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Spring 2011 Newsletter pdf icon

Hot off the presses! The annual departmental newsletter was recently published. Click the above link to see what the faculty, graduate students, majors, research groups, and alumni have been up to over the last year.

Dartmouth Physics Society Started

Want to share your excitement about the physical sciences? Want to get help with course selection? To chat with awesome professors? To find incredible research opportunities on and off campus? Then join the Dartmouth Physics Society!

Learn more...

Balloons Flying Over Antarctica May Help Solve Radiation Mystery

The planet is surrounded by two gigantic, fluctuating donut-shaped zones made of protons and electrons known as the Van Allen radiation belts. The charged particles in these zones can damage sensitive electronics on spacecraft such as those used for global positioning systems (GPS) and communications and can injure humans in space.

"Probably the most interesting thing to me about the radiation belts is how variable the region is," physicist Robyn Millan at Dartmouth College told

Read the full story, published by on March 18, 2011.

Launching Balloons in Antarctica - NASA

NASA spotlights the BARREL (Balloon Array for RBSP Relativistic Electron Losses) project led by Dartmouth Assistant Professor of Physics and and Astronomy Robyn Millan.

Read the full story, published by NASA on February 22, 2011.

Investigator Spotlight - Dartmouth Now

Dartmouth Now spotlights three faculty - Mary Albert, Barrett Rogers (Physics Dept.), Peter Wright - who are among the Dartmouth researchers awarded $2.1 million during October, including $1.4 million in new and competing awards.
Read the full story, published by Dartmouth Now on January 26, 2011.

BARREL 2010 Campaign in Antartica Completed

BARREL (Balloon Array for RBSP Relativistic Electron Losses) is a multiple-balloon investigation that will study Earth's Radiation Belts. Atmospheric losses of relativistic electrons play an important role in radiation belt dynamics; precipitation into the atmosphere may even completely deplete the radiation belts in some cases. BARREL is the first NASA Living with a Star Geospace Mission of Opportunity, and will support NASA's RBSP (Radiation Belt Storm Probes) mission.

Click here to view the campaign updates.

Dartmouth Teams Exhibit at USA Science and Engineering Festival - Dartmouth in the News

Cosmic Rays Trace Sun's Journey Through Space (ABC Science) - Dartmouth in the News

Hans-Reinhard Mueller, research associate professor of physics and astronomy, and Priscilla Frisch from the University of Chicago believe changes in the isotopes of some elements in the earth's geologic record could hold clues about our sun's journey through our galaxy, the Milky Way. Their hypothesis is noteworthy because it takes the sun 220 million years to complete each orbit of the galaxy, and it can be difficult to detect the local interstellar medium because it emits very little light.
Read the full story, published by ABC Science 11/3/10

Embracing Nature's Imperfections (American Scientist) - Dartmouth in the News

Marcelo Gleiser's A Tear at the Edge of Creation makes "an important and provocative argument about the direction of current science," writes Lee Smollin, in a review of Gleiser's new book. "Whether one agrees with Gleiser's central argument or not, it is a pleasure to follow his reasoning because the book is so beautifully written."

Read the book review, which was published in the November-December 2010 issue of American Scientist.

Free Public Astronomical Observing

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers all Dartmouth students and the public free viewing through their campus astronomical telescopes. These public nights are usually offered only during the school terms. Observing of the Moon, planets and stars is available on Friday nights, while daytime solar viewing of sunspots and prominences is available on Saturday afternoons. Check this link for the most up to date information on times, what is being observed, etc.