Physics

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

January 2019

  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics and Environmental Studies Rebecca Edwards attended the 99th Annual American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Jan. 69.  While there, she delivered two presentations: “Changes in Heavy and Extreme Precipitation in Texas 19002015,” a statistical analysis of heavy precipitation events in Texas over the past century, and “The Central Texas Collaborative Air Quality Monitoring Experiment,” which described a course-based research experience that involved launching weather balloons from the Southwestern campus during the spring of 2018 as part of the Energy and the Environment course. She also presented a poster titled “Influences on Air Quality in Georgetown, Texas,” a preliminary study of the data collected as part of the weather-balloon project described above





December 2018

  • Eleven Southwestern University faculty members have won Sam Taylor Fellowship grants to support their research, with award amounts ranging from $1,000 to $1,600. Sam Taylor Fellowships are selected through a competitive application process and are provided by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. This year’s recipients are

    • Professor of Physics Steven Alexander, “Generating Energy from Hot Sidewalks” (awarded $1,200)
    • Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Lamiyah Bahrainwala, “The Politics of Stealth Halal: Re-Presenting the Islamic Origins of U.S. Meat Products” (awarded $1,600)
    • Associate Professor of German Erika Berroth , “Nature Education in the German Classroom: Possibilities for Integration and Inclusion?” (awarded $1,400)
    • Professor of Biology Romi Burks, “Unravelling the Mystery: Genetic Differentiation of Chinese and Japanese Mysterysnails Using 16S” (awarded $1,400)
    • Assistant Professor of History Jethro Hernandez Berrones, “With Indigenist Spirit: Doctors on Spiritual Practices in Post-Revolutionary Mexico” (awarded $1,500)
    • Professor of Anthropology Melissa Johnson, “Human–Jaguar Becomings and Racial Capitalism in Belize” (awarded $1,000)
    • Associate Professor of French Francis Mathieu, “Research on Claire de Duras’s Avant-Garde Novella, Ourika” (awarded $1,400)
    • Associate Professor of French Aaron Prevots, “Gestures toward the Sacred: Guillevic, Vargaftig, Tellermann, Michel” (awarded $1,400)
    • Associate Professor of Communication Studies Valerie Renegar, “Contemporary Modes of Parenting: Disrupting the Representation of Stepmothers in Popular Culture” (awarded $1,500)
    • Associate Professor of Spanish Maria De Los Angeles Rodriguez Cadena, “Cultural Memory and Historical Fiction: Women of the Past on Television and Film by Four Contemporary Mexican Women Directors” (awarded $1,400)
    • Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor, “Researching Attachments to American Political Institutions” (awarded $1,600)




October 2018

  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering Rebecca Edwards attended the 2018 Teaching Computation in the Sciences Using MATLAB workshop at Carleton College in Northfield, MN, Oct. 14–16. While there, she served on a committee who peer-reviewed a collection of curricular activities featuring MATLAB.





April 2018

  • Senior Physics and Computational Math double-major Yash Gandhi, class of 2018, has been awarded an H. Y. Benedict Fellowship from Alpha Chi National Honor Society. Alpha Chi is a national honor society that was founded at Southwestern University in 1922, and is only open to the top 10% of juniors and seniors. Furthermore, only two Alpha Chi members from each university may be nominated to be awarded one of 10 fellowships awarded nationwide. The $3,000 in fellowship money will be used to help Yash attend graduate studies in Computer Science next year. Full press release here.





  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics and Environmental Studies Rebecca Edwards launched two ozonesonde instruments on weather balloons from the SU campus on March 30 and 31. She was assisted by mathematics student Morgan Engle, class of 2018, environmental studies students Lucas Evans, class of 2018, and Daniella De Souza, class of 2019, and alumnus Amy McKee ’96 and her family.  The launches are part of an experiment designed to evaluate the impact of the growing Austin Metro area on the air quality in Georgetown. Instrumentation carried by the balloons measures ozone, an air pollutant at the surface, as well as temperature and relative humidity. Each balloon reached an altitude of 30 km before bursting and provided valuable insight into the vertical structure of the atmosphere over the City of Georgetown.  Three more launches are planned for the month of April and all launches are open to all. This research was generously supported by a Green Fund grant.