
- The Hunt for Dark Matter Continues: PandaX Reaches World’s Best Sensitivity
- Stars Burning Strangely Make Life in the Multiverse More Likely
- Physics Professor Gordon Kane Awarded 2017 APS J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics
- U-M Astrophysicist Katherine Freese Explains the Search for the Universe’s ‘Dark Stars’
- New Dwarf Planet Solar System’s 2nd Most Distant
- Physicist David Gerdes and Team Find New Dwarf Planet In Our Solar System
- Professor Keith Riles – Member of LIGO Team
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- The 2017 Physics Commencement Live Event
- Physics Professors Receive MURI Grant
- Alec Josaitis Recently Awarded International Institute and Rackham Graduate School Individual Research Fellowship
- Dr. Priyashree Roy Earns 2016 Jefferson Science Associates (JSA) Thesis Prize
- LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves for Third Time
- U-M Physics Alum Alex Nitz Helps Detect Colliding Black Holes in Space
- Professor Henriette Elvang Selected for a College of Literature, Science, and Arts John Dewey Award
- Professor Gordon Kane Quoted in "Yearning for New Physics at CERN, in a Post-Higgs Way"
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- Dark Energy Survey reveals most accurate measurement of dark matter structure in the universe
- Professor David Gerdes Featured in USA Today Solar Eclipse Article
- U-M Physics Research Fellow Bachana Lomsadze and Professor Steven Cundiff Develop Novel Spectroscopy Technique that Could Revolutionize Chemical Detection
- Kip S. Thorne, Winner of 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, Has U-M Physics Connections
- LIGO and Virgo Make First Detection of Gravitational Waves Produced By Colliding Neutron Stars
- Leinweber Foundation Gives $8M for Physics Center in U-M Department of Physics
- Four U-M Physics Faculty Named Fellows
- Michigan Fireball Meteor Registers As Quake: Astrophysicist David Gerdes Quoted
- Professor Fred Adams Quoted in Science News Article
- A Modern Rutherford Experiment: Scientists Use Known Energy Neutrinos to Study Nucleus
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- U-M Physics Professor Franco Nori Makes 2017 Highly Cited Researchers List
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- The 2018 Physics Commencement Live Event
- Professor Timothy McKay Reveals His Science Journey in Recent Podcast
- Physics Students Tali Khain and Noah McNeal Awarded Goldwater Scholarships
- Homer A. Neal 1942-2018
- The Higgs Boson Reveals Its Love for the Top Quark
- Physics Rev E Celebrates 'Milestone Articles' of Physics Faculty
- Physics Graduate Benjamin Isaacoff Awarded Optical Society of America's Guenther Congressional Fellowship
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- Professor Benjamin Safdi Awarded DOE’s Early Career Award
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- New Physics Faculty Member Dominika Zgid
- Astrophysicist Katherine Freese Quoted in Astronomy Magazine
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- Professors Hui Deng and Mack Kira Named 2019 Fellows of the Optical Society
- Four Physics Faculty Named 2018 Fellows of the American Physical Society
- Four Physics Faculty Awarded American Physical Society Honors
- Gas-Detecting Laser Device Gets an Upgrade
- U-M Physicists Roberto Merlin, Meredith Henstridge and Team Develop Small Device that Bends Light to Generate New Radiation
- Physics Alum Larry Curtiss and Faculty Advisors Devised Contraption That Lead to Fiber Optics
- Michigan Physics Welcomes LSA Collegiate Postdoctoral Fellow Camille Avestruz
- Support Michigan Physics on Giving Blueday!
- Physicist Timothy Chupp Named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
- U-M Physics Senior Noah McNeal Awarded Marshall Scholarship
- Astrophysicist Katherine Freese and Colleague’s Latest Theory About Dark Stars Made Astronomy Magazine's Cover Story
- First Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Fellows Named by Leinweber Center for Theoretical Physics
- Physics Graduate Student Awarded 2018-2019 Rackham International Student Fellowship
- Professor David Gerdes Named Next Physics Department Chair
- Three U-M Physicists Make Highly Cited Researchers 2018 List
- State of Michigan Governor Declares February 28, 2019: Chirped Pulse Amplification Day
- Physicist Dragan Huterer Receives Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award
- Physicist Sharon Glotzer Elected to National Academy of Engineering
- Professor Rachel Goldman Elected Vice Chair of Division of Materials Physics
- Physicist Liuyan Zhao Awarded NSF CAREER Award
- Physicist Henriette Elvang Awarded Thurnau Professorship
- Physics Senior Sophie Barterian Earns Prestigious Luce Scholarship
- Electric Dipole Moments and the Search for the Origin of Matter
- Three Physics Graduate Students Named Recipients of 2019-2020 Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship
- Professor Christine Aidala receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Italy
- Professor August Evrard's Problem Roulette Tool Recently Awarded Provost's Teaching Innovation Prize
- Five U-M Physics Faculty Recently Promoted
- Professor Steven Cundiff Discusses Quantum Information Science at the White House
- Professor Stephen Forrest named Henry Russel Lecturer for 2020
- Physicist Roy Clarke and International Team Devise Way to Show How Common Elements Can Make a More Energy-Secure Future
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- Graduate Student Summer Fellows Named by Leinweber Center for Theoretical Physics
- Professor Christine Aidala Wins Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers
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- 2019 U-M Physics Graduate Wins American Physical Society LeRoy Apker Award
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- LUX-ZEPLIN Dark Matter Detector Moved Nearly a Mile Underground
- Support Michigan Physics on Giving Blueday
- Six U-M Physics Students Awarded Competitive National Fellowships
- Professor Liuyan Zhao Wins Prestigious Air Force Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) Award
- Two Graduate Students Awarded Prestigious Department of Energy Fellowships
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- Assistant Professor Marcelle Soares-Santos Named 2021 Cottrell Scholar
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- Please Donate Today (March 17) to the Undergraduate Support Fund for Giving Blueday!
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- Live From the International Space Station, It’s Saturday Morning Physics
- A team of researchers—Robert McGehee and Aaron Pierce of U-M Physics and Gilly Elor of Johannes Gutenberg University—proposed a new candidate for dark matter: HYPER, or “HighlY Interactive ParticlE Relics.”
- A Special Thank You to Navy Captain Josh Cassada and to NASA!
- Physicist Gregory Tarlé and Team, Find First Observational Evidence Linking Black Holes to Dark Energy
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January 14, 2023, marks a momentous day in the history of Saturday Morning Physics (SMP): astronaut Josh Cassada will be answering questions about life and research aboard the International Space Station (ISS) via NASA satellite link. Cassada, a Navy test pilot and physicist, piloted the SpaceX crew ship Dragon Endurance to the ISS in October 2022.
“This is truly a first for us in the history of Saturday Morning Physics,” says David Gerdes, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Physics and chair of the Department of Physics, who co-organizes SMP, a long-running program of the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. “The ISS orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, and it’s amazing to think it will complete a significant portion of its orbit during our event.”
Cassada will join SMP for a question-and-answer session at 10:30 a.m. on January 14 at 1420 Central Campus Classroom Building, 1225 Geddes Avenue. The event will also be live streamed here, and participants can submit questions that may be read at the event.
“All members of the public are welcome to submit questions and come to any Saturday Morning Physics event,” says Timothy Chupp, professor of physics and biomedical engineering. Chupp also co-organizes the program with the help of numerous physics and LSA staff members. SMP presenters use accessible language for audience members who range from elementary and high school students to scientists and retired community members.
ISS crew members regularly live stream educational programs during their tenure, and Cassada chose the University of Michigan for one of his events. “While we’ve been up here, I have truly enjoyed sharing this experience with anyone who is excited about exploring, so I’m hoping that we can continue to fuel the excitement that surrounds the pursuit of knowledge and understanding,” he writes from the ISS. “As far as physics in particular, I have found that the physicist’s ability to maintain a big-picture perspective when tackling detailed and complicated problems has served me well.”
Cassada’s ties to the state of Michigan include a bachelor’s degree in physics from Albion College, and co-founding a company that provides high-speed, low-loss photon detectors to enable next-generation experiments in Novi. His Ph.D. research on high-energy physics at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory involved researchers at several institutions, including Gerdes and other U-M faculty.
Carol Rabuck, manager of communication and advancement for the Department of Physics, highlights more connections between the university and the ISS: A U-M student worked on NASA experiment Veg-05, growing dwarf tomatoes to supplement astronauts’ diets; Nobel Laureate Samuel Ting, a U-M alum and Ann Arbor native, designed and leads the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer project atop the space station; U-M engineers designed bone density experiments that arrived at the ISS in November 2022; and more.
Is It Physics, or Is It NASCAR?
Saturday Morning Physics, started by physics professor Dan Amidei, began in 1995 as an opportunity for postdoctoral researchers to showcase their work. “I called it a ‘physics tailgate,’ because it was only on home football Saturdays before the game,” recalls Chupp. It became so popular that it required a larger room by only the second lecture and expanded to include presentations by professors, graduate students, and invited speakers.
“I think one of the cool things about physics is that it’s not an abstract, ethereal subject that’s completely removed from the real world,” says Gerdes. “It governs everything that we see around us, from the macroscopic scale and the cosmos to the subatomic scale.” SMP lecturers strive to welcome the general public to the wonders of physics—a world they already inhabit.
The secret behind SMP’s success is the live demonstrations. According to Gerdes, the Physics Department’s award-winning lecture demonstration lab is “packed to the rafters with doodads and widgets” that presenters use to illustrate physics concepts. Rabuck says that the “pop, crackle, and rockets” are an especially big draw for children.
However, Gerdes knows all too well how things can go awry during physics improv. For example, he planned a live demonstration during a lecture on rollercoaster physics. The demo team rigged up a small platform suspended by ropes. Gerdes placed a small beaker filled with water dyed blue to symbolize a rollercoaster passenger on the platform and explained to the audience how it would remain on the platform while flying through the air. Gerdes swung the ropes; the platform smashed into a media cart behind him; the beaker exploded; the audience laughed as the briefly flustered professor regained his composure.
“Saturday Morning Physics is kind of like watching NASCAR. There might just be a crash at the next turn,” he says.
SMP regularly draws an audience of 400 to 500 people, with topics that include black holes, the accelerating universe, quantum information, nuclear magnetism, exoplanets, and even the physics of Halloween. Recordings are available on the university YouTube channel.
The livestream with Cassada will take place in a 25-minute window during the SMP hour. In addition, the event will feature space propulsion expert and U-M applied physics alum John Foster, a professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, and of aerospace engineering, to answer audience questions.
More information about the event can be found at www.saturdaymorningphysics.org, or by contacting Carol Rabuck at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-763-2588.
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