The University of Utah
Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah

Science Employer Panel

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 @ 3:00 p.m. - Science Employer Panel in room 210 of the Aline Wilmot Skaggs Building (ASB) on the U of U Campus!


hosted by the College of Science

Date & Time: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 @ 3:00 pm (Panel begins at 3:00 pm, networking begins at 4:00 pm)

Location: Room 210, Aline Wilmot Skaggs Building (ASB)
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The Science Employer Panel brings students and professionals together for an in-depth discussion of the job prospects and internship opportunities available to science graduates. Students get direct access to insider information about a variety of science industries, while panelists get a chance to meet their future employees and share about why their business is a great place to work. Connections made at the Science Employer Panel start new careers, and help drive Utah’s economic engine.

Panel: 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Orbital ATK
Green Fire Energy
ThermoFisher Sciencetific
IM Flash Technologies

Networking: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


David Eccles School of Business

Science Employer Panel is free. Click here, or contact Paige Berg at (801) 587-8098, to learn more about the Science Employer Panel.


Frontiers of Science with John Grotzinger

Thursday, February 18, 2016 @ 6:00 p.m. - Frontiers of Science with John Grotzinger! "Curiosity’s Mission to Gale Crater, Mars" in room 220 of the Aline Wilmot Skaggs Building (ASB) on the U of U Campus!


with Dr. John Grotzinger,
Professor of Geology, Divison of Geological and Planetary Science, Caltech

Curiosity’s Mission to Gale Crater, Mars

Date & Time: Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 6:00pm

Location: 220 Aline Skaggs Building at the University of Utah
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The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, touched down on the surface of Mars on August 5, 2012. Curiosity was built to search and explore for habitable environments and has a lifetime of at least one Mars year (~23 months), and drive capability of at least 20 km. The MSL science payload can assess ancient habitability which requires the detection of former water, as well as a source of energy to fuel microbial metabolism, and key elements such carbon, sulfur, nitrogen, and phosphorous. The search for complex organic molecules is an additional goal and our general approach applies some of the practices that have functioned well in exploration for hydrocarbons on Earth. The selection of the Gale Crater exploration region was based on the recognition that it contained multiple and diverse objectives, ranked with different priorities, and thus increasing the chances of success that one of these might provide the correct combination of environmental factors to define a potentially habitable paleoenvironment. Another important factor in exploration risk reduction included mapping the landing ellipse ahead of landing so that no matter where the rover touched down, our first drive would take us in the direction of a science target deemed to have the greatest value as weighed against longer term objectives, and the risk of mobility failure. Within 8 months of landing we were able to confirm full mission success. This was based on the discovery of fine-grained sedimentary rocks, inferred to represent an ancient lake. These Fe-Mg-rich smectitic mudstones preserve evidence of an aqueous paleoenvironment that would have been suited to support a Martian biosphere founded on chemolithoautotrophy and characterized by neutral pH, low salinity, and variable redox states of both iron and sulfur species. The environment likely had a minimum duration of hundreds to tens of thousands of years. In the past year simple chlorobenzene and chloroalkane molecules were confirmed to exist within the mudstone. These results highlight the biological viability of fluvial-lacustrine environments in the ancient history of Mars and the value of robots in geologic exploration.

Frontiers of Science is free and open to the public. Please arrive early, as seating and parking will be limited. Click here to learn more about the Frontiers of Science lecture series.


Science Night Live with Braxton Osting

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 @ 5:30 p.m. - Science Night Live with Braxton Osting! "Honeycombs, Oranges, and Image Segmentation" at Keys on Main (242 South Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT).


with Dr. Braxton Osting,
Assistant Professor of Math at the University of Utah

Honeycombs, Oranges, and Image Segmentation

Date & Time: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 5:30pm (Lecture begins at 6:00 pm)

Location: Keys on Main (242 South Main Street)
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Why do bees construct honeycombs using hexagons? What is the most efficient way to stack oranges at the supermarket? I’ll discuss these and some related beautiful geometrical questions and then talk about how these ideas can be applied to the important problem of image segmentation.

Science Night Live is free and open to the public. Please arrive early, as seating and parking will be limited. Click here to learn more about the Science Night Live lecture series.


Women in Physics & Astronomy (WomPA) Social

Come hang out with us! Learn about science, make new friends, and get a free lunch!

WomPA Social Details

Date: Wednesday, January 27, 2016.
Time: 12:30-2pm
Location: The Department of Physics & Astronomy Library - 212 JFB
RSVP by emailing Dr. Pearl Sandick at:

by Monday, January 25, 2016.



About WomPA

Women in Physics and Astronomy (WomPA) strives to foster a sense of community among women in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, encourage networking and mentoring across disciplines and career stages, educate ourselves and others about issues important to the advancement of women in STEM fields, and increase the visibility of women in physics and astronomy.

Visit the WomPA website to learn more.


2015 Halloween Star Party

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Wednesday, October 28, 7:00 p.m. (weather permitting)

Come to the South Physics Observatory as we celebrate our annual Halloween Party! Come dressed as your favorite character.

Activities include:
- Ghost star viewing
- Alien planet viewing
- Monster galaxy viewing
- Free candy at each scope
- COSTUME CONTEST - We'll be giving away a copy of the book "The Martian" as one of the prizes!
- Planetary destruction games
- Shocking demos
..and MORE!

Event is free and open to the public.

South Physics Observatory Map

Learn More.


Science Night Live: Kyle Dawson

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The College of Science will present a "Science Night Live!" event next Wednesday, October 21, 2015, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Keys on Main, 242 South Main St. (next to Sam Weller's bookstore). Invite a friend, make a date, and stop by after work!

Kyle Dawson, assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the U, will discuss how astronomers at the U and across the world are "Mapping Cosmic History 1,000 Galaxies at a Time"

In the early moments following the Big Bang, a sea of particles and fields permeated the Universe. This sea was nearly uniform, with only the tiniest fluctuations toward higher or lower density. Over the course of 14 billion years, these tiny fluctuations grew into vast filaments of matter spanning hundreds of millions of years and littered with galaxies. The exact way in which those structures grow is dependent on the lightest of particles and the most expansive fields, most of which we do not understand. By studying the nearest and most distant of those galaxies, we can map the course of cosmic history and gain insight into the nature of the Universe. We are now building that atlas of the Universe with a telescope in New Mexico that was designed to observe millions of galaxies and quasars over a decade. In this talk, I will describe what we don't know about particles and fields and how we hope to use these new measurements to better understand our Universe.

You are welcome to mix-and-mingle from 5:30 to 7:00 at Keys on Main. A complete food menu and drink menu will be available. Join us for a stimulating discussion and social event!

Event is free and open to the public. Must be 21 or over. Call (801) 581-6958 for more info.

[Ride the UTA TRAX to the Gallivan Plaza stop. Or, there is limited street parking available on 200 South and 300 South that is free after 6:00 pm. Perhaps the easiest parking is in the Wells Fargo building lot, accessible from 300 South. See]

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