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Physics Department Fall Picnic

Astronomy option students provided viewing opportunities at the Fall Physics Department Picnic.

Tina Riley staffs the Coronado solar telescope while Professor Herman Batelaan takes a look.Marina Bradaric steers a search for Venus in the twilight for those impatient for sunlight to leave.
Monday, September 30, 2013  —  Kevin

Fall Workshop (October 26) Plenary Abstracts

Beth Willman's Presentation: "Invisible Galaxies "

Abstract: In the past five years, more than a dozen dwarf galaxies have been discovered around the Milky Way that are 100 times less luminous than any galaxy previously known, and a million times less luminous than the Milky Way itself. These objects are effectively invisible in images of the sky. Such ultra-faint galaxies provide a unique tracer of dark matter, and might also be the most numerous type of galaxy in the universe. This talk will focus on i. how astronomers can see invisible galaxies, ii. what invisible galaxies may teach us about dark matter, and iii. the roles that current and future sky surveys will play in the accessibility of this research to scientists and students at any type of institution. I will also highlight the contributions of undergraduates to invisible galaxy research at Haverford College.

Wendy Adam's Presentation: "What do successful problem solvers do when solving complex problems?"

Abstract: As part of our work to create a physics problem solving evaluation tool, we have undergone extensive studies to determine the scope and detail of what it is that experts do when solving problems. We have identified 44 separate skills within three major divisions - 1. knowledge, 2. beliefs, expectations and motivation and 3. processes - that are used when solving complex problems. We have also shown that a person's strengths' and weaknesses' when solving problems in everyday life are the same as in the physics classroom. Here we will describe the process of identifying these skills, categorization of these skills, studies validating their use in physics, and discuss implications for teaching.

Sunday, September 22, 2013  —  Kevin

Registration Open for Joint Fall Astronomy Education - NAAPT Workshop

The 16th annual UNL Astronomy Education Workshop will be held on Saturday, October 26, 2013. We will meet in Jorgensen Hall from 8:30 am until approximately 4:30 pm. Activities will include:

  • A presentation on Dark Matter & Galaxies by Beth Willman of Haverford College
  • A presentation on Problem Solving by Wendy Adams of Northern Colorado University
  • Touring the Mobile Observatory of the Strategic Air and Space Museum
  • Breakout Sessions on Astronomy Software, Physics Demonstrations, Teaching Techniques and much more ...

Longer hands-on sessions on "PheT Simulations", "Fruity Batteries & Squishy Circuits", and "Sound & Music" will be held simultaneously in the afternoon. All three have attendance limitations and you will be asked upon registration to specify your attendance choice.

All high school and college instructors of either astronomy or physics are invited to participate free of charge. Continental breakfast, lunch, and a variety of teaching materials will be provided. Please register by contacting:

Stephani Vendetti
Tuesday, September 10, 2013  —  Kevin