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Department News

*  How do you like the redesigned ISU Physics web site?  Contact Dr. David Marx ( to share your thoughts.

*  Also, we are in process of writing the next issue of our Directions Alumni magazine.  Please be sure to email Grace ( with your alumni update information and "action" pictures of you doing your job.


Alumni Update News

From Ryan Allured (BS'08 PHY):

I am a second year Physics PhD student at the University of Iowa (that's me in the lab below). I am still working on the NASA Gravity and Extreme Magnetism Small Explorer (GEMS) project. Our satellite's launch date is set for the end of 2014.


I am the Instrument Manager of the student experiment, a Bragg Reflection Polarimeter (BRP) sensitive to X-rays at ~500eV. Specifically, the BRP is going to be used to test predicted models of the polarization of X-ray emission from black holes that have been updated using general relativity.

The mission as a whole will study a broad range of targets, including but not limited to stellar mass black holes, quasars, pulsars, and supernova remnants. Once completed, GEMS will become the most sensitive X-ray polarimeter flown to date in the 2-10keV energy band. I will most likely stay on the project after I graduate, and I hope to stay in the field of astronomy instrumentation throughout my career.

Alumni News

*  Thanks to Allen Lewis (BS'03 CPY) for his February 23, 2010 Physics Alumni Lecture "From Redbirds to Railroads:  An Unusual Physics Career Path."  Currently a Senior Analyst with Amtrak, he is reponsible for codifying train operating saftety procedures and regulations as well as review of instances of deviation from those regulations, and training operating personnel. etc. 


Allen's love of trains started in his youth when he and his Dad and brother would take twice yearly trips on the train.  Then, during his Summers at ISU, Allen worked as a Train Attendant responsible for passenger needs. After graduation, Allen seriously considered graduate school in physics.  But he heard of Amtrak management positions opening up and applied.  After a training period, Allen became a Conductor responsible for the whole operation of the train, and then later a Train Engineer himself.  He maintains his Engineer Operator Certification to this day.

Allen gave a great talk about following your dreams (his love of railroads), finding new dreams when you hit a roadblock (such switching from music and coming to ISU as an EGP, then CPY major), and always believing in yourself.  Thanks Allen!

*  Thanks also once more to our four alumni who shared their career presentations at ISU's Fall 2009 Alumni Day Physics Career Panel:

John D. Bergmann (BS'97 PTE)

James E. Karch II (BS'97 EGP)

Bud Schultz (BS'88 PTE)

Mark S. Zimmerle (BS'99 CPY)


Click Here to download a poster from Alumni Day 2009.

More Alumni News

*  ISU is celebrating our 20th AnnualExpanding Your Horizons Through Math, Science, and Technology Conference at ISU on Saturday, March 20, 2010.  Our 20th on the 20th! 

And, this year's 20th Annual EYH Conference Keynote Speaker this year is our very own Rebecca Wenning Vieyra (BS'07 PTE). Rebecca had attended EYH Conferences as a young girl, gave EYH Student Career Workshop presentations for PRISM and ISU Physics while she was at ISU.  And, now as an educator, Rebecca brings her own students to attend our EYH Conferences.  Rebecca's EYH participation and career pathways embodies the spirit of our EYH Conference philosophy:  helping the next generation of educators and scientists through hands-on career activities lead by women professionals as role models.  

ISU Physics staff help to organize these EYH Conferences each year.  And, many of our Physics Department Faculty, Staff, and Alums have helped give career presentations at EYH Conferences over the years.  For more about this year's EYH Conference, visit

Click here to download an EYH20 brochure.​