June 12, 2020 at 3:55 pm

Physics & Astronomy Alumni Chronicles, Pre-2000

Derek Beck (HTC Physics 1999) is now a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He is presently on long-term active duty status at the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania. Marty Kordesch visited with Derek in Carlisle, PA, recently.

Robert Borger (Physics 1968) After receiving his bachelor’s degree in physics in 1968, Bob served in the air force and completed a master’s degree in geology at Purdue. He had a very successful career in the oil and gas industry, working for many years with Mobil and later as an international consultant with expertise in remote sensing and geophysics. Bob has a wife and son and lives in Corinth, Texas, where he builds and flies airplanes in his retirement. 

Henry Clark (Ph.D. 1993, Hicks) Facility Supervisor/Accelerator Physicist and Cody Parker (Ph.D. 2016, Brune) Postdoctoral Research Associate, both work at the Cyclotron Institute, Texas A&M University College Station, TX.  They met up for a hallway ‘”Bobcat Photo” for the newsletter.

Clark writes: “I am in my 26th year at the Cyclotron Institute at Texas A&M University. The Radiation Effects Facility that I manage recently passed the 50,000 hour mark – that is, we’ve provided over 50K of beam time hours to companies and agencies in need of space radiation testing (NASA, Space X, Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Boeing…). The project has been in operation for nearly 23 years, and we have become the world’s leader in this area. The income from beam time sales has allowed us to make continued advances in accelerator technology and nuclear physics research when government funding has been limited.

“My wife Shannon and I have been co-head coaches and have operated the business of the Aggie Swim Club for the past 19 years. We utilize the Texas A&M natatorium for swim practices, and we host many swim meets each year. We started the club for our own two children (Tyler and Haley) when they showed promise in competitive swimming, and the club grew from there. Membership has remained at about 350 swimmers annually for the past 10 years. We have produced many national-level swimmers, state champions, and state record holders, and many have gone on to swim in college. Both Tyler and Haley went on to college swimming. Haley swam four years at Ohio University. Our son Tyler has served in the U.S. Navy for over four years, and his tour is currently in the Middle East.  Our daughter Haley, graduated from Ohio University in 2016, then received a master’s from Ohio State University in 2018 and is now in her second year of Veterinarian Medicine School at NC State.”

Patrick J. Griffin (B.S. 1974 and Ph.D. 1979, Koshel) was recently named a  Laboratory Fellow at Sandia National Laboratories. Patrick has expanded the state of the art in radiation effects to become an acknowledged leader in the international radiation effects community. Pat developed the NuGET code, a major tool for nuclear weapon qualification, and contributed greatly to the development of the radiation qualification process. He grew up in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, a small town near Cleveland, achieving his bachelor’s in physics and mathematics and doctorate in nuclear physics at Ohio University. In his new role as a Sandia Fellow, he envisions working with NNSA and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to better understand the vulnerability of the nuclear stockpile to evolving threats. He hopes to inspire young Sandia staff members to improve the description of the primary damage from neutron displacement and to provide a higher-fidelity model for neutron damage in semiconductors. Another goal is to engage Sandia’s statisticians with the radiation damage community and start an internal initiative to apply a rigorous statistical approach to the understanding and quantification of radiation damage.

Honors Tutorial College alumnus Rick Moyer (Physics, 1979) received the 2018 John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research from the American Physical Society. Moyer is a research scientist in the Center for Energy Research and a senior lecturer of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California, San Diego. The citation reads:  “For the first  experi-mental demonstration of the stabilization of edge localized modes in high-confinement diverted discharges by application of very small edge-resonant magnetic perturbations, leading to the adoption of suppression coils in the ITER design.”

Eric Montei (Ph.D. 1996, Kordesch) and Gregg Johnson (Ph.D. 1995, Hunt) visited Ohio University and their old haunts in Athens in summer 2019. Gregg is Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Chair, Department of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. Eric attended a conference in Pittsburgh, and the two OHIO Physics alumni decided to visit Athens.

Chuck Niederriter (Ph.D. 1985, Capelletti) Debbie and Chuck Niederriter had a quiet fall and spring as Debbie recovered from last summer’s stem cell transplant. The good news is that her multiple myeloma is in check for now but she continues to receive chemo twice a month. It hasn’t stopped her from working with special needs children at North Elementary School in Saint Peter.  Chuck is still teaching physics and doing research with students at Gustavus Adolphus College. His research interests have diversified to include high altitude ballooning and drones while he continues to work on surface science, condensed matter, and renewable energy projects. Three of their five children have been bitten by the physics bug. This summer, Debbie and Chuck were fortunate to be able to go to visit their youngest, Gretchen, who was doing a research internship at the University of Twente in Enchede, Netherlands. They also had the opportunity to visit friends from their OHIO days in Germany and Switzerland as well play tourists for about two weeks.

Brent Park visited campus in September and presented a colloquium talk. He works for the federal government in the U.S. Department of Energy, as the Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. Park advises people in the national defense, homeland security and intelligence communities. He reports directly to the Undersecretary for Nuclear Security and is most probably the highest-placed government official of all Ph.D. alumni from the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

During his visit, Park met with Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Joe Shields, and did an interview for Ohio’s alumni magazine. He also met with graduate students and faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, providing valuable advice on topics ranging from how to successfully transition from a postdoc to a permanent job and how to enhance our department’s research profile by partnering with national labs. He also took a tour of the Edwards Accelerator Lab, which he said was like a “stroll down memory lane.”

Park’s colloquium talk focused on the national lab system, which provides critical research infrastructure to our national defense. After the colloquium talk, Park answered questions that related to his early career and about nuclear nonproliferation in his current position. From a survey after the colloquium, some graduate students appreciated the opportunity to hear of non-academic careers that are available to Ph.D. graduates of our department.

Punit Parmananda (Ph.D. 1993, Rollins) My present coordinates are: Prof. Punit Parmananda, Institute Chair Professor, Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, 400076, Mumbai, Maharashtra. Also I attach are recent photo (this summer) of my son, Vinayak, and I at the St Paul’s cathedral.

Roger White (Ph.D. 1977, Lane) dined and reminisced with Steve Grimes, Frank Dietrich, and Marshall Blann at a pub in Berkeley, CA, in September. Roger is recently retired from Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. All are retired and connections to Livermore. Frank came to Edwards Accelerator lab a couple of times to make measurements.

Grimes spent about twelve years at Livermore before coming to OHIO, while the others were at Livermore for about 30 years. Steve was attending the CNR18 nuclear physics meeting in Berkeley that week.

Jerry D. Wilson (Ph.D. 1970, Yun) is an Emeritus Professor of Physics at Lander University who reports he is working on two book editions, An Introduction to Physical Science, 15th edition (Cengage), and College Physics Essentials, 8th edition (Taylor & Francis). About a 15th edition of An Introduction to Physics Science, Jerry says, “It will come out as an ebook, which we have prepared. Then the publisher wanted a hard copy too and we are working on it. I have two coauthors, an astronomer from Middle Tennessee State, and a physicist from Ferris State in Michigan. There have been several since Jim Shipman, Jerry Adams, and I put out the 1st edition in 1971.”

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