The Department of Chemistry and Physics

Photo of the Department of Chemistry  Physics faculty members

First row: Kathryn Rowberg, Libbie Pelter, Maria Longas, and Dan Suson Second Row: Robert Kramer, Adam Rengstorf, Michael Pelter, Norm Relich, Harold Pinnick, and James Lesniak

The Department of Chemistry & Physics at Purdue University Calumet provides baccalaureate degrees with several concentrations available in both areas. Faculty in our department have a breadth of experience in a wide range of sub-disciplines within chemistry and physics, and most are actively engaged in research. Both chemistry and physics majors are regularly involved in research projects with faculty and collaborators at other universities, laboratories and observatories. For more information on both the chemistry and physics programs at Purdue Calumet, click on the appropriate links to the left.

Department Head’s Message

Welcome to Chemistry and Physics!! Our department teaches chemistry, physics, general science, astronomy, and earth and atmospheric science courses – about 10,000 credits per year. These courses include traditional chemistry, physics, and astronomy courses as well as forensic science, brewing science, nanotechnology, polymer chemistry, and energy efficiency improvement. Research is as varied as the coursework and includes aging studies, star clusters, neutrinos, organometallics, chemical education, environmental pollution sources, drug design, high energy physics, quasars, purification techniques, and nanotechnology.

Our proximity to Chicago is a big plus for Chemistry and Physics. Two unique national laboratories — Argonne and Fermilab – are about an hour away. Also, there are many companies in this area which rely on chemistry and hire many chemists

We also are excited by the recent funding of a telescope to be installed in Lowell. This will be a big boost to our astrophysics efforts.

Our Department has much to offer – look over these pages and see!!

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Purdue Calumet Enabling High School Teachers, Students to Explore Natural Universe

Spearheaded by Nobel Prize-contributing researcher and Professor of Physics Neeti Parashar, Purdue University Calumet has been established as a QuarkNet Center to enable high school teachers and students to explore hidden aspects of the natural universe through high energy physics.

High energy physics explores the interaction of matter and energy, as well as the nature of space and time.

The designation of Purdue Calumet as a QuarkNet Center occurred after a proposal written by Parashar and supported by Purdue Calumet Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Peggy Gerard was approved by the QuarkNet office at the University of Notre Dame.

Lead teachers from Munster High, HAST
Serving as lead teachers of the inaugural Purdue University Calumet QuarkNet program are Larry Hautzinger of Munster High School and Adam Erler of the Hammond Academy for Science and Technology (HAST). Both participated last summer in an eight-week training program at Purdue Calumet and Fermilab in Batavia, Ill., facilitated by Parashar.

Another workshop to introduce high school physics teachers to particle physics is being planned. Additional information can be obtained by contacting Professor Parashar at parashar@purduecal.edu.

The new QuarkNet Center introduced a successful kickoff masterclass in March, when Munster High School and HAST students came to Purdue Calumet to participate in a day-long, hands-on high energy physics research activity.

‘Experience what physicists do’
“This masterclass provides an opportunity for high school students to experience what physicists do in the real world,” Parashar said.

During their QuarkNet masterclass experience, the students learned about the theory of particle physics and analyzed data from particle collisions taken from the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), a multinational research center in Switzerland.

Worked in teams, presented results
“Students worked in teams, parsing and analyzing data to find a variety of particles,” Parashar said. “They recorded their findings in a histogram, evaluated results and then joined other students across the country in presenting their results to national scientists by video conference.”

Parashar, who specializes in high energy physics, is part of the research team that discovered the Higgs boson subatomic particle. Also referred to as the “God particle,” it is considered a vital building block for shaping understanding about composition and interaction of all matter in the natural universe. The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to two scientists whose Higgs boson theory was confirmed by the research team.

Learning from inside leaders
According to Hautzinger, “The students were involved throughout the day learning about particle physics from people involved in the trade. “Rarely do students get a chance to interact with leaders in the field like the kids did in the masterclass,” he said.

Erler added, “It was a splendidly successful event, giving students a chance to step in the shoes of a physicist for a day. I was overwhelmed by how quickly the students grasped the concepts and dug right in.”

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Spring 2015 Research Day

Michelle Kelleher

Michelle Kelleher

 

Ryan Torrenga

Ryan Torrenga

 

Devin Whitten

Devin Whitten

 

Shawna Sagel

Shawna Sagel

 

Daniel Huizenga

Daniel Huizenga

 

Alexander Miller, Messa Miller, and Punam Twana

Alexander Miller, Messa Miller, and Punam Twana

 

Maribel Cortez and Amanda Rodda

Maribel Cortez and Amanda Rodda

 

Daniel Huizenga, Jacob Pavel, and Devin Whitten

Daniel Huizenga, Jacob Pavel, and Devin Whitten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spring 2015 Chancellor’s Outstanding Student

 Devin

Congratulations, Devin Whitten!