The department celebrates its 2012 scholars and award recipients May 4 at the annual college Awards Reception. 

Refer to our Awards and Recognition page for origins and descriptions. Look here for a summary of last year's awards.

Dan Black Physics-Business Scholarship

Awards2012_004_1John Kuper is this year's recipient of the Dan Black Physics-Business Scholarships. As an entering freshman John was awarded the Dan Black Physics-Business Scholarship ($2,500 renewable each year for four years). He is now finishing his second year at CSUF. John has performed with distinction in his academic courses and his professors unanimously laud his academic accomplishments so far. This summer he will be doing his second internship for the Dan Black Program and, at the request of his supervi-sor, who wanted him again, he is going back to, where he worked last summer. This is a software intensive work, so John's experience there should help enhance his goal of forming his own software company in the future.

Dan Black Physics Scholarship

Awards2012_009_1The Dan Black Physics Scholarships are presented to a junior and senior physics majors who show promise for a successful physics-related career. This year's recipients are Matt Giesler, Brandon Grisanti, Oskar Negron, Danny Orton and Cinthia Padilla. They will each receive $4,000 over the course of the next academic year.

Matt has previously completed a degree in business at USC and has several years experience as an ac-countant and payroll technician, but ultimately was left unsatisfied with his career. He joined our under-graduate program in 2010 and has excelled, achieving a perfect 4.0 GPA. He is an extremely thoughtful student who is rarely content with superficial answers. At CSUF he has volunteered as a tutor for lower-division courses and will be pursuing research opportunities in the coming year. Matt's ultimate educational goal is a Ph.D. in physics.

Awards2012_010_1Brandon joined our undergraduate program in 2010 after his service in the US Coast Guard. Brandon is a capable and diligent young man, who is always looking to expand his horizons in physics. In upper divi-sion electromagnetism class, he volunteered to design a capacitor where glass bottles were used as a die-lectric and helped staff-physicist Shovit Bhari with his ongoing development of the department's physics-demonstration collection. Currently, Brandon is working on an Arduino microchip program to run an LED cube in three dimensions. This summer Brandon will travel to the University Federal de Juiz de Fora in Bra-zil as a part of Morty Khakoo's electron scattering research and will be working in the lab of host Profes-sor Christina Lopes during his stay.

Awards2012_015_1Oskar is a physics and math double major who transferred to CSUF in 2010, who has broad interests in physics and mathematics and aspires to a master's degree in economics as well as a Ph.D. in mathematics. His fall semester may set some kind of record as he completed 31 units by taking full loads at CSUF and Fullerton College as well as a Saturday class at Santa Ana College. Currently, Oskar is engaged in re-search projects with Zair Ibragamov in the math department and with Dana Clehane at Fullerton College.

Awards2012_016_1Danny is a physics and math double major and is active in both departments. He works in Morty Khakoo's electron scattering lab and is an SI leader in the math department, as well as a competitor in the Putnam competiton. Despite his busy schedule and challenging course loads he has earned a near-perfect 3.96 GPA and earned a reputation as an outstanding and insightful student. Danny had the opportunity to travel to Brazil last summer with Dr. Khakoo and designed and built a movable source for the lab. Danny intends to pursue a PhD in physics or math; we are rooting for physics of course!

Awards2012_017Cinthia is a junior physics major who plans to pursue a PhD and a career in physics. She is extremely active as president of our physics club and as an undergraduate researcher in Josh Smith's gravitational-wave group and will be attending her second physics summer NSF internship this coming summer at the renowned research center SRI in Palo Alto. Cinthia is also a member of the prestigious McNair Scholars program.

Titan Shops Textbook Scholarship

Cristian Navarro and Al Tapia are this year's recipients of our Titan Shops Scholarship, established through the generous support of the campus bookstore. Chris and Al will receive $250 each.

Cris entered the department as a physics major after graduating from Saddleback High School in 2009. In his second year he helped staff-physicist Colin Campbell reorganize and catalog the department's exten-sive lecture demonstration collection. For these efforts, Cris was last year's recipient of the Eiker-Adams Award and an Outstanding Service Award. Al transferred into physics from Mechanical Engineering after his first introductory physics course. Al enjoys participating in a variety of department activities organized by the Physics Club and helps with various Physics Club duties. This past spring, Al and Cris have worked together with staff-physicist Shovit Bhari to design and build a pulsed magnetic field demonstration that for example can crush an aluminum can or melt a penny in thin air. Al is looking to enter our masters program in the fall, and Cris will continue working in Morty Khakoo's electron-scattering lab.

Cooperman Award

The Cooperman Award honors the memory of former Physics Professor Ed Cooperman. Cinthia Padilla and Danny Orton are this year's recipients, and they will each receive $250.

Awards2012_018Cinthia is a junior physics major pursuing her goal of attending graduate school in physics. She is the presi-dent of our very active physics club and a dedicated researcher. For her current project in Josh Smith's lab, she measures scattered light from the optics used in gravitational-wave interferometry. She spent last sum-mer working with an NSF internship on gravitational-wave astronomy in South Korea, and she will expand her research resume this summer with another NSF internship at the renowned research center SRI in Palo Alto.

Awards2012_007_1Danny is a junior physics and math double major. He has a high GPA and is active in research in both dis-ciplines. He is a member of Morty Khakoo's atomic and molecular physics research team and spent last summer working with collaborators at the UFJF in Brazil on low-energy electron scattering experiments. After graduating Danny plans to pursue a PhD in either physics or math.




Eiker-Adams Creativity Award


George Balch receives this year's Eiker-Adams Award for $1,000 for the design and development of new experiments for our introductory modern-physics Physics 227L lab course.

George has developed a high-accuracy, low-cost polarization experiment that shows the properties of polarizer combinations using LEDs and light to frequency converters, replacing an outdated polarization experiment. George is also working to develop a novel fluorescence experiment that will allow measurement of excited state lifetimes of chromium ions in sapphire.


Norman Nitzberg Award

Awards2012_019The Norman Nitzberg Award is presented to a physics student for excellence in experimental physics and use of the machine shop or constructing lab related apparatus.

Master's student Joshua Tanner receives an experimental-physics award for being involved in building circuits used for timing and control of research instruments in Morty Khakoo's electron-scattering lab.

Awards2012_006_1Alex Gauf receives an experimental-physics award for single-handedly working an electron-molecule scattering experiment in Morty Khakoo's lab, the results of which have been submitted for publication in Physical Review A.




Robert Kedzie Award

Joan Kedzie, 17 years of Awards Reception!Joan Kedzie, 17 years of Awards Reception!The Robert Kedzie award is for students who have improved their performance in physics courses, and Peter Ho and Cinthia Padilla are this year's recipients and each will receive $500.

Peter is a graduating senior with a double major in physics and math. Peter learned quickly from his initial academic struggles, and his overall grades in both physics and math have significantly improved. In addi-tion to his coursework for both majors, Peter has volunteered his time as the past Interclub Council Representative for the Math Club and has conducted research on the mathematics of Einstein's General Relativity under the supervision of Bogdan Suceava and on the Quantum Vacuum under the supervision of Alfonso Agnew in Math, and on electron collisions in atomic physics under the supervision of Morty Khakoo in Physics. Following graduation, Peter plans to pursue a doctoral degree in physics or mathematics.

Awards2012_005Cinthia is a junior physics major. After initial struggles with upper-division courses, Cinthia has improved her performance even though she assumed a variety of new duties, including leadership in the physics club and participation in the McNair Scholars program.



Wolfram Award

Fabian Magana-Sandoval 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. 

Fabian is an outstanding student in several of our upper-division courses, as well as being an active research student in the department. In both his academic and research pursuits he has demonstrated a clear interest in, and exceptional understanding of, the use of computers in the study of physical systems, including Mathematica. Fabian was the top student in Dr. Leigh Hargreaves' computational physics course last spring and was exceptionally strong in the Mathematica section of the course, scoring 100% on his midterm exam. Over the past year Fabian has developed extensive data acquisition and analysis software for his research with Prof. Josh Smith, characterizing defects in optical components used in gravitational-wave detectors. Fabian is also currently serving as secretary of the physics club.

Outstanding Masters Candidate Award

Awards2012_002This year's Outstanding Masters Awards go to Daniel Henriksen and Khai Nguyen for their exceptional scholarship in their course work.

Daniel joined our masters program after receiving his undergraduate degree from Biola University. Along with completing our Masters Degree classes with distinction, Daniel was involved in theoretical condensed-matter research under the supervision of Ionel Tifrea. Daniel presented this work on nuclear spin dynamics in low dimensional semiconductor systems this past March at the condensed-matter divisional meeting of the American Physical Society in Boston. After completing his Masters Degree, Daniel hopes to join the US Na-vy Nuclear Energy program.

Awards2012_001Khai received his undergraduate degree from Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. During his two years at CSUF, Khai has excelled in all his classes and has been an outstanding and very popular teaching assistant in several of our elementary physics labs. He has been involved in research projects with Heidi Fearn and Ionel Tifrea. In the fall, Khai will begin studies on a PhD degree in physics at Georgia Tech.


Outstanding Scholarship Award

Awards2012_013_1Evan Foley and Oscar Monrreal are this year's recipients of the Physics Department's Scholarship Award, typically awarded to a graduating senior with outstanding academic achievements.

Evan is a graduating senior and plans to pursue a master's degree in physics at CSUF. He is a talented young physicist and programmer and has put these skills to good use as a member of a small team of developers in Josh Smith's gravitational-wave group that are improving data analysis software for the gravitational-wave-research community.

Awards2012_008_1Oscar is a graduating senior and will complete his physics degree with an emphasis in business. Oscar plans to work for a nonprofit organization on conservation projects in Africa and eventually pursue either a Masters or a Doctorate in conservation biology upon his return from Africa.



Outstanding Service Award

Awards2012_016Cinthia Padilla, Gabriela Serna, Heather Chilton and Kevin Ralphs are this year's recipients of the Physics Department's Service Awards, which the physics faculty award to students for their outstanding service to the department.

Cinthia and Gaby have been serving the Physics Club this past year as President and Vice President, respectively, leading the organization with regular meetings and a variety of events including fields trips, Family Science nights at area elementary schools, and department colloquia. This past January, they repre-sented the department with poster presentations at the 2012 Western Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics at Stanford, and last October along with Fabian Magana-Sandoval and Professor Josh Smith with poster presentations at the 2011 SACNAS National Conference in San Jose. This summer, Cinthia will be participating in an NSF-funded internship at the renowned research center SRI in Palo Alto. Gaby will be participating in an NSF-funded internship at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory, in-cluding a research project with the country's leading astronomy education research group.


This past year, Heather has led the local organization of our Society of Physics Students SPS by encourag-ing membership in the society among our majors while serving as liaison to the National SPS. The SPS facili-tates awards and fellowships, research and internships, as well as career-placement services. Heather began her journey as a geology major but added physics to her plate due to her interest in astronomy and planetary science. This summer Heather will be participating in a summer research project at the SETI Institute.

This past year, Kevin has generously volunteered his time organizing a GRE (graduate record exam) preparation course for his fellow student colleagues. Typically, six to eight students meet with Kevin each week. He prepares handouts for each session with warm up problems to demonstrate quick tricks for the exam along with longer problem sets covering the whole range of GRE topics from electromagnetism to quantum mechanics. Kevin has been awarded a four-year scholarship from Purdue University to join their PhD program in theoretical physics starting this fall.

Outstanding Senior Award

Kevin (left) with lab collaborators Leigh, Josh, MortyKevin (left) with lab collaborators Leigh, Josh, MortyKevin Ralphs is this year's recipient of the department's Outstanding Senior Award. Kevin is a double major in physics and mathematics. He has been an exemplary student in his academics over the course of his academic career as well as in research and in his mentoring of physics and mathe-matics with his fellow students. His overall GPA is 4.0 in physics and 3.98 in mathematics. He has presented his research on the electronic spectrum of water in Morty Khakoo's lab with collaborators from Caltech at an American Physical Society conference in Salt Lake City. Kevin has been awarded a four-year scholar-ship from Purdue University to join their PhD program in theoretical physics starting this fall.


Misc Photos

Our fearless photographer and staff physicist Shovit with wife SonyOur fearless photographer and staff physicist Shovit with wife Sony

Morty will serve as this year's college Faculty MarshalMorty will serve as this year's college Faculty Marshal