first_imgThe worlds of science and art are headed on a collision course, and master forgers are forewarned: Science will catch them red-handed. Notre Dame’s nuclear astrophysicist professors Michael C.F. Wiescher and Philippe Collon are using proton-induced x-ray emission (PIXE) and Accelerator Mass Spectroscopy (AMS) to analyze various artifacts without destroying any parts of the samples. The application of such methods involves dating artwork, determining prior locations of artifacts and identifying pigments through particulate analysis. In so doing, art forgeries are more easily identified and more information about the artifacts is gained, according to Wiescher and Collon’s January article “Accelerated ion beams in art forensics” in the academic magazine Physics Today. This new approach is unique in that it comes from the area of physics. Collon said using AMS is akin to pouring a bottle of wine into Lake Michigan and trying to examine the wine particles, saying the process allows researchers to specifically examine from the backgrounds that interfere in the separations. He said the main focus is to look at a few trace atoms in a large matrix. Collon said he enjoys his focus using the AMS program. “I have a love for astrophysics and nuclear physics,” he said. “I love applying AMS to those areas.” Collon said the accelerators used at Notre Dame are similar to the ones in European art museums, save for the fact that the ones overseas work specifically on art works, forgeries and archeology. He said the majority of research conducted at Notre Dame is related to nuclear astrophysics. Collon added that although the work in the nuclear labs at Notre Dame remains focused on research and experimentation, the professors are now using applied physics in connection to other studies such as art, archeology and anthropology. “It really is a sort of melding of these different areas,” he said. Collon said he and Wiescher are continuously developing these applied physics programs. He said the specific focus on art and archaeology took place more recently in the past four to five years. “This is a program that we’re developing. It’s something that is growing, that is taking on more and more importance,” Collon said. “It’s a sort of parallel to our main activity, which is basic nuclear physics.” Additionally, current undergraduate research focuses on AMS in connection with carbon-14 dating, Collon said. These students are given the opportunity to work with these techniques, most often using the 11 million volt tandem accelerator. Collon said no commercial plans exist for AMS technology. Although the campus science buildings belong to Notre Dame, the National Science Foundation (NSF) pays for the labs. At this time, the NSF would like the lab activity at Notre Dame to continue with its basic research. He said the NSF recognizes the goal of these particular research labs to serve the science community in the widespread study of physics, not just one area alone.last_img read more

first_imgThe No. 2 ranked USC women’s sand volleyball team will kick off the program’s third official season on Thursday against TCU at Merle Norman Stadium.Last season the Women of Troy started to make a name for themselves as a team to be reckoned with by being ranked number one for most of the season. They defeated several ranked teams including Pepperdine, Florida State and crosstown rival UCLA.Going into the American Volleyball coaches Association championships ranking No. 1, the Women of Troy lost to No. 2 Pepperdine in the semi-finals, with a score of 3-2. They finished the season with a record of 23-3, which is seven more wins than they had in the 2013 season. This season, however, head coach Anna Collier has the team thinking in a new perspective after the tough loss in the semi-finals last year.“We get so locked up in wanting to win a championship,” Collier said. “We took a different philosophy this year in that we just want to play better, match by match, week by week, tournament by tournament and then see what the results are.”Last year, AVCA all-American then-freshman Sara Hughes led the team with her partner then senior Kirby Burnham, setting a combined record of 42-4 including dual and tournament play. This pairing also won the AVCA Pairs National Championship, defeating Hawaii’s pairing of Karissa Cook and Brittany Tiegs in two sets.  Last season, Hughes had a hitting percentage of .477, 261 digs and 50 service aces.After making it to the AVCA semi-finals back to back, the Women of Troy are locked in and ready to make a serious push to win a team national championship. The pairings are very deep from the first pair down to the fifth pair and they all have the ability to play win their matches. The team has also received several transfers including graduate student Meg Norton, freshman Jo Kremer and sophomore Sophie Bukovec.Now a sophomore, Hughes still is the leader of the team, and she has been improving her game during the offseason.“I have worked really hard in the weight room and in conditioning,” Hughes said. “The extra conditioning in the weight room has improved my speed and jump in the sand and I can get to more balls defensively.”Hughes will be in the No. 1 pair but with a new partner this time with fellow sophomore Kelly Claes.With such a deep team, a pairing that could be the season’s dark horse is senior Eve Ettinger and Norton. Both have been making big improvements on the court and they have finally started to click. They will either be the third or fourth pairing.The Women of Troy will host TCU, Florida State and Loyola Marymount at Merle Norman Stadium to kick off the regular season on Thursday. This is the first year for TCU’s program but Florida State and Loyola Marymount have been strong competition for the Women of Troy. Bukovec, who transferred to USC from the indoor volleyball team at Long Beach State, thinks this will be a great test early on in the season for the team.“We should match up well against these teams,” Bukovec said. “We have been training really hard for the past few months and each day we have been getting better and more competitive. It will be nice to play at home with a crowd.”Both Florida State and Loyola Marymount are loaded with upperclassman who have been consistently playing year round. While Florida State returns only senior Jace Pardon from their top pair, Loyola returns both senior Litara Keil and senior Betsi Metter to their top pair. The Women of Troy will have an advantage in the middle pairings, where they were dominant last season.This season will be extremely grueling for the Women of Troy, however, as they will be playing Pepperdine, Hawaii and Florida State, all ranked in the top five. Nonetheless, the teams hopes to start the season on a high note with  wins over No. 3 Florida State and No. 6 Loyola Marymount.First serve for the Women of Troy’s match against TCU is scheduled for 5 p.m.last_img read more

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisALPENA, Mich. – Kids can actually benefit from spending a little extra time at the computer. A new gaming system has taken over the way students solve math problems beyond the textbook.It’s the new online game. “I think it’s very fun how they put like aliens or something in them,” said third grader Peighton O’Neal.It’s the type of game that “teaches you a lot of math and gets you doing them quick,” said classmate Liam Kenney, and it’s helping teachers see the benefits of gaming in school.“We’re one of two elementary schools in Alpena that are piloting a program called Imagine Math,” said principal Hans Stevens, Lincoln Elementary.The site is a supplement to the school’s regular math curriculum. It’s divided into multiple levels of difficulty. “The fact that it’s individualized for the student is what’s really amazing,” said Stevens.The kids go through four sets of games: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. “Sometimes I have to practice a lot on the computer and then I get it when I feel confident,” said O’Neal.Nearly 20 percent of kids completed 30 or more lessons at Lincoln. “That’s like a year’s worth of math, roughly,” said the principal.“I completed 50 lessons,” said Kenney.Punching in a couple moves on the keyboard can yield a nice learning curve. Stevens said he likes the program “because it’s proven to be effective.”Hinks elementary is the other school piloting the online game Imagine Math. If things go well, the district will allow all six elementary schools to implement the program. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious ‘Season of Light’ at Besser wraps up for the holidaysNext Michigan State Police sends warning on drunk driving during holidayslast_img read more