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.

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Prof. Kai Lam publishes textbook on Classical Mechanics

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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).

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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).

Professor Alex Small and two physics alumni elected to Board of Directors of professional society

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Associate Professor Alex Small and Cal Poly alumni Rachel Ulanch (BS Physics, 2013) and Matthew Samson (BS Mechanical Engineering, Physics Minor, 2013)  have been elected to the Board of Directors of the Optical Society of Southern California (OSSC), a local affiliate of the Optical Society of America.  Prof. Small has been a member of the OSSC since 2009, and has been on the Board of the OSSC since 2011, serving as Programs Chair (2011-2013), Student Chapters Liasion (2011-present), Secretary (2013-2014) and now Vice President (2014-2015).  Mr. Samson and Ms. Ulanch have been active members since 2011, and are serving on the Board as Councilors for 2014-2015.  Mr. Samson was previously the Arrangements Chair, responsible for helping with meeting planning.  Ms. Ulanch is currently an optical scientist at Davidson Optronics/Trioptics USA in West Covina, and Mr. Samson is currently an opto-mechanical engineer at N2 Imaging Systems in Irvine.  Both of them were introduced to their employers by networking at OSSC meetings while they were students.  Prof. Small has been at Cal Poly Pomona since 2007, and works on applying the theory of high-resolution (nanometer-scale) fluorescence imaging to problems in biology.  He also teaches a number of classes related to this work, including Applied Optics, Computational Physics, and Biophysics.  Cal Poly students interested in joining the OSSC and networking with scientists in industry are welcome to talk to Prof. Small.

ulanch2 Rachel Ulanch '13 is now at Davidson Optronics, West Covina, CA. She has been elected Councilor for the Optical Society of Southern California.
 samson  Matthew Samson, who graduated Cal Poly Pomona as a Mechanical Engineering major and Physics minor has also been elected Councilor for Optical Society of Southern California. Mr. Samson is currently with N2 Imaging Systems, Irvine, CA.

Prof. Alex Rudolph receives 5-year $600,000 grant from NSF S-STEM program

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The new program is named "Cal-Bridge," with the mission to increase the number of underrepresented minority (URM), especially Hispanic, and women students completing a bachelor’s degree and entering a PhD program in astronomy, physics, or closely related fields. Students selected for the program will be designated “Cal-Bridge Scholars”. The program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), creates a diverse network of higher education institutions, including 5 UC campuses, 8 CSU campuses, and 7 community colleges all in southern California, dedicated to this goal.

Given the woeful lack of minority students entering the STEM disciplines in general, and physics and astronomy in particular, the Cal-Bridge program leverages an ideal set of institutions to address this national problem. The Cal-Bridge program combines multiple Hispanic-serving CSUs and community colleges, from which URM and women students with “untapped potential” are recruited, with five UC campuses, all in close proximity in southern California, an epicenter of explosive growth in the US Hispanic population. By identifying and mentoring such students through the critical transition from undergraduate STEM major to top-level PhD programs, Cal-Bridge will have a significant national impact on the number of URM, especially Hispanic, students obtaining a PhD in physics and astronomy, and become a model for Hispanic and minority-serving institutions nationwide, which hope to make a similar positive impact on this problem.

Prof. Rudolph explains that the Cal-Bridge mission is accomplished by providing financial support for individual students and intensive, sustained, joint mentoring of students by CSU and UC faculty, aimed at increasing the persistence of Cal-Bridge Scholars in completing their undergraduate degree, and successfully entering and completing a PhD program in astronomy, physics, or a closely related field. The Cal-Bridge program will search for students with “untapped potential”, using research-based criteria developed by successful bridge programs such as the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge program. The primary recruiting pipeline will be the highly successful CAMPARE summer research program. This latter, NSF-funded program---also lead by Prof. Rudolph---has in the past 4 years successfully provided authentic summer research experiences at world-class research institutions to a large number of URM and female students from a network of 19 CSUs and community colleges, mostly Hispanic-serving institutions, all of which are part of the Cal-Bridge program. Once selected, the Cal-Bridge Scholars will benefit in five key ways:

1. Cal-Bridge Scholars will be given full financial support throughout their time in the program. 

2. Each Cal-Bridge Scholar will be assigned two faculty mentors, one from a UC campus and one from a CSU.

3. Cal-Bridge Scholars must maintain at least B grades in all physics and astronomy courses; the opportunity will be provided and they will be strongly encouraged to take at least one upper division course at a UC campus.

4. Cal-Bridge Scholars will participate in supervised research with UC faculty during summers and academic years and will be given the opportunity to present their results at regional and national scientific conferences such as the American Astronomical Society (AAS) January meeting.

5. Cal-Bridge Scholars will be strongly encouraged to participate in extensive professional development via monthly workshops.

This combination of activities has been shown by research and practice to lead to substantially improved persistence of URM students in being accepted to and completing PhD programs. For example, the Fisk-Vanderbilt program has an 80% persistence to PhD rate, compared to 50% nationally, and is on pace to produce 10 times the national average of PhDs in astronomy and 5 times the national average in physics.

For more information and to apply, please visit http://physics.csupomona.edu/academic-programs/astronomy-program/research/calbridge-overview.