Assistant Prof. Matthew Povich Receives 3-Year, $90,000 NSF RUI Grant

Read more: Assistant Prof. Matthew Povich Receives 3-Year, ,000 NSF RUI Grant Assistant Professor Matthew Povich of the Cal Poly Pomona Department of Physics & Astronomy has been awarded a 3-year grant by the National Science Foundation Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) program. Dr. Povich and Dr. Henry Kobulnicky of the University of Wyoming will lead an international collaboration, enlisting the help of tens of thousands of internet users via the Milky Way Project to search for and study stellar wind bow shocks around massive stars throughout our Milky Way Galaxy. 

Bow shocks can form where the powerful winds blowing from massive stars encounter surrounding interstellar gas. The key ingredient is either a star moving at high velocity relative to the interstellar gas, a so-called "runaway" massive star, or a high-velocity flow of interstellar gas past a star. Hence bow shocks allow astronomers to learn more about the winds of massive stars and catch runaway stars in the act of flying through the Galaxy.

This grant will also fund a new research opportunity for Cal Poly Pomona students,  the California-Wyoming Astronomy Research Exchange (CAWARE). For each of the next three summers, one student will be selected for a 10-week CAWARE internship. CAWARE interns will spend the first weeks of the summer working with Dr. Povich at Cal Poly Pomona to be introduced to the basic science and software tools involved in the research, after which they will travel to Laramie, WY to spend the remaining weeks working directly with Dr. Kobulnicky and his students at the University of Wyoming. CAWARE interns will assist with hands-on observing projects to obtain spectra of massive stars driving bow shocks using the 2.3-meter WIRO telescope in the mountains near Laramie. CAWARE interns will be selected through the annual application process for the CAMPARE summer research program.

Read more: Assistant Prof. Matthew Povich Receives 3-Year, ,000 NSF RUI Grant


(Right) Image of a bowshock near the Carina Nebula from a paper accepted to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society led by Remington Sexton, Cal Poly Pomona class of 2013 (Sexton et al. 2014).

Faculty Schedules Updated for Fall 2014

Need to meet with your favorite Physics & Astronomy instructor? Class and office hours schedules for all of our faculty have been updated for Fall 2014 and posted in our online Faculty Directory. Simply click on the calendar icon to open the schedule for your instructor.

Tenure Track Faculty Position in Physics Education Research: Application Deadline November 14, 2014

The Physics and Astronomy Department and the Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (CEMaST) at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Physics Education Research to begin in September 2015. As a joint appointment, the successful candidate will be expected to teach the full range of undergraduate courses in physics as well as science content and/or methods courses, lead workshops for science teachers, mentor students seeking a teaching credential, participate in developing externally funded research programs, and collaborate with others to promote excellence in STEM-education. A Ph.D. in Physics, a demonstrated record of publication, and teaching experience at the college level are required. Review of applications will begin on November 14, 2014.

Download full position description.

Prof. Kai Lam publishes textbook on Classical Mechanics



As the fourth textbook published by Dr. Lam, this Classical Mechanic textbook is written with the belief that classical mechanics, as a theoretical discipline, possesses an inherent beauty, depth, and richness that far transcends its immediate applications in mechanical systems. These properties are manifested, by and large, through the coherence and elegance of the mathematical structure underlying the discipline, and are eminently worthy of being communicated to physics students at the earliest stage possible. This volume is therefore addressed mainly to advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate physics students who are interested in the application of modern mathematical methods in classical mechanics, in particular, those derived from the fields of topology and differential geometry, and also to the occasional mathematics student who is interested in important physics applications of these areas of mathematics. Its main purpose is to offer an introductory and broad glimpse of the majestic edifice of the mathematical theory of classical dynamics, not only in the time-honored analytical tradition of Newton, Laplace, Lagrange, Hamilton, Jacobi, and Whittaker, but also the more topological/geometrical one established by Poincare, and enriched by Birkhoff, Lyapunov, Smale, Siegel, Kolmogorov, Arnold, and Moser (as well as many others).


Prof. Lam earlier published the following textbooks:

(1) "Lectures on Differential Geometry", by S. S. Chern, W. H. Chen and Kai S. Lam (World Scientific 1999).

(2) "Topics in Contemporary Mathematical Physics", by Kai S. Lam (World Scientific, 2003, 2nd printing 2006).

(3) "Non-relativistic Quantum Theory: Dynamics, Symmetry, and Geometry", by Kai S. Lam (World Scientific, 2009).