Tag Archives: University of Arizona

An Evening with Captain Jim Lovell

The Captain of Apollo 13 is not your typical dinner guest.

In 2014, I was honored to be named an Astronaut Scholar. The Astronaut Scholarship, which was established by the original Mercury 7 astronauts, aims to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing college scholarships for the very best and brightest students pursuing science, technology, engineering or math degrees. My colleague and friend here at Optical Sciences, Travis Sawyer, received an Astronaut Scholarship both in 2014 and 2015.

Earlier in December, Travis and I got an email about an amazing opportunity. The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, or ASF, was holding an event near Phoenix for a large group of potential donors, and they wanted to have a few Astronaut Scholars present for the event. I could barely contain my excitement when I realized who the speaker for the evening would be, Captain James Lovell, of Gemini 7 and 12, and Apollo 8 and 13!

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Left to Right: Myself, Captain James Lovell, and Travis Sawyer.

We arrived in Phoenix just before dinner time and drove out to the venue, a very nice country club in a gated neighborhood. We had the opportunity to talk with Captain Lovell a bit before the other folks started arriving, then we mingled until dinner time. We enjoyed a wonderful view of the sunset over the Phoenix Valley.

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Arizona sunsets are amazing.

After meeting and speaking with several retired folks, dinner commenced. We got to sit with the leadership of the ASF, plus a member of the board of Trustees for ASF and his family, and of course Captain Lovell.

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Travis, myself, Todd Hanson from ASF, and Captain Lovell at dinner

Most of the people at the table really didn’t know about optical sciences, so Travis and I took turns explaining the applications of optics, and our own individual backgrounds. I had a chance to pass around the hologram I had made as part of the Real Holography project I did as an undergraduate with CIAN. Travis talked about the role of optics in art, such as determining brush strokes, artist identification, and the hyperspectral imaging of art. I got to ask Captain Lovell several questions, such as about the Apollo 13 movie and his involvement. Turns out the captain of the aircraft carrier that retrieves the Apollo 13 crew in the film is the actual Captain Lovell!  I also asked him if there was a question that people always asked him at events like these, to which he replied “How do you go to the bathroom in space?”

He then gave a lecture to us and the potential donors present about his experiences in Space, mostly about Apollo 13.

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Captain Lovell showed us a video that was included in the report to Congress on the events of Apollo 13.

He had remarkable hindsight to say that the explosion was the best thing to happen to NASA at the time, because it exposed some of the complacency that had lead to the accident, and allowed the incredible people who were part of NASA to shine as they worked furiously to bring the team home. He was also quite funny and a gentlemen. What a privilege to spend time with him.

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SPIE Ben faceBENJAMIN CROMEY –GRADUATE STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Benjamin Cromey is pursuing his PhD in Optical Sciences and Engineering at the University of Arizona. As a member of the Optics Ambassadors and the Vice President for the Student Optics Chapter, optics outreach is one of his passions. He participated in the 2012 IOU program with CIAN and worked with 3D Holographic Displays as an undergraduate. Currently, he works with Dr. Khanh Kieu on fiber lasers and Multiphoton Microscopy.

In Memoriam

Bernard Leonard: May 13, 1960 – November 20, 2015

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Every summer, CIAN hosts amazing teachers from around the country in Research Experience for Teachers (RET) programs, and each year they return to their schools to inspire and excite their students about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). We have had many RET teachers who excel as summer researchers and teachers, setting an example of superior work ethic and devotion to excellence; Bernard Leonard was one of these. A role model to his fellow teachers and all who knew him, Bernard participated in the Research in Optics for K-14 Educators and Teachers (ROKET) program during the summer of 2014, at the University of Arizona. Sadly, after bravely fighting cancer, Bernard passed away on November 20, 2015.

Bernard was an honorable husband and father of two children. He taught children on Arizona’s Hopi reservation, and although some of us knew him only shortly, it was obvious that he was proud of his heritage and his roles as husband, father, and teacher. He was kind, humorous, and giving.

On behalf of the Center for Integrated Access Networks and the 2014 fellow ROKET participants, our thoughts and condolences are with Bernard’s family.

Thank you for your example, Bernard. It will not be forgotten.

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Words from fellow teachers and ROKET participants:

“Bernard Leonard, a true Diné man and a friend of many, was an educator participant in the Summer of 2014 CIAN-ROKET STEM opportunity at the University of Arizona. Bernard may have lost his battle to cancer, but his fight of educating indigenous students in promoting the sciences remains. He was well loved by those of his family and friends across the Navajo Nation and especially by the community and families of the Hopi Tribe as he gave his all in educating students who entered his class over the years. It is with honor and gratitude to have had the opportunity to have met Bernard and to call him friend.”  

Bernard was a dedicated teacher who wanted to bring more to his tribe and help the students to reach… higher academic standards by participating in scientific research and different activities to bring more ideas of engaging Native American students to STEM and learning. He will be missed and hopefully other teachers from his area would follow in his foot steps to learn to engage Native American students.”

“When talking to Bernard, I was always reminded that I was talking to a true leader; a Father, husband, teacher, and Native American role model. He did it all and made it seem possible. Bernard inspired me to take value in my teaching and to follow the path that feels right.”

 

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Bernard presenting his ROKET research poster and laughing with undergraduate students.

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Bernard having fun in the Thin Films Lab

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Bernard working on an assignment in Prof. Greg Cajete’s workshop

AISPIRE After-School Program – Visit to the U of A

CIAN has formed a partnership with the San Simon Day School located on the Tohono O’odham reservation in Arizona. Together, San Simon teacher and previous Research Experience for Teachers (RET) participant, Martha Rogers, and CIAN faculty, staff, and graduate students are working to develop and host an exciting after-school program for these students ranging in grades 3 to 8.

The AISPIRE After-School Program (or American Indian Student & Parent Involved Research Experience) is a huge hit with students and parents. Recently, on November 3rd forty-six San Simon students, their teachers, and a few parents traveled from the school to the University of Arizona for a personalized visit. Students visited three CIAN laboratories including the 3D holography lab, the Quantum Nano Optics of Semiconductors (QNOS) lab, and the Multiphoton Microscopy lab. Then the students learned about Optics by creating their own lenses using “Edible Optics” designed and created by CIAN student, Jasmine Sears. Finally, the students learned about kaleidoscopes and created their own kaleidoscopes to take home with them.

Overall, it was an amazing day and visit with the students of San Simon and the AISPIRE program.

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Chip-Scale Testbed Capabilities

CHIP-SCALE TESTING LABORATORY

The TOAN testbed facility has recently expanded its photonic devices testing facility into a dedicated lab: the CIAN Chip-Scale Testing Laboratory (CST).  The CST has the capability to characterize unpackaged passive and active photonic chips and is directly connected to TOAN testbed through single-mode fiber and gigabit-Ethernet.  This connectivity enables the insertion and evaluation of the unpackaged photonic chips on the network as a system. Pictures of the CST laboratory and a list of its capabilities are described below.

The CST facility supports characterization of passive waveguide devices as well as active devices such as lasers, modulators, transmitters and receivers.  Optical signals can be coupled on and off chip via lensed fibers, butt coupling, or other specialized means. Passive device characterization can be performed through all fiber-optic telecommunication bands. Active characterization includes S-parameter testing up to 67GHz, and BER and eye-diagram testing up to 32Gb/s.

For system-level testing, packet streams up to 40Gb/s can be flowed through the device, and the network’s ability to process the return streams with suitable latency, bit rates, and in accordance with the modulation schemes being run, can be evaluated. Continue reading

CIAN LECTURE SERIES WEBINAR – Alexander Miles

Verdet Constant in Microstructured FePt Nanoparticles in PS-P2VP Copolymer Composite Films

Date:  Friday, August 21, 2015
Time:  11am-12pm Arizona Time / 2pm East Coast Time

Please register by clicking on the link: Webinar   or copy and pasting to your browser:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/373186709715434497

Or attend in person!
University of Arizona, College of Optical Sciences, Room 447

Biography

Alexander Miles
Graduate Student
University of Arizona

Alexander Miles is a doctoral candidate in Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona working with Dr. Robert Norwood.  His work has touched on optical materials, sensing, holography, photonics, solar energy collection, and thin film filters.  He is graduating in December 2015.

Abstract

Complex Faraday effect and magnetic permeability measurements on iron-platinum (FePt) nanoparticles embedded in a polystyrene-poly(2-vinyl)Pyridine(PS-P2VP) copolymer matrix are reported.  Possible applications include high performance biomagnetic field sensors and optical isolators.

2015 8-21 Alex Miles

EASIS Summer Camp 2015

Once again, CIAN at the University of Arizona, hosted 16 Navajo and Hopi Native American High School students from Winslow Unified School District in Winslow, AZ. This year’s Expect Academic Success in STEM (EASIS) summer camp took place between June 22-26 and was five days of fast-paced optics and engineering activities! The summer camp would not have been possible without the huge amount of support from CIAN and UA College of Optical Science faculty, students, and staff. Additionally, we received exciting giveaways for the students from CIAN IAB partners VPIphotonics and Northrop Grumman.

See the slideshow below for a sample of the many activities students participated in to learn about optical engineering.

Interested in participating in EASIS 2016? We’re accepting applications for all students!

Interested in supporting EASIS 2016? Contact us!

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Scott Tan Attends MRS Spring Conference 2015

After a long flight from London, it was nice to return to the US for the annual Materials Research Society Spring Conference held in sunny San Francisco. Thousands of professionals, enthusiasts, and students gathered from around the world for presentations, events, and exhibits, spanning across two conference hotels and the enormous Moscone West Convention Center. It was an incredible experience, and I am very thankful for such an amazing opportunity.

At the end of Summer 2014 with Dr. Gangopadhyay, Dr. Balakrishnan, and Alex Alvara (another IOU-NA participant)

At the end of Summer 2014 with Dr. Gangopadhyay, Dr. Balakrishnan, and Alex Alvara (another IOU-NA participant)

On Monday, the conference started off with tutorial sessions on a wide variety of interesting topics. I attended a workshop on biomolecular motors for nanodevices, and then a session about characterizing nanowires. That night, I got to attend the Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Nanoscience, which is one of the most coveted awards in materials science, right below the Nobel Prize. This year’s winner, Dr. Hongyou Fan, presented his research developing a new technique to synthesize nanomaterials. Continue reading