Geneseo Physics

And Astronomy


Summer, 2000

Kurt Fletcher, Editor

SUNY-Geneseo Department of Physics & Astronomy

Congratulations 2000

This year's physics graduates are a diverse and exciting group who continue the tradition of excellence represented by our alumni.

Drew Caffrey will be traveling to the University of Virginia to start work on his master's degree in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering program. Drew received a full research assistantship. Drew has been awarded the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence. This is the first year that that this award has been offered.

Brian Dobbs plans to graduate school in the fall. Brian received the Physics Department Teaching Award for Laboratory Instructors at this year's Jr-Sr Dinner.

Ted Martin will enter the graduate program in physics at the University of Oregon next year. Ted has a teaching assistantship and is thinking of studying optics at Oregon.

Tim McClain and Bob Tallman are both heading west - to SUNY Buffalo. Tim will be working on his master's degree in mechanical engineering and Bob will be studying in the physics program.

Tom Wakeman will be working for CalSpan doing computer programming. Tom received a Physics Alumni Award at the 1999 Jr-Sr Dinner.

Heather Olliver will be enrolling in the nuclear physics Ph.D. program at Michigan State University. Heather received a fellowship and a research assistantship to support her studies. Heather was a recipient of the Phillip Alley Service Award and the John Padalino Research Award this year.

Joel Nyquist and Sarah Thompson are each going to Rockie Mountains to study at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Joel will be entering the Aerospace Engineering program, and Sarah will be studying physics and working at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA). Joel received the Physics Senior Award this year, and Sarah was a 1999 recipient of the Physics Alumni Award. In addition, Sarah received the John Padalino Research Award this year.

Tracy Potter will be doing her student teaching this fall in order to complete the requirements for her secondary education degree.

James Roby-Brantley is planning on traveling through Europe this summer with Geneseo 3-2 engineering alumnus Brian McHale. Jim was awarded the Fred Evangelista Service Award last year.

Although they don't "officially" graduate this year, Dave Sillick and Alex Zaydman are both leaving the campus to complete their 3-2 engineering programs. Dave is going to study mechanical engineering at Buffalo next year and Alex will be studying at RIT.

As has become our custom, after commencement the physics and chemistry departments sponsored a picnic lunch in Greene Hall to congratulate our graduates and their families. The faculty and staff are quite proud of the class of 2000, and we wish all the new graduates the very best of everything.

Robert 'Duke' Sells

We are sad to report that, on May 30, 2000, Robert "Duke" Sells, the father of the Geneseo Physics program, passed away. Duke was 74. Duke Sells was the first Distinguished Teaching Professor at SUNY Geneseo and a noted teacher, scholar, textbook writer, and friend. At the memorial service held on June 3 in the Alice Austin theatre, Duke was remembered for his many contributions to the college, his generosity, his infectious smile, his kindness, and his love of touch football games.

A native of Lancaster, Ohio, Duke served in the U.S. Navy, earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Physics from Notre Dame. In 1963, after teaching at Rutgers University and collaborating with Richard Weidner on several textbooks, Duke was recruited to come to Geneseo to start the physics department. Over his 18 years at Geneseo he helped to shape the program with his commitment to students and their well-being. As the department chair Duke recruited and hired Phil Alley, Ken Kinsey, Jerry Reber, Jim Chen, Doug Harke, and Dave Meisel. He also convinced Steve Padalino to join the department.

No doubt that many alumni remember Dr. Sells for his lectures, punctuated with death-defying demonstrations (ie. "the bed of nails"), and his touch-football games.

Duke retired from SUNY Geneseo in 1987, and spent the last years of his life fighting Alzheimer's disease. In lieu of flowers, his family has asked that donations be sent to the Robert "Duke" Sells Scholarship Fund, Geneseo Foundation, SUNY Geneseo, Geneseo, NY 14454.

Physics Alumni on the web

It's gotten a little easier for you to connect with former classmates. Thanks to Dr. Savi Iyer's efforts, Geneseo physics alumni can now provide updates on the Physics Department webpages. This service provides a great way for people to connect online.

Go to HTTP:// and click on the Alumni Home Page option. From there you can enter your name and contact information into our database, and you can search for information on your colleagues and classmates. You can also find selected back issues of the Alumni Newsletter. Please note that this is not a secure site, so the information you post can be seen worldwide.

Spirit soars!

Dr. Dave Meisel completed his one-year sabbatical at Penn State University by watching one of his research projects really take off. Dubbed SPIRIT (for Student Projects Involving Rocket Investigation Techniques) this project culminated in the launching a 375 pound payload from the NASA Wallops Flight Center in order to measure the temperature of the Mesosphere (60-120 kilometers) with the highest resolution possible. Geneseo's spectrophometric diode array was used to determine the emission of the OH radical dayglow. Numerous Geneseo students participated in the design, manufacture, and deployment of the instrument.

Summer Student Research

Geneseo students are participating in funded research activities all over the place this summer.

Here on campus, Michele Olsen (01) and Brook Schwartz (01) are working on calibration of a plasma spectrometer under the direction of Dr. Charlie Freeman. Sean Burke (chemistry - 01), Robyn Coleburn (02), Brian Andrea (01), and Julia Fushino (02) are working with Dr. Steve Padalino on accelerator experiments calibrating XR-39 track detectors for the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. Padalino and Dr. Dave Geiger (chemistry) are supervising Leigh Baumgard (03) and chemistry student Brian White (01) as they study etching methods for CR-39 track detectors. Dr. Kurt Fletcher is developing a method for charged particle detection using a pin diode detector with Al Magri (02), Jeff Kujawa (02) and Colin Palmer (03). Financial support for these projects comes from Laser Energetics, Lawrence Livermore National Labs and the Department of Energy.

Dr. David Meisel has assembled a team to analyze the data on the SPIRIT rocket project and prepare for additional experiments. These students include Matt Rose (02), Dan Rice (01), Sean Burke (chemistry -01), and Rob Dressing (mathematics- 01).

In the new Fluid Mechanics Lab, Tim Harris (01) is developing software for image acquisition and analysis with Dr. Ed Pogozelski, under a grant from Delphi Corporation, a company that develops and manufactures fuel injectors for automobiles.

As a result of this partnership with Delphi, Chris Mercer (01) is working at the Henrietta, NY, research facility this summer. Andy Cunningham (01) is doing research at Cornell. Vickie Holmes (01) is working on an atomic physics project at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Melanie Kittle (01) is exploring atom cooling at the University of Connecticut. Meanwhile, David Geib (01) has a summer research position at Brookhaven National Labs.

By our count that's seventeen physics majors engaged in summer research activities this year!

Padalino fit to be tied

Steve Padalino is going to start wearing neckties.

After a national search this summer, Provost Dixon has hired Steve to become an Associate Provost at Geneseo. Starting September 1, Steve will move to a spacious office in the Erwin administration building, and begin oversight of the campus-wide initiatives. Luckily, the physics department will continue to benefit from Steve's enthusiasm and expertise, as he will continue to conduct undergraduate research in inertial confinement fusion two afternoons a week during the semesters and half-time in the summers. Jerry Reber has agreed to act as chair starting in September. We all wish Steve a success and fun in his new position at Geneseo!

Department reflections

Kurt Fletcher is looking forward to a fruitful sabbatical this fall. He plans on finishing up several ongoing projects and writing them up for publication. This year Kurt taught Quantum Mechanics, E & M II, and the Nature of Light and Color, as well as several labs. With Meisel on sabbatical this year, Kurt was in charge of astronomy labs. We're all glad that Meisel is coming back!

Leah and the kids are doing well, with Ethan (6) finishing up kindergarten and Kyle (4) preparing to start school this fall at Geneseo Central. The Fletchers were tired of living in an 80-year-old house on Elm St, so in December they moved to a 160-year-old house on Second Street.

In June of 1999, Charlie Freeman went to the Town

Meeting on Nuclear Astrophysics at University of Notre Dame with Geneseo students Michele Olsen and Brook Schwartz, and then to the Frontier Science at the National Ignition Facility Meeting in Pleasanton California in October with Kurt Fletcher, Ed Pogozelski, and Steve Padalino. This spring Charlie went to Washington DC with James McLean, Brook, Michele, and Andy for the Council on Undergraduate Research "Posters on the Hill" event. There they got to show off research on the plasma

calorimeter to US Senators and Representatives. Also, the Geneseo group met the Representative from our district, Tom Reynolds, and visited NY Senator Charles Schummer's office. (For more information and photos see

Charlie has also begun work on a new project in conjunction with the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. He will be working on a new diagnostic that will be tested on the University of Rochester's OMEGA laser and will eventually be deployed at the National Ignition Facility in California.

On the personal side, in the summer of 1999, Charlie and his wife Diane bought a house in Henrietta to go with their riding lawnmower. It has just enough room for a volleyball court in the backyard. In May, the couple visited Germany.

Savi Iyer is on her way to India this summer for a month-long visit with her family. Savi enjoyed teaching Thermodynamics, Analytical Physics IV, and the Optics and Modern Physics Lab this year. She also has taken charge of our summer orientation advising for in-coming students. Savi and Madan's son Gaurav completed kindergarten this year.

Ken Kinsey continues to teach one course per semester while he eases into retirement. In his spare time, Ken is working on the restoration of a historic home at the Genesee Country Museum in Mumford, NY.

James McLean started his college teaching career off right by missing the first day of classes. The reason was the birth of his first child, Charlotte Aurora, who has been charming everyone in town ever since. James found his first year of teaching to be much like the first year of graduate school: an incredibly huge time commitment, but with big rewards. Besides Science of Sound, Intermediate Lab, and Analyt II, he revived the dormant Solid State course this spring.

This spring James and senior Bob Tallman finished rewriting a computer program that will be used to study the statistics of atom motions on surfaces. James will be putting together a Scanning Tunneling Microscope this summer, although exactly how that will be done depends on whether the National Science Foundation decides to fund his grant proposal.

Because moving 3000 miles, starting a new job, and having a first child were not enough stress, this spring James and his wife Sarah bought a house which "needs a little work." They hope to recover in a few years

Dave Meisel and his wife Carolyn have returned from a year-long sabbatical at Penn State. Dave managed to produce a half dozen publications and submitted papers with his co-authors. In addition, over the past year he has participated in projects at Arecibo Observatory. Dave's research involves proving that some meteors that reach the earth actually originate from outside our solar system. Dave looks forward to his summer research with undergraduates and to the coming year of astronomy courses.

David Morabito completed his visiting year with the department, filling in for Meisel. David taught the astronomy courses and several labs. We all wish him well as he looks for permanent employment.

Steve Padalino is preparing for life in the administration building after fifteen years of teaching. He is becoming more involved with inertial confinement fusion research, and now enjoys collaborations with researchers at MIT, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. Over the past year, Steve has discovered the joys of owning a boat on Conesus Lake, and he is constantly looking for opportunities to invite students over for a ride. He and Susan are looking forward to a vacation in New England in August.

Ed Pogozelski has finished his first year as tenure-track faculty. A Mechanical Engineer from Johns Hopkins, Ed is supervising the 3-2 engineering programs at Geneseo. Edís teaching responsibilities include Analytical Physics I (lecture and labs), the Freshman Experience in Physics, Analytical Physics II Lab, Applied Mechanics, Digital Electronics (lecture and lab), and a newly introduced course in Fluid Mechanics. This summer, Ed and his research student Tim Harris are working on a Laser Diffraction Droplet Size Distribution project, funded on a grant from Delphi Automotive Systems (Henrietta, NY). The aim of the project is to create a system that can be used to measure the distribution of droplet sizes in the gasoline spray from an automotive fuel injector.

Ed and his wife Wendy (a faculty member in the Chemistry Department) built a new home in Geneseo last November.

Jerry Reber continues to teach General Physics and Electric Circuit Analysis. After directing the 3/2 Engineering Program for more than 20 years, he has turned over the responsibilities for the program to Ed Pogozelski, who has a Ph.D. in engineering. In addition to improving his golf game this summer, Jerry and Dixie traveled to southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in June. Having taught in two different centuries (and three decades) he plans to retire in December of 2001.

Alumni feedback

Many thanks to those alumni who have reported back to us. Check out our Department Web Pages for recent news. ( If you want to contribute an update for next yearís newsletter, send your information to or drop us a letter the old-fashioned way!


Faculty Alumni: *Phil Alley (64), emeritus faculty member, and his wife Marie, received the Ray C. Sherman Award from the Geneseo Rotary Club this year. The award recognizes the Alleys for their service to the community. Geneseo will miss the Alleys, who have sold their home on Main Street. They are moving to Hamilton NY this summer. We all wish them well and hope to see them during frequent visits. *Rose Zweigle (98), accepted a high school physics teaching position in North Carolina. She will be getting married in October. *Brian M. Fisher (96), a Ph.D. candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill, attended the "Nuclear Physics Summer School" in San Diego. *Matthew Brauer (98), visited Rome and Scotland in 1999 and feels lucky as research recently took a turn in the right direction. Matt is finishing his Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Penn State and looking for a job. *William Geist (93), received a full time position at Los Alamos as a technical staff member. Heís setting the place on fire! *Joshua "Eunuch" Klyber (99), tried ProTech in Los Vegas and decided to move on to a carpenter position in the scene shop at Syracuse Stage (largest theatre in Syracuse). *John P. Korzelius (89) is working as an advanced manufacturing engineer at Delphi Harrison Thermal Systems in Lockport, NY. *Nancy S. Rogers (97), left the laser lab at the University of Rochester and is working for a consulting company called Ciber in Rochester, NY. *Michael R. Thompson (88) is employed at Picker International and teaches a course on the Physics of Imaging at Case Western Reserve University. He recently published as third author a text entitled "Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Physical Principles and Sequence Design". *William Kurtz (75) After working for Eastman Kodak until 1997, Bill ventured forth and worked for Danka. He now is working for Frontier Communications in Rochester as a Program Manager specializing in international projects. *Vincent "Bram" Lillard (98), passed his qualifying exam in both Quantum and Classical physics and is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead in the Ph.D. Physics program at the University of Maryland. *Brian DeMarco (96), recently published research results that have been featured in many professional scientific journals (Science, Physics Today, Scientific American, etc.). His thesis work on Fermi degenerate gases at the University of Colorado was listed among the Top Ten Physics Discoveries of 1999! *Michael Rogers (77), graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering and lives in Clarence, NY. *Kimberly M. Gollinger (99), a 3/2 engineering graduate from Syracuse University, is focusing on transportation/planning relating to civil engineering. Kim obtained an internship with the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council. *Stephen Bancheri (97) received a Masters degree from Alfred University and is working for GE. *Vito LaBarbara (99) is working as a computer programmer/data analyst for the LENS facilities of Veridianís Calspan Division in Buffalo, NY. *Trisha A. Hauser (99) is attending graduate school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in the systems engineering department for her MS degree. *Christopher R. Randall (99), attending graduate school at the University of Colorado in their aeropace program. *Kristin L. Galbally (99), attending the School of Mines and Minerals in Colorado. She is a TA for two Physics 100 learning studios and for Physics 200 recitation and lab. *Michelle Gaudett Koul (90), is an assistant professor at the US Naval Academy. *Seth Cohen (92), attended Arizona State and is a second author on a professional paper published in the Astronomical Journal for December 1999. *Brandon Fisher (93) continues to work for the Argonne National Laboratory and helps provide research opportunities for our students. Brandon is also interested in recruiting graduate school candidates who are interested in ion beam assisted deposition and pulsed laser deposition. *Andrew Schultz (95) is currently teaching high school physics and enjoys coaching the high schoolís hockey team and playing hockey for a local team. A move to Viriginia is in the process this summer. *Jason Smith (96), has changed jobs and is now working as a research engineer at InterScience, Inc. in Troy, NY. He and his wife, Kristen, have a son Kyle who was born April 27, 2000. *Laura Cavagnaro (96) is attending the University of New Hampshire to work on her Ph.D. They have a new program in Ocean Engineering and Laura will be the first student through it. She is working for the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, but still deals with sonar and signal processing. *Scott Myers (95), graduated from Florida State University with his Masters degree and is now working as an accelerator control operator for Jefferson Labs in Newport News. *Dana Lane (95), graduated from the University of California/San Diego with her Ph.D. She plans to stay at UCSD through the end of July as a postdoc and will then take a job in Boulder, CO starting on October 1. *Carmin DeCiantis (97), is working with an ion beam sputtering chamber to deposit optical thin films for Research Electro Optics. He will also be working toward his Masters in mechanical engineering. *Helene Borden (92), called to say she is working at Sacred Heart Academy in Buffalo, NY as their technical coordinator. She is teaching computer courses and providing computer support. *Brian Fisher (96) has passed his Ph.D. preliminary exam at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Funds power program

Thank you for contributing to the Physics Alumni Fund!

State rules prevent us from using department funds to provide pizza, beverages, and such to our students, so the Physics Alumni Fund enables us to treat our hardworking majors. In addition, we use Alumni Fund monies to defray some of the expense of student trips and in our recruiting efforts. If you are interested in contributing, just send a check to "Geneseo Foundation Physics Alumni Fund", Geneseo Foundation, SUNY-Geneseo, Geneseo, NY 14454.
















Department of Physics and Astronomy -700076

SUNY Geneseo

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Geneseo, NY 14454