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Department News

2006 News

December 13, 2006
News Release
KTVT CBS-11 aired a story on the decision of the NBA to drop the new microfiber composite ball and bring back the leather one beginning Jan. 1. The story mentioned a research study conducted by The University of Texas at Arlington's physics department this Fall on the differences between the synthetic and leather basketballs.
[CBS-11 Story]

November 27, 2006
UT Arlington Today
News Release

Dr. James L. Horwitz, chair of the Physics Department, presented an invited colloquium at Rice University titled “Dynamic Fluid-Kinetic Simulations of High-Latitude Ionospheric Outflow.” Dr. Horwitz also gave a separate presentation on the Physics Department project “MavBalls: The Physics of NBA Basketballs.”

October 27, 2006
The Shorthorn
UTA involved in NBA ball test
The Physics Department was given charge of an experiment comparing synthetic and leather basketballs.
Story by: Anthony Williams
Contributor to The Shorthorn
It’s the NBA vs. its players, and now the university is playing the role of moderator.
Physics professors and students are intensely experimenting with the NBA’s new official basketball made by Spalding, released this summer. The changes are the first since 1970, when the ball went from four panels to eight, and are only the second in 60 seasons.
James Horwitz, physics professor and chair, received a call Oct. 11 from Terdema Ussery, president and CEO of the Dallas Mavericks. Ussery said the organization was interested in having the department compare the new and old balls. They began that Saturday with various tests.
“We dropped balls from consistent heights and noted how high they bounced — the coefficient of restitution,” Horwitz said. “We also poured water on them and observed the absorbency.”
[Read More]

October 3, 2006
UT Arlington Today
UT Arlington is hosting the Fall 2006 Major Joint Meeting of the Texas Sections of the American Physical Society, American Association of Physics Teachers, Zone-13 of the Society of Physics Students, Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics, National Society of Hispanic Physicists, and National Society of Black Physicists, from Oct. 5 through 7.  The program includes presentations by speakers and authors of contributed papers in research including astrophysics, nanomaterials, semiconductors, space physics and more. UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo will welcome the participants Friday, followed by remarks by Dean of the College of Science Paul Paulus and Physics Chair James Horwitz. Provost Dana Dunn will be the keynote speaker at the banquet on Friday evening. Other events scheduled will include planetarium shows, a barbeque for the Society of Physics Students and more. For more information, call Suresh Sharma,, Amy Osborn,, or visit

September 1, 2006
The Shorthorn
Wet Introductions
Picnic lets faculty and students mingle and soak one another
Story by: Emily Aberg
The Shorthorn staff
Students and professors connected Thursday at the Physics Department picnic. They bonded with water balloons aimed at each others’ faces.
Senior secretary Margie Jackymack and administrative assistant Amy Osborn organized the picnic. It was the first of what the department hopes to be an annual celebration to welcome staff and students for the fall semester.
Jackymack said that Osborn came up with the idea about three weeks ago.
“We wanted to do it so the department could socialize, and for the new and returning professors,” she said. “It’s something different for us.”
[Read more]

August 1, 2006
The Shorthorn
With success comes plans to add shows and include other schools.
Story by: A.J. Eaton
The Shorthorn staff
The planetarium recently tore the ticket of its 27,000th customer, bringing its total revenue to around $80,000.
The planetarium, which opened in March, is bringing in more customers than initially expected. However, planetarium director Robert Bonadurer said the new facility is still in its honeymoon phase.
“We have been doing well in the number of people we’re bringing into the planetarium, and I think it’s mainly due to the great staff, great facility and great shows we have,” he said. “The students here have also been really good to the planetarium. About 16 percent of total attendance is UTA students, which is much more than we initially thought.”
Bonadurer said he hopes to continue bringing in spectators by opening a new show about every three months.
The idea of using the planetarium for more than just inspiring awe in school children is another topic physics chair James Horwitz hopes to bring to fruition. He said using the planetarium as a teaching tool for many different fields is the future of the planetarium and the university.
“We would definitely like to get other disciplines aside from astronomy involved,” he said. “Bringing in the theater and film departments as well as other departments to not only develop new shows but also develop topics outside of astronomy is going to be a big push for us.”
The initial idea and plan for bringing the planetarium to the new Chemistry and Physics Building belonged to physics professor John Fry. He said a new planetarium was greatly needed, and he’s thrilled it’s doing so well.
“We wanted this planetarium because the old one we had was too old and way too small. When we designed the new one, we wanted it to serve as a teaching tool for classes and a great public relations tool,” he said. “When we first started in with the idea for the planetarium in the new building, there was some opposition to using the precious space for something other than research, but I think it’s proven to be a great success.”
Fry said the planetarium’s potential uses are limitless and that every department on campus can use the digital system.
Science dean Paul Paulus said he has nothing but hope for the future of the facility and science at the university.
“We’ve had very positive results. We weren’t sure what to expect in the beginning,” he said. “It’s often hard in Arlington to compete for the entertainment dollar, and this is educational entertainment, so we think it’s great. It’s also been a great way to get people on campus to check out what UTA has to offer.”

July 11, 2006
UT Arlington Today
Associate Chair of the Department of Physics Alex Weiss presented an invited talk titled "Dissecting cascade Auger transitions in solids using Auger-Auger coincidence spectroscopy"  at the International Conference on Many Particle Spectroscopy of Atoms, Molecules, and Surfaces held at the Universita' Roma Tre, Rome, Italy. The conference was sponsored by the Consiglio Nazionale della Ricerche, Italy and was attended by scientists from more than 18 countries, including Italy, Germany, Holland, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and Australia. Professor Weiss presented ground-breaking research involving the first direct measurement of the energy spectra of electrons emitted from atoms in a solid during the later stages of a multiple auto-ionization process termed an Auger-cascade.  This research was carried out at the National Synchrotron Light Source of Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton New York,  in collaboration with UT Arlington physics doctoral candidate Rajalakshmi Sundaramoorthy, Dr. Steven Hulbert of Brookhaven National Lab and Professor Robert Bartynski of Rutgers University. Professor Weiss is currently visiting Brookhaven National Laboratory where he is extending this research to the study of highly charged nano-particles in collaboration another of  his students, Saurabh Mukherjee, UT Arlington Physics Professor Wei Chen,  Dr. Hulbert of Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Professor Bartynski.

July 7, 2006
UT Arlington Today
The Texas Astronomical Society (TAS) and the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Science will host the Astronomical League’s annual conference Aug. 4/5, on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington. As usual, the conference will be packed with great speakers including Scott Roberts from Meade Instruments Corp., David J. Eicher from Astronomy Magazine, and Jason Ware, astrophotographer from the Texas Astronomical Society, plus many others. The annual Star-B-Que will take place Friday, Aug. 4, including planetarium shows in UT Arlington’s new Digistar – 3, 60-foot-dome planetarium. The Awards Banquet will be held Saturday, Aug. 5. For a detailed itinerary, registration form or more information visit the website at Event chairs are Dr. Linda McCalla and Jeff Barton of TAS.

June 27, 2006
UT Arlington Today
The lead story in the May/June issue of "Mercury," the magazine of the international organization Astronomical Society of the Pacific was written by Assistant Professor of Physics Manfred Cuntz and physics doctoral student Peter E. Williams. The story, "Life Without Carbon?" is a beautifully illustrated 10-page treatise on the fact that life on earth is exclusively carbon-based, but that does not preclude the possibility that there may be other forms of life that are not based on carbon. The authors submit that although carbon is well suited to its role as a biochemical building block, even as far back as the early 20th century, scientists hypothesized which other elements could act a a replacement. This article discusses three definitions of life and analyzes the probability of silicon-based life. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is composed of educators and public outreach professions, including teachers, those doing astronomy and space science programs for the public, science museum staff and staff from NASA centers and mission, as well as research astronomers. For more information, visit  or contact Dr. Cuntz at (817) 272-2467 or

June 23, 2006
UT Arlington Today
Physics Professor Andrew White has been selected as a member of a national panel, which is a part of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel, for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The panel's scientists will evaluate and make recommendations for the DOE and NSF high energy particle physics university grants program. Research in experimental and theoretical particle physics at universities is supported at a level of about $150 million a year, by the DOE and NSF, with significant additional support from the universities themselves. While the two governmental agencies have different approaches and missions, the goal of the review is to focus on the whole of the U.S. high energy physics university grant program and how the agencies and universities can best achieve the unified goal and objectives of the field. The panel's preliminary draft is due in December.

April 6, 2006
UT Arlington TODAY

On the heels of opening its state-of-the art planetarium, one of the largest in the nation, The University of Texas at Arlington has received a $14,000 grant from NASA to develop a new planetarium show. The show, titled "Starlight and Life in the Cosmos," will be based on the observations secured with the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE).  Assistant Professor Manfred Cuntz, who was part of the NASA/FUSE program, said it was aimed at studying far-UV radiation from K-type main-sequence stars of different stellar age. FUSE is a NASA-supported astrophysics mission that was launched June 24, 1999, to explore the universe, using the technique of high-resolution spectroscopy. K-type main-sequence stars are somewhat cooler and less massive than the sun, but are much more numerous. Therefore, these stars are expected to be highly relevant to astrobiology. Read more.

March 3, 2006
Department News

CPB March 2006 Grand Opening
Grand opening events for the new Chemistry and Physics Building were held on March 3rd and 4th.  Photos of the dedication and grand opening are available online.

February 21, 2006 
UT Arlington Today

ARLINGTON—Science at UT Arlington has entered a new world and the public gets its first look at a grand opening Saturday, March 4. The 128,000 square-foot Chemistry and Physics Building, 700 Planetarium Place, boasts state-of-the-art teaching and research labs for chemistry, biochemistry and physics, as well as the state's newest planetarium.
College of Science Dean Paul B. Paulus said the public opening of the new building and its planetarium is designed for the entire family. Events are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with hourly planetarium shows, building tours, telescope viewing, a walk-through solar system, door prizes and lots of interactive demonstrations.
Space Shuttle astronaut and UT Arlington alumnus Robert Stewart will be on hand for the planetarium's first show at 11 a. m. Sunday shows, the following day, will be at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Planetarium admission is $5 for adults; $4 for students, children and senior citizens. All other opening day activities are free. For more information, visit or

February 9, 2006
UT Arlington Today
ARLINGTON—The Planetarium at UT Arlington will open at The University of Texas at Arlington Saturday, March 4. The 60-foot domed theater seats 170 stargazers and boasts a state-of-the art digital projection system.
“Digistar 3 was designed to preserve all the classic planetarium functions while adding a wealth of new capabilities and features,” said E&S Digital Theater Vice President and General Manager Kirk Johnson. “It provides full-dome video playback, real-time 3-D computer graphics and a sophisticated real-time 3-D digital astronomy package. Users have access to all of these features simultaneously, so that real-time graphics can be seamlessly combined with full-dome video playback.”
The technology-rich system—fewer than two dozen exist nationwide—not only simulates stars and planets as seen from Earth, but it enables virtual trips through the galaxy. The planetarium’s first show, “The Stars at Night are Big and Bright,” which runs through Sept. 1, includes a virtual journey into space. The original show was produced by Planetarium Director Robert Bonadurer, who is nationally known for his inventive shows geared to specific audiences.
Space Shuttle astronaut and UT Arlington alumnus Robert Stewart will be on hand for the planetarium's first show at 11 a. m. and shows will run hourly until 4 p. m. In addition, there will be door prizes, entertaining chemistry and physics demonstrations, and tours of the Chemistry and Physics Building, 700 Planetarium Place, which houses the planetarium. Sunday shows, the following day, will be at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults; $4 for students, children and senior citizens. For more information on the planetarium, call (817) 272-1183 or visit

February 2, 2006
UT Arlington Today
Cloud Chamber PrototypeARLINGTON— A huge cloud chamber particle detector, thought to be the largest in the United States,  may soon be in place in the new Chemistry and Physics Research Building at The University of Texas at Arlington. Read more.



2005 News

Department News
Physics professor paper published in the October issue of the Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids.
Dr. Roy Rubins, Professor of Physics, had a research paper entitled “Dynamic and Static Contributions to the Zero-Field Splitting Term of Divalent Nickel in Fluosilicate Crystals,” published in the October issue of the Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids. He has also prepared an article for the Crash Course section of the upcoming issue of UTA Magazine, in which the courses Physics 1445 and 1446 (Introductory Astronomy I and II) are highlighted.

November 17, 2005
Department News
Dr. Yi-Jiun Su, an assistant professor of physics who joined UT Arlington in September, is a recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award and she, along with UT Arlington, will be presented a grant in February 2006 for $440,000. Her research on "Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Coupling: Nonlinear Alfven waves and Particle Acceleration," will run for five years. NSF CAREER grants are for young tenure-track faculty and are highly prestigious.

October  3, 2005 
News Release

Media contact: Sue Stevens, (817) 272-3317,
ARLINGTON—When the state-of-the-art planetarium opens this spring in The University of Texas’ new Physics and Chemistry Research and Teaching Facility, it will boast a digital projection system, one of less than two dozen in the nation. The digital projection system not only simulates stars and planets as seen from Earth, but allows for virtual trips through the galaxy, said Planetarium Director Robert Bonadurer.
In addition to explorations of the universe, the 60-foot planetarium dome will be used for programs featuring art, history, biology, geology and more, Bonadurer said.
Numerous naming opportunities are offered for the new facility, for example, the reclining planetarium chairs. Patrons can “buy” chairs and have their family, friends, a special loved one or a favorite professor honored with a permanent plaque on the chair. The nameplates can be inscribed with up to two lines of 28 characters each. The cost for a chair is $1,000, which covers their cost to the planetarium. However, the money collected from naming the chairs will actually go into an endowment for the planetarium.

September 30, 2005 
News Release

Media contact: Sue Stevens, (817) 272-3317,
ARLINGTON—Doctoral student Maria R. Hossu has been selected to present a paper atthe 50th Magnetism and Magnetic Materials Conference, Oct. 30 through Nov. 3 in San Jose, Calif. This conference annually brings together scientists and engineers interested in recent developments in all branches of fundamental and applied magnetism. Emphasis is placed on experimental and theoretical research in magnetism, the properties and synthesis of new magnetic materials, and advances in magnetic technology.Hossu, whose advisor is Dr. Ali R. Koymen,sent an abstract and the selection was made based on these criteria:

  • The research must be about magnetism, magnetic materials, or magnetism-related technology.
  • The work must be original and significant. Abstracts that describe incremental advances over previously presented work will be rejected.
  • The work must be substantially complete. Abstracts that do not specifically refer to new results or are largely conceptual will be rejected. Sufficient context and detail must be included to allow the program committee to readily make an assessment of the work.

September 9, 2005
News Release

ARLINGTON—The Friends of The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries are participating in this year's centennial celebration of Albert Einstein's "miracle year" of 1905 with a presentation by author and physicist John S. Rigden.
On Friday, Sept. 16,Dr. Ridgen will discuss “Albert Einstein: Man or Superman?” in the sixth-floor parlor of Central Library, 702 College St. The talk begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a book signing and reception.
Dr. Rigden is currently an honorary professor of physics at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his Bachelor of Science from Eastern Nazarene College and his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Upon completion of his graduate work, he was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University.
He has served on the faculties of Eastern Nazarene College, Middlebury College and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In 1987 he joined the American Institute of Physics, where he served as director of physics programs.
Dr. Rigden is the author of numerous books, including his most recent, "Einstein 1905: The Standard of Greatness" (Harvard University Press, 2005). In "Einstein 1905," Dr. Rigden explains 1905 was a remarkable year for Einstein because in six months he published five papers that would transform our understanding of nature.
In both his book and the presentation to the Friends, Dr. Rigden will explain, in terms the general public can understand, the ideas Einstein advanced in 1905—100 years ago.
Visit the Physics department schedule of events at our World Year of Physics page.

August 2005
Department News
Dr. J. Ping Liu and colleagues at UTA are featured in PhysicsWeb Article. The team added ordinary table salt to particles of iron-platinum particles and then heated them to produce nanoparticles that could be used as building blocks for magnetic recording media and in biomedical applications.

August 24, 2005
Department News
Professor and Chair of the Physics Department James Horwitz is an editor on a new 300-page monograph volume of the American Geophysical Union, titled “Particle Acceleration in Astrophysical Plasmas: Geospace and Beyond.” This unique volume contains a synergism of research and review articles on the nature of particle acceleration in the universe. The regions covered include the terrestrial ionosphere and magnetosphere, known as Geospace. From this nearby Geospace, the regions examined range through the solar flares and solar wind shock processes in our solar system to the outer cosmos, containing truly exotic processes occurring in association with supernovae remnants, gamma ray bursts, and cosmic ray particles with energies of up to 1020 electron volts. These ultra-high energy cosmic ray particles may be associated with new physics involving Planckian structure of space-time.

May 23, 2005
Department News
Dr. James L. Horwitz, professor and chair of the Physics Department, recently received the first-year installment of a three-year grant from NASA. The grant is for his project titled “UTA Analysis of TIDE/PSI Data for ISTP Solar Maximum Extended Mission―2005–2007.” His research will analyze and model low-energy ion observations from the Thermal Ion Dynamics Experiment (TIDE) on the POLAR spacecraft.

May 4, 2005
Department News
Dr. Zdzislaw E. Musielak, UTA Professor of Physics and recipient of Humboldt Prize in 1997, was recently nominated by The University of Heidelberg, The University of Freiburg and Kiepenheuer-Institut fur Sonnenphysik - all major institutions in Germany - for a Humboldt Prize Follow-up. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation announced that Musielak received the award for 2005. The award carries cash prize of $20,000. Musielak will spend summer 2005 in Germany conducting his research at these three institutions.

April 18, 2005
Department News

Dr. Suresh Sharma, professor of Physics, was an invited speaker at the Annual Solid State Physics Symposium, held in December in Amritsar, India. Dr. Sharma presented a paper, “Results from our study on compressed C60 and water adsorption into single-walled carbon nanotubes,” which will be published. Professor of Physics Dr. Suresh Sharma was the supervising professor on a Ph.D. dissertation, “Growth and characterization of C60 thin films,” completed in December by Dr. J. H. Rhee. (Becky Purvis)

April 12, 2005
Department News
Professor Musielak, Assistant Professor Cuntz and graduate student Elizabeth Marshall co-authored a paper titled "Stability of Planetary Orbits in Binary Systems"

March 16, 2005
Department News
Dr. James L. Horwitz, Professor and Chair of Physics, presented a colloquium titled "Space Plasma Research at the University of Texas at Arlington" to the Physics Department of the University of North Texas on March 9. Horwitz was also an author on two recent refereed space physics journal publications: Tu, J. -N., J. L. Horwitz, and T. E. Moore, "Simulating the cleft ion fountain at Polar perigee altitudes," Journal of Atmospheric and Space Terrestrial Physics, 67, 265, 2005, and Fraser, B. J., J. L. Horwitz, J. A. Slavin, Z. C. Dent, and I. R. Mann, "Heavy ion mass loading of the geomagnetic field near the plasmapause and ULF wave implications," Geophysicial. Research Letters., 32, L04102, doi:10.1029/2004GL021315, 2005.

March 11, 2005
Department News
The University of Texas at Arlington is one of 27 universities, including Duke, Ohio State, University of Michigan and the California Institute of Technology, selected to receive highly competitive research grants from the United States Department of Defense. The grant received by UT-Arlington is a "full scale" award with no matching funds requirement under the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI). UT-Arlington has been granted $1 million a year for each of the five years. Associate Professor of Physics Ping Liu is the principal investigator and Associate professor Quiming Zhang is co-principal investigator on the grant entitled, "Materials Manufacturing Processes, Interface Control and Reliability of Nanostructure-Enhanced Devices for Energy Conversion and Realization of High Performance Systems." Liu and Zhang's project is "Synthesis and Processing of Nanocomposite Permanent Magnets." The Department of Defense said the awards are the result of a rigorous competition over many months, which included 121 full proposals. The awards will provide long-term support for research, graduate students and laboratory instrumentation development that supports specific science and engineering research themes vital to national defense. (Sue Stevens)

FEBRUARY 16, 2005
Department News
UTA Physics Awarded $3 Million Grant to develop a computing grid designed to analyze data from the Atlas experiment. UTA heads a Southwest consortium, which includes Oklahoma University, the University of New Mexico and Langston University at Oklahoma City. 

FEBRUARY 2, 2005
The Shorthorn
Progress on the Chemistry and Physics Building
CPB Interior Design

January 21, 2005
News Release
Associate Professor of Physics Jaehoon Yu is hosting a meeting of HiPCAT (High Performance Computing Across Texas), a Texas grid computing organization, on campus today. Yu is also associate director of HiPCAT.
UT-Arlington became a member of HiPCAT () in October, 2003 and has been very active in grid computing through high-energy physics experiments, one with Fermilab in Illinois and another with CERN in Geneva, Switzerland and the new BioGrid initiative (BiGTex) led by Assistant Dean of Science Paul Medley and Physics Professor Kaushik De.
The meeting is supported by the office of Vice President of Research, the Physics Department and the office of Dean of Science. For more information, go to

JANUARY 4, 2005
News Release
The Physics Department put on a spectacular show for thousands of area K-12 students attending the Aviation and Transportation Career Expo held at the DFW Airport Thursday, December 16. Undergraduate physics majors James Creel and Jason Starnes, along with Professors John Fry and James Horwitz delighted the students with demonstrations using liquid nitrogen cooling to freeze and break racquetballs, flowers, fruits and candies; powered and manual electric generators to make students’ hair stand up and arc discharge displays. They also used magnetic devices to illustrate levitation and other effects, puzzles to illustrate topological themes and pendulums and other devices to illustrate principles of non-linear evolution and chaos.

JANUARY 4, 2005
News Release
New Physics Department Chair Professor James L. Horwitz has had his National Science Foundation grant in the remaining amount of $253,274 successfully transferred to UT-Arlington. The grant will support research on coupled fluid-kinetic simulations of the transport of ionospheric plasma into the magnetosphere and analysis of satellite and ground-based observations of ionosphere-magnetosphere plasma coupling.

JANUARY 4, 2005
News Release
Department of Physics faculty members Narayan Poudyal, Baki Altuncevahir, Vamsi Chakka, Kanghua Chen, Truman D. Black, and J Ping Liu have recently co-authored and published a paper in Institute of Physics Publishing's Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics. The journal has an international readership among academic, government and corporate sectors and contains research across many areas of applied physics including theoretical, computational and experimental studies.


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