Chairman’s Report on the
1 / 30

Prof. Nickolas Solomey 3 December 2007 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Chairman’s Report on the Status and Vision for the future of the Physics Department at Wichita State University. Prof. Nickolas Solomey 3 December 2007. Review Panel Members. Experienced University Teachers Knowledgeable employers of Physics majors

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Prof. Nickolas Solomey 3 December 2007' - julio

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
Prof nickolas solomey 3 december 2007

Chairman’s Report on the Status and Vision for the future of the Physics Department at Wichita State University

Prof. Nickolas Solomey

3 December 2007

Review panel members
Review Panel Members

  • Experienced University Teachers

  • Knowledgeable employers of Physics majors

  • Talented researches who have insight into Physics research directions needed for the future in both industry and government.

Yasar Onel

Peter Ratoff

Scott Hinks

Bob Rosner


  • Current Status of the Physics Department

    • Staff

    • Classes

    • Labs and the status of the equipment

    • Some of my concerns

  • Vision for the Future of the Physics Department

    • New faculty

    • Future research directions

    • Physics programs BA, BS, MS and possible Ph.D.

  • Costs, Effort and Administration

  • Conclusion

Physics department mission
Physics Department Mission

  • Teach Physics to any of the 15,000 students at Wichita State University that need it.

  • Offer a Physics BA and BS degree program.

  • Scientific Research in Physics and Astronomy.

  • Physics Graduate program, currently in suspension awaiting recommendation for its future.

Successes of the past
Successes of the Past

  • The most successful and important Physicists who got his start at Wichita State University is Warren Pickett:

  • But, also many others who

    have gone on to Harvard, Boeing

    Univ. of Michigan, Ohio State,

    Northwestern University, MIT

    and much more.

Prof. Warren Pickett,

UC Davis

Current physics department status
Current Physics Department Status

  • Staff:

    • 6 faculty (one of which is on phased retirement)

    • 1 Lab Coordinator who is a lecturer in two classes

    • 1 Secretary who does some administrative duties

    • 4 Graduate Teaching Assistants (from Engineering)

    • Outside lecturers

  • Students:

    • 22 undergraduate Physics majors

Current physics department status1
Current Physics Department Status

Like most Physics departments our department teaches mostly to the service of other programs, our student population is:

  • Engineering (313, 314, 315 and 316), then

  • Health Professions (111/131, 213, 214)

  • Education (111/131, 502, 501S and 501K)

  • Other Science Departments in LAS (300s)

  • General Education (111/131 and 195)

  • Physics majors

Population distribution of students in physics classes
Population Distribution of Students in Physics Classes

We are not a small department since we teach about 4500+ credit hours each year.

Current physics department status2
Current Physics Department Status

  • Phys 313 and 314 (4 credit hours each without lab) are Calculus based introductory Physics. The Lab that goes with this is Phys 315 and 316 (1 credit hour each). We do not break down into recitation sections.


    140 students/semester for 313

    120 students/semester for 314

    70 students/semester in 315

    25 students/semester in 316

  • Every semester we teach 2 sections of 313 and 314 each, 4 sections of 315 and 1 section of 316.

Current physics department status3
Current Physics Department Status

  • 315 and 316 Laboratory equipment is in major need of updating:

    • Much of the lab equipment is outdated, or of many different verity making it difficult for good instruction to students.

    • Lab experiments do not let the students make contact to ideas in Physics. Example is in electricity and magnetism the Wheatstone bride is just an electric circuit experiment and replacing these with Faraday, Lenz or Ampere Law experiments would be better.

Current physics department status4
Current Physics Department Status

  • Phys 213 and 214 (5 credit hours each with labs) are Algebra/Trig based introductory Physics. Here too we do not break down into recitation sections.


    Phys 213 has 75 students/semester

    Phys 214 has 50 students/semester

    Labs are mandatory

  • Every semester we teach 2 sections of 213 and 214 each, 4 lab sections for 213L and 4 lab sections for 214L

Current physics department status5
Current Physics Department Status

  • Each semester we teach Phys 195, introductory Astronomy with about 50 students.

  • Every Spring semester we teach Phys 111/131, Concepts of Physics with about 30 students. Currently taught by a lecturer.

  • Every semester we teach two Phys 502 sections, which is a class for Education majors, with 25 students each. Currently taught by a lecturer or GTA.

Current physics department status6
Current Physics Department Status

  • Every semester we teach 3 upper level physics classes for Physics majors, and 2 advanced lab classes for Physics majors.

  • Currently our Physics graduate program is suspended awaiting the recommendation of this committee.

Current physics department status7
Current Physics Department Status

  • Research:

    • We have 5 faculty in active research

      • E. Behrman, Computational Condensed Matter Physics

      • J. Ferguson, Theoretical Astrophysics

      • J. Ho, Experimental Superconductivity

      • H. Hamdeh, Experimental Solid State Physics

      • N. Solomey, Experimental High-Energy, Nuclear and Astro-particle Physics

Future of the physics department
Future of the Physics Department

  • The Dean has made the statement that the nominal strength of the Physics Department is about 10 full-time faculty.

  • The College of Engineering would like us to improve the quality of the introductory Physics classes.

  • The VP for Research would like the Physics Research to improve.

  • There is a request for us to create and teach a Physics of Sound class for Health and Fine Arts.

Future of the physics department1
Future of the Physics Department

This table show the future teaching loads for introductory Physics classes.

Please note that we are not a small department in credit hour income to the University.

Secondly, you should notice that this minimum schedule has only 9 classes a semester taught by Physics faculty.

Future of the physics department2
Future of the Physics Department

  • Getting new Physics faculty will help get

    • Good teachers that can connect with the students

    • Expand our research activities in Physics

  • I propose that we institute a minimal graduate Ph.D. program in Physics.

    • It would be a low cost program.

    • It will permit us to attract higher quality Physics faculty for instruction, and higher quality Physics faculty will bring better funded research activities. It is unreasonable to think that Wichita State Univ. can expand its Engineering and other Science without a good Physics program.

Future of the physics department3
Future of the Physics Department

This table show the planned undergraduate Physics major classes over the next 5 years in gray at the top.

A graduate program only needs one extra class every semester and classes in conjunction with undergraduate classes.

Very advanced graduate classes could be arranged by video with other schools. I propose that Sister Physics Dept. relationships with three schools would be enough. I am talking with Univ. of Hawaii, Univ. of Chicago and Lancaster Univ. as possible schools.

Examples of this are how my IIT graduate student went to Univ. of Chicago and took the class on quantum field theory and particle physics theory there while signed up for these classes with me at IIT.

Future of the physics department4
Future of the Physics Department

Projected graduate program enrollment with M.S. and Ph.D. issued.

Future of the physics department5
Future of the Physics Department

This projected hiring plan is that needed to cover our minimal teaching loads.

This will changed as we try to understand how to improve our introductory Physics classes for engineers.

Future of the physics department6
Future of the Physics Department

  • We are discussing with the College of Engineering how to improve the quality of Physics classes:

    • Make smaller class sizes, 30 students instead of 90.

    • Take the current 2 semesters at 5 credit hours each and make them 3 semesters at 4, 4 and 3 credit hours.

    • Get a better book, we are studying this right now.

  • Doing option 1 or 2 alone would require 1.5 new faculty above our nominal level.

  • Doing both option 1 and 2 would require 3 new faculty above our nominal level.

Future of the physics department7
Future of the Physics Department

What research should the new hires be specialized in?

I propose that we hire groups in:

  • high energy experimental physics (started),

  • low energy experimental nuclear physics

    (would be the only such group in Kansas)


    3. experimental Astro-physics

    (possible cooperation with NIAR)

Future of the physics department8
Future of the Physics Department

Why these specialization?

  • They work at national labs in big groups and do not need large amounts of start up money and are typically funded groups.

  • A small University can contribute substantial to these efforts getting students involved with major projects and results.

  • Rare isotope nuclear physics is a major need for future reactor energy needs, improving rare isotope cross sections can let us build safer reactors. Kansas wants to support future energy research and this would fit in to that plan.

  • NASA has an interest in both high-energy and low energy projects and this ties in nicely with an Astro-physics group.

  • Neither of the other two Kansas Universities has a nuclear group.

Future of the physics department9
Future of the Physics Department

  • What size groups?

    Both DOE and NSF, office of high-energy and nuclear physics have told me that a 2 or 3 faculty group is fundable. Less than 2 would not be funded, 2 not well and 3 would be considered strongly.

    NASA program managers have asked that experimental groups have at least 2, but 3 would not bring us more.

Future of the physics department10
Future of the Physics Department

  • The Physics Department currently has a experimental Solid State Condensed Matter group doing material studies with Mössbauer Spectroscopy (Prof. H. Hamdeh and Prof. J. Ho). It will be expensive to bring in more people in this subject due to the start up packages in this field needing $300,000+, but this group is productive and should be supported as much as possible. They also need to establish outside funding.

  • Cooperation with Engineering or Chemistry is possible.

  • Can we get any cooperation with a National Laboratory or Industry?

Future of the physics department11
Future of the Physics Department

  • The Physics Department currently has one Theoretical Astrophysics faculty and one Theoretical Condensed matter physicists.

  • In support of my proposed experimental high-energy and nuclear efforts I request that the new faculty hire be in support of the Graduate Ph.D. program specializing in theoretical nuclear or high-energy physics.

Future of the physics department12
Future of the Physics Department

  • Cooperation with other schools

    We are currently reaching out to nine 4-year Liberal Arts Colleges in this part of Kansas, and four schools are interested in both Instruction and Research cooperation between our Physics Faculty.

  • Recruiting

    We started in October of 2007 a program of recruiting to get Physics majors, and when the time comes this will expand into a graduate program recruiting effort.

Funding the growth
Funding the Growth

  • Funding for this growth has to come from many sources:

    • LAS support for faculty

    • Outside funding for a faculty for supporting the graduate program for 4 years.

      • Clair Booth foundation

      • WSU foundation

      • Physics department Benefactor

    • Support for Introductory Lab equipment:

      • LAS Technology grants

      • WSU Foundation

      • STEM grants

      • Industry (HP, MS, local companies)

Administration of the growth
Administration of the Growth

  • Reinstating the Master program is a local administrative decision. The earliest we can ask for this is the Fall of 2009 and in Fall of 2008 recruiting efforts would have to start.

  • The Ph.D. program would then turn on in the Fall of 2011 as the MS students pass their qualifying exam. This gives sufficient time to get the administration paper-work in order.

  • At each phase of the growth: intro-physics lab updating, new faculty hiring, expanded research grants, the MS program and Ph.D. program all need careful watching of the program as it advances.


  • The Physics Department will expand its faculty, by how many and with what emphasis depends partly upon this committee’s recommendation. It can be done in a way that:

    • Improves teaching quality

    • Improves research quality

  • To get the highest quality new faculty and keep the good faculty we have I strongly recommend permitting us to create a small, low cost, creatively executed Physics Ph.D. program.

  • Energy research is a major priority in Kansas and Wichita State University has many rules to play in this plan. I see Physics as contributing to this effort, and the new Physics faculty should be directed in basic energy sciences (low energy nuclear, high-energy and astro-particle physics) as the best direction to pursue.