Reinhold Blümel, the Charlotte Augusta Ayres Professor of Physics, and physics graduate student Yunseong Nam are the co-authors of “Robustness of the quantum Fourier transform with respect to static gate defects,” published in Physical Review A, Issue 89, in April 2014.
The quantum Fourier transform (QFT) is one of the most widely used quantum algorithms, ranging from its primary role in finding the periodicity hidden in a quantum state to its use in constructing a quantum adder.
Biology Ph.D candidate Sarah Kopac was invited to speak at the 2014 Spring Symposium of the Space Telescope Science Institute on the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, M.D. on April 29. Kopac spoke on “Specialization of Bacillus in the Geochemcially Challenged Environment of Death Valley.” Watch a video of her 20 minute presentation online here.
Kopac’s talk was part of a four-day interdisciplinary meeting titled “Habitable Worlds Across Time and Space” featuring speakers from around the world working in such diverse fields as biology, geology and astronomy. The focus of the seminar was on identifying places within our Solar System and Galaxy where we can most profitably search for life beyond the Earth.
Astronomy major Raquel Martinez, MA ’13 and William Herbst, the John Monroe Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy, director of graduate studies, also attended the conference.
Both Kopac and Martinez were active active participants in Wesleyan’s Planetary Science Group seminars and activities. Kopac’s advisor is Fred Cohan, professor of biology, professor of environmental studies. Martinez’s advisor was Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy.
Biology Ph.D candidate Sarah Kopac speaks at the the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Spring Symposium.
Raquel Martiniz MA ’13 poses with her research poster and conference organizer John Debes. Raquel is currently working in NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center and has been accepted to the Ph.D. program at the University of Texas where she will begin studies in the fall.
Honors and MA students in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division presented their research at the Celebration of Science Theses, April 18 in Exley Science Center.
Xi Liu ’14 presented her study on “Consequences of Priming Status Legitimizing Beliefs in Whites: An Investigation of Perceived Anti-White Bias, Zero-Sum Beliefs and Support for Affirmative Action.”
Graduate student Eric Edelman is writing a master’s thesis on the process of measuring the winds of stars. He’s focusing on stellar systems that have known planets orbiting them, with the aim of trying to decipher how the measured winds of these stars may affect or potentially even dissipate the atmospheres of their host planets. (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16)
In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we speak with astronomy graduate student Eric Edelman ’13, who is one of 16 BA/MA students at Wesleyan.
Q: You’re one of only a few who pursue the BA/MA option — it seems like a lot of work. But it seems tailor-made for work in the sciences… Are you still happy with your choice?
A: Absolutely. The BA/MA program provided me with the possibility to realistically pursue astronomy as a late bloomer in the field. I entered Wesleyan with the plan to major in English, and focused my efforts on that path for my first two years here. I took my first introductory course in astronomy and physics as a junior, switched into the astronomy major that semester, and was barely able to complete the bare minimum requirements to receive a BA degree.
Eric Edelman applauds the Astronomy Department’s student-to-faculty ratio.
Even though I was able to get a degree, the amount of classes I had taken in astronomy and physics in only those two years would not have made me very competitive for Ph.D. programs, which tend to be the next logical step when pursuing a career in astronomy. With the flexibility provided from the BA/MA program, I have been able to stick around for an extra year and really sink my teeth into some incredibly difficult and worthwhile upper level physics and astronomy courses.
Q: The Class of 2018 is getting their admission letters this week. If a prospect is interested in studying sciences, what would you say are the bonuses of studying at Wesleyan?
A: My answer when it comes to physics and particularly astronomy is the student to faculty ratio. It really does literally approach the golden ratio over here. There tend to be around a total of 10-15 graduate and undergraduate majors in the astronomy department per year, with five professors and one postdoc to go around. While trying to land a research position with a professor at larger universities can sometimes feel like being part of a crazy rat race, the astronomy department here at Wes has more than enough space to accommodate any and all students who want to invest themselves in a worthwhile research project. It is an incredibly open and welcoming department.
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Wesleyan’s spring mid-semester recess began March 7 and several students chose to stay on campus for all, or part of, the 16-day spring break. Classes will resume on March 24.
Chemistry graduate student Daniel Czyzyk, pictured setting up a cobalt column for protein purification, is a seventh-year graduate student who hopes to earn his Ph.D. in May. Czyzyk makes occasional weekend trips home to Scranton, Pa. but he’s spent “all seven spring breaks — and winter, fall and summer breaks — here at Wesleyan.”
History and French double major Kelly Toy ’14 returned to campus March 8 to work on her thesis titled “From ‘America’s Queen’ to ‘Lady Macbeth’: The First Lady, Feminism and the Construction of Public Womanhood.” Toy’s advisor is Leah Wright, assistant professor of history, assistant professor of African American studies. “Since I’ve been back, I’ve been working about eight hours a day on my thesis. I have 85 pages done and I still need to write a conclusion.” Student theses are due April 11.
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Several graduate students and faculty from the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department, Chemistry Department, and the Molecular Biophysics Program presented their research at the 2014 Annual Biophysical Society meeting in San Francisco, Calif. Feb. 15-19.
The Biophysical Society encourages development and dissemination of knowledge in biophysics through meetings, publications and committee outreach activities. Every year, the society holds an annual meeting that brings together more than 6,000 research scientists in different fields representing biophysics.
Wesleyan graduate students, from left, Katie Kaus, Stephen Frayne, Yan Li, Shu Zhang, Anushi Sharma and Harikrushan Ranpura, presented research at the the Biophysical Society meeting.
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David Westmoreland, associate professor of chemistry, and chemistry graduate student Breanna Craft presented a paper titled, “pH-Dependent Mechanisms of 1H Relaxivity in a Series of Structurally Related Mn(II) Cyclen Derivatives” at the 245th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society held in New Orleans, La. in April 2013.
Westmoreland, Craft and chemistry graduate student Sarah Hensiek also presented a paper titled, “Solution Dynamics of Transition Metal Complexes of Cyclen Based Ligands Containing Amide and Carboxylate Functional Groups.”
Brian Northrop, assistant professor of chemistry, and chemistry graduate student Merry Smith are the co-authors of “Discrete, Soluble Covalent Organic Boronate Ester Rectangles,” published in Chemical Communications, 49, pp. 6167-6169 in 2013.
Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies; Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry; molecular biology and biochemistry graduate student Shreya Sawant and chemistry graduate student Daniel Czyzyk co-authored “E. coli Heptosyltransferase I: Exploration of Protein Function and Dynamics” published in Biochemistry, 52, 5158–5160 in 2013. They presented the paper at the 23rd Enzyme Mechanisms Conference held in Coronado Bay, Calif. in January 2013 and at the 57th Biophysical Society Conference held in Philadelphia, Pa. in February 2013.