Department of Physics and Astronomy

News and Events

2023-03-23 Physics Major Wins Travel Award

Physics major Brian Davis was awarded an SCSU Student Travel Grant to present his research on laser orbital debris removal at the upcoming 34th International Symposium on Space Technology and Science & 12th Nano-Satellite Symposium in Kurume, Japan. Congratulations, Brian!

2023-03-16 Physics Education Student Earns Excellence in Leadership Award

Physics Education major Sagar Nayak earned a 2023 Excellence in Leadership Award! To receive this competitive award, applicants must demonstrate they have made a significant impact at SCSU and within the community.  The Excellence in Leadership Awards are available to students of any discipline or major across campus. The applicants were carefully reviewed by a panel of 14 SCSU faculty and staff judges. Only 25 students are selected overall from the entire campus. This year, five awards were made to students in the SCSU College of Science and Engineering, including Sagar. Sagar has worked as an Orientation leader to help the new and transfer students to transition into SCSU, as a Physics tutor and LA for physics to ensure the success of students taking introductory physics classes, and in the Nepalese Student Organization to give back to the community. Awarded students will be formally recognized at the 35th Annual Excellence in Leadership Banquet on April 16.  Congratulations, Sagar!

2022-09-29 Dr. Sinko receives Gentec-EO Laser Lab Award

Dr. John Sinko was awarded a 2022 Gentec-EO Laser Lab Award on 7/13/2022 for research on laser removal of orbital debris. The accumulation of orbital debris around Earth has produced a kind of orbiting garbage patch that threatens existing satellites. Irradiating debris with a laser is a possible solution to remove some types of debris from orbit. The current research studies the interaction of laser radiation with typical debris materials.

Gentec Electro-Optics is specialized in laser beam and terahertz source measurement and analysis and are experts in the laser beam measurement field.  As part of the award, Gentec-EO generously donated a new Beamage-4M laser beam profiler to SCSU. The full story can be found on St. Cloud State Today.

Dr. Sinko is working on this project with undergraduate physics majors Brian Davis, Jordan Graupmann, and Travis Mathwig as well as mechanical engineering majors Amr Abdo and Mohammed Alharbi, and SCSU student Thor Lemke.  The foundation for this project also relies on much work and support from past research students, most  notably including Chase Negen and Naqsh E Zafar.

Update on 10/11/2022: A story about this award also appeared in the St. Cloud Times

2022-09-23 Dr. Sinko to Serve as Guest Editor for Special Issue about Laser Propulsion in MDPI Aerospace

Dr. John Sinko will serve as Guest Editor of a Special Issue of the international, peer-reviewed MDPI journal Aerospace, titled "Laser Propulsion Science and Technology."  Manuscripts will be accepted through May 2, 2023.  More information can be found here.

2022-04-04 Physics Student Awarded Huskies Summer Research Fellowship

Congratulations to Brian Davis, who was awarded a Huskies Summer Research Fellowship. Brian will work with Dr. John Sinko on a summer research project entitled "Laboratory Tests for Laser Removal of Steel Orbital Space Debris"

2022-02-18 Proposal Enhancement Grant Awarded

Congratulations to Dr. John Sinko (Physics & Astronomy), Dr. Ahmet Serdar Sezen (Mechanical Engineering), and Dr. Eric Little (Mechanical Engineering) who were awarded $5,520 through an SCSU Proposal Enhancement Grant for their intersciplinary research project "Laser Vaporization Tests of Simulated Orbital Debris in Free Fall." In this project, an MME senior design team will design and build a sphere launcher to simulate orbital debris, then the physics team will engage the test spheres in a vacuum chamber to test the efficacy of using high energy lasers to remove small debris. The research will engage students from the Physics & Astronomy Department and Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Departments.

2021-10-29 SCSU Physics & Astronomy Dept. Annual Test of Gravity a Success!

From 4-5:30 p.m. CST on Oct. 29, 2021, the Physics & Astronomy Club successfully completed the annual test of gravity. The Hydro/Geo Club and Psychology Club were also in attendance as around 20 St. Cloud State University students and approximately 10 professors dropped or observed a set of about 20 donated test objects (selected from the finest, well-esteemed cucurbita pepo) to determine if St. Cloud, Minnesota was still in compliance with gravity. Physics students Avelyn David and Tyler Buddhu, working with Prof. Liu of the Physics & Astronomy Department, also included an accelerometer embedded within one of the test objects. Physics major Veronica Sevilla-Rubi designed a flyer for the event. Physics & Astronomy Club president Tyler Buddhu, along with Drs. Jackson, Shah, and Sinko helped with organization, logistics, and cleanup. Dr. Sinko recorded high speed video of the tests. It is with pleasure that we report that gravity is still working in St. Cloud (for now).  We currently anticipate the need for additional tests in the future on roughly an annual basis.

2021-04-23 Physics Students Present in MN State Scholars Conference!

Congratulations to our physics students Amrit Chhetri, Veronica Sevilla Rubi, and Naqsh E Zafar, who delivered oral presentations in Oral Session 3: Applications of Science in the 10th Annual Minnesota State Conference of Undergraduate Scholarly and Creative Activity, hosted virtually this year by Saint Cloud State University in Zoom and Presenters were scored by a panel of independent faculty judges. Naqsh and Veronica won the 'Best in Session' award, impressing the judges with an engaging talk about laser space debris removal.

2021-04-20 Student Finalists in 2021 Virtual Huskies Showcase!

Congratulations to our physics students Amrit Chhetri and Elatia Zaffke, who were recognized for outstanding written work in the Huskies Showcase, Saint Cloud State University's annual event celebrating student research, creative, and scholarly activity. Amrit and Elatia both wrote exceptional research reflections for the event aligned to Our Husky Compact, and presented virtual oral presentations in Zoom on April 20, 2021 for this year's online Huskies Showcase.

2021-02 AAAS Early Career Award

Dr. Annette Lee earns AAAS Early Career Award

Astrophysicist, artist and professor Dr. Annette Lee earned the prestigious 2021 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Early Career Award for Public Engagement in Science for her collaborative, culturally relevant and community-focused projects grounded in indigenous knowledge of the stars. She was honored at a virtual awards ceremony on Feb. 10, 2021.  More information can be found here.

2019 Educator of the Year Awards and Outstanding Educator Designations

Physics professors Dr. Kevin Haglin and Dr. John Sinko were recognized as SCSU Outstanding Educators and subsequently selected as Minnesota State BOT Educators of the Year.  The Outstanding Educator designation is a university-level award. Applicants must first be nominated by a colleague, then complete a lengthy portfolio to provide a holistic presentation of their teaching. These portfolios are reviewed by a university-wide panel organized by the SCSU Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, which recommends candidates to the SCSU University President.  SCSU President Robbyn Wacker designated a total of four Outstanding Educators for the 2018-2019 period, also including Prof. Nancy Sundheim from the Department of Environmental & Technological Sciences, and Prof. Matthew Julius from the Department of Biological Sciences.  The Outstanding Educator portfolios are subsequently considered by a Minnesota State systemwide panel and only six of these submissions from across the entire state were selected as Board of Trustees Educators of the Year.  More information can be found at this website: Board of Trustees Excellence Awards.


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