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10:00 AM     WAC4110
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Club Meeting


10:00 AM     WAC4110
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Club Meeting

10:00 AM        WAC4098
SMACS Club meeting -- Discussing plans for the semester

10:00 AM     WAC4110
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Club Meeting


10:00 AM     WAC4110
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Club Meeting

10:00 AM       WAC4098
SMACS Club Meeting

4:30 PM     WAC4094
Dr. Scott Hawley will present: Hearing the Still, Small Voice: STEM + AET Features of Gravitational Wave Detection

10:00 AM     WAC4110
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Club Meeting

10:00 AM     Chapel
Guest Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, Director of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Relgion, and professor at John Hopkins University (co-sponsored by the College of Sciences & Mathematics)


10:00 AM     WAC4110
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Club Meeting

10:00 AM     WAC4098
SMACS Club meeting


2016 Belmont Undergraduate Research Symposium (BURS)

10:00 AM     WAC4110
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Club Meeting

NSTA Students Take Science to Nashville's MLK High School

nstaBelmont's National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) student chapter recently took science on the road by bringing a series of physical science and chemistry demonstrations to students at Nashville's Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet High School.

NSTA President Katlin Stodard (Biology), Vice-President Sarah Cannavino (Chemistry), Secretary Ilyana Ilieva (Philosophy) and members Mary Barber (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology), Lindsey Dennis (Biology) and Chris Burdette (Chemistry) performed fun with liquid nitrogen, the iodine clock reaction, magic pepper and "elephant toothpaste." Faculty sponsor and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Danielle Garrett said she hopes this will become an annual event, allowing Belmont students to share their passion for science with the community.

When asked why events like these are important Stodard said, "Being able to share the joy of science with others is the primary goal of NSTA. That's what happened during the demos at MLK -- students learned that science is fun! As a future teacher, watching students engage with the activities was a beautiful sight."

McBride has paper published in The Physics Teacher

Dr. Krista McBride, Physics, recently had a paper published in The Physics Teacher. The Physics Teacher journal “is dedicated to the strengthening of the teaching of introductory physics at all levels. The Physics Teacher provides peer-reviewed materials to be used in the classrooms and instructional laboratories.”  McBride’s paper is titled: “Linking Science Fiction and Physics Courses”. Here is a link to the article: http://scitation.aip.org/content/aapt/journal/tpt/54/5/10.1119/1.4947155

Magruder and Robinson have paper published in Physics Journal
Drs. Robert Magruder and Steve Robinson, (Physics), co-authored a paper that was recently published in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms journal. The paper is titled: "Effects of excess oxygen on the 4.5–6.3 eV absorption spectra of oxygen-rich high purity silica." Here is a link to the paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168583X16300118

Hatch Receives Research Funding from DOE

Dr. Duane Hatch, Chemistry, has been awarded funding from the Department of Energy Office of Science for his recently submitted research proposal. He will perform his research at Los Alamos National Laboratory during summer 2016. The award is part of the DOE Visiting Faculty Program and is valued at $29,000. Dr. Hatch will also take and fund two Belmont undergraduate students, Ambrose Rice, a rising senior biology major, and Sherif Helmey, a rising junior biology major, to help perform the research outlined in the proposal. Dr. Hatch has also been reappointed as a guest scientist at Los Alamos National Lab.

Below is a summary of the research proposal:

Project Title: SeTrp Study of LiP

Cellulosic ethanol is a type of bio-fuel produced from biomass (lignocellulose) that is now being produced commercially. Non-food biomass is a viable raw material for bio-fuels and has brought increased attention to the need to remove lignin, which is as much as 25 wt % of non-food biomass (1). However, lignin deconstruction and removal presents a significant challenge as lignin's notorious recalcitrance frustrates the utility of lignocellulose as an economical source of bio-fuel raw material (2-4). Nature uses oxidative enzymes (peroxidases) to breakdown lignin (5). There are three major peroxidases used for lignin degradation: lignin peroxidase (LiP), manganese dependent peroxidase (MnP) and versatile peroxidase (VP). All these enzymes possess a heme group and an interesting catalytic tryptophan residue. Importantly, LiPs are strong oxidants with high-redox potential that chemically react with both phenolic and non-phenolic components of lignin. We are proposing to gain an intimate understanding of the LiP peroxidases mechanism and use this information to enhance its activity by mutating the catalytic Trp residue for a more polarizable amino acid, selenatryptophan (SeTrp). We will characterize the effects of SeTrp on the electron and radical delocalization and open the door for the use of these types of unnatural amino acids on the elucidation of complex enzymatic mechanisms.

Ferrara Gives Talk at Adventure Science Center

Dr. Davon Ferrara, Physics, recently gave at talk at the Adventure Science Center’s Science Café.  The Science Café is a series of informal discussions on current issues in science and provides an opportunity to share your opinions, ideas and thoughts with other science lovers and to meet local scientists in a fun, casual setting. The title of Ferrara’s talk was: Physics and Ballroom Dancing. He discussed how basic physics concepts can be used to better understand the advanced techniques of ballroom dancing, while relating the theory to the results of a student-driven project using an iPhone to study the physics of cheerleading that can help make physics more interesting and relatable for students.


Chemistry and Physics Department Hosts Workshop for High School Students

hsdayThe Department of Chemistry and Physics recently hosted a guided inquiry workshop for high school students titled “Sweet Sweet Chemistry:  A Chromatography Challenge.” The 22 high school students represented five counties, and during their time on Belmont’s campus, they extracted dye from candy and worked to develop the best solvent system for separating the mixture of dyes in this hands-on workshop.  Members of the Department of Chemistry and Physics and several undergraduate chemistry majors were present throughout the event to answer questions. This is the first of what the event organizer, Dr. Danielle Garrett (Assistant Professor of Chemistry Education), hopes will become an annual workshop. Due to the high demand for student participation in the workshop, the Department of Chemistry and Physics offered a second session.

Engineering Physics Alumni Working at NASA


lafranceKayla LaFrance (class of 2009 – Engineering Physics major and Math minor) started a job at NASA in October, fulfilling a lifelong dream.  She is the newest flight controller of the ISO -- Inventory and Storage Officer Team.  She is located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

To quote from Kayla’s Linked In page: I live my dream every day at Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. After 18 years of dreaming and dedication, I now have the joy of working with manned space flight. I currently work as a contractor for NASA in the Flight Operations Directorate, training to be an ISO (Inventory and Storage Officer) Flight Controller for Mission Control. My future is wide open and I hope to find myself as a Flight Director, finishing my education with a Ph.D, and helping design the new mission ops concepts for future Mars Missions. And yes, I was on the TBS reality competition show, 'King of the Nerds.' Yes, I won, so yes, I am King of the Nerds.


ReLeafing Day is the Nashville Tree Foundation's fall planting, held every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  On Saturday, November 21, ReLeafing Day was held in the Northwest Nashville neighborhoods of Bordeaux, Haynes Manor, Haynes Park, in public parks and along Titans Way with the Cumberland River Compact. Volunteers across the county come to plant trees in public spaces and private yards.

Belmont student members of Beta- Beta-BetaECO, and SMACS , along with Dr. John Niedzwiecki, faculty advisor for ECO, participated in the tree planting. They planted four trees with the Nashville Tree Foundation. In partnership with Nashville Electric Service, the Tree Foundation has planted hundreds of trees that coexist with power lines since ReLeafing Day began in 2002. 

releafing       releafing
Nancy Le(L) and Dora Geving(R)

National Chemistry Week Events:

10/19      10:00 AM      WAC1034     Hey! Look at that Awesome Science convo 
10/20 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM McWhorter patio SMACS fundraiser -- they will be selling mini pumpkins filled with candy
10/21 10:00 AM WAC5001 Chemistry Colors our World convo --Dr. Daus will guide students in tie dying t-shirts
10/22 6:00 - 9:00 PM McWhorter 110 SMACS presents... Flubber!
10/23 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM McWhorter Patio Pin the Element on the Table
10/23 4:00 PM Off-campus event Cookout and pumpkin carving at Dr. Moore's house
tiedye awesome
awesome awesome

Hawley Delivers Acoustics Instruction in Song

hawleyAt the 170th Acoustical Society of America meeting in Jacksonville, FL, November 2-6, 2015, Belmont Associate Professor of Physics and songwriter Dr. Scott Hawley shared one of his science education songs.  In his song "Baby in Hertz (Simple Harmonic Motion)," the chorus consists of spelling out an equation for oscillation (as a mathematical homage to R&B songs such as "R-E-S-P-E-C-T.")   Hawley notes, "Simple Harmonic Motion is a fundamental paradigm for understanding a variety of phenomena not only in acoustics, but throughout physics."   Accordingly, the lyrics of the 2nd verse of the song point out, "This phenomenon's so universal, I can't overemphasize it: Any force, for small displacements, you can prob'ly linearize it!"  

In the photo, Hawley is on guitar/vocals, and undergraduate Brandon Olmos, of Columbia College of Chicago's Bachelor in Acoustics program, is on drums.

Belmont Students and Faculty Participate in Drug Take-Back Event

drugOn September 26, 2015, five Belmont undergraduate students and Belmont faculty member Kimberlee Daus, Chemistry, participated in the Dickson County Drug Take-Back.  This event was held on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and was coordinated by Vanderbilt University and the Dickson Police Department.  Working alongside faculty and students from Vanderbilt and Lipscomb University, Belmont Pharmaceutical Studies students cataloged and counted more than 50 pounds of medication.  Students participating included: Mack Ogle, Teaghan Chen, Mackenzie Watson, Unique Ellis, and Allison Lane.


The National Drug Take-Back Day, set by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), provides a service to the community through safe and responsible disposal of unused medication. Additionally, these events help to educate the public about the potential drug abuse associated with these medications.

Dr. Hatch and Students Participate in
Summer Research at Los Alamos

hatchDr. Duane Hatch, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, was selected to participate in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Visiting Faculty Program (VFP) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for the Summer 2015 Term. Dr. Hatch submitted a proposal in January for the research that he has been working on here at Belmont. This is a highly competitive program that allows faculty to collaborate with some of the most talented scientists in the world. Selected faculty and participating students spend 10 weeks at a DOE national laboratory engaged in a research project under the guidance of a laboratory scientist. Faculty members build collaborative relationships with DOE research scientists, become familiar with DOE sponsored research programs, scientific user facilities, and potential funding opportunities. Students participate in enrichment activities, including career professional development workshops (e.g. technical and scientific writing skills development, poster, or oral presentation activities, etc.), laboratory tours, scientific lectures and seminars. Host laboratories may provide laboratory tours, scientific lectures and seminars, workshops on accessing DOE scientific user facilities. Dr. Hatch’s collaborator at Los Alamos National Lab is Dr. Pete Silks and he will be hosting them in his lab.

Two Belmont undergraduate students, Ryan Agh, Chemistry major - Mathematics minor, and Ambrose Rice, Biology major - Chemistry minor, joined Dr. Hatch. They worked directly with him on his research and received $5,000 each plus travel expenses for 10 weeks this summer. The total value of the proposal was $25,000.

This program is renewable for up to 3 years and opens the door for further student involvement with LANL. Here is a link to information about the program: http://science.energy.gov/wdts/vfp/

Former Physics Students Renovate Choir Room at C.P.A.

Two of Dr. Scott Hawley’s former PHY2010 students were just involved in acoustical renovations for the choir room at Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA). Tanner Roman and Gary Lancaster, both AET majors, teamed up with Randall Griffith of Harrison Entertainment Group to design and construct the new choir room. 

Before..... After ......
before after



The Physics department is now using the idle time on their desktop computers in their McWhorter labs through the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC). BOINC is a program that lets you donate your idle computer time to various science projects. After installing BOINC on your computer, you can connect it to as many of these projects as you like. The intent of BOINC is to make it possible for researchers to tap into the enormous processing power of personal computers around the world.

Belmont has enlisted its lab computers' idle time by joining the Einstein@Home project to search for weak astrophysical signals from spinning neutron stars (also called pulsars) using data from the LIGO gravitational-wave detectors, the Arecibo radio telescope, and the Fermi gamma-ray satellite. This will put Belmont in the top 1% of BOINC users in the world.

Chocolate: The World's Perfect Food
In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) and Dr. Kimberlee Daus, Chemistry Professor, hosted a convocation event on the chemistry elements of Chocolate. Nutrition researcher Michael Levine, among others, has described chocolate as being the world's perfect food—chemically speaking. During this standing-room-only event, they talked about the six different possible crystalline states that are possible for chocolate – Stage V is desired for the ultimate physical characteristics (shiny with the nice “snap”) and demonstrated how to achieve it through tempering. They also discussed why Hershey’s chocolate has such a distinct taste and looked at the different chemicals responsible for the “feel good” aspects of chocolate. During this fun event, they explored the chemistry of chocolate, what makes chocolate really the perfect food, and had chocolate chemistry fun!

AET Students Build Speaker Cabinet for Physics
Acoustics Lab Isolation Booth

aetStudents in Dr. Scott Hawley’s PHY2010 course, Physics for Audio Engineering, built a ported speaker cabinet for the new isolation booth that was obtained for the College of Sciences & Mathematics Acoustics Teaching Lab. AET majors Ryan Yount, Chris O'Brien, and Ryan Morris are pictured taking measurements of the telescoping speaker cabinet they built as part of a class project. The students built a ported speaker cabinet, for which the resonant frequency (of the port) was tunable by varying the interior volume of the cabinet -- i.e. they created a tunable Helmholtz Resonator.  The isolation booth was secured by CSM faculty Drs. Thom Spence, Robert Magruder and Scott Hawley for use with student undergraduate research and class projects which require more precise acoustical measurements than is afforded by a regular classroom environment. 

Physics students attend meeting of the Music City Chapter of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA)

Belmont physics students and faculty attended the January Meeting of the Music City Chapter of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), a division of the American Physical Society.  The meeting was held at Omega Lab, a studio owned & operated by Belmont alumnus Robert McClain (Music Business with Production Emphasis, ’82).  Omega Lab has received worldwide recognition not only for its uniqueness – the structure is a large army tent, powered via car batteries & car amplifiers, and boasts a set of IMAX speakers for 7.1 studio monitoring – but also for producing the Mando Blues radio show and for recently recording two of the Top-10-rated regional albums of 2014 according to the Nashville Bridge magazine.  The meeting topic was a discussion on studio calibration for film and cinema production.  In attendance were Belmont students Chris Waggy and Austin Arnold, both currently enrolled in PHY2250 “Electronics & Circuit Theory’, and Belmont Physics professor Dr. Scott Hawley, who serves as the Vice President for the organization.   Nashville’s ASA Chapter is open to students, scientists, audio engineers and musicians, has monthly meetings in the Nashville area, and has grown to roughly 40 members since its inception in June 2014.  For further information, visit http://musiccityasa.org

Chemistry Students Participate in STEM Poetry Slam Competition

poetry slam
Five students from Dr. Kimberlee Daus’ Organic Chemistry I class competed in the first ever Middle Tennessee STEM Poetry Slam Competition held November 5th at the Bistro at Emma, Nashville, TN.  The contest, open to area high school and college students, was presented by the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub.  Poems were invited that either explained a challenging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) concept or inspired young people to pursue STEM-related fields.   All poetry had to be written and performed by the entrant. All students in Daus’ class were invited to enter the contest as a quiz challenge to address difficult content in organic chemistry.  Sydney Gangluff, Angel Brothers, Sarah Cannavino, Miranda West, and Kathryn Hook (L to R in pic) were selected as 5 of the 16 finalists.  Kathryn Hook and Miranda West were selected as top winners in the science category.  Their entry, entitled “Mechalicious,” explained the difference between SN1 and SN2 reaction mechanisms. Here is a link to their video: http://youtu.be/Jhpzsi1llik

Daus Receives Chaney Distinguished Professor Award
CAS associate dean of sciences and professor of chemistry, Kim Daus, was named the 2014-15 Chaney Distinguished Professor. The Chaney Distinguished Professor Award, determined on the basis of superior teaching, is presented each year to a faculty member who best represents the vision of the university to be a “premier teaching institution.” Of the honor, Daus said, "For me, receiving the Chaney Teaching award is truly a reflection of the best of Belmont – the amazing students who work so diligently to learn, the wonderful mentors and colleagues who encourage and inspire me in my teaching, and the strong administration who support and value classroom teaching. I am very honored and humbled to be this year's recipient of the Chaney Teaching Award."

Better Eating Through Chemistry


Dr. Kim Daus led a Maymester Junior Cornerstone course titled "Better Eating Through Chemistry: Using Chemistry to Improve Local Cuisine".  The course is a great way to get non-science majors excited about organic chemistry while also encouraging better eating habits in college students. The course met five days a week for three weeks and included lectures, readings, problem solving assignments, research, field trips, experimentation and intensive group work and assessment.  eatingEach week students received a challenge that set up their research and collaboration for the following days. For example, students ate lunch locally at La Hacienda and Mas Tacos Por Favor and then were challenged to research and prepare a healthy, vegetarian Hispanic meal as one of their group projects. In addition to presenting their plates to the class, each group also had to explain the rationales for the recipes they created before all the participants got to test their research through a class meal. Field trips included visits to Noble Dairy Farm, Delvin Farm, and the Nashville Farmer's Market.

Physics Students Present "Circus"

Members of the Society of Physics Students recently presented a "Physics Circus" convocation event.

The students presented various intriguing and exciting physics demonstrations. Physics students showed and explained the science behind phenomena such as beautiful Chladni patterns, the "ring launcher" device, alien-looking ferrofluid formations, and more.  Dr. Scott Hawley, Associate Professor of Physics, serves as the faculty advisor for this student organization.

CSI: Belmont


Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Alison Moore and the Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) led an interactive crime-solving event for students during a recent convocation event. With a theme reminiscent of the popular CBS TV series “CSI,” students were challenged to play the role of Crime Scene Investigators and draw conclusions about a hypothetical crime based on their research.


Students looked at evidence including fingerprints, DNA analysis and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis, which identifies different substances within a test sample. The students also investigated footprints and the ink chromatography of a note to evaluate suspects in a supposed murder. Evidence was used to include or exclude suspects during the investigation.


Earlier in the week, the “CSI: Belmont” experience also offered a visit from a training specialist from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), who talked about the educational background required to work in crime investigation as well as the training investigators go through after they get the job.