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.

Dr. Jorge Moreno joins Physics and Astronomy Faculty

Read more: Dr. Jorge Moreno joins Physics and Astronomy Faculty
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Dr. Jorge Moreno is a theoretical astrophysicist, who has worked on a broad range of topics in galaxy formation and cosmology, his fields of expertise. Working in close collaboration with observers, his current research program employs high-performance supercomputing to investigate the nature of interacting galaxies and mergers. 

At the moment, Dr. Moreno holds a CITA National Prize Fellowship at the University of Victoria (under the supervision of Prof. Sara Ellison). He was also a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at SISSA/ISAC (Trieste, Italy), and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Haverford College (with a semester teaching at Bryn Mawr College), where he gained ample experience in teaching across the  whole physics and astronomy curriculum. In 2010, he earned his Ph.D in Physics and Astronomy, with a dissertation entitled “Dark Matter Halo Mergers and Quasars”, under the supervision of Prof. Ravi K. Sheth.

His achievements in research and teaching have been widely recognized with numerous of awards, including the Prize for Best Cosmology Contribution (awarded by George B. Smoot, Nobel Laureate), the Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching, and the Penn Teaching Assistant Training Award. He was also recipient of the Sherman Fairchild Research Grant and the Young Research Scientist Grant. Dr. Moreno’s research contributions have been well-received by the scientific community, leading to over 45 invited seminars worldwide and over 20 conference talks. He is particularly proud of having organized and funded an international conference on Interacting Galaxies and Binary Quasars, the first in the history of astronomy to have more female than male invited speakers!

Born in Mexico City, Dr. Moreno moved to Los Angeles at the age of 13 with his family. Unfortunately, after graduating from Venice High School with the highest honors, he was denied the opportunity to pursue a college education in the United States. This did not stop him from continuing his studies in his home country, where he majored in theoretical physics at Cinvestav-IPN (Mexico’s National Polytechnic Institute). This step in his career eventually helped him return to the US, as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. He is very thrilled by the opportunity to return to California, as an Assistant Professor in Physics and Astronomy, which he describes as “a dream come true”.

In addition to his passion for teaching and research, in his free time he enjoys travelling, running, cooking, and spending time with his wife and children. In sum, he is extremely excited about being in front of the classroom again, in supervising undergraduates in high-impact and exciting research projects -- and, above all, in becoming a member of the Cal Poly Pomona family!

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.