News Archives for 2008-09

Apr. 2009

100 Hours of Astronomy

100 Hours of Astronomy will be an event packed week during this International Year of Astronomy 2009.

Opening events are scheduled for April 2.

Check the Canadian IYA events database for more local events.

London IYA2009 web site.



Mar. 2009

Physics and Astronomy Student Association (PASA) members volunteered their time and expertise to demonstrate physics to elementary school students during WISDOM 2009. The event took place on March 27, 2009.



Participants were Adrienne Campbell, Mark Gooyers, Natalie Kehl, AnneMarie Pickersgill, Robin Wing, and Melanie Wright.

Mar. 2009

Physics Undergraduate Conference 2009

The following talks were presented at the 2009 Physics Undergraduate Conference:

  • Justin Bondi - "The Physics Governing the Sport of Curling"
  • Andrew Dittmer and Matt Quinn - " The Physics of Sailing"
  • Nathan Armstrong - "Physics of Explosive Demolitions"
  • Peter Wright - "A Rheologicial and Light Scattering Study of Dilute Microgel Dispersions"
  • Robin Wing - "Gravity Waves"
  • Simone Chaudhary - "Science and Religion - Apples and Oranges"
  • Marcus Couch - "Measuring Ventilation in Rats Lungs Using Hyperpolarized Helium3 MRI and Xenon129 CAT"
  • Adrienne Campbell - "Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Image simulation with PARACEST Contrast"
  • Natalie Kehl - "Image Analysis Techniques in Matlab : How to turn Matlab into Photoshop"
  • Mark Gooyers and Zen Mariani - "How to Survive Your Undergrad Years"

Mar. 2009

PhD student Wolf Dapp Professor Jan Cami

Our department is in an extremely rare position to be home to two candidates for the new astronaut program with the European Space Agency (ESA).

Graduate student Wolf Dapp (left) originally from Germany, and professor Jan Cami (right), from Belgium, were two of 8,413 applicants for the 8 positions.

Both candidates went through the first stage of psychological testing in August of 2008.

According to ESA, "this stage consisted of tests to evaluate the cognitive capabilities of the candidates, such as tests of memory, psycho-motor test, multitasking, linguistic skills, and various forms of visualisation-based tasks."

After the initial tests, Wolf and Jan found themselves in a group of the top 192 candidates.

The second testing sessions took place in late fall and early winter of 2008 and consisted of group exercises, interviews, computer simulations, role-playing exercises, and behavioural testing.

Unfortunately, Wolf and Jan did not succeed in reaching the next stage, but we are proud to have such extremely talented and well rounded scientists in our midst.

Mar. 2009

Graduate student Talayeh Hezareh Professor Els Peeters

Graduate student Talayeh Hezareh (left) and professor Els Peeters (right) both play on the Ex X-Pacers intramural basketball team which won its league championship game on March 16.



Mar. 2009

March Break Open House 2009

Pictured here are a few of our volunteers for March Break Open House.
Left to right: Donna Murrell, Steve Walker, Melanie Wright, and Robin Wing.

Mar. 2009

The 6th Annual Planetary Science and Exploration Public Lecture was held on Friday, March 6. Dr. Seth Shostak gave a presentation entitled "When will we Discover the Extraterrestrials?".

Read a detailed account from the Faculty of Science.

Mar. 2009

Logo for the Canadian Lunar Research Network

Graduate students Emily McCullough and Ed Stokan were announced as co-winners of the logo contest for Canadian Lunar Research Network (CLRN).




logo for the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration

Professor Troy David Oullette was prize winner for the creation of the logo for The Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX).



Feb. 2009

Opening of The Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration and the Canadian Lunar Research Network

Opening ceremonies for The Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration and The Canadian Lunar Research Network took place on Friday, February 27, 2009.

Shown in the above photo: Front row (Left to right):

Western Dean of Science David Wardlaw, Western VP Research and International Relations Ted Hewitt, Director of NASA Lunar Science Institute Greg Schmidt, Deputy Director CPSX and CLRN PI Gordon Osinski, Western Dean of Engineering George Knopf.
Back row: Director CPSX Peter Brown, and Nadeem Ghafoor of MDA.

Missing from the photo are Alain Berinstain, CSA Director of
Planetary Exploration & Space Astronomy, Bjarni Tryggvason, Western Adjunct
Engineering Research Professor, and Bob Richards, CEO of Odyssey Moon Ltd.

Cake cutting at opening of CPSX, CLRN Reception at the opening of the CPSX and CLRN Cake being served at the reception during the opening of the CPSX and CLRN

All photos courtesy Mitch Zimmer, Faculty of Science.

Read a detailed account from the Faculty of Science.

Feb. 2009

Abddollah Hassanzadeh Ghozlo Silvia Mittler WEF microscopy Silvia Mittler

Dr. Abdollah Hassanzadeh (left), and Dr. Silvia Mittler (right), have developed an alternative technology to "Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy".

In simple terms, this technique, called "Waveguide Evanescent Field Fluorescence (WEFF) Microscopy" provides a new very cost effective way to image an interface between a cell and a substrate.

This microscope has attracted the interest of researchers outside of Western. One of the published papers on this new technology which has been published in 2009 at The Journal of Applied Physics Letters has been selected by the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Physics to be published in the Virtual Journal of Biological Physics Research as frontier research.

The paper can be viewed online here.

Feb. 2009

Dr. Neil Turok, Director, Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics

The First Annual Theoretical Physics Public Lecture took place on Wednesday, February 25 to a standing room only audience in Conron Hall.
The inaugural lecture, by Dr. Neil Turok, Director, The Perimeter Institute, Waterloo, Ontario was entitled "What Banged?".



Feb. 2009

Emily McCullough

Graduate student Emily McCullough is working at the PEARL (Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory) in Eureka, Nunavut at 80 deg N. The lab is part of CANDAC, the Canadian Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Change). Emily is helping Environment Canada to make measurements of stratospheric temperature and ozone during the Canadian Arctic Ace Validation Campaign.

Emily is compiling a blog describing her adventures.

Emily is supervised by Professor Bob Sica, who is involved in the study of the Earth's atmosphere using Western's Purple Crow Lidar.

Feb. 2009

Astrophysicist Dr. Sarah Gallagher

Meet Western Astrophysicist Sarah Gallagher - In Profile (Western News).





Jan. 2009


ICTOPO 2009 Group Photo - Allahabad, India, January 05-08, 2009

The International Conference on "Transport and Optical Properties of Nanomaterials" was held in Allahabad, India, on January 5-8, 2009. Conference co-chairs were Professor Mahi R. Singh of our department and Professor Rob Lipson of Chemistry.

On the organizing committee where Professors Lyudmila Goncharova and Martin Zinke-Allmang of our department.

Jan. 2009

IYA 2009 Opening Event, London, Ontario

Dave McCarter explains mirror making Looking at spectral lines Ryan Marciniak  describes the telescopes at Cronyn Observatory

Here are a few photos from the IYA 2009 celebrations which took place at Western. Talks, demonstrations, and cake cutting ceremonies took place in the Physics and Astronomy building, while evening talks and viewing of telescopes took place at Cronyn Memorial Observatory. Click on a photo to enlarge.

More images will be available soon at the local IYA2009 web site.

Jan. 2009

Prof. John D. Landstreet

Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland has announced the appointment of Western Professor Emeritus John D. Landstreet as Leverhulme Visiting Professor for the year 2008-09.





Dec, 2008

At the Caltech Submillimetre Telescope on Mauna Kea At the Caltech Submillimetre Telescope on Mauna Kea At the Caltech Submillimetre Telescope on Mauna Kea At the Caltech Submillimetre Telescope on Mauna Kea At the Caltech Submillimetre Telescope on Mauna Kea At the Caltech Submillimetre Telescope on Mauna Kea


Professor Martin Houde (second from far right) led a team of electronics technician Harry Chen (left), graduate students Talayeh Hezareh (second from left) and Shadi Chitsazzadeh (far right), along with scientific machinist Brian Dalrymple (centre) to the CSO (CalTech Submillimeter Observatory) on the top of Mauna Kea on the big island of Hawaii.

The group successfully commissioned a new millimetre wavelength spectral line polarimeter.

Click on an image to enlarge. Photos by Harry Chen, Shadi Chitsazzadhe, Talayeh Hezareh.

Preliminary observational results.

Dec, 2008

Prof. David F. Gray

Professor Emeritus David F. Gray has been actively doing research at Western's Elginfield Observatory for the past 40 years.





Dec, 2008

Alan Hildebrand and Ellen Milley

Canadian Meteor physicists and hunters descended on Buzzard Coulee Saskatchewan to search for pieces of the fireball that landed in the area on November 20.

Graduate student Ellen Milley (at right in photo), who is co-supervised by Alan Hildebrand (left) of the University of Calgary, and Western's Professor Margaret Campbell-Brown was the first to spot a piece of the meteor on top of a frozen pond.

Professor Peter Brown of Western, along with postdoctoral fellow Wayne Edwards also visited the site in order to broaden the search for more fragments of the meteor. They were joined in the hunt by Western grad, Professor Martin Beech of Regina.

See more news from the University of Calgary. Photos by Grady Semmens U of C.

See the CBC news story.

November, 2008

Fall Preview Day 2008 Fall Preview Day 2008 Fall Preview Day 2008 Fall Preview Day 2008 Fall Preview Day 2008 Fall Preview Day 2008 Fall Preview Day 2008 Fall Preview Day 2008 Fall Preview Day 2008 Fall Preview Day 2008 Fall Preview Day 2008 Fall Preview Day 2008

Many volunteers made a rainy day more cheery during this year's Fall Preview Day.

  (photos: Peter Frank, Jeff Hutter)

October, 2008

Dr. Eugene Einstein Dr. Eugene Einstein

The Physics 2101A class was surprised by the appearance of none other that Dr. Eugene Einstein on Friday Oct 31, 2008. Photos by Annemarie Pickersgill.

October, 2008

Departmental Basketball 2008

Departmental 'Basketball for Fitness' has moved indoors again for the winter season. Year-round basketball has been a part of departmental activities for over 10 years. Players include faculty, staff, undergraduates, and graduate students.

October, 2008

Two of our students won awards at the recent Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference (CUPC) meeting in Toronto.

In the Chemical Physics Division, Simone Chaudhary won with a talk entitled "Photoluminescence of Silicon".

In the Astronomy and Astrophysics Division, Robin Wing persented his winning talk which was entitled "An Analysis of Gravity Waves in the Middle Atmosphere".

October, 2008

Prof. Carol Jones

The announcement of Professor Carol Jones as Assistant Dean of Science (Diversity and Outreach) read in part;

  • "...Dr. Jones is a very active researcher. She has developed an extensive list of international collaborators and has built a very active and productive research group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Jones has firmly established a reputation as an excellent, award-winning teacher. She is extremely effective in the classroom and has served as an inspiration and mentor to many students."


Read the Faculty of Science news article.

October, 2008

Bob Sica crossing the finish line at the 2008 Hawaii Ironman

Prof. Bob Sica lived a dream last weekend by qualifying for and then completing the Ford Hawaii Ironman World Championships. This is considered "la crème de la crème" of all triathlons.

Athletes swim 3.9km., cycle a hilly course of 180 km., and finish off with a full marathon run of 42 km.


Bob researches the physics of the Earth's atmosphere, but also teaches Physics 2065 for non-scientists called Going Faster and Farther: the Science of the Sporting Environment.

October, 2008

The American Mathematical Society special session entitled "Nonlinear Analysis and Applications" was held in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in October, 2009. The organizing committee included Professors Mahi R. Singh and S.P. Singh of Western.

October, 2008

Wayne Hocking

Prof. Wayne Hocking delivered a thought-provoking presentation on climate change and the study of the atmosphere over the earth's poles to a packed house in the P&A building.

Western News Article (photo Heather Travis / Western News).

Axonmet web site.

Oct, 2008

Peter Brown Zbignew Krzeminski Paul Wiegert Asteroid 2008 TC3 image from Western

Professors Peter Brown (left), Paul Wiegert (right), and staff member Zbig Krzeminski were able to photograph Asteroid 2008 TC3 on the night of October 6-7, 2008, before the asteroid hit the earth's atmosphere above Sudan, Africa.

You can click on the image of the asteroid (far right above) to see a sequence of images taken from Western's Elginfield Observatory which show the asteroid's motion relative to the background stars.

Related news from Astronomy Magazine , and Jet Propulsion Lab.

October, 2008

Grand Opening of MSA facility Grand Opening of MSA facility Grand Opening of MSA facility Grand Opening of MSA facility

Staff member CarolAnne Black (shown in left photo), along with fellow staff member Steve Walker and lab co-ordinator Dr. Kanthi Kaluarachchi are now able to show off the brand new state of the art first year physics labs in the Material Science Addition building.

See the new web pages for the First Year Physics Laboratories.

September, 2008

Martin Zinke-Allmang Using Wimba for remote TA'ing

Prof. Martin Zinke-Allmang (left) is using modern web technology to provide tutorials for Physics students via web teleconferencing. Shown at the right is graduate student teaching assistant Peggy Xu using a digitizing tablet along with the Wimba program.

See full Western news article.

September, 2008

Blaine Chronik

Prof. Blaine Chronik and collaborator Dr. Brian Rutt have received an award from the Western Innovation Fund.

The new funding will be used to develop new MRI techniques based on Delta Relaxation Enhancement (dreMR). This allows measurements to be taken over a range of magnetic field strengths unlike present measurements which can take place at only one field strength.

This technique will be combined with emerging molecular imaging techniques to allow important and specific biological molecules to be targetted for imaging. Physics and Astronomy Medical Physics web page.

August, 2008

Talayeh Hezareh is Wehlau Scholarship winner for 2008

Talayeh Hezareh, a doctoral student in The Department of Physics and Astronomy at UWO is this year's recipient of the William Henry Wehlau Scholarship.

It is awarded annually to an outstanding graduate student in the Astronomy program at Western.

She is shown here (left) with professor emerita Amelia Wehlau (right).

Talayeh's PhD work is "related to the study of magnetic fields in the star-forming process. In particular, she established a new way for observationally determining the cosmic ray ionization rate and the ionization fraction in molecular clouds, as well as working on the development of new instrumentation for the measurement of magnetic field strengths".

2009 Nier Prize

August, 2008

Gord 'Oz' Osinski

Dr. Gordon 'Oz' Osinski has just been awarded the 2009 Nier Prize of the Meteoritical Society. This is a major award for young scientists in meteoritics and closely allied fields. 

The award recognizes Oz's work on advancing the understanding of petrology and field aspects of impact cratering.

Oz is a faculty member in both the Department of Earth Sciences and The Department Physics and Astronomy .

The Nier Prize is described at the Meteoritical Society's web pages.

July, 2008

Prof. Paul Wiegert Prof. Phil Stooke

Physics and Astronomy professor Paul Wiegert (left) has honoured Western's Geography professor Phil Stooke (right) by naming a newly discovered asteroid after him. Dr. Stooke is also cross appointed to Physics and Astronomy.

Professor Stooke has recently published a book "The International Atlas of Lunar Exploration".

Asteroid "172996 Stooke" has an orbit between planets Mars and Venus.

See London Free Press article and the wiki page.

July, 2008

Raimundo N. Costa Filho

We welcome Dr. Raimundo N. Costa Filho to our department. Dr. Costa Filho is a condensed matter physicist.


July, 2008

Sarah Gallagher

We now officially welcome Dr. Sarah Gallagher to our department. Dr. Gallagher is an astrophysicist coming to us from UCLA, and has been with us now in an unofficial capacity for several months.

See our previous welcome.