Geneseo Physics

and Astronomy


Summer, 1998

Kurt Fletcher, Editor

SUNY-Geneseo Department of Physics & Astronomy

Welcome! Greetings from the Geneseo Physics and Astronomy folks! Before the busy activities of summer research begin, we thought we’d bring our alumni and friends up to date.

The Class of ’98 Takes off

This year’s group of graduates and 3/2 engineers is most impressive. Lee Nowocien will be completing his teaching certificate by student teaching at Dansville middle and high schools this fall. In the spring Lee hopes to take some graduate classes while working as a substitute teacher. Eric Keck is embarking on an equally challenging career. Eric will enter the United States Marine Corps officer’s training program in a few weeks. Eric hopes to be an aviator. Sam Roberts and Chuck Sorce were hired by the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester to work on neutron diagnostics. Rose Zweigle has been accepted at Virginia Commonwealth University but has decided to seek a teaching position in Virginia for a few years before entering graduate school. Marie Martinelli has also decided to work for a year before she continues her studies in graduate school.

Physics Alumni Rose Zweigle and Marie Martinelli at the Post-Commencement Barbeque, hosted by the Physics and Chemistry Departments outside Greene Hall.

Several students will be heading off to engineering schools as part of our successful 3/2 engineering program. Kim Gollinger will be studying civil engineering at Syracuse University. Dave Oddy and Dan Oddy will enter the University of Buffalo next year in the mechanical engineering program. Eric Bonn is also transferring to the University of Buffalo for mechanical engineering as part of the 3/2 program.

Many of this year’s graduates will be continuing their studies in graduate school. Jason Lord has a teaching assistantship as part of the Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering at Penn State University. Matt Brauer will also be studying ME at Penn State, and will be a TA as well. Greg Benson has a fellowship to study electrical engineering in the Ph.D. program at Yale University. This summer Greg will be visiting Japan. Chris Smith will be attending the University of Massachussetts at Amherst on a fellowship to study civil engineering. The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill will gain another Geneseo physics graduate when Rob Runkle arrives this summer. Rob was awarded a three-year Board of Governor’s Fellowship to work on his Ph.D. in nuclear astrophysics. Bram Lillard will enter the Ph.D. physics program at the University of Maryland - College Park. Bram also has a fellowship and teaching assistantship. Bob Breslawski wants to study mechanical engineering. He’s deciding between Rutgers and Penn State. David Binns was awarded a Fulbright grant to study materials science in Sweden next year. To accept this opportunity, David had to delay his admission to Stanford University for one year.

Best of luck to all our recent graduates and our 3/2 engineering transfer students! Please keep in touch and let us know how things are going.

Fred fixes his retirement

After almost 27 years of service, Fred Evangelista, our senior instructional support technician, machine shop guru, lab-set-up coordinator, and all-around helpful guy, retired in December. Fred started working at Geneseo after being employed at the University of Rochester as an instrument maker. For many years Fred served all of the natural science departments, fixing equipment and designing and building scientific instruments. For almost a decade, Fred has worked exclusively for the physics department, and he was responsible for setting up the undergraduate instructional laboratories, maintaining equipment, and running the machine shop. Fred’s tenure at Geneseo was marked by a "can-do" approach to problem-solving.

Fred continues to stay busy in retirement, enjoying time with his wife, Ann, his children and grandchildren. Fred continues to help out as a "machinist emeritus", offering his technical knowledge and expertise as needed.

Department reflections

We’ve undergone numerous transitions over the past few years, and this year the trend continues!

Kurt Fletcher Continues to enjoy teaching the Analytical Physics I and Quantum Mechanics courses in the fall semesters. This spring he taught our new natural science core course, which he developed, Phys. 105: The Nature of Light and Color, for the second time.

Kurt continues his collaboration with UNC-CH in experimental nuclear physics. Over the past year, Kurt has run experiments at Triangle Universities Nuclear Lab with Geneseo alumni Bill Geist and Brian Fisher. Bob Runkle, Kim Gollinger, and Kristin Galbally, all Geneseo undergraduates, participated in these runs in North Carolina. In addition, seniors Matt Brauer and Bram Lillard have been working for the past year and a half on a plasma physics project sponsored by Eastman Kodak Co. Most of this work was done in Geneseo’s thin films deposition lab.

Kurt’s wife Leah and sons Ethan (4) and Kyle (2) are doing very well, although Ethan seems to like Mommy’s lab better than Daddy’s.

Geneseo’s newest physicist, Charlie Freeman, has completed his first year at Geneseo with flying colors, having taught Analyt 3 and 4, Atomic and Nuclear Physics, Freshman Physics Experience, and Freshman and Sophomore labs. This summer Charlie will be working on several projects. One will use the Geneseo Nuclear Structure Lab to study nuclear reactions which take place in stars. He will also be working on a collaboration with the University of Rochester's Laser Lab, calibrating a plasma calorimeter that is used to determine the energy produced in laser-induced inertial confinement fusion. Chris Randall, an undergraduate physics major, will be working with Charlie on these projects. In addition, Charlie will also be supervising a high school student who

will be participating in the FOCUS on science program, sponsored by the SUNY Geneseo Office of Multicultural Affairs. On a personal note, Charlie will be getting married this summer to Diane Bryan, who graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 1990 with a degree in physics. Diane got her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester (where she and Charlie met) and is now working at Kodak.

Savi Iyer has completed her second year as an assistant professor in the Department, teaching Thermodynamics, Astronomy, Electricity and Magnetism II, Analytical Physics II, Sophomore Lab, and various other labs. In addition to her teaching and committee work through the College Senate, she has taken on much of the responsibility for maintaining the computers throughout the Department. This summer, Savi is working with Professor S. Rajeev at the University of Rochester, exploring the connections between General Relativity, High Energy Physics, and the Search for Quantum Gravity. Savi, her husband Madhu, and their four-year-old son Gaurav enjoyed the recent visit of Savi’s parents, who live in Madras, India.

Ken Kinsey will be semi-retired starting next year. Ken will still be a member of the Department, teaching one course each semester. This will allow him to continue to develop the new LabView-based computer interfacing course which we’re teaching in the spring semesters. Over the past year, Ken taught the Science of Sound course, Electricity and Magnetism I and Analytical Physics II, as well as various labs.

Ken is active at the Genesee Country Museum in Mumford, New York, again this year, working in the blacksmith shop on Wednesdays and in the Wagon Shop in Saturdays.

Just when he thought life should be getting less busy, Dave Meisel has been making a last minute professional dash while juggling a number of activities. In June 1997 he was in Russia and Tartarstan to be inducted into the International Informatics Academy. The group, with many chapters all over the world, is concerned with the impact of technology and information on society. Its most well-known academician is UN Secretary General Kulfi Annan. One of the group's main tasks is training of UN diplomats and as an Academician, Dr. Meisel will serve on the Ph.D. committees of academy candidates.

On the trip over to Russia he met up with Professor Leelama of the Math Department and on the way back bumped into former Physics graduate Roger Smith! In addition to the academy award, Dr. Meisel received the 1997 SUNY-Geneseo Roemer Summer Fellowship, the 1998 Linfoot Research Award, and was appointed to a three year term on the Arecibo National Observatory Users Committee. The Observatory, which is run by Cornell University for the National Science Foundation, is in Puerto Rico.

His work with Geneseo students over the past year has included a meteor project with Terry Allen and David Binns, a NASA Student Rocket launch program with Penn State Electrical Engineering, and work with Robert

Beason of the biology department and his student Julie Whitten on wavelet analysis of bat signals. During Fall 1997, Dr. Meisel pioneered undergraduate Distance Learning on the Geneseo campus with a Plasma Physics

course, team taught with Professor John Mathews of the Communication and Space Sciences Laboratory (CSSL) of Penn State.

As a part of the project on the E sporadic layer and meteor connection, David Binns went to the Arecibo Observatory to participate in the 1997 Leonid meteor shower campaign supported by a Geneseo Foundation grant. A preliminary description of the work was given by Dr. Meisel at the January 1998 National Radio Science Meeting in Boulder Colorado. A formal paper on the subject will be submitted for publication this summer with Binns as lead author.

The NASA-funded project "SPIRIT" (Student Participation In Rocket Investigation Techniques) with Penn State includes 12 Geneseo students from several disciplines in addition to Physics majors. The physics majors include Jim Robey-Brantley, Drew Caffery, Brian McHale, Robert Tallman, Brian Dobbs, Tracy Potter, Andy Cunningham, and Christine Fogarty, biophysics. In Fall 1997, Jim Robey-Brantley received a Geneseo Foundation award to upgrade the Physics X-ray machine for use in testing rocket flight components. The rocket flight is scheduled for early May 1999 from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility. The mission is to measure earth's thermospheric temperatures with a planned apogee height of 120 kilometers. If successful it will be Geneseo's first flight into space. Expert advice and help for the Geneseo part of the payload has been provided by FTT Engineering based in Geneseo down on Court Street. FTT is a major benefactor of the college and has been helping Clint Cross, our new replacement for Fred Evangelista, do a variety of tricky machine tasks.

One of the things that Steve Padalino doesn’t have to worry about is how to spend his spare time. Steve is completing his last year as Geneseo’s Alumni Professor, an endowed professorship which permits him to teach a course of his choosing. This term, Steve taught a course called "Moon Shot" about the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs. He also presented the keynote talk at the Undergraduate Symposium in Science and Mathematics.

On the research front, Steve took three students to the Vancouver, B.C. meeting of the Division of Nuclear Physics, he’s been invited to present his work at Stockton State College and at the Plasma meeting at Princeton, and he’s continued his research at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics with Geneseo students Rose Zweigel, Marie Martinelli, Joel Nyquist, Heather Olliver, Sarah Thompson, and Brook Schwartz.

Steve has participated in student trips to the Reber cabin and the Toronto Science Museum. In addition, he’s co-chaired the college’s Curriculum Review Steering Committee. In reflecting over the past year, Steve says, "I laughed, I cried - It was better than ‘Cats’."

This year we were fortunate to host a visiting assistant professor, Ed Pogozelski, who has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. Ed taught one of the sections of Analytical Physics I, coordinated the labs for that course, and taught Applied Mechanics. As the Applied Mechanics instructor, it fell upon Ed to organize this year’s bridge-building contest, where students competed to build bridges meeting certain specifications using popsicle sticks. Next year Ed will be a member of the mechanical engineering department at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Jerry Reber has completed his final year as Geneseo’s representative to the state-wide University Faculty Senate and looks forward to having a little more free time. After teaching General Physics I and II as well as various labs and the Electric Circuits Analysis course this year, Jerry plans on improving his golf game this summer. In addition, he and Dixie will be visiting their daughter, son-in-law, and two grand-daughters in Erie. Their son Matthew lives in California and will join them in July for a Canadian fishing trip.






















































3. Chicago pile physicist.

6. Sibelius’ nationalistic symphony.

12. Slang for illegal plot, particularly involving theft.

13. Millikin’s moniker.

14. Latin abbreviation for error.

16. This good bird deserves another.

17. Geiger and Marsden’s boss.

19. Seinfeld stole a marbled one of these.

21. EM waves from 570 to 590 nm.

22. A thrust with a pointed weapon, or an attempt.

24. Bismuth

25. Physicist - Britian’s Warden of the Mint in 1690’s

27. "is"

28. Geneseo pizza joint.

31. Pocket debris.

32. Surname of father and son Physics Nobel laureates.

34. Legendary polynomials and functions!

37. Proto-chicken.

39. Science of Sound organ.

40. His approximation is first in physics.

41. Short for "Fare-well"

43. Zinc

45. Morley’s collaborator.

47. Prefix for vector, value and state.

48. Measurement tool.

49. Neck fashion.

50. Pizza mama’s last name.

52. Physicist and sadistic cat-owner.


1. Titanium

2. Woody parchment.

3. E and B field physicist.

4. Physicist I.I.’s surname.

5. Affirmative.

7. Tar Heel state.

8. Better this than never.

9. Foam rubber ball company.

10. James Bond film (2 words).

11. Master of pianos.

15. There are three Nobel laureates in this family.

18. Uncertain physicist.

20. Physicist with demon, equations, and silver hammer.

23. Photoelectric effect Nobel prize winner.

24. Cartoon collision noise.

26. Current events physicist.

29. Quantum potential, often infinite.

31. Industrial engineer.

32. Bear fountain material.

33. Producer of number 37 across.

35. Physicist with dual identity.

36. Optical systems can be explained by tracing this.

38. One seldom wants to go against this.

42. Turin cloth.

44. Fraser’s brother.

45. Mechanical engineer.

46. Sodium.

49. Tantalum

51. Argon

Alumni feedback

Many thanks to those alumni who have reported back to us. Check out our Department Web Pages for recent news. (


Faculty Alumni: *Phil Alley (64), emeritus faculty member, has had a busy year with travel and service to the Geneseo Rotary Club as that group’s secretary. Phil publishes a popular newsletter highlighting the group’s activities. This summer, Phil and Marie will be vacationing on the New Jersey coast with their children and grandchildren. *Sarah D. Johnson, who taught at Geneseo from 1995 to 1997 is now working at the University of La Verne in California. Sarah and Mark happily report the birth of their first son, Evan Durston Johnson (7 lbs 11 oz, 20.5 inches) on May 9, 1998. Congratulations, Sarah!

*Michael F. O'Connell (92) is working as an exploration engineer for Schlumberger on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. The last we heard, Mike was looking into the possibility of graduate study. *Scott Myers (95) is progressing towards his Ph.D. in physics from Florida State University, after completing his master’s last term. Scott led his first experiment at the nuclear accelerator lab in Tallahassee this semester. *Bridget Emerling (94) passed her qualifying oral exam last spring in the Ph.D. physics program at the University of Kentucky. *Alena Lieto (97) has settled in as a physics graduate student the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. *Briana Wood (97) is working as a physics teacher at Byron-Bergen High School, west of Rochester. *Jason Smith (96) worked at the Radiologic Physics Lab at the Umass Medical Center doing Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry. Jason is completing his biomedical engineering masters degree at Worcester Polytechnic this spring. He recently accepted a job in nuclear medicine at Capintec, Inc. in Ramsey, NJ. *Brandon Fisher (93) continues to recruit Geneseo students to study materials science with his group at Argonne National Labs. Jason Law (96) has been carrying out experiments using the Geneseo 2MV Van de Graaff accelerator as part of his work for the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. This fall Jason will enter graduate school at the University of South Florida in physical oceanography. *Brian Fisher (97) continues his graduate work in experimental nuclear physics at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill Brian’s working on upgrading a German-built gas jet target for Triangle Universities Nuclear Lab. *John Will (83) obtained his Ph.D. in electrical Engineering for the University of Colorado in 1996, receiving the Distinguished Graduate Student Award. John now works as a Senior Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineer at Sun Microsystems in the San Fransico Bay area. *Greg Baumbach (93) works as a senior programmer/ system administrator for Strategic Power Systems. Greg earned a BS in electrical engineering from Clarkson through the 3/2 program. He married Darcy Porter in 1993 and has two kids, Abagail and Trevor. *Mike Rogers (94) has passed his comprehensive exams for a masters degree in physics with a minor in archeology at the Oregon State University in Cornvallis. Mike’s MS thesis compares ground penetrating radar and magnetometer methods to locate unmarked graves in a 200 year old cemetary. Mike hopes to conduct his Ph.D. research in ground-based remote sensing for shallow water archeology with the National Remote Sensing Unit at the University of Galway, Ireland. *Michele Lang (94) works for Osram Sylvania Inc. as a senior glass engineer in the lamp fabrication group. This summer Michele will be marrying Brian LaCourse. *Todd Elder (94), a 3/2 graduate from Clarkson, is a sales engineer for SJ Associates, a firm for electronic components and packaging. Todd and his wife Amy live in Rochester. *Don Duggan-Haas (85) is working on a Ph.D. in curriculum, teaching, and educational policy at Michigan State University. Don taught high school science for eight years in Norwich, NY, and married Katy Duggan in 1994. *Dana Lane (95) passed her Ph.D. qualifier at Scripps Institute. Dana stopped by campus for a visit recently. She is studying atmospheric science at Scripps. *Dani Milavec (90) is the Information Systems Manager at a trade show management company, Epic Enterprises/PGI in San Diego, CA. *Satoshi Ishikawa (95) works for National Instruments in Tokyo. Satoshi is married with one son named Tyler. *John Kenyon (69) has worked with GE (then Martin Marietta and now Lockheed Martin through mergers) since graduating from Geneseo. *Dave Schmidt (93) is working on his Ph.D. in computational Fluid dynamics at Clarkson. *Laura Cavagnaro (96) is at the University of New Hampshire studying ocean engineering. *Gary Gillette (90) works as a ceramic engineer at Vishay Vitrmon in Roanoke, Virginia. His company manufactures multi-layer ceramic capacitors. The former * Rebecca Surman (93) and * Parker Troischt (93) were married last fall. Rebecca will be finishing her Ph.D. in nuclear astrophysics this summer and has accepted a faculty position at Union College in upstate New York. Parker plans on completing his degree in gravitational physics in the next year. *Bob Johnson (96) has settled into married life with Christine and continues his graduate studies in physics at North Carolina State University. *Eric Olsen (86) is a Systems Engineer for Business Imaging Systems for Eastman Kodak. Eric is currently based in Lake Mary, Florida. *Steve Bancheri (97) studies electroceramics and advanced ceramic materials (specifically piezoelectrics) in the ceramic engineering program at Alfred University. *Jack Schroeder (70) is Vice-President at Instamation, Inc. in Rochester. *Jenny Sweitzer (96) reports in from the materials science program at the University of Virginia. Jenny studies corrosion behavior of amorphous metallic glasses. She presented a colloquium for us last fall. *Eric Wohlers (84) is the Environmental Health Director for Cattaraugus Co., NY. One project Eric is working on involves evaluating uses for the West Valley Demonstration Project after the USDOE completes the vitrification of the high level radioactive waste at the site. *Carrie Creasey (95) is completing a masters degree in atomic physics and then plans on studying radiation medicine at the University of Kentucky. * Phil Hartlieb (97) is studying materials science at North Carolina State Univerisity, in Raleigh. His research project involves developing a low resistance ohmic contact to p-type GaN using traditional microelectronic fabrication techniques. GaN is a wide band-gap semiconductor with a wide variety of applications including blue LED's, blue laser diodes, UV diodes, UV detectors, and flame sensors. *Carmin DeCiantis (97) has resettled in Colorado. He complains that the mountains are obstructing his view of the horizon. *Matt Rush (89) is also in Colorado, after completing the 3/2 program through Clarkson. Matt now works for KN Energy, a major natural gas production and distribution company as a Manager for Energy Services. *At the Charlotte, NC airport, the Newsletter editor was wearing a physics department tee shirt when *Paul Conlon (82) walked over and introduced himself. Paul works on software development at Johnson and Johnson. * Rob Fuentes (95) has passed his preliminary exams in aerospace engineering at the University of Colorado and is currently working on control theory and structural applications under Prof. Mark Balas. This summer Rob’s at Kirkland Air Force Base doing ground experiments and control on the NGST Project. * Sean Lozada (98) just graduated from Clarkson, completing the 3/2 program in Mechanical Engineering. Sean will be working at Ford Motor Co. in Detroit as a Product Engineer. *Emmanuel Ambroise (99) is working on his 3/2 engineering degree at Clarkson. *Greg Pellerin (89) has been in technical sales for the past 6 years, and is presently the Director of Corporate Sales for a large internet service provider. Greg, his wife Chris, and their son Max live in Sunderland, Mass. *Eric Laurer (89) is a Senior Product Engineer with AMP Inc. He and his wife, Jennifer are expecting their first child this fall. *Greg Parsons (80) completed a Ph.D. in physics in 1990 and is now teaching at North Carolina State in the Chemical Engineering Department. Greg does research on semiconductors and plasma processing. Anne Miller (97) has returned from studying in England. While there she worked as an energy management consultant. She hopes to continue in this field here in the U.S.

Here’s the winner of the "It’s a Small World" Award: Last summer Dave Meisel boarded a plane in Moskow, Russia for a return flight home after his visit to Tartarstan. A fellow passenger walking down the aisle looked at him and asked, "Are you Dr. Meisel?" It was *Roger Smith (88) who is now a ground controller for NASA, and who was returning to Houston after collaborating with the Russians on the Mir spacecraft project.


Oh What a Tangled Web WE Weave

The Geneseo Physics and Astronomy web site is You can also reach us through the College web site - Check us out!

Physics Alumni E-mail

In Newsletter we would like to publish a list of Physics alumni e-mail addresses. We will not publish any e-mail addresses without permission. If you want to be included, please send a message with your address, name, and graduation year to Fletcher@Uno.Cc.Geneseo.Edu. Indicate that you give your permission for us to publish your address. Include an update of your activities, if you like!

John Will (83)

Greg Bambach (93)

Mike Rogers (94)

Michele Lang (94)

Todd Elder (94)

Don Duggan-Haas (85)

Dani Milavec (90)

Mark Muller ()

David Schmidt (93)

Jack Schroeder (70)

Jenny Sweitzer (96)

Eric Wohlers (84)

Matt Rush (89)



Funds power program

Thank you for contributing to the Physics Alumni Fund. Your contributions fund our ubiquitous pizza parties, eagerly awaited colloquium refreshments, educational student trips, recruitment, and many other social functions.

Just think, if you donate $10 to the physics alumni fund, you’re buying a pizza for a bunch of Geneseo students!

State rules prevent us from using department funds to provide these benefits to our students, so the Physics Alumni Fund enables us to treat our hardworking majors. If you are interested in contributing, just send a check to "Geneseo Foundation Physics Alumni Fund", Geneseo Foundation, SUNY-Geneseo, Geneseo, NY 14454.