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News & Events

September 2017

A first time experimental observation of a three-dimensional topological vortex in ferroelectric nanoparticles

Edwin Fohtung
Dmitry Karpov

A team of researchers from New Mexico State University’s Department of Physics have, for the first time, created a three-dimensional rendering of a microscopic nanoparticle’s structural transformation induced and controlled by an external electrical source. Topological defects are stable configurations of matter formed during phase transitions that in general may dramatically alter material properties. But until recently it was impossible to non-destructively probe 3D topological structures embedded in ferroelectric nanoparticles while applying external perturbations to monitor their behavior during structural phase transitions.

A depiction of a ferroelectric nanoparticle undergoing phase transition with the outside influence of an electrical field.

A depiction of a ferroelectric nanoparticle undergoing phase transition with the outside influence of an electrical field.

The team, led by Edwin Fohtung, assistant professor at NMSU, performed the experiments with Barium Titanate (BTO) nanoparticles. Using an external electrical field the scientists were able to observe in three dimensions a ferroelectric vortex rod of 30 nanometers in width—a billion times smaller than a human hair.

This discovery can provide scientists with new methods in designing next-generation quantum computing components. For example, nanoparticles with such vortex-phases may increase computer RAM storage capacity by 10,000-fold.

Fohtung and his team’s work is supported by the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The team used X-rays from the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois, and the Bragg X ray Coherent Diffractive Imaging (BCDI) technique to probe a single particle of BTO, with 18 nanometers resolution in 3D.

BCDI can be used to reconstruct the density of the sample in phases. This reconstruction technique is called phase-retrieval. This technique developed by Fohtung and his team at NMSU is applicable to other areas, such as biology and regenerative medicine, where scientists and medical doctors are studying how stem cells and cancer cells and other micro-organisms collectively evolve in their environment, undergoing transitions in a similar way.

The applications in biomedicine are currently being pursued by Dmitry Karpov, an NMSU affiliate and a visiting research fellow from the National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University (Tomsk, Russia).

The results have been published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal “Nature Communications.”

Read the full NMSU news release from 09/13/2017.

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August 2017

Cooper Research Group Collaborates on World's Smallest Neutrino Detector's Discovery

Robert Cooper
Hector Moreno
Michael Kaemingk

NMSU assistant physics professor Robert Cooper and graduate student Hector Moreno are among collaborators on a one-of-a-kind physics experiment at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, using the world’s smallest neutrino detector.

NMSU assistant physics professor Robert Cooper (center) with graduate student Hector Moreno (right) and NMSU undergraduate student Michael Kaemingk are shown assembling a detector for tests at Indiana University, Bloomington. Cooper and Moreno are part of the COHERENT collaborative and among the authors of a recent paper in the journal Science.

The result is the first measurement of coherent scattering of low-energy neutrinos off nuclei. Typically, neutrinos, electrically neutral particles that interact only weakly with matter, interact with individual protons or neutrons inside a nucleus. But in “coherent” scattering, an approaching neutrino “sees” the entire weak charge of the nucleus as a whole and interacts with all of it. 

The COHERENT experiment, performed at ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source for more than a year and published in the journal Science this month, provides compelling evidence for a neutrino interaction process predicted by theorists 43 years ago, but never seen.

“This first measurement has brought together a diverse team of scientists from across this country and abroad,” Cooper said. “As a member of COHERENT, NMSU students are literally at the cutting edge of physics research. Students like Hector Moreno are in a position to discover new things and make an impact on the future direction of neutrino research.”

The calculable fingerprint of neutrino – nucleus interactions predicted by the Standard Model and seen by COHERENT is not just interesting to theorists. In nature, it also dominates neutrino dynamics during neutron star formation and supernovae explosions.

Read the full NMSU news release from 08/14/2017.

Report published in Science 03 Aug 2017, DOI: 10.1126/science.aao0990:
Observation of coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering

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February 2017

Engineering Physics Student is offered a REU at CERN

Michael Kaemingk

Michael Kaemingk received an offer from the University of Michigan to join their Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland this summer. The University of Michigan - CERN Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (UM-CERN REU) provides undergraduate students from around the United States an opportunity to conduct nine weeks of summer research with some of the world's leading physicists at CERN in different research fields. This is one of the premier physics REU programs.

Please congratulate Michael on this accomplishment when you see him next.

Find more information about this UM-CERN REU at

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January 2017

Jim Ni Recognized as Top Researcher by Chancellor Garrey Carruthers

Professor Emeritus
Jim Ni

Chancellor Garrey Carruthers presented Dr. Ni with a special certificate n honor of his achievements as a researcher and professor of physics.

Please join Chancellor Carruthers in congratulating this top faculty member for the outstanding work he does for our students.

Jim Ni recognized at basketball game

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November 2016

Steve Kanim receives Homer L. Dodge citation for Distinguished Service to AAPT

Steve Kanim

Established in 1953 and renamed in recognition of one of the AAPT founders, Homer L. Dodge in 2012, the Homer L. Dodge Citation for Distinguished Service to AAPT is presented to members in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the association at the national, sectional, or local level.


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October 2016

Fall 2016 Joint Meeting of the Four Corners and Texas Sections of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the Society of Physics Students

APS logo

October 21 and 22, 2016 – Las Cruces Convention Center

The Fall 2016 Joint Meeting of the Four Corners and Texas Sections of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the Society of Physics Students will be held at the Las Cruces Convention Center on October 21 and 22, 2016. The meeting will be co-hosted by the Physics Departments of New Mexico State University, Las Cruces NM, and University of Texas – El Paso, TX. Please visit the meeting website for more information about the meeting, registration and abstract submission. This website also provides the link to apply for student travel support.

Deadlines and Links:
Abstract Submission
Deadline September 23, 2016

Early Registration and Requests for Student Travel Grants
Deadline September 26, 2016

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Februaray 2016

Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years After Einstein's Prediction

LIGO Collaboration

(From a news release of the LIGO collaboration, February 11, 2016)

For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.

The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (09:51 UTC) by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA.

Read the entire press release: Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years After Einstein's Prediction

For additional background about the project, you may be interested in these websites:

November 2015

Seeing 'ghost particles'

Experimental High Energy Physics Group & MicroBooNE collaboration

An international team of scientists at the MicroBooNE physics experiment in the US, including researchers from the New Mexico State University, detected their first neutrino candidates, which are also known as 'ghost particles'. It represents a milestone for the project, involving years of hard work and a 40-foot-long particle detector that is filled with 170 tons of liquid argon.

Read more at:

Dr. Papavassiliou pointed out that a neutrino interaction happens only once every 1,000-2,000 beam bursts. Having first image results just days after the beam was turned on required developing selection filters to identify the neutrino events in the huge number of data taken. NMSU physics graduate student Katherine Woodruff was part of a small team developing these filters.

NMSU Physics Department Head appointed to the New Mexico Consortium Board of Directors

Stefan Zollner

The New Mexico State University (NMSU) Board of Regents unanimously approved the appointment of Dr. Stefan Zollner (Head, NMSU Department of Physics) to the New Mexico Consortium (NMC) Board of Directors, during its October 21st meeting.

The New Mexico Consortium is a non-profit corporation formed by the three New Mexico research universities: University of New Mexico, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and NMSU to advance scientific research and education in New Mexico. NMC pursues joint initiatives with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in Advanced Computing, Plant Biology, Biomedical Engineering and Modeling and Analysis. These initiatives leverage the technical strengths of the partnership to achieve technical advances in support of national priorities. NMC chooses technical areas where the partnership, and collaboration, has a unique competitive advantage.

read more

Dr. Zollner will replace Dr. Martha Mitchell (Associate Dean of Research, NMSU College of Engineering) as the NMSU Second-Position.

October 2015

Neutrinos, the 2015 Physics Nobel Prize, and NMSU Physics


Neutrinos are often described as "ghostly" particles; they have almost no mass, and can pass through enormous amounts of ordinary matter (like the whole earth. for example) and have no interactions at all. Our Sun, like all other luminous stars, produces enormous numbers of neutrinos, as part of the energy-production process, and those neutrinos stream through us and the solar system and go on into outer space.

The first direct observation of neutrinos was in 1956, by a team led by Clyde L. Cowan and Frederick Reines. They positioned a large tank of water, with cadmium chloride dissolved in it, near a nuclear reactor. A neutrino from the reactor can react with a proton in the water producing a neutron and a positron. The positron will annihilate with an electron, producing gamma rays which were detected outside the water; the neutron could be absorbed by a cadmium nucleus, which would produce a second gamma ray after a short delay. If both types of gamma rays were detected together, it was a sure sign that a neutrino had been observed in the water. They were successful in detecting neutrinos! Clyde Cowan died in 1974; Frederick Reines was honored with the Nobel Prize in 1995 for his work on neutrino physics.

Some years later, in the late 1960s, another team led by Ray Davis built a very large detector deep in a mine, to count neutrinos from the Sun. The number of neutrinos they detected was about 1/3 as many as expected based on the energy output of the Sun. This was a great mystery at the time. After careful consideration, physicists had to take seriously the idea that the neutrinos created in the sun had transformed into another kind of neutrino by the time they reached earth, and so were not observed by the detector. Ray Davis won the Nobel Prize in 1995.

This idea was confirmed many years later by the results of two even larger experiments that looked at neutrinos produced in the atmosphere (by cosmic rays) and those produced in the Sun. These experiments were the Super-Kamiokande project in Japan, and the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Canada. They were able to directly observe that neutrinos created as one type definitely converted into another type before reaching the detector. This year, 2015, the leaders of those two projects, Takaaki Kajita and Arthur McDonald, received the Nobel Prize in Physics.

What does this have to do with the NMSU Physics Department? Plenty! We are collaborators on a large, new, neutrino experiment at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, called MicroBooNE.

This experiment will study the transformation of "muon" neutrinos into "electron" neutrinos in great detail, along with studying other physics topics such as the internal structure of protons and neutrons. The experiment is composed of a large volume of liquid argon (170 tons) containing a system of wires and photomultiplier tubes to record the ionization and scintillation produced by charged particles produced within the liquid argon by neutrinos generated at Fermilab. This project is getting ready to start taking data this month!

NMSU has been involved with MicroBooNE for several years and we are excited to see this new experiment get started!

NMSU physics department granted $465,000 for nuclear, particle physics research (09/10/2015)

NMSU researchers to use massive particle detector to study neutrinos (06/24/2014)

NMSU Physicists Investigate Neutrinos at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (in NMSU Research News)

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April 2015

Sigma Pi Sigma Honor's Society Induction at the Physics Spring Gala

Physics/EP Students

Ten of our undergraduate students have accepted the invitation to be inducted to the Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society. The induction ceremony was held during the Physics Spring Gala at the farm and Ranch Museum on April 24.

Physics students at Sigma Pi Sigma Induction

Professor Emeritus Horace Hunter Coburn passed away

Horace H. Coburn

Horace Coburn came to New Mexico in 1954, when our school was called New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Ever since he has been a great supporter of science outreach. He will be missed.

Dr. Edwin Fohtung Named Los Alamos Neutron Science Center 2015 Rosen Scholar

Edwin Fohtung

Dr. Fohtung has been named the 2015 Rosen Scholar at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). His current research explores (via experimental and numerical modeling) the use of neutron and coherent scattering techniques, optical (laser-based) pump-probe experimental techniques, pulsed electric and magnetic fields to probe a variety of emergent soft and condensed matter systems.

Read more: Rosen Scholar

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March 2015

New Maps Show Seismic Vulnerabilities of Eastern US

Andrea Gallegos

The research work of Andrea Gallegos, one of our graduate students, has been cited in livescience. She has worked with colleagues to analyze seismic data and create maps that illustrate seismic attenuation — the loss of intensity as shock waves get absorbed by the crust — across the central and eastern United States, in hopes of helping to improve seismic risk assessments within those regions.

Read more: New Maps Show Seismic Vulnerabilities of Eastern US

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November 2014

Nine weird facts about Neutrinos

Tia Miceli

Tia Miceli, Postdoctoral Research Associate at Fermilab, wrote an outreach article about neutrinos for Fermilab Today.

Nine weird facts about neutrinos

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October 2014

Cowboy Award (APS Four Corners) for Dr Kanim

Steve Kanim

The students at the APS Four-Corners section meeting (October 17/18) of the American Physical Society at Utah Valley University in Orem, UT, selected Steve Kanim's plenary talk on "Mathematics and Meaning in Introductory Physics" as the best non-student presentation (called the 'spherical cowboy award' for some historical reason).

Dr. Kanim's win is remarkable since the meeting was blessed with many other outstanding plenary and invited speakers, which included Victor Klimov (LANL), John Hall (University of Colorado & Nobel Prize winner), Paul Grant (IBM), Dennis Parker (University of Utah & Director of the Utah Center for Advanced Imaging Research), Richard Ellis (CalTech) and John Spence (Arizona State University), among many others.

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New DOD-AFOSR Award to Study Novel Magneto-electronic Phases Across Interfaces

Edwin Fohtung

Dr. Fohtung received an award of $380,000 for 3 years from DOD-AFOSR to study novel magneto-electronic phases across interfaces.

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September 2014

Undergraduate Poster Wins Award at International Workshop

Douglas Brown

Physics undergraduate student Douglas Brown presented a poster at the international Workshop on Phase Retrieval and Coherent Scattering in Chicago, a meeting devoted to coherent x-ray physics. His poster involved the development of new algorithms that will replaces a lens - in a technique called lens-less microscopy. This approach involved collecting diffraction patterns from Gold nanoparticles and reconstructing high-resolution images of the Gold nanocrystal with nanoscale resolution. The applications for these nanoparticles range from target drug delivery in cancer cells to plasmonic. He received a cash award for this work. Douglas Brown works in the group of Dr. Fohtung.

Douglas Brown in Chicago

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August 2014

Graduate Student Travels to Turkey for Earthquake Engineering and Seismology Conference

Andrea Gallegos

Andrea Gallegos, a graduate student in the Department of Physics, received a travel grant to attend the Second European Conference on Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (2ECEES) from the European Seismological Commission as well as funds from the Graduate School and Aggies Go Global in order to present her research on Lg attenuation in the Central and Eastern United States in Istanbul, Turkey. Her research involves studying how seismic waves lose energy as they go through the crust.

"Attending this conference exposed me to entirely new subjects in seismology and engineering." Andrea said. "More importantly, I was able to meet new people in my field and make several friends and contacts that I would never have met otherwise. Finally, I was given the chance to experience a new culture and see sights that I never dreamed of seeing. It was an amazing experience and I thank NMSU and the ESC for giving me this wonderful opportunity!"

Andrea Gallegos and Jim Ni

Elected SPS Associate Zone Councilor: Joni Clark

Joni Clark

Joni Clark, a senior in physics at NMSU, has been elected to SPS Associate Zone Councilor for 2014-2015. As the Associate Zone Councilor Joni will represent zone 16 (New Mexico, Arizona and Mexico) at the annual SPS National Council meeting in Washington D.C. September 18-21,2014. Congratulations Joni!

If you like to learn more about the national Society of Physics Students (an organization of the American Institute of Physics) visit

SPS Leadership Scholarship awarded to Khadijih Mitchell

Khadijih Mitchell

Khadijih Mitchell

Congratulations to Khadijih on receiving a Society of Physics Students (SPS) Leadership Scholarship! She was selected for her outstanding academic performance and high level of SPS activity. Khadijih is the president of our local SPS chapter here at NMSU and she served as elected SPS Associate Zone Councilor for 2013-2014.

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June 2014

High-Energy Nuclear Physics Group to Use Massive Particle Detector (MicroBooNE) to Study Neutrinos

Vassili Papavassiliou
Stephen Pate and
High-Energy Nuclear Physics Group

New Mexico State University’s High-Energy Nuclear Physics group will be among scientists performing experiments using the 30-ton MicroBooNE particle detector, which was moved into place Monday at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago.

The MicroBooNE scientific collaboration consists of more than 100 physicists from 23 institutions from the U.S. and three other countries. This machine will allow scientists to further study the properties of neutrinos, particles that may hold the key to understanding many unexplained mysteries of the universe. “The technology is very interesting; a tank of liquid argon the size of a school bus, will contain a network of wires that will record the interactions that neutrinos will have with the argon nuclei,” said Stephen Pate.

“We will use a beam of neutrinos from the Fermilab accelerator complex to explore the nature of neutrinos themselves, and also use the neutrinos to explore the internal structure of protons and neutrons and the nuclei in which they reside.”

The MicroBooNE detector has been under construction for nearly two years. The tank contains a 32-foot-long “time projection chamber,” equipped with 8,256 delicate gilded wires, which took the MicroBooNE team two months to attach by hand.

“The liquid-argon detector of MicroBooNE, operating at a temperature of about minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit represents the latest in the technology of such target/detector systems and it is the largest of this type in the Western Hemisphere,” Papavassiliou said.


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May 2014

NMSU Physics To Receive High-Resolution, High-Intensity X-ray Diffractometer and Reflectometer from Army Research Laboratory Grant Funding

Stefan Zollner, Edwin Fohtung, Heinz Nakotte (Physics Department) and Shuguang Deng, Hongmei Luo (Chemical Engineering)

A team of faculty led by Professor Stefan Zollner has received a grant of about $300,000 for the acquisition of a high-resolution, high-intensity X ray diffractometer and reflectometer. The grant was awarded through the Army Research Office from the Department of Defense Research and Education Program. The new instrument will be housed in Gardiner Hall and will replace an older diffractometer with lower resolution and intensity. "We can perform thickness measurements with this instrument; we can measure very thin structures," Zollner said. "Crystals are made out of atoms which have regular arrangements. There are bonds between the atoms and these bonds have certain lengths and the atoms are certain distances apart. This device can measure distances between atoms, bond angles, lengths of crystal structures and film thickness, and can be applied to a broad range of materials — semiconductors, metals and oxides." Zollner, head of the physics department in the College of Arts and Sciences, gave a presentation of his work at a Research Rally held Friday, May 2, at NMSU. The device will aid scientists pursuing a variety of research areas at NMSU, including Zollner's colleagues Heinz Nakotte and Edwin Fohtung of the physics department and Shuguang Deng and HongmeiLuo of the chemical engineering department. "This acquisition is truly an interdisciplinary collaboration of two departments in two different colleges," Zollner said. "My goal is training students so they can be successful and get jobs," he said. "It would be a misconception to think that only faculty perform the research on campus. I would rather compare a faculty member to the director of our marching band, who supports and directs the band from the sideline; but the music is produced by the students on the field. It is the same with research."

Physics graduate student Dennis Trujillo from Espanola will be in charge of maintaining the XRD and will train others on the operation of the instrument. He will be assisted by Luis Barrera from Las Cruces, a double major in mechanical engineering and engineering physics.

Read more in the Las Cruces Sun-News May 5, 2014

A Research Rally is held on Friday, May 2, at 8:00 a.m. in room 104 at O’Donnell Hall

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April 2014

NMSU Physics Spring Gala - April 25

Physics Department Students, Faculty and Staff

The physics department Spring Gala is Friday, April 25 from 6:00pm - 9:00pm at the NM Farm & Ranch Museum, 4100 Drippings Spring Road. Please RSVP by April 24 to Loretta Gonzalez in GN221 if you plan to attend.

NMSU Engineering Physics External Advisory Board Visit

EP Advisory Board

The Engineering Physics External Advisory Board is expected to provide feedback to all aspects of the Engineering Physics program, such as required skills of graduates, educational objectives and outcomes assessment. The Advisory Board evaluates the overall program, identifies its strength and weaknesses and provides a written report that includes suggestions on how to improve the program.

The following Advisory Board members have confirmed their attendance on campus: Steve Castillo (Sandia National Laboratories), Laura Dominik (Honeywell), Jon Haas (NASA), Mark Holtz (Texas State University), Alan Lovell (Air Force Research Laboratory), David Probst (Southeast Missouri State University), Mark Schraad (Los Alamos National Laboratory), Ron Tafoya (Intel), and Luke Wyatt (EP Alumnus, now at Sandia National Laboratories).

Physics Graduate Student Receives Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award

Manal Abdallah

The Graduate School has selected Manal Abdallah for an Outstanding Graduate Assistantship Award of $ 2,000 for academic year 2014-2015. Congratulations Manal!

World's Largest Single Crystal of Gold Verified at Los Alamos

Heinz Nakotte,
Sven Vogel

The Los Alamos National Laboratory's Lujan Neutron Scattering Center provided the tools to determine if a 217.78-gram piece of gold found in Venezuela was in fact the world's largest single-crystal specimen. Since neutrons, different from other probes such as X-rays and electrons, are able to penetrate many centimeters deep into most materials, they provide the opportunity to assess the inner structure of the sample without destroying it. The value of the sample is estimated to be $1.5 million. Heinz Nakotte (NMSU), lead scientist for the single-crystal diffraction (SCD) instrument, and Sven Vogel (LANL), instrument scientist for the high-pressure/preferred orientation (HIPPO) instrument, confirmed that three of the four gold samples were indeed single crystals.

Read more at:

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March 2014

Physics Department Has Won the Student Advising and Retention Award of the College

Department of Physics

The Department of Physics has been recognized by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences by receiving the Advising and Retention Award. Many thanks to Matthias Burkardt for submitting a successful nomination and also to everyone who has contributed to the success of our student through advision and retention efforts.

Preparing Future Faculty Graduate Assistantship Award

Andrea Gallegos

The Graduate School has selected Andrea Gallegos for the Preparing Future Faculty Graduate Assistantship Award for academic year 2014-2015. This is one of the highest merit awards of the Graduate School. Congratulations Andrea!

Past Department Chair, Dean, and Associate VP for Research Passed Away

Harold Daw

We are sorry to report that Harold Daw passed away on March 15. Harold was a past chair of our department as well as Dean of Arts and Sciences and Associate Vice President for Research at NMSU. He was awarded the Millikan Award from AAPT in 1975 for creative teaching of physics. He invented the air table and created several other lecture demonstartions here in the department. He retired in 1990, but continued to invent and publish and teach physics the rest of his life.

Many of you will also remember Harold for his very popular "Physics is Phun" demostration lectures. Wearing a bow tie and nice suit you may remember him riding the gigantic tire gyroscope or making sound with all kinds of pipes. We will miss Harold, he is an inspiration to many of us.

Harold Daw

See more at:

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February 2014

Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching

Michaela Burkardt

Congratulations to Dr. Michaela Burkardt for winning an Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching from the College of Arts and Sciences!

The annual Faculty, Staff and Departments Awards Ceremony of the College of Arts and Sciences will be on Thursday April 24th at 3:30 pm in the Mark and Stephanie Medoff Theatre in the Center for the Arts. Creative Media Professors Sherwin Lau and Mitch Fowler will present videos of the Outstanding Achievement Award recipients and the Manasse Scholar. We will also honor the recipients of the outstanding staff awards, Travel Grants, Course Releases, and Departmental Awards. As a special treat, the award ceremony will begin with a performance by the Music Department's La Catrina String Quartet.

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December 2013

Department of Physics Recognized by the Dean

Department of Physics

On December 20 the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences recognized four departments for their “dedication and active support of the principles and ideals of the college”. The four departments recognized were Chemistry, Physics, Music, and the Creative Media Institute.

As examples of what the department has done to support the misiion of the college the following was mentioned: Seeking bridged faculty lines with national research laboratories, growth of our undergraduate program (while enrollment at NMSU overall was decreasing), and being a role model in assessment and accrediation. Thanks to all, since everyone contributed to meeting the goals of our department.

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October 2013

Physics Fall BBQ

Students, Faculty and Staff of the Departments of Physics, and their families

On October 11 members of the Department of Physics came together to enjoy an afternoon in the sun with good food and great company. The weather was perfect and the turn-out was spectacular. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this fun event, especially those who prepared the delicious dishes and deserts, or helped with setting up the space, barbecuing, or cleaning up afterwards.

Physics Fall BBQ

2013 Nobel Prize in Physics

Francois Englert
Peter W. Higgs

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 was awarded jointly to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs "for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider"

Higgs Articles from AJP and TPT
2013 Physics Nobel Prize Resources from AIP

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September 2013

2013-2015 Gardiner Professorship

Boris Kiefer

Boris Kiefer has been recognized by Dean Christa Slaton as the most recent Gardiner Professor in Physics.

Boris Kiefer recognized as Gardiner Professor 2013

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August 2013

The Department of Physics welcomes a new faculty member

Edwin Fohtung

Dr. Edwin Fohtung joins New Mexico State University as the Lansce (Los Alamos Neutron Scattering) Professor of Physics and Materials at the Assistant level. His Current research explores (via experimental and numerical modeling) the use of neutron, synchrotron based novel coherent x-ray scattering techniques, optical (laser-based) pump-probe experimental techniques, pulsed electric and magnetic fields to probe a variety of emergent condensed matter systems, ranging from multiferroics, magnetoelectric, electronic, straintronics, orbitronic and magnetic phases arising due to competing and/or coupled charge, spin, orbital ordering and lattice interactions. Other soft matters systems such as colloids, nanoparticles, polymers, fluids and glasses are of interest. Dr. Edwin Fohtung also aims to foster an environment that is conducive to learning, creativity, and personal development.

Austrian post-doc joins Nuclear Theory Group

Roman Hoellwieser

Dr. Roman Hoellwieser has joined the department as a postdoctoral research fellow. He will be collaborating with the theoretical nuclear physics group. Dr. Hoellwieser is supported by an Erwin-Schroedinger fellowship funded by the Austrian government through its "Fonds zur Foerderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung" (FWF).

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July 2013

NMSU Physicists Investigate Neutrinos at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

High-Energy Nuclear Physics Group

The NMSU High-Energy Nuclear Physics Group, led by Drs. Stephen Pate and Vassili Papavassiliou, has joined a unique effort at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to study the properties of ghostly particles called neutrinos and their interactions with atomic nuclei. The new experiment at Fermilab is called MicroBooNE; it will consist of a 170-ton vessel of liquid argon containing a special detector called a Time Projection Chamber. A beam of neutrinos from the Fermilab Booster will pass through the tank of liquid argon; if a neutrino interacts with one of the argon nuclei, then the Time Projection Chamber will record the outcome.

Alistair McLean, Drs. Vassili Papavassiliou and Stephen Pate, Katherine Woodruff, and Dr. Tia Miceli stand with the electronics that will be used to measure the flux of cosmic-ray muons in the MicroBooNE experimental hall at Fermilab.

read more

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June 2013

NMSU Physics Undergraduate Elected to SPS National Council

Khadijih Mitchell

Congratulations Khadijih on being elected to serve as Society of Physics Students (SPS) Zone 16 Associate Zone Councilor (AZC) for the 2013-2014 school year!

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May 2013

NMSU SPS Chapter President Selected for a SPS Leadership Scholarship

Dennis Trujillo

Congratulations Dennis for being selected for one of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) Leadership Scholarships! This award is given in recognition of outstanding academic performance, the exhibition of the potential and intention for continued scholastic development in physics and a high level of SPS activity.

Applicants must be full-time undergraduate students applying in at least their junior year and only Society of Physics Students members are eligible.
SPS Scholarships

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April 2013

NMSU Physics Spring Picnic - April 26

Physics Department Students, Faculty and Staff

The physics department spring picnic is Friday, April 26 from 6:00pm - 9:00pm at the NM Farm & Ranch Museum, 4100 Drippings Spring Road. Please RSVP by April 25 to Loretta Gonzalez if you plan to attend.

Coffee with the Deans - April 25

Physics Department

The Physics Department will be hosting Coffee with the Deans on Thursday, April 25th from from 8:30AM - 9:15AM in the conference room. Light refreshments will be served.

Physics Graduate Student Receives Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award

Lekha Adhikari

The Graduate School has selected Lekha Adhikari for an Outstanding Graduate Assistantship Award of $ 2,000 for academic year 2013-2014. Congratulations Lekha!

NMSU physics major wins at national STEM conference

Amber Medina

A New Mexico State University undergraduate student won first place for her presentation at the 2013 Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM. Amber Medina, a physics major in the College of Arts and Sciences, won for her poster presentation in the nanoscience and physics category at the conference in Washington, D.C., last month. The win comes with a $300 prize. "The best thing about the award is knowing that I am able to communicate the knowledge I have gained about my research in a scientific, yet understandable and eloquent way," Medina said. Medina won for her poster titled, "Determination of the dielectric function of germanium as a function of temperature." The poster illustrates how temperature affects the absorption and refractive index of the element germanium. "This basically means that the speed of light when passing through germanium has a dependence upon temperature," Medina said. "This is important to know since germanium could be used in satellites and solar cells, which are subjected to large temperature fluctuations."

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March 2013

Preparing Future Faculty Graduate Assistantship Award

Manal Abdallah

The Graduate School has selected Manal Abdallah for the Preparing Future Faculty Graduate Assistantship Award for academic year 2013-2014. This is one of the highest merit awards of the Graduate School. Congratulations Manal!

Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award for Research/Scholarship

Stephen Pate

Congratulations to Dr. Stephen Pate for winning the Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award for Research/Scholarship from the College of Arts and Sciences!

The Annual Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony of the College of Arts and Sciences will be on April 25th at 4:00 pm in the Mark and Stephanie Medoff Theatre in the Center for the Arts. Professors Mitch Fowler and Sherwin Lau have produced videos of faculty who are receiving awards of excellence in scholarship, teaching, and outreach. Dr. Lonnie Klein will serve as emcee of the program. A reception honoring the award recipients will be held in the 3rd Floor lobby and balcony immediately following the awards ceremony.

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Physics Olympics

High Schools Students

The Physics Olympics, a day of fun around physics activities for high school students, has been revived! For the first time since the renovation of Gardiner Hall did we host on March 16th teams from high schools for fun activities such as the catapult egg launch, the bottle rocket launch, or a physics quiz game. The activities were rounded out with information about our undergraduate programs, fascinating demonstrations, a short tour of a research lab, the hallway displays and explorations with the e/m apparatus. High schools from Las Cruces, Ruidoso and El Paso participated and everyone had a good time. Special thanks to SPS for building the catapult, preparing and running the quiz game, giving an enthusiatic talk about why it is cool to study physics and being there in many other ways to help make this day a great success! Thanks to Steve Kanim, Matthias Burkardt and Michaela Burkardt for organizing the event and Stephen Pate for enhancing the lunch presentation. Thanks also to Loretta Gonzales and Rosa Christensen for help with the mailings and the teachers for chaperoning their teams.

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