The Physical Sciences Department is proud to present our department’s student award winners for 2018-2019. The winners were presented their award at the GRCC Student Leadership Banquet on March 28. From left to right- Madison Jones for Excellence in Geology, Andrew Hulsman for Excellence in Chemistry, and Janine Sweetman for Excellence in Physics.
Madison Jones (Geology) plans to pursue her BS in geology at GVSU. Madison was one of only 7 students selected for a fully-funded geology research program this summer at the University of Texas-El Paso.
Andrew Hulsman is working on completing his BS in Chemistry at GVSU and will be applying to Physician Assistant programs while working full-time as an EMT and going to school full-time.
Janine Sweetman plans to transfer to the University of Michigan to pursue her degree in environmental engineering. Her goals after her degree are to work with corporations to assist them in minimizing their footprints on the environment along with specializing in water quality to prevent threats to the local watersheds like PFAS.
This summer, GRCC geology students Maegan Bouwens and Madison Jones are heading to Texas to conduct field research in geology! They were two of only seven students nationwide invited to participate in a fully-funded research experience at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
UTEP collaborates with El Paso Community College and the National Science Foundation to bring two-year college students interested in pursuing a career in geology to study 34 to 56-million-year-old igneous rocks exposed in the El Paso area.
Maegan and Madison will spend 4 weeks conducting field work from UTEP, after which they will continue their research back home in Michigan. In addition to learning skills and methods employed by professional geologists, our students will work with peer and faculty mentors who will assist them with their research. Maegan and Madison will also participate in activities with members of their cohort that include weekend field trips, practicing their science communication skills, and attending professional meetings, workshops, and seminars with geoscience professionals. Upon completion of their research projects, Maegan and Madison will have the opportunity to present their research to both the local community and at a professional meeting for geoscientists.
We congratulate both students and look forward to hearing about their experience!
Fahmy Mamuya, a former Biodiversity Biology student from Arusha, Tanzania, is currently a medical writer and part of a multi-disciplinary research team at Harvard University in the Harvard Medical School.
After GRCC, Fahmy received his PhD in Cell and Organ Systems Physiology at the University of Delaware, followed by an MBA at the same university. He is an expert in cell culture and confocal microscopy. Fahmy has also had NIH-based research scholarships of vision physiology at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
Fahmy believes, “…medical research can continue to transcend, and the impact can be harvested through effective communication to diverse audiences.”
Congratulations to this amazing GRCC alumnus, and to our science department for helping Fahmy get started!
At 8:29 a.m. this past Friday, November 30, a magnitude 7 earthquake sent Anchorage residents scurrying out of buildings and under desks. Six minutes later, GRCC’s seismometer picked up the primary waves that traveled from Alaska to Michigan at a speed of over 13,000 miles per hour. There are preliminary reports of damage in Alaska’s largest city and the surrounding communities. A Tsunami warning was issued and then canceled later in the day.
The image above shows GRMI’s seismic record of the magnitude 7 earthquake in Alaska on Friday morning, November 30, 2018. The two red arrows indicate arrival of the P-body wave and the surface waves.
Calkins Science Center at GRCC hosts a seismometer (GRMI) that is part of the MIQuakes network, a group of high schools, community colleges and universities in Michigan that host seismometers designed to record earthquake activity both locally and worldwide. The stations are sponsored by IRIS – Incorporated Research Institutes in Seismology and MESTA – the Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association.
If you are interested in or other earthquakes recorded by the GRCC seismometer, you can find them on the MIQuakes website.
A new series of presentations on a variety of scientific topics begins this academic year. This lecture series is called ‘GRCC Science Talks.’ These lectures are free and open to the public. There will also be light refreshments available. Here are the first two presentations that may be of interest to you and your students this fall 2018 semester:
Unlocking the Sun: Spectroscopy in the 1800s
Who: Dr. Lauren Woolsey
When: Monday, September 17, 2018, at 3:45 p.m.
Where: Calkins Science Center (CSC) Auditorium (Room 348)
Description: Have you ever wondered how we know what the Sun is made of, even though it is far too hot for humans to visit? The story of how we discovered the chemical makeup of our own star combines chemistry, physics, and astronomy in a tale of mystery, far-flung expeditions, and unexpected discoveries. After an overview of spectroscopy for general audiences, GRCC Assistant Professor, Dr. Lauren Woolsey will take us through the secrets of the Sun from this turning point in science history.
Species Conservation: How We Got Here and What Can Still Be Done
Who: Dr. Greg Forbes
When: Monday, November 5, 2018, at 3:45 p.m.
Where: Calkins Science Center (CSC) Auditorium (Room 348)
Description: An examination of the reasons that animal and plant species are endangered today, the current status of species worldwide, nationally and in Michigan as well as some possible strategies to save some of these species as well as humanity. Dr. Forbes is an evolutionary biologist and a certified wildlife biologist with research experience
We look forward to participating in these events with you and our students. Please email Tim Periard (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
The Physical Sciences Department would like to congratulate their winners for student of the year in physics, geology, and chemistry. From left to right: Sam Johnson for excellence in physics, Katie Schumann for excellence in geology, and Christopher Klap for excellence in chemistry. The student winners were presented their their awards at the GRCC Student Leadership Banquet on March 29, 2018.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Chinese space station dropping closer to Earth could possibly land somewhere in West Michigan. The odds are incredibly small, but it has been enough to catch people’s attention.
… Dr. Lauren Woolsey, professor of astronomy and physics at Grand Rapids Community College, has been watching the path of the Tiangong-1. She says you’re 10 million times more likely to be struck by lightning than to see any sort of debris from the satellite.
March 12, 2018; Press of Atlantic City (Pleasantville, N.J.)
… Monica Brignola (Lacey) singled, scored three runs and drove in one in Ocean County Colleges 16-0 win over Grand Rapids Community College in the first of two games Friday. In the second game, an 18-9 loss to Henry Ford, she went 3 for 4 with two runs.
GRCC’s seismic station (GRMI) in Calkins picked up the magnitude 7.9 earthquake in Alaska on Tuesday morning. The earthquake was located at a depth of 25 km below the sea floor, southeast of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. A tsunamic warning was initiated for much of the west coasts of the U. S. and Canada but was cancelled a few hours later. The fault that generated the earthquake was not of the type that usually triggers a damaging tsunami. More information about the earthquake can be found on the U. S. Geological Survey’s website. The figures below show the dramatic trace of the earthquake on the GRMI record. The second image is the pulled record of the earthquake and clearly exhibits the P wave (a seismic body wave that moves through the Earth) and the L wave (a high amplitude wave that travels on the surface of the Earth). The waves arrived at the GRCC station about 7 and 23 minutes, respectively, after the earthquake in Alaska, a testament to the speed of seismic waves!
Trace of M7.9 Alaska earthquake on GRMI
Pulled seismogram of M7.9 Alaska earthquake showing the relative arrival of the P and the L waves.
Unlike many public and for-profit companies, nonprofits sometimes need to pump the brakes in their quest for growth.
… Board of directors: Bill Dangl, Dangl Financial Services LLC; Bill Faber, Grand Rapids Community College; Ryan Podvin, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital; Justin Remmelts, Remmelts Marketing; Mary Jane Dockeray, Blandford Nature Center; Sara Armbruster, Steelcase Inc.; Andy Beachnau, Grand Valley State University; Linda Brunzell, Wolverine World Wide Inc.; Shavon Doyle-Holton, Inclusive Performance Strategies; Laurie Gardner, community volunteer; Pat Gelderloos, 20th Circuit Court; Bryan Harrison, Amway Corp.; Randy Hansen, Grand Rapids Public Schools; Susan (Susie) Meyers, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP; John P. Schneider, Clark Hill; Zachary Verhulst, TowerPinkster
It’s been a busy week for seismometers. This morning, at 12:49 a.m. Michigan time, GRCC’s seismic station (GRMI) recorded a magnitude 8.1 earthquake (see red arrow in image below) off the Pacific Coast of Mexico. See the United States Geological Survey’s shake map below for location of the main shock and shaking intensity. This was the largest earthquake ever recorded on our station. Preliminary reports are that there are casualties and building collapses in communities closer to the earthquake. Mexico City appears to have sustained little damage or injuries thanks to strong building codes (since the devastating 1985 earthquake) and an early warning system that gave residents about 40 seconds to move to a place of safety. See the New York Times article for updates on the impact and the USGS website for additional information about the earthquake and aftershocks.
This past weekend, the GRCC seismic station in Calkins, GRMI, recorded a flurry of events. Most prominent was a magnitude 5.3 earthquake in Soda Springs, Idaho, just before midnight on September 2. Small aftershocks and more events in Soda Springs were recorded in the following 24 hours. Another notable event is marked by the red arrow on the image below, this coincides well with the timing of an explosion in North Korea, recorded by seismometers around the world. For more information about this event and others, go to the USGS’s website.
On July 6, 2017 GRMI, the seismometer in the geology lab of Calkins, recorded a magnitude 5.8 earthquake near Helena in western Montana. Buried in the seismic trace of the larger earthquake were two aftershocks, one measuring 4.9 and the other 4.5 in magnitude. In the seismogram, we can see many aftershocks associated with the magnitude 5.8 earthquake. This swarm of earthquakes occurred as the result of strike-slip (horizontal) faulting along the Lewis and Clark line, a broad zone of faulting about 400 km in length, and up to 80 km wide that extends from Helena, Montana southwest into eastern Idaho. Other notable events from the Lewis and Clark line include the August 1959, magnitude 7.2 Hebgen Lake earthquake, the largest historic earthquake in this region. The Hebgen Lake earthquake triggered a massive landslide that resulted in more than 28 fatalities, mostly in campgrounds around the lake. Fortunately, this most recent quake caused only minor damage and no reported injuries. For more information about the earthquake visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s website.