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David Hogenboom, professor emeritus of physics, will discuss the occurrences and potential importance of Epsom salts found on Mars and Jupiter’s moon, Europa, noon-1 p.m. in Gagnon Lecture Hall, 100 Hugel Science Center. Pizza will be provided.

The talk is the first in a series sponsored by the Physics Club for the World Year of Physics commemorating the works of Albert Einstein, 50 years after his death and 100 years after his most important works.

Hogenboom and Andrew Dougherty, associate professor of physics, received a $153,000 NASA grant to conduct research to further understanding of the ocean believed to exist on Europa. Hogenboom will describe the experiments they have been doing with electrical and computer engineering major Simon Mushi ’06 (Gaborone, Botswana). They have been analyzing crystal phases of agnesium sulfate (Epsom salt, in its most common form) solutions at high pressures, measuring the volume changes associated with the phase transitions while imaging the crystal forms. Hogenboom will also show movies of the growing and dissolving crystals, and explain the potential usefulness of these data for understanding geological processes on Europa and Mars.

“Students might learn something about Europa and Mars. They might learn about a specific measurement technique. They will see how a student can participate in faculty research at Lafayette. They even get free pizza, if they stay for the talk,” Hogenboom says.

Hogenboom joined the Lafayette faculty in 1965. He holds doctoral and master’s degrees in physics from Penn State and a bachelor’s degree from College of Wooster. He has been a visiting senior research fellow at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England; a visiting scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona; and a visiting scientist at the United States Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif. He retired from full-time teaching in spring 2000.

Two other events are scheduled as part of the World Year of Physics. Justin Corvino, assistant professor of mathematics, will discuss “The Structure of Isolated Systems in General Relativity” Friday, April 15 and Penn State University physics professor Renee Diehl will speak on “Quasicrystals: Patterns and Beauty in New Materials” Friday, April 22.

Categorized in: Academic News