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Congratulations to our 2014 graduates!

Six majors iPhysics and/or Physics-Astronomy are leaving us and going on to amaze the world (and graduate schools) during Spring and Summer commencements this year.

From left: Chris Karlic, spring; Josh Petrus, spring; MikeAviles, summer; Anthony Mazzocco, summer; and Mike McMaster, spring. Missing: Brandon Latronica, summer.

Get ready world, here they come.



The language of Physics is math ...

Michael BakerPhysics Major Michael Baker knows this well, and was among 11 YSU students speaking math so well at the annual MathFest of the American Association of America and Pi Mu Epsilon that the YSU team brought home six (count 'em: 6) awards. The team broke the record of five awards set in 2005 (also by teams from YSU). No other schools has won more than three MathFest awards.

Full story at YSU News Center ...


Congratulations to 2013-14 Physics & Astronomy Scholarship Recipients

Mike McMaster-thumbnail Josh Petras-thumbnail 

Six majors received scholarships during the recent YSU Honors Convocation and Awards Banquet.

Mike McMaster, left, was awarded the Albert A. Guerrieri Jr. Memorial Scholarship, and Josh Petrus, right), received the Frank M. Clark Award.

Victoria Centofanti, not pictured, received the Dr. Ronald A. Parise Memorial Scholarship.

Mike Baker-thumbnail
Connor Hetzel-thumbnail Davidson Lu-thumbnail

From left, Mike Baker, Connor Hetzel, and Davidson Lu, each received an award from the John and Lina Moteff Scholarship.


In addition, Dr. Tom Oder received a Distinguished Professorship Award in the category of Service


SPS Logo 

The YSU Chapter of the Society of Physics Students has elected new officers for the 2013-14 academic year.

They are:

President - Mike Aviles

Vice President - Mike Baker

Secretary - Connor Hetzel

Treasurer - Mike McMaster

Dr. Mike Crescimanno is the faculty sponsor.





David GohlkeOh, those dirty hands

Getting his hands dirty, sometimes literally, by doing lab science as an undergraduate is something that made a difference for soon-to-be Dr. David Gohlke (YSU 06; Chaney High School 01).

Hiis undergraduate time at YSU, when he worked with Dr. Jeff Carroll (now at the US Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, MD), made a difference from a career standpoint, Dave said. He visited YSU recently to present a paper titled "Probing interactions on semiconductor surfaces using scanning tunneling microscopy.

"To be a real part in the lab," and working and traveling with Dr. Carroll for his research, was a good base for graduate/doctoral study. "I still have more papers published as an undergraduate than I do as a graduate student.

He will receive his PhD this spring from Ohio State University, where he working with the Gupta group and using STM to see the atomic scale of surfaces and to manipulate atoms and molecules to "tune" their properties. The talk centered on "recent work done to modify the electrostatic environment of a semiconductor surface (GaAs) using charged defects. By moving point charges with atomic precision, we adjust the binding energy of the single electron acceptors embedded into the surface, and tune the interaction between multiple magnetic impurities. Control of these defects may lead to new designs for semiconductors and a greater understanding of the magnetic interactions necessary for the advancement of 'spintronics.

Dr. Golhke's next challenge is a post-doc appointment at the University of Regensburg in Germany.



3 views of James Seckler

Connecting math and biology with physics

Dr. James Seckler ('04), explains his current research as a post-doc fellow at the University of Rochester, where he is working on elastic network modelling, hydrogen/deuterium exchange.

Basically, he is applying physics to biological problems. "I'm doing physics to look at how protiens move and, from that motion, determine their function."

James studied physiology and biophysics at Case Western Reserve University, where he received his Ph.D. in 2011.


2012-13 Physics & Astronomy Scholarship Recipients

Mike McMaster Mark Freeman Fred Boyer Mike Baker Sean Robinson Josh Petras

From left to Right:

Michael McMaster

Frank M. Clark Award: The Frank M. Clark Physics Award is given in memory of Frank M. Clark and his contributions to high standards of teaching in the Physics Department, at what was then Youngstown University. He served as a faculty member in the Physics Department in the 1950s and 60s. This Award was instituted by faculty members in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and is given to an outstanding physics student(s).

Mark Freeman

Albert A. Guerrieri, Jr. Memorial Scholarship: The Guerrieri Scholarship was established as an endowment with Youngstown State University in January 1982 by the family of Albert A. Guerrieri Jr. and is awarded to an outstanding physics student. 

Frederick Boyer

Dr. Ronald A. Parise Memorial Scholarship: This scholarship was established in 2008 in memory of Dr. Ronald Parise, YSU Physics & Astronomy graduate and NASA Payload Specialist.  

Michael Baker, Sean Robinson

John and Lina Moteff Scholarship Award: This award was established in 2003 in memory and honor of John and Lina Moteff. The donors desired to establish an endowment fund for scholarships benefiting student(s) in good academic standing in the Department of Physics at Youngstown State University.

Joshua Petrus

Myron C. Wick Scholarship and Moteff Scholarship: In addition to the Moteff Scholarship, Josh received the Myron C. Wick Jr. Scholarship, which was established in 1985 by an endowment by Alice Tod Wick Hall in memory of her father, Myron C. Wick, Jr. The endowment makes possible three academic scholarships, two in physical sciences and one in engineering.

Matt Regan

Matt Ragan (left) was honored as the STEM Outstanding Young Alumnus at the 2012 STEM Awards Dinner. Matt is Senior Controls Engineer at Lockheed Martin in Akron. A 2000 graduate of Liberty High School, Ragan worked as a research assistant in the Laser/Optics Lab in the Physics Department before graduating from YSU in 2005, earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering and a bachelor’s degree in Physics with a minor in Mathematics. At Lockheed he is the Engineer Lead/Integrated Product Team Lead for two major Defense Department projects and has one patent application in process.



Mike McMaster with pirate cruncher puppet Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. - Albert Einstein

Students have the silly idea that they can't take classes just for fun. Mike McMaster, physics major, knows this isn't true. He is taking a puppetry class this semester as a "brain break" from his three physics courses. A "brain break" energizes different parts of the brain, and the creativity needed and used by physics majors is readily applied to the creative and performing arts.

Mike is enrolled in Theater 2607 Puppetry, "An overview of the history of puppets in world drama, combined with practical exercises in making inanimate objects come to "life" for the purpose of creating works of theater. Includes puppet construction and performance. Prereq. Sophomore standing. 3 s.h." For more information, go to web.ysu.edu/fpa/theater.

His blue friend is the pirate cruncher from the book by the same name written by Jonny Duddle. His class is adapting the book into a puppet play. The soft-toothed cruncher is made from fleece and felt, with a structure made of plywood and dowel rods. Nearly the entire costume was hand sewn by Mike himself, and the eyes are inexpensive novelty soccer balls.



James Aldridge

James Aldridge, who graduated Spring 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, is now at Case Western Reserve University in the Ph.D. program in macromolecular science and engineering. He will work with the internationally recognized Baer and Hiltner research group. “When you’re determined,” he said, “you can do anything.

James, along with a number of other students from different majors, worked interdisciplinarily as research assistants in the POEM (Photonic, Optical, and Electonic Materials) Group, which is studying polymers. 

James also was selected for a YSU Success Story. 

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