Department News

2016 Ph.D. Graduates of the WVU Department of Physics and Astronomy

1. Derek Bas: “Optical and Terahertz Measurements of Spintronic Materials” Faculty Advisor/Supervisor: Dr. Alan Bristow

Astronomy Outreach News

The West Virginia Science Public Outreach Team (SPOT) hosted the fourth annual Ambassador Fall Training Weekend in Green Bank on September 16-18th. Twenty-nine college ambassadors from WVU, Wesleyan, Fairmont State, Marshall, and WV State learned the SPOT presentation, “The Invisible Universe 2.0,” which features the Pulsar Search Collaboratory and Fast Radio Bursts, engaging hands-on activities for sharing with students, and public speaking and science communication skills. Ambassadors are currently working to pass practice presentations to become certified to visit K-12 schools around the state and fill over 40 teacher requests that continue to come in!

New Department Staff in 2016

New staff appointments in 2016.

New Faculty Join WVU Department of Physics and Astronomy

Several new faculty members have joined the Physics and Astronomy Department this year.

Professor Mohindar Singh Seehra Retires

After 47 year service as a faculty member at WVU. Prof. Seehra has retired effective August 16, 2016. During this period, he directed the research of 65 students (14 Ph.D. dissertations, 29 MS theses and 22 postdocs) using funds provided by over 50 research grants and published over 300 research papers, many of them jointly with his students. Broadly, his research focus has been in magnetic, dielectric and nanomaterials and their applications. The above photograph was taken at the May 2016 commencement with his last 3 Ph.D. students (L to R: Dr. Zhengjun Wang now postdoc at Georgia Tech, Prof. Seehra, Dr. Kelly Pisane now employed at Nokomis Inc., and Dr. Vishal Narang, now a postdoc at CUNY, NY). Prof. Seehra has an enviable ability to produce exceptionally successful graduate students and postdocs. Many have gone on to win national research awards, succeed in faculty positions, and rise to significant positions in industry.

Professor Holcomb’s Research on Magnetic Thin Films

Dr. Mikel “Micky” Holcomb and her group have recently received 3 grants to study their work related to magnetic thin films. Magnetic materials have a wide variety of current and potential applications, including attraction, repulsion, storage, sensing, energy scavenging and advanced computation. 

2016 Physics and Astronomy Student Awards

James Franek and Derek Bas received the Dr. Mohindar S. Seehra Research Award “in recognition of doctoral student who is advancing research in physics by publishing research in high-quality peer-reviewed physics journals”.

WVU Physics Professor Cassak and his Students Have an Award Winning Year

The 2015-2016 school year has seen WVU Physics and Astronomy Associate Professor Paul Cassak and his students obtain recognition from WVU and beyond through a number of awards.

Did You Know? Department of Physics and Astronomy home to several scientists exploring Nobel Prize-related research

Earlier this week, three researchers from the University of Washington, Princeton University and Brown University were named 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics recipients, for revealing what the organization called “secrets of exotic matter.” The trio of scientists—- David Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz—- have used mathematical methods to study unusual phases, or states, of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids or thin magnetic films. They were recognized for their contributions to topology, a branch of mathematics that describes properties that only change step-wise. The exotic materials the Nobel Laureates examined manifest novel quantum properties that may improve future electronics, superconductors and lead to quantum computers.