The department celebrates its 2011 scholars and award recipients May 6 at the annual college Awards Reception.
Dan Black Physics-Business Scholarship
Freshman John Kuper and senior Wyatt Kiedrowski are this year's recipients of the Dan Black Physics-Business Scholarships.
John has been awarded the Physics-Business Scholarship in the amount of $10,000 to be paid over a four-year period. John entered Cal State Fullerton as a declared Physics major after compiling a distinguished record of academic achievement in high school. John's goals are to obtain a graduate degree and he expects that his interest in physics and computer science, combined with the Physics-Business Program, will help him to achieve a goal of forming his own software company in the future. He follows in the footsteps of two older siblings who have successfully completed the Dan Black Physics-Business Program.
After receiving an Associate's Degree in business administration from Saddleback College, Wyatt attended Fullerton College and entered CSUF as a physics major. In his last semester of lower division classes for his business degree he took an elective course in conceptual physics and decided to change his major to physics. When he arrived at CSUF, he learned about the Physics-Business program and has been motivated and determined to achieve his educational and career goals to combine his passion for science and technology with entrepreneurial opportunities. Wyatt applied for the Physics-Business Scholarship and has been awarded $4,500, paid over his remaining semesters at CSUF, and has compiled an outstanding record of performance as a graduating senior.
Dan Black Junior-Year Scholarship
The Dan Black Junior Scholarships are presented to a junior physics major who shows promise for a successful physics-related career. This year's recipients are Anthony Colombo, Cinthia Padilla, and Fabian Magaña-Sandoval. They will receive $4,000 each over the course of the next academic year.
Anthony knew he liked science and in particular physics when he read about the Universe in high school. He got encouragement from his mother, who is an engineer at Boeing. Anthony hopes he will join her to work in the aviation industry someday, but not before he learns more about physics and completes his PhD. He is currently studying hard in his introductory physics course and is eager to get into more advanced classes.
In addition to her upper division coursework, Cinthia is secretary of the physics club, and is conducting gravitational-wave research supervised by Dr. Josh Smith. This summer she will be traveling to South Korea as part of the University of Florida's International REU program. Cinthia will continue in our program as a senior in the Fall.
Fabian, a junior, transferred from Santa Ana College in Fall 2010. Before coming to CSUF he participated in the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program, working in the department of Earth System Science at UCI on Nitrous Oxide isotopes produced by different sources. His primary interest is in experimental physics and will be starting a project involving optics research with Dr. Josh Smith this summer. He intends to pursue graduate study in physics, but also considers a career in teaching.
Dan Black Senior-Year Scholarship
The Dan Black Senior Scholarship is presented to a senior physics major who shows promise for a successful physics-related career. Heather Chilton is this year's recipient and will receive $4,000 over the course of the next academic year.
Heather started as a Geology major, but has decided to double major in Physics and Geology. Her true love is planetary science, which lies at the boundary of astrophysics and geology. In addition to pursuing a double major, she is conducting research in atomic physics under Dr. Greg Childers' supervision. After completing both majors, she plans to continue her studies of planetary science in graduate school and pursue a career that will enable her to conduct research and share her knowledge in an academic setting.
Titan Shops Textbook Scholarships
Amos Jo and Danny Orton are this year's recipients of our Titan Shops Scholarships, which are provided through a donation from the campus bookstore and Titan Shops as a thank you to the university for encouraging course textbook purchases. They will each receive $250.
After several years of work, Amos was inspired to return to college to help develop greener technology. He transferred to CSUF from Mt. San Antonio College in Fall 2010. Though he is still a new to the department, he has impressed his instructors with his thoughtful participation in class and his careful and insightful responses on homework and exams. Amos has not decided on his ultimate career goals at this point, and we're all ok with that.
Danny is a double major who has demonstrated excellent coursework and course participation in his upper division physics classes. He has shown exceptional focus to tasks at hand and established a strong work ethic. He is presently working in the lab of Dr. Morty Khakoo and will travel to Brazil this summer to work with one of Morty's collaborators on electron-initiated reactions as part of a joint program with CSUF, Caltech, and University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil supported by the National Science Foundation.
The Cooperman Award honors the memory of former Physics Professor Ed Cooperman. Peter Ho and Cinthia Padilla are this year's recipients, and they will receive $250 each.
Peter is a graduating senior with a double major in physics and math. In addition to his coursework for both majors, Peter volunteers his time as the Interclub Council Representative for the Math Club and conducts research on the mathematics of Einstein's General Relativity under the supervision of Dr. Bogdan Suceava in Math and on electron collisions in atomic physics under the supervision of Dr. Morty Khakoo in Physics. Following graduation, Peter plans to pursue a doctoral degree in physics or mathematics.
Cinthia is a junior physics major pursuing her goal of attending graduate school in physics. Along with her studies, she is active in the physics club and in research supervised by Dr. Josh Smith. Cinthia will travel to Seoul and to Paris this summer to expand her research experience in gravitational-wave astronomy, and return to us as a worldlier Senior in the Fall.
Eiker-Adams Creativity Award
Cristian Navarro receives this year's Eiker-Adams Award for $1,000 for the design and development of experiments for physics lecture courses to demonstrate a variety of physical phenomena.
Among the demonstrations he has created are: (i) a Curie point demonstration showing that at high temperatures ferri- and ferro-magnetic materials become paramagnetic and lose their magnetization; (ii) a Faraday's Law of Induction demonstration showing that a moving magnet creates a nonuniform magnetic field which induces eddy currents in a nearby conductor; and (iii) the synthesis of a Ferrofluid which interacts with magnetic fields creating fantastic shapes and patterns, and also to show the shape of a magnetic field.
For the past year, he has also assisted Colin Campbell and the department techs in the creation and cataloging of many other demonstrations and posting them to our new lecture-demonstrations webpages.
Norman Nitzberg Award
Masters student Brian Kuper receives this year’s Norman Nitzberg Award in the amount of $200. Over the course of his research to investigate optical scatter from the coatings of diffractive optics, Brian has designed several key components for an imaging scatterometer and worked with CNSM machinist Jon Woodland to have them produced. Brian plans to work as a scientist and/or engineer in industry after graduation. (Yes, Dan-Black Scholar John Kuper and Brian are brothers!)
Robert Kedzie Awards
The Robert Kedzie awards are for students who have improved their performance in physics courses, and Jacqueline Lee and Bobby Wright are this year's recipients and each will receive $200.
Jackie is a graduating senior who learned quickly from her initial struggles with her first upper-division courses, and her physics grades and overall performance have improved dramatically over the past year. She is working in Dr. Joshua Smith's lab on gravitational wave physics, and presented a poster on this work at a national meeting in April. In addition to her academic pursuits, Jackie's extensive experience in the banking industry has helped her to serve the physics club as treasurer. In the fall, Jackie will be entering the MS program in electrical engineering.
Bobby is a sophomore physics major who recently changed majors from business. Bobby 'converted' to physics after taking our algebra-based introductory physics course, which gave him the opportunity to get to know other physics majors, faculty and staff in the department. Last fall, he charged into the calculus sequence as well as our calculus-based introductory physics and has performed extremely well. This spring, Bobby has been teaching in our supplemental-instruction (SI) program helping students in their first-semester of physics in parallel to the course's lectures and labs. Bobby has also committed 10 hours or so per week this spring to work closely with department tech Steve Mahrley to maintain and setup each week the department's introductory physics labs.
Cinthia Padilla is this year's recipient of the Wolfram Award. This award is based on nominations and input from faculty across the college and selected by the dean's office and is a lifetime copy of the symbolic-algebra programming system Mathematica from Wolfram Research. This past year, Cinthia has gone from being 'green' in computational physics to showing a clear aptitude for Mathematica and is well on her way to becoming an exceptional programmer. Cinthia has particularly shown a natural ability to transition from manual to computer aided problem solving, which is an area where many students struggle the first time they are exposed to computer code.
Outstanding Masters Candidate Awards
This year's Outstanding Masters Awards go to Rehab AlBaridy for her exceptional scholarship in her course work and to Brent Yates for his outstanding masters project with Dr. Morty Khakoo.
Rehab joined our masters program after one semester at Pittsburg State University. She came highly recommended and has proven to be a talented and hard working student. She scored A's in all our classes and lately has been involved in research with Dr. Morty Khakoo. Rehab hopes one day she will return to her native country, Saudi Arabia, to work for King Saudi University.
Brent has worked on a difficult analysis of experimental data to determine reaction dynamics due to electron impact ionization of argon and krypton. The project involved a whole year of analysis of the data and repeated crosschecks of the way different data sets were compared. Brent's work has resulted in a publication in 2010 in the Journal of Physics B: Atomic and Molecular Physics, and his most recent results have just been published in Physical Review A. Brent will be pursuing a PhD after his Masters.
Outstanding Scholarship Awards
Kevin Ralphs and Casey Sanchez are this year's recipients of the Physics Department's Scholarship Award, typically awarded to a graduating senior with outstanding academic achievements.
Kevin is a double major in physics and mathematics and has been an outstanding student with his course work as well as in the research environment. His overall GPA is 3.98 and in his physics and math courses at CSUF 4.0. He has single-handedly developed an intricate yet versatile symbolic-algebra (Mathematica) program to analyze the complex electronic energy-loss spectrum of water excited by low energy electrons, a reaction of fundamental biological interest. His analysis done in collaboration with a theory group at Caltech will result in reaction rates for excitation of water at the lowest electron energies measured to date.
Casey will also be graduating with degrees in physics and mathematics and a GPA of 3.56 [3.63 in physics]. At CSUF, Casey participated in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and was a McNair Fellow and a Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Fellow. At CSUF he worked with Dr. Michael Loverude on physics education research. Casey participated in two summer research projects at the University of Wisconsin and MIT, which help him refine his interest in material science. Between these different projects, he has co-authored one paper and two poster presentations, with one more of each expected in the near future. Casey will be starting a Ph.D. program in material science at UC-San Diego in the fall, and has received a 4-year fellowship to support his studies.
Outstanding Service Awards
Cristian Navarro, Bobby Wright, and Brent Yates are this year's recipients of the Physics Department's Service Awards, typically awarded to students for their outstanding service to the department.
Cris is a sophomore physics major who joined the department last summer working with the department techs to begin a reorganization of our extensive lecture demo collection and renovation of our equipment and storage facilities. Cris worked 20+ hours per week over the summer and has committed 10+ hours per week this past school year to work closely with Colin Campbell and Steve Mahrley to further reorganize and renovate the department's lecture demo collection.
This past December, department tech Fred Engelhard retired after 20 years of dedicated service. This spring, the department hired Bobby to assist department tech Steve Mahrley throughout the week with lab and lecture-demo setup as needed. Bobby quickly familiarized himself with his new and fairly technical duties bringing an exceptional can-do attitude to the department that we all appreciate and greatly enjoy. Bobby has developed an extensive skill base and has performed a variety of tasks with minimal supervision.
Brent has been the Physics Club president for three years. While the club president is often an undergraduate student, Brent has gone beyond the call of duty and willingly served as a master's student, while performing cutting-edge research in Dr. Morty Khakoo's electron scattering lab. This Outstanding Service Award recognizes his extraordinary dedication and his hard work.
College Distinguished Faculty Award
It is with great pleasure the department congratulates Morty Khakoo as this year's recipient of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Distinguished Faculty Award.
The announcement from the Dean on April 15 read in part, "The award is in recognition of your outstanding scholarship, teaching, and the profound and significant ways in which you support students at Cal State Fullerton. Your leadership, dedication and commitment to your students and your profession are obvious to all. Clearly, you are richly deserving of this award. On behalf of the faculty, please let me congratulate and thank you for your contributions and service to your department and the College."
The physics faculty greatly appreciates Morty's long-time efforts in the department and the fine examples of excellence in research andmeaningful student involvement in his research he has set for us all.
The award carries with it $3,000 to be spent in ways that enhance teaching, research, or service. Morty will be recognized at the CNSM Awards Reception in May and presented with a certificate and a plaque inscribed with his name to be displayed in the NSM display case.
Department Special Appreciation Award
The department would like to recognize CSUF lecturer and former physics masters student Colin Campbell for his exceptional service to the department over the course of the past year to reorganize and renovate the department's extensive collection of lecture demonstrations.
Our collection was started over 50 years ago by Professor Ray Adams, the department's founding father, and has continued to grow through the years with the efforts of our faculty, technical staff, and the contributions of past Eiker-Adams Awardees. Colin mentored this year's Eiker-Adams recipient Cris Navarro, and together they have replaced or refurbished almost all of our equipment while adding numerous new demonstrations and have developed an extensive catalog system and web-based wiki to make the collection more transparent and available to the entire department.
Faculty Achievement Award
Emeritus Professor Jim Woodward, a long-time friend of the department, established the Faculty Achievement Award with a generous donation. This year, the award goes to Morty Khakoo. Morty's application focused on three papers from his electron scattering lab, prepared in part during his Fall 2010 sabbatical. Two have appeared in the prestigious journal Physical Review A and the third has been accepted by that journal and will appear very soon. The three papers between them include five student co-authors, among them two of our 2011 department awards recipients Brent Yates and Kevin Ralphs.
We greatly appreciate the assistance extended by Professor Matt Kirby, Geology, in selecting this year's Faculty Achievement recipient.