Dr. Whitney presents at national physics teaching conference

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Whitney presentes at AAPT

Dr. Heather M. Whitney was invited to speak at the 2015 Winter Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) conference in San Diego, CA. Her presentation, “Discourse Communities as a Framework for Writing in Physics” was prepared in collaboration with Dr. Jim Beitler of the Wheaton College Department of English.

“I was excited to share with the AAPT community the work we are doing in my classes to incorporate writing as a structure that supports the learning of physics, said Dr. Whitney. “Dr. Beitler and I worked to incorporate the principles of writing communities into the course I teach on Analytical Mechanics. Writing communities share domains of knowledge in content, rhetoric, writing method, and genre so that the writing process is more holistic and supportive of learning in many ways.”

Dr. Whitney incorporated the ideas of a discourse community, most practically through writing workshops, in PHYS341, the department’s Analytical Mechanics course. All students reported being satisfied or highly satisfied with the process, and all students reported that they believed it to be a strong support in their learning of mechanics. She looks forward to further incorporating discourse community principles in the department’s sophomore-level Modern Science Skills Laboratory.

Keeler publishes undergraduate research in Spectroscopy Letters

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Andrew Keeler (Physics ’13) has published research done with Dr. Heather M. Whitney. The article, “Characterization and suppression techniques for degree of radiation damping in inversion recovery measurements”, is in press in the journal Spectroscopy Letters.

“Andrew’s article reflects the first steps of a long-term research project I am engaged in to understand how magnetization transfer measurements of the states of protons in macromolecular systems are affected by experiment factors that can sometimes be nonideal, such as radiation damping,” said Dr. Whitney. “His work demonstrated that a method published previously in the literature that applied to one type of sample can be applied to samples of a range of longitudinal relaxation times. It is unusual for undergraduate students to work on quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance measurements, and Andrew has done well.”

Creative with a 3D-Printer: Building a Laser Harp

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Jonathan Cuthbertson (Physics '15) is fascinated by lasers. Last year he build his own laser, this year he takes it up a notch. For his final project in Digital Electronics (also known as Computer Data Acquisition, an upper level elective course) he and his lab partner are building a laser harp, using the new 3D printer. "It's a very cool experience, it's just exciting that Wheaton has this, ... and that as students we can use this on a daily basis."

Morken and Moon Survive First Round of Shark Tank Competition

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Morken and Moon - RowAmp

Michael Morken (Physics ’15) and Young-Ho Moon (Engineering ’16) are among six student groups that continue to the second round of the Shark Tank Competition. The Wheaton College Shark Tank is an entrepreneurial competition where teams of students from all experience levels and backgrounds present their business ideas. After surviving the first round, including winning the crowd choice award, Morken and Moon will be mentored throughout the winter and spring, and their final idea will eventually be judged by investors with a critical eye for success.

The inspiration for his project came from Morken's involvement with the Wheaton Crew team. Morken and Moon developed RowAmp, a system that amplifies the coxswain’s voice through a chain of speakers. While there are commercial alternatives available, they are generally too expensive for high school teams. "The Wheaton College shark tank was a great opportunity to showcase a project that I had been working on. My project was an amplifier for rowing and was related to my work as the crew teams equipment manager during the previous year” said Morken. With high school rowing on the rise, a low cost amplification system will permit many schools to step into competitive rowing, as cost is less of a barrier.

Advancing to the second round was really exciting, and this would not have been possible without the skills that he acquired during his physics coursework, according Morken. "The process of construction, preparation, and presentation was very involved and I relied on skills that I had learned in the physics department at every step in the process.” Morken and Moon’s project highlights the sophisticated and cutting-edge techniques encouraged in the Wheaton College Physics and Engineering programs. "The prototype that I presented has a custom designed PCB board that was enclosed in a 3D printed shell. This design drew heavily from topics that I learned in my electronics class earlier this fall. For the presentation I used MATLAB to model data and produce figures for the presentation, much like I have used MATLAB to model data for various physics labs and homework problems."

With a functional prototype in hand and many opportunities to improve his design, Morken is optimistic about the future of his project.  "Among other things my experience with the Wheaton College Shark Tank showed me how the technical skills that I have learned in physics have wide applications to other fields."

Read more about the RowAmp on Morken's website: >>

Open Position - Assistant Professor of Engineering

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Wheaton College seeks to fill a new tenure track position of assistant professor in engineering for the fall 2015 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 Dec. 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. Stewart DeSoto

501 College Avenue
Wheaton College
Wheaton, IL 60187

Applications will be mailed to promising candidates.

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