Tag Archives: Physics

A Petition Is Circulating to Keep Physics Professor Christina Othon on Campus

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It’s no secret that Wesleyan has a problem holding onto great professors (see: our 2014 article on Professor Sarah Mahurin2012 article about tenure, and 2011 article on our hiring stats and issues). The lack of transparency surrounding why we can’t seem to keep anyone appears to be another issue entirely. Chances are if you’ve been here for a while, you’ve seen at least one phenomenal professor be denied tenure and/or not asked back, only to have the department say that the prof just “wasn’t a good fit.” What the F does that even mean?

Right now, students, led by Nisha Grewal ’17, are fighting to keep Assistant Professor of Physics Christina Othon, who’s been at Wesleyan since 2010, on campus. You can sign the petition HERE and check out the Facebook page supporting Professor Othon staying on campus HERE.

Here’s Grewal’s petition, which garnered over 100 signatures by early afternoon on Thursday:

Student Forum Info Session: So, Is the Cat Dead or Alive?

cat in a boxFrom Helena Awad ’16:

Need half a credit but want to take a ~fun~ and ~easy~ class? Consider taking “So, is the cat dead or alive?”: 200-Level Physics for Non-NSM Students!! This course is a student forum co-taught by Will Jasmine ‘16 and Helena Awad ’16. The course will cover various physics/biophysics topics that aren’t taught in an intro-level class (such as quantum mechanics, energy transfer, molecular dynamics simulations, etc). Absolutely no familiarity with physics required! Commitment: 1.25 hours of class time per week.

There will be an INTEREST MEETING on TUESDAY, JANUARY 26th from 8-9 PM in 41 WYLLYS, ROOM 112. Note: the class might not meet at this time weekly– we’ll decide on a time at the meeting. If you’re interested in the forum but can’t make the meeting, please email hawad[at]wesleyan[dot]edu or wjasmine[at]wesleyan[dot]edu and we’ll try to make something work!

Date: Tuesday, January 26
Time: 8-9 PM
Place: 41 Wyllys, Room 112

Veritas Forum Follow-Up Discussion: Monopolizing Knowledge – Can Science Explain Everything?

Shirley Deng ’14 opens up a serious can of worms:

Didn’t get your questions answered at the Veritas Forum this past Thursday? Dissatisfied, intrigued, or contemplative after the talk? Miss the talk completely?

If so, Professor Voth from the Physics Department at Wesleyan will be facilitating a follow-up discussion about questions surrounding the topic of science and faith this upcoming Wednesday in Usdan 108!

See you there!

Date: Wednesday, February 27
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Place: Usdan 108
Cost: Free

Video: Society of Physics Students Blow Up Mac Classic

Here’s what happens when dumpster-diving and physics club combine.

Here at Wesleying, we’ve got “Wesleyan University” on Google Alert, and every once in a while something magical and unexpected pops into our inbox. Like this video of a Society of Physics Students meeting in 2001 or 2002, when your friendly neighborhood physics nuts used liquid nitrogen to blow a Macintosh Classic into smithereens on the second floor of the Science Tower.

The video appears courtesy of a rather prolific YouTuber by the username of “sturmovikdragon,” whose credits include a handful of other “zany stunts” by the Wesleyan-based physics club. “sturmovikdragon” (possibly not hir real name) gleefully identifies this event as “perhaps the greatest achievement of the Wesleyan University Chapters of the Society of Physics Students,” noting that the group went so far as to use extension cords and work lights to illuminate the scene and that “SPS President Adam took the valiant role of arming the bomb and properly orienting the Mac Classic for the experiment.” Damn, that’s commitment.

According to the YouTube blurb, the videographer obtained this and various other Mac Classics by dumper-diving.

Bookstore Relocation Forum Follow-Up: Photos, Video Statements, and More

Ed Thorndike ’89: “Closing is not something that we view as an option.”

Yesterday I liveblogged an open community forum in PAC 001 regarding the proposed Washington Street commercial development and Wesleyan bookstore relocation. Considering recent controversy, I expected to hear some forceful arguments from community members. My expectations were exceeded. If you missed the 90-minute discussion, a quick glance at the liveblog coverage might hint at the passion with which students, faculty, alumni, and Middletown residents spoke out against the proposal. Some of the major complaints addressed traffic concerns, Washington Street safety, threats to local businesses, whether or not downtown really needs national chains, disregard for historic structures, permanent changes to zoning laws, Red & Black Cafe, skepticism towards the developers’ stated desire for “linkage” and “community,” and, ultimately, the character of downtown Middletown itself. Succinctly put, there’s a lot wrapped up in this proposal.

Inspired by many of the voices expressed at the forum, I stuck around afterwards to interview a few of the more outspoken community members. Some brief video statements appear past the jump. They feature two Wesleyan alumni (both of whom live and work in Middletown) and one current professor.

If my reporting seems one-sided—admittedly, I’m no fan of the proposal myself—it’s worth clarifying that of the 150 or more attendees at this forum, not one spoke up in favor of the development. Nobody seemed to like the idea. Nobody seemed to believe it will provide the “linkage” and “community engagement” it’s supposed to offer.

Physics Colloquium (Complete with Awesome Demos!)

Carl T. West ’11 brings news of an exciting physics colloquium happening in the near future:

Come see some of the coolest physics demos the department has hidden away! There might even be dancing flames!

Vacek Miglus, physics curator, will demonstrate some run of the mill, and some spectacular, waves apparatus. He will use all sorts of classical physics apparatus such as overhead projectors, phonograph turntables and film loop projectors. It will be much more entertaining than educational.

  • Date: Thursday, February 10
  • Time: 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
  • Place: Exley 58 (down the big double staircase, turn right)
  • Cost: Free

Physics Dept. Open House, Feb 8

You may have already gotten the mass email about this event, but it bears repeating the important bits:

FREE FOOD. also, Physics.

Date:   Feb. 8
Time:   12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Place:  Cady Lounge (in the Science Tower)

Lunch will be provided and faculty will be on hand to answer questions regarding the physics major.

Also, obligatory lolcats pic is included.

Liquid Nitrogen ice cream in Exley

Make liquid nitrogen ice cream with the Society of Physics Students. society-of-physics-studentsFrom Carl T. West ’11:

Society of Physics Students N2 Ice Cream Kickoff

The Wesleyan chapter of the Society of Physics Students always starts the new year by making fresh liquid nitrogen ice cream for those interested in ice cream, blowing stuff up, and everything else very scientific.

Make sure to come in order to get on the email listing and have your input for this semester’s direction! Contact ctwest@wesleyan.edu if you’re interested but unable to attend.

Date: Sept. 14
Time: 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Place: Cady Lounge (2nd floor of Exley, facing Clark)

Petition to Rehire Professor Lynn A. Westling

Students in Physics 112 have created a petition to urge administrators to rehire physics Professor Lynn A. Westling for the 2009-2010 academic school year. The petition reads as followed:

To Whom It May Concern:
Professor Lynn Adrea Westling has provided an invaluable service to both the Wesleyan Physics Department and the Wesleyan community overall. She incorporates wonderful in-class demonstrations, informative activities, and interesting topics in Physics into her lectures. She makes learning Physics come to life, especially in the context of the real world. Without her contributions to the Physics Department and Wesleyan’s Sciences, the university would suffer a great loss. She has changed students’ views not only of Physics, but also of the learning process. She is fair in her grading, and makes learning a constant process. She truly cares for her students, and makes it a point to see them succeed in her course. Please very strongly consider rehiring her for the 2009-2010 Academic Year.

If you believe Professor Westling should be rehired, you can sign an online petition at: http://www.petitiononline.com/bwaynyc/petition.html

[The above text was quoted directly from an anonymous submission]

While I’ve heard mixed things about Professor Westling, the impression I get is she provides a good class for those fulfilling NSM or pre-med requirements interested in physics but not interested in the (at times) tedious math involved in the calculus-based intro and upper level classes. There is no doubt in my mind she does more for the department and university than a certain other professor in the Physics department.

Its nice to see a group of students fighting for a professor they believe in. Good luck to Professor Westling and the students in Phys 112 and throughout campus who support her.