Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Mississippi

Events Page

Upcoming Events

Science Cafe — January 24, 2017

Dr. Randy M. Wadkins
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Mississippi

It’s a Small World After All
Nanomaterials are types of matter that lie in size between single molecules and bacteria, or approximately one millionth of a millimeter. Where do you find such tiny little objects? Right in plain sight! Maybe you were hungry today and grabbed a slice of American Cheese or a tub of Greek yogurt from the fridge. Maybe afterward you brushed your teeth with toothpaste, or freshened your breath with gum. Maybe you took a shower and used a dandruff shampoo, then put on deodorant. Maybe you then put on stain-resistant pants, dabbed on a little sunscreen, and headed off to campus. All of those items I just mentioned contain nanoparticles, so small you can’t see each one, but essential for product performance.

In this follow-up to my 2016 TEDxUM talk, I will describe what the nanoparticles do in these products, then talk a little about nanoengineering using DNA, with a particular focus on the future of nanomedicine. Like in the movie “Fantastic Voyage,” nanomedicine is close to being reality.


Ongoing Activities

SPS — Society of Physics Students.

Welcome to the SPS home page at the University of Mississippi. The SPS is an organization made up of students with one common interest: Physics. We aim to bring physics students closer together and to serve our community by educating others. We are a chapter of the National SPS Organization.

Also see our local webpage.

If you would like to become a member or just make a comment please send your email to:
Dr. Breese Quinn — Faculty Advisor

Recent Events

October 28, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Spooky Science Night

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. in Lewis Hall, University of Mississippi

Frights, food and fun are the order of the evening when the University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy presents “Spooky Physics Demonstrations” from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday (Oct. 28) in Lewis Hall.

The program will include a stage show at 8 p.m. Hands-on activities for the public through the evening include freezing objects in liquid nitrogen (at minus 320 degrees), generating sound waves with Bunsen burners and tubes, and levitating magnets with superconductors. Other fun presentations include optical illusions with mirrors, a Van de Graaff generator (a literally “hair-raising” electrical device), a bed of nails and other contraptions.

Physics department personnel also will prepare ice cream with liquid nitrogen and award prizes for the most original, scariest and cutest costumes to kids aged 12 and under.

See the SEC movie.

June 27 -28, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
QuarkNet Workshop

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in Lewis Hall, University of Mississippi

The department has hosted a 2 day QuarkNet Teacher Workshop on June 27 and June 28. We discussed the detection of Dark Matter, SuperSymmetry, and Cosmic Rays. Teachers learned how to operate cosmic ray detectors and take activities back to their class rooms. Contact the Department of Physics and Astronomy if you are a high school Physics teacher and are interested in the QuarkNet program.

You can find more out about QuarkNet at the wiki site:

(For more information please contact Dr. Cremaldi at

Science Cafe — February 16, 2016

Katherine Dooley and Marco Cavaglià
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Mississippi

Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger.

On September 14, 2015 at 03:50:45 a.m. CST the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory simultaneously observed a
transient gravitational-wave signal. The signal matches the prediction of
general relativity for the coalescence of two black holes weighting about
30 Suns into a single black hole at a distance of over one billion light
years from Earth. This is the first direct detection of gravitational
waves and the first observation of a binary black hole merger.
See this page for details.

Past Events

Sumudu Tennakoon wins first place for best podium presentation at the 5th Annual Graduate Student Research Poster Symposium — April 28, 2015.

Physics Grads at the 5th Annual Graduate Student Research Poster Symposium organized by The Graduate Student Council (GSC) in coordination with the Graduate School and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP).

Physics Poster Presentation:

  • Sunethra Dayavansha “Higher Temperature Studies Of Shear Wave Speed In A Viscoelastic Wormlike Micellar (wm) Fluid.”

Physics Podium Presentations:

  • Hector Okada da Silva : “Testing General Relativity With Neutron Stars: A New Parameterized Framework”
  • Vahid Naderyan : “Wind induced ground motions”
  • Nazanin Omidi : “Computation of Ultrasonic Pressure Fields in Feline Brain”
  • Sumudu Tennakoon : “Temperature & Pressure Effects on Phase Transitions of Lead magnesium niobate-lead titanate (PMN-PT) Relaxor Ferroelectric Material.”

From Left to Right: Sunethra Dayavansha, Hector Okada da Silva, Vahid Naderyan, Nazanin Omidi, and Sumudu Tennakoon.

Sumudu Tennakoon was awarded with the 1st Place prize for the Podium Presentation category.

The 2015 Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP), southeastern region meeting was held at the University of Mississippi — January 16-18, 2015.
The University of Mississippi was chosen by the American Physical Society (APS) as the southeastern region site for the 2015 Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics. The local organizing committee is led by Dr. Cecille Labuda along with Dr. Luca Bombelli and Dr. Marco Cavaglia as faculty committee members assisted by several student committee members.The conference schedule will feature a combination of talks by professional physicists in a variety of areas of physics, panel discussions on graduate school, careers in physics and diversity, a poster session, student talks, and opportunities for the attendees to meet other students, speakers and panelists. More than 120 undergraduate students have applied to attend our conference, one of eight simultaneous conferences held nationwide. There will be one common keynote speaker, with the keynote address being simulcast to all CUWiP sites from our site at the University of Mississippi.For more information about the conference series, see the APS site:
Vahid Naderyan wins the UM 3 Minute Thesis competition — November 13, 2014
Three Physics grad students participated in the UM 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. The students competing were Chandrima Chatterjee, Ukesh Koju and Vahid Naderyan. Vahid Naderyan was the winner of for the master’s thesis 3MT, giving a talk on his research in wind noise and its interaction with the ground.


Vahid’s Presentation of his master’s thesis at the UM 3MT final.

More photos can be seen here and the YouTube video is here.

Spooky Science Open House — October 31, 2014
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For more photos look here.

Fueling the Atom Bomb: Exploring the Physics Behind the Work at Site X — October 7, 2014
In conjuncture with this year’s Common Reading Program book, The Girls of Atomic City, Dr. Josh Gladden gave a lecture explaining the basics of nuclear fission and why enrichment was so important in making the fuel for the atom bomb. There were also Geiger counter and a cloud chamber demonstrations that showed examples of ionizing radiation .

Dr. Gladden

Dr. Gladden




Dr. Gladden


Cloud Chamber Setup

Cloud Chamber Setup

Cloud Chamber Setup

Neetish Pradhan's presentation of his work at the CERN summer school — August 13, 2014.
The CERN Summer School offers undergraduate students of physics, computing and engineering a unique opportunity to join in the day-to-day work of research teams participating in experiments at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. University of Mississippi undergraduate physics student, Neetish Pradhan, attend this year, 2014. This MP4 is the presentation of the summary of his work.
Many Partings — July 29, 2014.
Party for Chris Hill, James Krauss and Kenneth Scott’s departure.
In the Spring of 2014, Dr. Gladden was elected to two national Acoustical Society leadership positions.
At the Spring Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Dr. Gladden took over as Chair of the Physical Acoustics Technical Committee. He will serve a 3 year term in this role. The Chairs primary duties are to represent the Physical Acoustics community to the larger Acoustical Society leadership, work to ensure a broad and robust representation of physical acoustics at the bi-annual ASA meetings, help implement tools and resources to advance and connect the international physical acoustics community. Dr. Gladden was also elected as a “Member at Large” for the Topical Group on Instrumentation and Measurement Science (GIMS) which is a unit of the American Physical Society. The focus of the GIMS is to advance the development of new measurement tools and techniques by creating a forum for discussions, collaborations, awareness, and recognition of significant achievements. Dr. Gladden is looking forward to contributing to each of these organizations.
SPS LIGO Tour — April 11, 2014.
The UM SPS took a day trip to Livingston LA for a tour of the LIGO lab. The lab tour was organized by Dr. Cavaglià, a UM Physics faculty member, who is the leader of the LIGO team at UM and Assistant Spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. He accompanied ten SPS students along with Dr. Labuda the SPS faculty coordinator to the LIGO lab.

Group Photo in the LIGO Control room.

More photos can be seen here.

The Mississippi Academy of Sciences 78th Annual Meeting — March 6 - 7, 2014.
The meeting was held at the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center, Hattiesburg, MS. The annual meeting is comprised of addresses, symposia, workshops, scientific papers, and exhibits grouped by division. At this meeting, 7 physics graduate students from the University of Mississippi gave talks. The following are photos taken of them at the meeting:

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More photos can be seen here.

Olemiss Physics Alumni and UM Law School student Trey Lyons is National Moot Court Champion.
He and a fellow classmate won the 26th Annual Domenick L. Gabrielli National Family Law Moot Court Competition — February 25-27, 2014.

Photo from the Championship Presentation.

Also please see the article in the View from Ventress online.

SPS (Society of Physics Students) Zone 10 Meeting — February 21 - 22, 2014.
The meeting was held at Rhodes College, Memphis TN. The following are photos taken at the meeting:

SPS 2014 Zone10 meeting, Group Photo

SPS 2014 Zone10 meeting, Group Photo

More photos can be seen here.

Ahmed Rashed is a winner of the 2013 Graduate Student Achievement Award
This award is one of two in Area A, which includes Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Philosophy and Religions, and Physics and Astronomy. Ahmed dedicates this award to his wife.

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Spooky Science Open House — October 27, 2012
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Tougaloo students visit Ole Miss — September 25, 2012
Students from Tougaloo college visited the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Besides meeting our faculty they took a walk around campus (including a tour of the National Center for Physical Acoustics and of the Center for Manufacturing Excellence) and heard about career opportunities in physics and other STEM disciplines. This visit was supported in part by Dr. Emanuele Berti’s NSF CAREER Award.This is a picture of the whole group, including amazing Dr. Donald Cole (watch this video!), around James Meredith’s statue. This is a special year for Ole Miss: we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the enrollment of James Meredith with a series of events on Opening the Closed Society.

The building you can see in the back is the Physics Department (Lewis Hall).
Ahmed Rashed received an award while attending the 4th International Summer School on Neutrino Physics — July 10 - 21, 2012
He received the award at the 4th International Summer School on Neutrino Physics (INSS2012), co-hosted by Virginia Tech and Fermilab, which took place at Virginia Tech’s Center for Neutrino Physics in Blacksburg, Virginia from July 10th to July 21st, 2012.
The lecturers assigned some questions to the participants to address in the tutorial sessions in groups. His group was formed from three students (one theorist and two experimentalists) and addressed three questions; do the charged leptons oscillate, how to use neutrinos to set up a fast communications link to do insider trading, and construct a model to explain the relationship between the sine of the reactor neutrino mixing angle and the ratio of the neutrino solar and atmospheric mass-squared differences. His group was one of three groups (out of twenty groups) that got a presentation award. INSS2012Award
CERN Experiments Observe Particle Consistent with Long-Sought Higgs Boson — July 4, 2012 Transit of Venus — June 5, 2012
A transit of Venus will start at about 5 PM CDT on June 5th 2012. This is a fairly rare occurrence with the next one happening in 2117. As with a solar eclipse Venus, instead of the Moon, will pass across the face of the Sun. As with a solar eclipse, this may be observed either through a filtered telescope or by projection. See Wikipedia and NASA for more details. A live webcast is also available at the Bareket Observatory.

Figure showing the Transit of Venus 2012
Map of Mississippi showing Transit times at Oxford, MS

Photos Taken at the University of Mississippi


Taken through a 70-mm TeleVue Pronto refractor Telescope

Taken through a 70-mm TeleVue Pronto refractor Telescope

Taken through a 70-mm TeleVue Pronto refractor Telescope

Projection using “Sunspotter” Solar Telescope

Projection using “Sunspotter” Solar Telescope


Taken through a 12-in Mede LX200 reflector Telescope

Oxford, MS Science Café — October 18, 2011
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Sumedhe Karunarathne is a winner of the 2011 Graduate Instructor Excellence in Teaching Award
The Graduate Instructor Excellence in Teaching Award is sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. They were especially impressed with his teaching philosophy and his high ratings on student evaluations. And especially appreciated his comment about helping “facilitate discoveries” in Physics 223-224.
The Golden Apple Award and $1000 check was presented to him at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony on Friday May 13, 2011 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.




Chioma Udemgba has received a Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Chioma The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship is a summer program sponsored by the Department of Energy. She will be working on research concerning the behavior of dust particles in plasma environments.
Spooky Science Open House — October 29, 2010
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QuickTime Movie Slide Show (MOV)

Spooky Science Open House — October 31, 2008
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QuickTime Movie Slide Show (Small)(Large)

Mississippi Association of Physicists Spring Meeting Spring Meeting — February 17, 2007 Mississippi Association of Physicists Spring Meeting — April 8, 2006
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