Maddie Baltzer Presents Research at APS

Posted January 12, 2016 by Physics

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Maddie at APS

Maddie Baltzer (BS Physics 2016) traveled to Savannah, GA along with research advisor Dr. Darren Craig to present her research at the American Physical Society – Division of Plasma Physics meeting in November 2015. Maddie has been doing research with Dr. Craig in plasma physics for about 2.5 years now and this is her second trip to the APS-DPP meeting. Her poster presented progress in making absolutely calibrated ion flow measurements in the Madison Symmetric Torus, a large magnetically confined plasma experiment at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Maddie has traveled to Madison several times to take data and has developed a custom calibration light source at Wheaton College that will be used in Madison. Flow measurements are made by observing small Doppler shifts of impurity emission lines and the new light source enables an accurate calibration of the spectrometer used for these studies. Maddie is completing an honors thesis this year in which she plans to use all of the hardware and software she has been working on to make the first absolutely calibrated and localized measurements of ion flow in MST.

More Options for Wheaton College Engineering Students

Posted January 1, 2016 by Physics


Engineering students at Wheaton College have even more options to finish their required course work than before. Wheaton College and the College of DuPage have recently entered into an agreement that makes it possible for Wheaton College Engineering students to take selected courses at the College of Dupage, a local community college close to Wheaton’s campus. College of Dupage has an existing relationship with the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), which allows courses approved in this agreement to transfer directly to IIT-Armour College of Engineering (and most other engineering schools). The benefits for Wheaton College students are substantial: Not only will it reduce travel time and costs significantly, it also opens up the possibility to take courses which are not available at Wheaton College or conflict with their Wheaton schedule, thus keeping them on track to finish their lower division engineering courses on time. "We believe the agreement is a plus for the 3-2 dual-degree engineering program at Wheaton,” says Mr. William Medcalf, the Engineering Program Director.

Lunar Eclipse Huge Success

Posted September 28, 2015 by Physics


Lunar Eclipse Sept 27 2015

Approximately 400-500 people came to the Wheaton College Observatory to view the full lunar eclipse on Sunday night, September 27 2015. Five telescopes were set up on the patio outside the Meyer Science Center and people were lining up as early as 7:30PM (when the eclipse had not yet started) to look through the telescopes at the moon. The first ten minutes of the partial phase was obscured by clouds, but from 8:15PM on a large (and growing) break in the clouds made viewing the moon possible. Every now and then, clouds threatened to end the show, but it stayed clear until almost 11PM. Many parents brought their children to watch the moon, and lots of students, faculty and staff stopped by as well. Viewing was facilitated by the observatory staff (students) who also explained what could be seen. The picture below give an impression of the crowds. The picture of the moon was taken by Matt Prior ('18).

Lunar Eclipse Sept 27 2015 









Open Position - Assistant Professor of Engineering

Posted August 10, 2015 by Physics


Wheaton College seeks to fill a new tenure track position of assistant professor in engineering for the fall 2016 semester.

Wheaton's "3-2", or dual-degree engineering program, begun in 1969, has grown from a pre-engineering program and now includes a growing list of engineering courses in the catalog.

We are seeking candidates with an earned Ph. D. in engineering, broad knowledge of the discipline, the ability to provide skilled and motivational instruction in lower division engineering courses, and a desire to engage students' passions and interests in an active-learning environment.

Industry experience as a practicing engineer, with hands-on design and project experience, is highly valued. It is expected that the candidate will maintain a research program on campus or in collaboration with neighboring national labs or industry, preferably one in which students are involved.

Interest in the interaction of Christian faith with the practice of engineering and active mentoring of students in this area is an important component of the position.

The College is located 25 miles west of Chicago and is near two national laboratories. For more information, please visit Wheaton College is an evangelical Christian liberal arts college whose faculty and staff affirm a Statement of Faith and adhere to lifestyle expectations. The College complies with federal and state guidelines of nondiscrimination in employment. Women and minority applicants are encouraged to apply.  Review of applications will begin Nov. 1 and continue until the position is filled. A fact sheet with more detailed information about the 3-2 program is available upon request.

Interested individuals should send a curriculum vitae and a statement of teaching philosophy and research interests to:

Dr. Darren Craig, Department Chair

501 College Avenue
Wheaton College
Wheaton, IL 60187

Applications will be mailed to promising candidates.

Emily Willson ('16) Presents Research at International Conference In Toronto

Posted July 13, 2015 by Physics

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Willson ISMR

Emily Willson (’16), a physics and mathematics major at Wheaton College, has presented nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) research at the 2015 meeting of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Emily is working with Dr. Heather M. Whitney on a project that seeks to predict the role of radiation damping in magnetization transfer (MT) measurements. The title of her poster presentation is “Initial Investigation into Effect of Radiation Damping on Magnetization Transfer Parameters Extracted From Inversion Recovery Experiments.”

“MT is a property of macromolecular systems – materials that are made up of semisolids – that can be measured by magnetic resonance experiments,” said Willson. “Measuring them is part of an effort in biomedical circles to make imaging measurements overall more quantitative, so that the actual measurement of a value can be associated with some state of a tissue, versus a qualitative comparison which points out that there are just differences that exist.”

“MT and the parameters that describe it, such as the ratio of protons in the liquid versus the semisolid state, have the potential of serving as biomarkers for certain disease states. Currently, one variation of an MT measurement serves to measure the presence of multiple sclerosis,” said Dr. Whitney. “Our research is part of a larger effort to investigate how robust these measurements are in the presence of imaging difficulties such as radiation damping, also known as RD. RD occurs when the measured signal is so strong that it induces a current in the coils that produce magnetic fields in an NMR system, which makes it more difficult to acquire quantitative information.”

Willson’s work uses a simulation of the different portions of protons that interact in magnetization transfer. She then simulates different levels of RD to see how it affects the ability to extract the MT parameters. “Emily’s work is a good example of interdisciplinary research at the undergraduate level. She is incorporating principles from physics, mathematics, computer science, and even a little chemistry. We’re excited to present her work at ISMRM, where Wheaton may be the only undergraduate institution represented there.”

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