New and Noteworthy

May 2017:
Andy Ding’2017 earned Research Honors for the research he conducted under the guidance of Prof. Gabe Spalding. Andy's thesis, titled "STUDIES IN MESOSCOPICS AND QUANTUM MICROSCOPIES” is available at

April 2017:
A number of physics majors continue to do research in Professor Perera's lab to design and build powerful instruments to study cosmic dust.

Summer 2016:
As usual, our physics students worked on a broad range of projects during their summer 2016 internships of various kinds, at research universities, government labs, private companies, or on campus.

Morgan Bishop '18 worked at 4 Seasons Health Club as swim coach and swim instructor.

Hank Bolon '18 worked at the governors club in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as the pool manager.

Emily Brown '17 worked at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in Springfield, IL through the Governors Environmental Corps internship. I worked jointly with the Office of Community Relations and the environmental education coordinator on the "Jr. GEC" summer camp outreach and on posters and activities for the IEPA IL State Fair booth.

Andy Ding'17 worked at Harvard University, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, in their Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.

Brannan Hutchinson '18 worked at Barnes-Jewish Hospital observing a cardiac anesthesiologist.   

Dino Karas '17 worked at Fermi Lab National Accelerator Laboratory on the Muon to Eon (Mu2e) project with Mechanical Engineers, Cryogenic Engineers and Engineering Physicists.

Lunjun (Simon) Liu ‘17 worked at the Caltech  SURF program, in TIME-Pilot group, physics  department, to study the epoch of reionization.

Krystyna Lopez '17 took a Ukrainian language course at Ukrainian Catholic University.

Matt McGill '17 worked at the University of Kentucky as a research assistant in an atomic physics lab.

Adam Muellers '16 worked at Air Management Products and aided in the selection and design of HVAC systems for commercial and industrial buildings.

Tim Smyk '18 worked at Morris Business and Technology Center as a maintenance worker on various projects around the building.  

Troy Southard '16 worked at Elkay manufacturing as an electrical engineering intern on the next generation bottle-filling units and improving manufacturing processes using Labview programming.

Rachel Westerkamp '18 worked for Wright Patterson Air Force Base as an ATR Center Intern on a project called "Using Convolutional Neural Networks for SAR feature extraction."

Boyang Zhou' 17 worked at Detroit University as a researcher on Magnetic Hyperthermia. 

June 2, 2015
Congratulations to Zhenghao (Andy) Ding ’18  who has been awarded a 2015 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship,in the amount of $2000, from SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, for his potential contributions to the field of optics, photonics or a related field. An international student from China, Ding is currently researching microfluidics, optical trapping and quantum entanglement in the physics lab at Illinois Wesleyan.

May 22, 2015
Our own Taiyo Wilson, a PhD candidate in the Mechanical Engineering department at UIUC, has been awarded a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (NSTRF).  The NSTRF program sponsors graduate students who show significant potential to contribute to NASA’s goal of creating innovative new space technologies. Taiyo's research involves developing computational methods for modeling non-equilibrium flows and gas-surface and plasma-surface interactions. This work is of interest to NASA because predictive modeling of chemically reacting flows is essential for the design and optimization of future hypersonic vehicles.

Summer 2015:

A large fraction of our physics majors are doing exciting research work during this summer.
All five faculty members in the department have students working on research projects with them.
Here is a brief description of the various projects that our physics majors are working on during their summer internships of various kinds, on campus, and at other research universities, government labs, or private companies.

Kyle Connour'15 is working on Trojan asteroids, with IWU Prof. Linda French, at the Observatario Cerro Tellolo, Chile.

Brian Kim'15 is working on laser-assisted electron scattering experiments, with IWU Prof. Bruno deHarak, at the University of  Kentucky.

Margaret McCarter'15  is doing a research internship, working in the tribology group at Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL.

Joe Richards'16 is working on fabricating  nanovaterite particles and using a combination of acoustic and optical techniques for laser trapping in resonant structures, with IWU Prof. Gabe Spalding, at  St. Andrews University, Scotland.

Hayley Roberts'16  is doing an REU research internship at the University of Colorado, Boulder .

Kyle O'Shea'16, Fiona Breyer'17 and Lunjun Liu '17 are working on setting up an experiment for the study of cosmic dust analogues, with IWU Prof. Thushara Perera, at IWU.

James Connolly'17 is working as a manufacturing engineer intern at GKN, in Woodridge, IL.

Toan Le'17 is  working with a spatial light modulator to compensate for scattering inside some exotic complex fluids, with IWU Prof. Gabe Spalding, at IWU.

Maxwell Leonard'17, a physics economics double major, is working in the financial planning and analysis department at State Farm.
Matthew McGill'17, 2015 Bill Murphy Scholar, is working on chemical oscillations and waves, with IWU Prof. Narendra Jaggi, at IWU. 

Jake Nave'17 is doing glass research in an (industry) internship at Johnson Matthey Noble Metals.

Julia Savich'17 is doing an REU research internship,involving forest bioproducts research, at the Univesity of Maine-Orono.

Ruomeng Zhang'17 is doing an REU research internship, on solar technologies, with Prof. Greg Scholes at Princeton University.
http://chemistry.princeton. edu/faculty/scholes

Vasil Kukushliev'18 is doing an REU  research internship at the University of Texas at Brownsville.

April 20, 2015
Margaret McCarter'15 has been named a recipient of the prestigious and competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. She will use this fellowship to pursue her Ph.D. in Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, starting in Fall 2015 .

April 19, 2015
Linda French  and Jennifer Sieben are coauthors on a major article in Icarus, the leading journal of planetary astronomy.  "Rotation lightcurves of small jovian Trojan asteroids." Linda M. French, Robert D. Stephens, Daniel Coley, Lawrence H. Wasserman and Jennifer Sieben.

April 18, 2015
Ten physics students presented the research that they had conducted in collaboration with various professors, at the

2015 John Wesley Powell Research Conference at Illinois Wesleyan University.

"Microfluidic generator of sub-10-micron hydrosomes" poster by Zhenghao Ding, Lunjun Liu, Gabriel C. Spalding*
"Assembly, alignment, and maintenance of an automated Laser Cutter" poster by Zhenghao Ding, Lunjun Liu, Gabriel C. Spalding*
"Demonstration of Ion Trap principles" poster by Zhenghao Ding, Lunjun Liu, Gabriel C. Spalding*
"Designing optical traps from the bottom up" byToan H. Le, Joseph Richards, George W. Alex, Gabriel C. Spalding*
" Oscillating Chemical Oscillators" oral presentation by Ruomeng Zhang, Rita Xi Lin and Narendra K. Jaggi *
" Interactive Physics Simulations" oral presentation by Jonathan Gholson and Narendra K Jaggi *
" A New Laboratory for mm-/sub-mm-wave Characterization of Cosmic Dust Analogs", poster by Lunjun Liu and Thushara Perera*
" Delving Deeper In To Space: Observing Areas Surrounded by Interstellar Dust" , poster by Beatrice Koka, Ryan Schonert , Rebecca Roesner* and Thushara Perera*
musical performance by Krystyna Lopez
*: name of faculty members supervising the research 

April 17, 2015
Ryan Schonert ’16 was named the recipient of an IWU Eckley Fellowship to conduct research during summer 2015 on  “Delving Deeper into Space: Observing Areas Surrounded by Interstellar Dust” under the supervision of Professor Thushara Perera. The fellowship includes a stipend of $4,000 and complimentary on-campus housing.

April 12, 2015
Alex Scherer'15 has accepted the offer of admission and research assistantship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, to pursue his Ph.D. in Physics, starting in Fall 2015.

April 11, 2015
Rita Xi Lin'17 presented her research,done with Prof. Narendra Jaggi, at the competitive Student Research Symposium of the Illinois Section of American Association of Physics Teachers, Elsa, IL
"An oscillating chemical reaction studied via video macroscopy and microcalorimetry"  Rita Xi Lin, Kyle Connour and Narendra K. Jaggi

April 11, 2015
Ruomeng Zhang'17 presented her research, done with Prof. Narendra Jaggi, at the competitive Student Research Symposium of the Illinois Section of American Association of Physics Teachers, Elsa, IL and won the second prize.
"Diffusion Coupled Chemical Oscillators" by  Rumeng Zhang, Xi Lin and Narendra K. Jaggi

April 10, 2015
The work of Kyle Connour'15 with Prof. Linda French has led to a scientific publication in Minor Planet Bulletin . Kyle will be pursuing Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, starting in Fall 2015.  See the link below for more details.

April 8, 2015
Professor Linda French was named the 2016 winner of the Kemp Award for Teaching Excellence. See the link below for more details.

February 3, 2015
Prof. Narendra Jaggi was appointed as Visiting Scholar in the Physics Department at the University of Ilinois Urbana Champaign, where he is working on highly correlated electron systems with Prof. Laura Greene and Prof. Wan Kyu Park during his sabbatical leave.

Jan 21, 2015:
Prof. Narendra Jaggi was the inaugural speaker at the Fr. C. deBrouwer Memorial Interdisciplinary Science Lecture Series, St. Xaviers College, Ranchi, India. The title of his talk was " The Future of Science Education: It is already here."

Jan 8, 2015
Sam Birsa'15 presented his research conducted in Prof. Thushara Perera's lab as a poster at the 225th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle Washington. The poster was titled "A New Laboratory for MM-/Sub-MM-Wave Characterization of Cosmic Dust Analogs," Birsa, Samuel; Do, Huy; Williams, Frederick; Liu, Lunjun; Schonert, Ryan; Perera, Thushara (All from IWU), and Dale Fixsen (NASA, GSFC).

Jan 8, 2015:
Prof. Narendra Jaggi was the chief guest and a lead speaker at at the annual IITeration: Nation Building program, hosted by the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur Alumni Association, Calcutta. This year's theme was "Helping Shape Tomorrow's Youth."

December 12, 2014:
The research of Christine Démoré and Mike MacDonald of the University of Dundee in the UK, Patrick Dahl and Gabriel Spalding of Illinois Wesleyan University in the US, and colleagues, was named among the physics breakthroughs of the year 2014 by, for creating the first acoustic "tractor beam" that can pull an object by firing sound waves at it. IWU student Patrick Dahl was co-lead author on this work.
November 15, 2014:
IWU Visiting Professor of Physics Robert Wagner, whose PhD from Princeton is in high-energy physics, took Illinois Wesleyan physics students on an “Insider’s Tour” of FermiLab, a national lab devoted to high-energy physics, just two hours north of here. We arranged a special tour for our physics students, taking us into areas where the public tours do not go.

Fall 2014:
Julia Savich served as “student lead” on a Sp eaker and Performance Series grant entitled “Through the Looking Glass: The Science of Art … or the Art of Science”  received by Profs. Crystal Boyce, Gabe Spalding, and Karen Schmidt from the  Recentering the Humanities Project


Fall 2014

Profs. Kevin Strandberg and Bruno deHarak were awarded funding from the  Recentering the Humanities Project, for a team taught course combining science and art for the creation of images. In Fiat Lux Semper Scientific and Artistic Experiments in Light Imaging, students will work with images, some based in reality, others not. What it means to “see” something depends on one’s perspective – artists, philosophers, and scientists are unlikely to give the same definition.

April 30, 2014 
The exciting work of Patrick Dahl' 2013 and Professor Gabe Spalding, along with their collaborators in Scotland, on macroscopic tractor beams with acoustic waves has been featured under the “News & Commentary in Physics” section of the website of the American Physics Society. It is highly readable, and it is bound to be seen by students and researchers around the world. 

March 30, 2014

Margaret McCarter Goldwater Scholar 2014 Illinois Wesleyan junior Margaret McCarter (Arlington Heights, Ill.), a physics major and chemistry minor, was named a 2014-15 Goldwater Scholar. The Goldwater program, established by Congress in 1986, recognizes outstanding academic achievement in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. McCarter is one of only 283 selected nationally out of 1,166 nominees, and one of only nine students from the state of Illinois.

"The physics department here is incredible, and every professor is genuinely interested in getting to know students and helping them succeed. They have really encouraged me to seek out opportunities to do research and are always ready and willing to help if I come to them for guidance." ~  Margaret McCarter, the University’s first Goldwater recipient since 2003


January 23, 2014
CUWiP 2014

Julia Savich, Jennifer Sieben, Margaret McCarter, Emily Brown, Krystyna Lopez, Chelsea Davitt, and Beatrice Koka represented the physics and pre-engineering women of IWU at the 2014 Midwest Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) , January 16-19, 2014, hosted the University of Chicago. 

January 22, 2014

Professor Gabriel C. Spalding has been elected as a Fellow of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. Fellows are members of SPIE who have made significant scientific and technical contributions in the multidisciplinary fields of optics, photonics and imaging. This high honor is awarded to acknowledge  their technical achievement, and for their service to the general optics community and to SPIE in particular.


December 3, 2013
Professor Gabe Spalding has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society, upon the recommendation of the Forum on Education. This is a high honor; only one half of one percent of the membership of APS is elected to the Fellowship of the Society. The citation reads, in part: " For his work to create a community of physics educators focused on physics laboratory instruction beyond the first year; ..."

October 16, 2013
Professor Gabe Spalding has been selected to receive the 2014 Homer L. Dodge Citation for Distinguished Service to AAPT.  "Besides being a past member and Chair of the AAPT Committee on Laboratories, he has been active on multiple AAPT committees as either a committee member or friend of the committee. He has been an organizer or contributor to a session at nearly every AAPT semi-annual national meeting for years. He has also been active behind the scenes and on task forces and subcommittees, and served on the AAPT Nominating Committee during 2012-13."

October 15, 2013
Professor Gabe Spalding spoke with Susan Saunders of WJBC, about Bloomington's Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Clinton Davisson. Click here to listen to this conversation. 

October 14, 2013
Precise observations of asteroids by three Illinois Wesleyan University physics majors have resulted in the designation of the University’s Mark Evans Observatory as an official observing site. The three are: Kyle Connour ’15 and Chelsea Davitt ’14, both of Bloomington, and Daniel La Rocca of Palatine, Ill., a 2013 graduate of Illinois Wesleyan.
For more information, click here

October 1, 2013
Professor Gabe Spalding chosen to receive the prestigious 2014 Jonathan Reichert and Barbara Wolff-Reichert Award for Excellence in Advanced Laboratory Instruction. The Prize was established to recognize and honor outstanding achievement in teaching, sustaining (for at least four years), and enhancing an advanced undergraduate laboratory course or courses at US institutions.  It consists of $5,000 and a certificate with the appropriate citation. The citation that will appear on the certificate reads as follows:
“For introducing contemporary concepts and significant enhancements to “beyond-first-year” physics laboratory courses, and for playing a key role in organizing the nation-wide Advanced Laboratory Physics Association and being its first president.”

September 23, 2013
Professor Linda French and D. La Rocca (IWU'13) are co-authors on these papers.
1) "A Troop of Trojans:  Lightcurves of 24 Trojan Asteroids," by L. M. French, R. D. Stephens, D. R. Coley, L. H. Wasserman, F. Vilas, and D. La Rocca
2) "Lightcurve for (152756) 1999 JV3," by R. D. Stephens and L. M. French.
These papers are available online here.

September 9, 2013
llinois Wesleyan's Mark Evans Observatory is now an official observing site recognized by the Minor Planet Center (MPC), due to the efforts of Kyle Connor ('15), Chelsea Davitt ('14) and Daniel La Rocca ('13).  The three physics majors worked over the summer under the direction of Physics Professor Linda French to install a new telescope and electronic camera at the observatory. Their observations of a wide range of asteroids were of sufficiently high precision for the MPC to designate a permanent code to the Evans Observatory.  The MPC is housed at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union.

September 6, 2013
Professor Thushara Perera receives a grant from a National Science Foundation grant to study the properties of cosmic dust through. The $178,261 grant will support obtaining laboratory instruments and fund the stipends for two student research assistants each year of the two-year grant period.

August 26, 2013
Sam Birsa'2014 received the 2013 Bill Murphy Summer Research Award to set-up single quantum interference experiments for our upper-level laboratory curriculum.

August 25, 2013
Patrick Dahl'2013 and Professor Gabe Spalding are co-authors of a paper titled  "(Not) just torquing around  " at Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation X  AuthorsGabriel C. Spalding, Illinois Wesleyan Univ.; Christine E. M. Demore, Zhengyi Yang, Institute for Medical Science & Technology (United Kingdom); Patrick M. Dahl, Illinois Wesleyan Univ. and Institute for Medical Science & Technology (United Kingdom); Peter Glynne-Jones, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom); Andreas Melzer, Michael P. MacDonald, Sandy Cochran, Institute for Medical Science & Technology (United Kingdom)

August 25-29, 2013
Professor Gabe Spalding is co-organizer of the SPIE conference  and co-editor of its Proceedings.
Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation X, Proceedings SPIE Conference 8810, edited by K. Dholakia, G. C. Spalding

August 2, 2013:
Professor Bruno deHarak gave an invited talk at the International Symposium on (e, 2e), Double Photo-ionization and Related Topics & 17th International Symposium on Polarization and Correlation in Electronic and Atomic Collisions in Hefei, China. The title of the talk was "New experimental studies on laser-assisted electron atom scattering"

August1, 2013:
Professor Perera and IWU students Alejandro Mancera'2015 and Jesse Schaar'2012, co-authored a research paper titled "An Efficient and Optimal Filter for Identifying Point Sources in Millimeter/Submillimeter Wavelength Sky Maps"
T.A. Perera (IWU), G.W. Wilson (Umass, Amherst), K.S.Scott (NRAO), J.E. Austermann (CASA), J.R. Schaar (IWU), and A. Mancera (IWU).

June, 2013:
Professor Bruno deHarak presented two posters at the 2013 Joint Meeting of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics and the CAP Division of Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics, in Quebec City, Canada. The first (with co-authors K. Bartschat and N.L.S. Martin) was titled "Energy dependence of the (e,2e) recoil/binary peak ratio across He autoionizing levels". The second (with co-authors B. Nosarzewski, M. Siavashpouri, and N.L.S. Martin) was titled "Eletron-helium laser-assisted free-free scattering for incident energies from 30 - 200 eV: effects of polarization direction".

June 6, 2013: 
Professor Thushara Perera gave a contributed talk at the summer meeting of
the American Astronomical Society (AAS meeting 222) titled
"An Efficient and Optimal Technique for Identifying Point Sources in Millimeter/sub-millimeter Sky Maps"

May 9, 2013
Christopher Jent '15 and Nickolas Miller '16 presented a poster at a reception for the IWU Board of Trustees. The poster described work on 3D tracking that they performed with Professor Bruno deHarak.

April 20, 2013:
Seven students, working on various research projects with Prof. Bruno de Harak, presented their work at the annual John Wesley Powell Research Conference at IWU.
Juan GomezVelez '14 and Kyle French '14 presented a poster on "Laser-Based Pressure Measurement"
Victoria Halevy '14 presented a poster on "The Iridescence of Morpho Butterfly Wings"
Xi Lin '16 and Madeline Lyons '16 presented a poster on "Characterization of Dust"
Christopher Jent '15 and Nickolas Miller '16 presented a poster on "Determining the Location of an Object In 3 Dimensional Space Using a Two Camera System"

Jan. 18 – 20, 2013:
Chelsea Davitt ’14, Tory Halevy ’14, and Margaret McCarter ’15 attended the 6th Annual Midwest Conference for Undergraduate Women In Physics (This is the third year in a row that a group of our students has attended the conference).


November 12, 2012
Professor Bruno deHarak co-authored a research paper in Physical Review A,
"Dipole-quadrupole interference spectroscopy: Observation of an autoionizing He 1D Rydberg series"
Phys. Rev. A 86, 053408 (2012)

September 20, 2012:
Professor Linda French and Dan Larocca '12 travel to the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory near La Serena, Chile, to study asteroids.

September 7, 2012:
Professor Linda French leads NSF-funded study of asteroids. Adding to the body of knowledge regarding the formation and evolution of our solar system will be the focus of a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded study led by Illinois Wesleyan University Chair and Professor of Physics Linda M. French and involving astronomers from Georgia State University, Lowell Observatory in Arizona, and the Center for Solar System Studies in California.

August 27, 2012:
Professor Linda French becomes the Chair of IWU Physics Department.

July 2012:
Professor Gabe Spalding is co-editor of the Proceedings of SPIE.
Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation IX, Proceedings SPIE 8458, edited by K. Dholakia, G. C. Spalding (SPIE, Bellingham, WA 2012).

June 6, 2012:
Professor Bruno deHarak presented a poster at the 43nd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics in Anaheim, California, "Electron-helium laser-assisted free-free with variable laser polarization".

April 20, 2012:
Professor Gabe Spalding explains his collaborative research that may lead to technology for more precisely targeting and destroying tumors.

April 14, 2012:
Four students, working on various research projects with Prof. Bruno de Harak, presented their work at the annual John Wesley Powell Research Conference at IWU.
Jonathan Castro '15 and Alejandro Mancera '15 presented a poster on "Nature of Friction within System of Interleaved Sheets".
Joseph Lim '13 presented a poster titled "On Edwin H. Land's Retinex Theory: Developing a Classroom Demonstration for Color Vision.
" Alan Russian '15 (also mentored by Prof. Liffiton) presented a poster on " Monte Carlo Simulations of Electron Scattering Experiments."

April 11, 2012:
Chair and Professor of Physics Narendra Jaggi has been named the 2013 winner of the Kemp Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence at Illinois Wesleyan University. It is the University's highest teaching honor:

January 15, 2012:
Marissa DeWeese '12, Azma Rehman '13, Chelsea Davitt '14, and Margaret McCarter '15 attended the Undergraduate Women In Physics conference at Case Western University (Cleveland, Ohio) from January 13th through 15th, 2012.


August 29, 2011:
A team led by Professor Gabe Spalding has been awarded a grant of more than $450,000 from the National Science Foundation. Professor Spalding is the principal investigator on a project aimed toward improving laboratory instruction in physics for undergraduate college students in the United States.“

August 21, 2011: 
Professor Gabe Spalding is, with Kishan Dholakia, Chair of the Conference on Optical Trapping & Optical Micromanipulation (OTOM'11), which took place in San Diego, August 21-25.

August 15, 2011: 
Professor Gabe Spalding has co-authored a paper Gunnsteinn Hall, Gabriel C. Spalding, Paul J. Campagnola, John G. White, and Kevin W. Eliceiri, "Fast localized wavefront correction using area-mapped phase-shift interferometry," Opt. Lett. 36, 2892-2894 (2011)

August 3, 2011: 
Professor  Gabe Spalding is featured in a brief video from the summer meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers:

July 29, 2011:
"Nathaniel Wolanyk, a 21-year-old rising senior from Illinois Wesleyan University, said he was “mind-boggled” by the research and extensive materials available at UAB. He got to work with diamonds during his research of the superconductivity of iron-selenium compounds at high pressures." " I walk away from this experience more confident in myself and have a larger appreciation of research,” said Wolanyk, who now plans to attend graduate school at UAB.

July 28, 2011 :
Professor Bruno deHarak presented a poster entitled
"Electron-helium free-free scattering in the presence of a laserfield"
at the XXVII International Conference on Photonic, Electronic and Atomic Collisions in Belfast, UK.

July 2011:
Patrick Dahl conducted research under the auspices of the summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Case Western Reserve University. 
Casey Hennesey conducted research under the auspices of the summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.
Nathaniel Wolanyk conducted research under the auspices of the summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at University of Alabama at Birmingham. He studied the effects of ultra-high pressures on the superconducting properties of newly discovered superconductors.

July 7, 2011:
Professor Thushara Perera  took part in a 5-person discussion panel at the U of I student/postdoc job search retreat.  Their web site is:

June 14, 2011:
Professor Bruno deHarak presented a poster at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics in Atlanta, GA,
"Using Laser Induced Breakdown To Probe Pressure" 
Dan LaRocca '13, Evan Baker '11, and Nicholas Goble '11, were co-authors. 

Professor Bruno deHarak was also a co-author for another poster at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics in Atlanta, GA,
"Development of a multipass cell for atomic collision experiments in the presence of a laser field".

April 1, 2011:
Physics Department Chair and Professor Narendra Jaggi presented a paper at the Spring Meeting of ISAAPT, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL
" Visualizing the Process of Minimization of Functionals Using Mathematica"

April 1, 2011:
Professor Gabe Spalding heads up a new initiative to bring contemporary experiments in quantum mechanics into the undergraduate curriculum:

March 29, 2011:
Physics Department Chair and Professor Narendra Jaggi  presented  the Physics Colloquium: "Measurable Consequences of Extra Spatial Dimensions," 
at Illinois State University, Normal, IL.

March 15, 2011:
Professor Gabe Spalding is co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation proposal that just received $49,687 in funding. The proposal supports a nationwide initiative for faculty-staff training in contemporary advanced laboratory instruction in physics.

February 10, 2011:
Professor Bruno deHarak had one more research paper published:
"High-energy electron-helium scattering in a Nd:YAG laser field"
B. A. deHarak, L. Ladino, K. B. MacAdam, and N. L. S. Martin
Phys. Rev. A 83, 022706 (2011) 


December 9, 2010:
Professor Bruno deHarak published a paper in "Physical review A":
"Out-of-plane (e,2e) angular distributions and energy spectra of helium L = 0,1,2 autoionizing levels"

B. A. deHarak, K. Bartschat, and N. L. S. Martin
Phys. Rev. A 82, 062705 (2010) 

November 28, 2010:
Professor Linda French will give a talk on John Goodricke and his colleagues to the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society on January 8.  It's entitled "The 'Three York Astronomers' and the Royal Society of London." 

November 22 ,2010:
Professor Gabe Spalding has been invited to lead a session on  Lab Faculty/Staff Development Opportunities & CMMP Physics at the 2011 Winter Meeting of AAPT in Jacksonville, Florida,  January 8-12, 2011.

November 21, 2010:
The APS Forum on Education supports the upcoming Conference on Laboratory Instruction Beyond the First Year (BFY) organized by the Advanced Laboratory Physics Association, of which Professor Gabe Spalding is the President.

November 10, 2010:
Junior Derrick Rohl has been accepted into the Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (REU) of the National Science Foundation. Derrick will spend January to March of 2011 conducting research at the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in La Serena, Chile. His research, supervised by  Professor  Linda French, focuses on Trojan asteroids, which revolve around the sun in the same orbit as Jupiter.

October 25, 2010: 
Senior Evan Baker presented a talk entitled “Using Laser Induced Breakdown as a Probe to Measure Pressure” at the 26th annual conference of the Division of Laser Science in Rochester, NY. The talk covered research he is conducting along with Nicholas Goble, and Dan LaRocca under the mentorship of Professor Bruno deHarak.

October 19, 2010:
Professor Gabe Spalding gives an invited colloquium entitled "Optical Momentum and Angular Momentum" at Illinois State University.

October 11, 2010:
Professor Linda French is named a winner of the 2010 Herbert C. Pollock Award for her efforts to bring attention to the work of 18th-century deaf astronomer John Goodricke.

October 9, 2010 (Homecoming):
40th anniversary celebration  of the Mark Evans Observatory  and a reception honoring the contributions of Professor Ray Wilson and Professor Lew Detweiler to the physics department.

October 6, 2010:
Derrick Rohl was a co-author with Professor Linda French and others on a presentation at the meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. Title of the presentation: " Rotation Properties of Three Jovian Trojan Asteroids."

October 1, 2010:
Professor Bruno deHarak gives an invited colloquium "Laser-assisted electron impact autoionization of Helium" at Western Illinois University.

Fall 2010:
Professor Gabe Spalding is the Vice-Chair of the national  AAPT Committee on Laboratories for 2010-2011, and he  will be the Chair of this prestigious committee during  2011-2012.

Fall 2010:
Professor Bruno deHarak is the co-editor of the Proceedings of the International Symposium on (e,2e), Double Photoionization and Related Topics & 15th International Symposium on Polarization and Correlation in Electronic and Atomic Collisions. The symposium was held during summer 2009, and the Proceedings have just been published as a special issue of J.Phys.
Nicholas L S Martin and Bruno A deHarak 2010 J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 212 011001

September 2010:
Junior Taiyo Wilson conducted  research in Gamma-ray Astrophysics during Summer 2010 at the NSF/REU program at the University of Notre Dame.  His work was published in the annual report  and you can read his paper at the following URL.

September 2010:
Junior Nick Goble conducted research  during Summer 2010 at the NSF/REU program at Case Western Reserve University. He worked  with Prof. Philip L. Taylor of CWRU and investigated the  "Equilibrium Shape of a Dielectric Droplet in an Electric Field"

You can watch his final presentation at the following URL

August 2010:
Ryan Goetz conducted research during Summer 2010 at the NSF/REU program at the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign.

August 2010:
Kundan Chaudhary conducted research during Summer 2010 at  the  Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign . He worked in the research group of Prof.  Jennifer Lewis, and explored the application of so-called  'Janus rods' in microfluidic devices using confocal microscopy.

August 17, 2010:
SPIE publishes the conference-proceedings titled " Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VII", co-edited by Professor  Gabe Spalding.

Fall 2010:
Professor Gabe Spalding and Professor Linda French return to the department after their sabbatical leaves.

July 1, 2010:
Professor Thushara Perera and Professor Bruno deHarak attend the AAPT workshop for New Physics and Astronomy Faculty in Washington, DC, June 28- July 1, 2010

Spring 2010:
IWU Magazine runs a highly readable article by Tim Obermiller about the research conducted by  Professor Thushara Perera; it is titled " A Universe Filled With Questions". To read this article and learn about Professor Perera's research, click on the URL below.

Spring 2010:
Professor  Linda French maintains a blog during her sabbatical leave  in York, England, where she is researching the life of York astronomer John Goodricke.To follow her blog, click on the URL below.

January 9, 2010:
Professor Gabe Spalding helped lead a workshop, sponsored by the Mellon Foundation, on Reforming Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences. The workshop was held at Centre College in Kentucky on Jan. 9.

Spring 2010:
Professor Gabe Spalding gave an invited talk at a combined conference of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and the American Physical Society in Washington, D.C., about a national survey regarding laboratory instruction during the final three years of the undergraduate physics major.


December 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Physics Student-Research Seminar Series
Bibek Raman Parajuli'2010 gives a seminar "Design and Fabrication of multi-dimensional photonic crystals" [Work doneunder the supervision of Professor Paul V.Braun, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign during summer 2009]

By using the kinetic difference of physiochemical processes, highly porous or discrete metal structures can be obtained. Through theoretical modeling and geometrical design, the research expected to obtain metal structure with superior optical properties. My research was to develop a multi-layered stack of a photonic crystal.

Friday, November 20 , 2009 at 4:00 PM
Physics Student-Research Seminar Series
Adam Chambers' 2010 gives a seminar on 'Superconductivity and the Proximity Effect in Nb/Cu Bilayers' [The research was done  during summer 2009 under the supervision of Professor Laura Greene at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.] 

Friday, November 6, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Physics Student-Research Seminar Series
Ryan Goetz' 2011 "Detecting Nonlinear Correlations in VIRGO Data Channels"

June 15, 2009
Nicholas Timme '2008, now a Ph.D. student at Indiana University  and Dr. Andrew Morrison, now a visiting faculty member at Northwestern University,  publish a paper " The mode shapes of a tennis racket and the effects of vibration dampers on those mode shapes" in  Journal of Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 125 (6) June 2009, pp 3650-3656

April 7, 2009: Physics Crystal Ball Coffeehouse 
Six physics alumni, Jane Andrew'1986, Steve Zimmerman'2000, Prakrit Jena'2005, Ryan Smith'2007 and  Andy Nelson' 2008 visited the Hart Career Center and  spoke to 23 current physics students about their  careers after their  physics degree from IWU.  Many thanks to Professor Spalding, Professor Detweiler, the Hart Career Center and  the Alumni Relations Office for helping plan and execute this valuable experience for our current students.

April 3-4, 2009: During the Spring Meeting of ISAAPT:

Three students made oral presentations at the Student Research Symposium:
Alison Smith, Mark S. Kasperczyk, Nathan H. Frank  Observation of a Resonance State in 25F. 
Leah Goldberg 
RPC Modifications for the PHENIX Collaboration Muon-Trigger Upgrade.
Mark Kasperczyk, Alison R. Smith,  Nathan H. Frank  Observation of a Resonance State in 26F. 
Alison Smith
won the prize for the Top Student Presentation at the  Spring Meeting of the ISAAPT, for her paper.

Prof. Lew Detweiler 
offered a workshop "Hands On Astronomy"  at the Mark Evans Observatory, and chaired a session.
Prof. Linda French chaired a session, presented a Take -Five and organized a viewing on the quad by Twin City Amateur Astronomers, Lee Green and Dan Miller.
Prof. Narendra Jaggi organized the conference and presented a paper titled: "Embedding: An Approach to Integrating Computational Skills in the Curriculum."
Prof. Thushare Perera presented an Invited Talk : "Measuring Ancient Light."
Prof. Gabe Spalding chaired a session and presented a Take-Five.

April 3-4, 2009: The department hosted the Spring Meeting of the Illinois Section of American Association of Physics Teachers (ISAAPT)  at IWU:  66 attendees, 22 papers, Student Research Symposium, three workshops.

March 12, 2009: Prof. Thushara Perera published a paper titled  "An AzTEC 1.1mm survey of the GOODS-N field - I. Maps, catalogue and source statistics" in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), volume 390, pages 1227-1238, year 2009

February 23, 2009: Barrel Crush!   SPS posted video of its recent play-time activity on Vimeo.

February 6, 2009: Prof. Bruno deHarak accepted our offer to join IWU as an Assistant professor of physics, starting August 2009.

February 2009: Prof. Nathan Frank presented a talk titled "Cutting-Edge Undergraduate Research in Nuclear Physics" to the 2009 American Association of Physics Teachers Winter Meeting in Chicago, IL.

February 2009: Prof. French has been awarded two weeks of telescope time at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in May and July 2009. 

January 2009:  Prof. French presented "An Early Astronomical Observation by John Goodricke" to the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society at their annual meeting in Long Beach, California.


November 2008: Alison R. Smith presented a talk, based upon her research with Prof. Frank, titled "Observation of a Low-Lying Neutron Unbound State in 25F" to the 19th Annual Argonne Symposium for Undergraduates in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics at Argonne National Laboratory.

October  2008:  Prof.  Jaggi and senior, John Meuser presented a paper "Use of Mathematica in Intermediate Quantum Mechanics" at the Fall Meeting of Illinois Section of American Association of Physics Teachers ( ISAAAPT) at ISU, Normal, IL, October 10-11, 2008

October 10, 2008: The department completed a comprehensive Self-Study for the period 1997-2008, including its students, curriculum (theoretical, experimental and computational), faculty and support staff, and facilities.

September 16, 2008:  IWU research trip to observatory in Chile just completed:
Prof. Linda French and IWU physics major Kundan Chaudhary have just returned from their trip to an observatory in Chile, as part of their research work. A blog describing the trip is available online at:

September 5, 2008: Liquid NItrogen and Soap Bubbles at the SPS PIcnic:
On Sunday, August 31, 2008, the IWU Society of Physics Students organized a picnic at the historic Franklin Park. See the videos on YouTube online at:

April 24, 2008: Dr. Thushara Perera joins the department as tenure-track Assistant Professor of astronomy and physics. Click on the URL below to learn more about Professor Perera.

April 24, 2008: Professor Spalding  gives the "Charles Lindberg Lecture" at UW-Madison. The title of his talk: "Small Masses Require Small Forces: Micro-mechanical Control via Transfer of Optical Momentum."

April 22, 2008: Professor Jaggi elected Chair of Promotion and Tenure Committee for 2008-09.

April 21, 2008: Beginning Fall 2008, Ikenna Odinaka ' 08 will pursue his Ph.D. in  Electrical Engineering at  Washington University.
Jay Christensen' 08 (physics minor) will be attending Rush Medical College in the Fall.
April 18, 2008: Ed Price' 08 is joining Teach for America!  He'll be teaching secondary Chemistry in Memphis,TN.April 16, 2008: Ryan Esch '08 has been accepted into the dual-degree program at Bradley, where he plans to study Civil Engineering. He plans to pursue a Masters Degree.Scott Swisher '08 (physics minor) has been admitted into the graduate Econ programs at Cornell, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Michigan State.April 14, 2008: After numerous visits around the country, Becky Carlton '08 finally accepts the offer from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to pursue her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering.After much deliberation, Nick Timme '08 has accepted the offer from  Indiana University to pursue his Ph.D. in Physics.April 12, 2008:  Professor Jaggi is the keynote speaker at the  Phi Kappa Phi induction ceremony.  The title of his talk: "New wine in old wineskins?: Is nuclear the new green?"

Three physics students  present papers at the John Wesley Powell Research Conference.
"Investigation into Factors Affecting the Operating Deflection Shapes of a Mandolin"  by  Thomas Traynor '08 (physics minor) and Prof. Morrison;
" The mode shapes and  frequencies of carbon fiber plates"  by Nick Timme '08 and Prof. Morrison;
"Stock Index pricing with random walk and agent based models"  by Scott N. Swisher IV '08 (physics minor) and Prof. Seeborg

April 10, 2008: Colin Komar '08 will enter the Ph.D. program at West Virginia University where he will study Plasma Physics.

April 9, 2008: Professor  Wilson  presents a workshop, "Hiroshima and Nagasaki for Teachers,"at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, San Juan,  Seventh Conference: Science, Environment and Society,  La Ciencia al Servicio de la Paz y los Derechos Humanos (Science in Service of Peace and Human Rights)

April 9, 2008: Alex Boecher '08 will pursue his graduate studies in Environmental Studies at UW-Madison.

April 8, 2008: Sawyer Campbell '08 accepts the offer from The College of Optical Sciences at The University of Arizona to do his PhD. in Optics.

April 6, 2008: In Fall 2008, Thomas Traynor '08 (physics minor) will do environmental work for United Oil Products, in their R&D division, on developing renewable fuels.

April 5, 2008:  Thomas Traynor '08 (physics minor) ( working with Prof. Morrison) and Sawyer Campbell '08 present research papers at the ISAAPT  Spring 2008 Meeting in Urbana, IL .

"Investigation into Factors Affecting the Operating Deflection Shapes of a Mandolin";  Thomas Traynor '08 (physics minor), Illinois Wesleyan University.

"Calibration of Webcams for Imaging"; Sawyer Campbell '08,  Illinois Wesleyan University and Illinois State University

March 2008: Dan Haeger '08 accepts offer from UCSB to pursue his Ph.D. in Materials Science Engineering.
Read about the exciting summer research done by Dan Haeger '08 at UC Santa Barbara on blue lasers.

March 2008: Professor Spalding is President of a new national organization called ALPhA (for "Advanced Lab Physics Association"), which is working to establish a network of instructors interested in the experimental part of the undergraduate curriculum, emphasizing the arc of development desired beyond the introductory level. In this capacity, Prof. Spalding hosted open meetings for Advanced Lab instructors from across the nation both at the Winter Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), which was held in Baltimore, and at the annual March Meeting of the American Physical Society (APS), which was held in New Orleans. ALPhA is working collaboratively with both APS and AAPT and can already point to a number of new resources that are coming together to help Advanced Lab Instructors. -- So far, these include:

A listserv:
An Advanced Lab website (with content coming on line):

March 1-20, 2008: Colin Komar, Becky Carlton, Dan Haeger, Nick Timme and Alex Boecher travel to universities around the country to decide which offer (of admission into graduate school and scholarship/fellowship) they will accept.

January 2008:
December graduate Janelle Bailey '08 accepts position at Farmer's Insuarance Company.
December graduate Andy Nelson '08 accepts position (as research engineer) at the U.S. Army Core of Engineers (CERL).


December 2007: December graduate Janelle Bailey '08 receives the prestigious full-ride scholarship to attend law school at the University of Kansas City Law School, starting Fall 2008; she accepts it.

November 2007: December graduate Andy Nelson '08 successfully defends his Research Honors thesis :  "Visualizing a Fourth Dimension: Hypercubic Resistor Networks".
Read about his work at

November 2007:  Prof. Nathan Frank publishes, with co-authors,  " Exploring Neutron-Rich Oxygen Isotopes with MoNA"  in  Proton Emitting Nuclei and Related Topics-PROCON2007 edited by L. Ferreira and P. Arumugam.

October 2007: Professor Wilson conducts a workshop, A Natural -- Nuclear Physics, Nuclear War Is It Missing from Your Physics Curriculum?  at the IL-AAPT Fall Meeting at Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield, IL.

August 2007: Six students return to campus after exciting and successful summer research at  different research universities: Andy Nelson at UIUC, Becky Carlton at Washington University, Colin Komar at Baylor University,  Dan Haegar at UC Santa Barbara, Ikenna Odinaka at UIUC, and Nick Timme at  Kansas State University. 

August 2007: Prof. Linda French starts her term as the Director of IWU's London Semester Program.

August 2007: Prof. Gabe Spalding co-chairs  the topical  Conference on Optical Trapping and Optical Micro-manipulation IV (sponsored by SPIE),  San Diego, California.  For conference proceedings, click here

August 9, 2007: Prof. Ray Wilson guides a workshop at the International Institute on Peace Education, 25th Anniversary Symposium at the United Nations, "Missing from Your Curriculum?"

August 2007: Santanam Kasturi, M.Tech., appointed as Adjunct Instructor for Fall 2007
August 2007: David Wolfe, Ph.D., reappointed as Adjunct Associate Professor for Fall 2007
August 2007: Nathan Frank, Ph.D., joins the department as Visiting Assistant Professor

July 2007: Prof. Andy Morrison presents paper titled  "Incorporating space missions into a fundamental astronomy course"   at the AAPT Summer Meeting in Greensboro, NC.

une 2007:  Prof. Ray Wilson conducts Hiroshima and Nagasaki for College Teachers: A One-week Workshop, June 25 - 29, 2007 (click here for workshop webpage)

April 2007:Thomas Traynor'08 (working with Professor Morrison) wins the first priize for student research at Spring 2007 Meeting of ISAAPT.  "Construction of an Electronic Speckle Pattern Interferometer"   Thomas Traynor, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL 61701. 

March 2007: Prof. Ray Wilson, presents a paper,  "Missing from Your Physics Curriculum?" at the IL-AAPT Spring Meeting at WIU, Macomb, IL.


August 2006: Prof. Gabe Spalding co-chairs  the topical SPIE Conference on Optical Trapping and Optical Micro-manipulation III (sponsored by SPIE)
August 2006: David Wolfe, Ph.D.,  appointed as Adjunct Associate Professor for Fall 2006

July 2006: Prof. Narendra Jaggi chairs the session on Upper Level Curricular Issues at the National Conference of Physics Department Chairs (sponsored by the American Physics Society) in Maryland. chairs/upload/SessionII_1.pdf

July 2006: Prof. Beth Cunningham  presents an invited talk at the National Conference of Physics Department Chairs (sponsored by the American Physics Society) in Maryland.
July 2006: Beth Cunningham, Ph.D., the new Provost and Dean of Faculty at IWU, joins the department  as Professor of Physics.

June 2006:  Prof. Ray Wilson conducts Hiroshima and Nagasaki for College Teachers: A One-week Workshop(click here for workshop webpage)


August 2005: Prof. Gabe Spalding co-chairs  the topical SPIE Conference on Optical Trapping and Optical Micro-manipulation II in San Diego, California.

June 2005, Andrew Morrison, Ph.D.,  joins the department as Visiting Assistant Professor
June 2005, Deadly Objects In Space: Prof. Linda French charts objects in the solar system, some of which come quite near Earth. French says new evidence leads her to believe asteroids and comets may be comprised of the same materials. WGLT's Jim Browne talks with her about her studies.

Lionda French

May 05: Prof. Linda French receives a Cottrell College Science Award from the Research Corporation.


May 05: SPS designs and builds a giant trebuchet (click here to see a videoclip)

Graduation Picture
April 05:  Class of 2005 (Left to Right): Gautham Narayan to Harvard, Prakrit Jena to University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Kayode Karunwi to Georgia Institute of Technology, Brian Simoins to NIST. Not pictured: Jason Forster to Yale, Sam Stahnke to Washington Univ,
November 04: Groundbreaking work in optical sorting by Prof. Gabe Spalding was featured in "Optics in 2004" issue of Optics & Photonics News.
  • Jaggi
 August 04: "Character critical to liberal arts education";   Narendra Jaggi speaks at FY Convocation
For another story, click here.

    • Gabe Spalding

May 04: Prof. Gabe Spalding receives a Cottrell College Science Award from Research Corporation.

Joe Binder

April 04: Joe Binder '04 was named a 2004  "Lincoln Laureate" by the State of Illinois. This honor followed on the heels of his Goldwater Scholarship.
    • Narendra Jaggi

October 03: Prof. Narendra Jaggi was elected IWU Professor of the Year by the Student Senate, for 2003.  He was also named the 2003 Illinois Professor of the Year by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

  • Alexander J. Laurie and Narendra K. Jaggi published an interdisciplinary study combining urban sociology and physics. 
    Laurie, A. J., & Jaggi, N. K. (2003). Role of' vision' in neighbourhood racial segregation: a variant of the Schelling segregation model. Urban Studies,40 (13), 2687-2704.
    • Alex Laurie
April 03: Alexander J. Laurie '03 was named a 2003 "Lincoln Laureate" by the State of Illinois.