Physics Department News Archive

March 16, 2006

Augustana College Receives a National Science Foundation Award

SIOUX FALLS The physics and chemistry departments at Augustana College have been awarded $79,642 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to add a sequence of laser spectroscopy experiments to upper level physics and physical chemistry courses.

These laboratory experiences will significantly increase the amount of contemporary physics Augustana students are exposed to during the course of their physics instruction. The physical chemistry sequence will be enhanced by the introduction of several new spectroscopic studies. The experiments to be developed include investigations of multi-photon processes, spectroscopy of atoms and molecules, chemical kinetics, and fundamental tests of quantum mechanics.

The equipment purchased by the grant will be of research quality, so in addition to the course improvements, it will improve the infrastructure at the College for undergraduate research in physics and chemistry. Last summer, eighteen Augustana students were involved in physics or chemistry research, and number that will increase this summer. The new NSF award will fund one student each of the next two years.

The Principal Investigator is Eric Wells. Brian Moore is the co-principal investigator, and Sheryl Feinstein will lead the program assessment. The award was funded through the NSF's Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement program.

The Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program seeks to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education for undergraduate students. The program supports efforts to create new learning materials and teaching strategies, develop faculty expertise, implement educational innovations, assess learning and evaluate innovations, and conduct research on teaching and learning.

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