Physics and Astronomy Departmental News

Physics and Astronomy Hybrid Career Seminar Series

We have a vibrant and informative seminar series where alumni and guest speakers have reflected on how their academic and professional preparation has helped them in some of their most interesting projects of their career.

Learn more about future seminars, or watch recordings of past seminars.

The Partial Solar Eclipse as Seen Through the Eyes and Efforts of Dr. Valerie Rapson and the Astronomy Cadre

Dr. Rapson first challenged SUNY Oneonta students with an eclipse glasses design competition. Victoria Hallenbeck, BFA ’24, won the competition with her eye-catching, vision-saving design.

Eclipse glasses design by Victoria Hallenbeck, Fine Arts (BFA), Class of 2024

During the week prior to April 8th, Physics & Astronomy students, their professors, and the Science Discovery Center brought a full slate of educational and entertaining activities to the campus and community, including Dr. Rapson’s interview with Hudson Mohawk Magazine, found at Eclipse and disco ball - Sanctuary For Independent Media (mediasanctuary.org). Ms. Rutenbeck and staff at the Science Discovery Center hosted special planetarium shows, a comedy show and a day full of unique eclipse-related events. Under the watchful eyes of Astronomy students Sam Sylvia, Ryheime Grant, Mike Gianetto, Jarett Deneau, and Skyler Reed, the Department’s telescopes were fully deployed.

This sampling of photos can vouch for the unique experiences that Dr. Rapson’s efforts and those of the Astronomy students brought to the entire campus.

For the full story and more images from the day, go to Solar Eclipse Captivates Campus, Guests | SUNY Oneonta.

Astronomy students and faculty present research at the Astronomical Society of New York’s Fall 2023 meeting

The meeting gathered over 70 faculty and students from academic institutions across New York to discuss everything from star and planet formation to galaxy collisions to the latest James Webb Space Telescope discoveries. Physics student Jarrett Deneau presented his summer research on modeling gravitational lensing, Michael Giannetto shared his work on tracking the brightness of Supernova 2023ixf, and Josh Ippolito presented a poster on detecting exoplanet transits. Dr. Valerie Rapson also gave a short talk on the recent upgrades to the SUNY Oneonta 1m telescope and encouraged other universities to join a data gathering partnership to help get more students involved in research projects. After the meeting, participants had the opportunity to observe Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon through Siena’s 0.7-meter telescope.

Students Mark Their Success in Physics & Astronomy

Hadley Chan

Congratulations to Hadley Chan whose student profile was featured in a recent edition of The Oneonta Bulletin. Read about her experiences while attending SUNY Oneonta.

photo of Jacob Ghiorse

Congratulations to Jacob Ghiorse who has accepted a summer internship at Ioxus, a premiere ultra capacitor and module manufacturer located in Oneonta, NY.

Picture of Nathan Scwed

Multiple congratulations to Nathaniel Schwed. Nathaniel was selected for the Physics & Astronomy Department's Academic Achievement Award, maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the major and possessing notable extramural accomplishments. Nathan has also been accepted to Binghamton University (Mechanical Engineering) and the University of Buffalo as part of the 3-2 Engineering Program. Finally, Nathaniel has accepted a summer internship at Amphenol Aerospace. Amphenol Aerospace designs and manufactures custom electrical connectors for military and aerospace applications.

SUNY Oneonta's Planetarium Headlines in The Daily Star

SUNY Oneonta's planetarium makes headline news in the area's local newspaper 'The Daily Star' on March 29, 2023. Popularity of the university's digital theater continues to grow with not only students and clubs on campus, but also with the community thanks to advanced technology and astronomy professors Dr. Nollenberg and Dr. Rapson. To read the full article, click on the link below.

Daily Star Lifestyle


Physics & Astronomy Students Earn Award at APS Symposium
Physics students and their poster
L to R: Andrew Lutz, Ryan Sliwinski and Jacob Ghiorse

Jacob Ghiorse, Andrew Lutz and Ryan Sliwinski win prize for Most Outstanding Poster at the New York State Section of the American Physical Society Fall 2022 Topical Symposium held at SUNY Brockport. The poster was the culmination of research conducted during Summer and Fall 2022. Congratulations go to Jacob, Andrew and Ryan. A description of the summer research can be found lower on this page.


Mike Engesser to Speak on James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope

Join the SUNY Oneonta Physics & Astronomy Department and the Science Discovery Center for a celebration of the James Webb Space Telescope's first images!

As an official "Webb First Look Event" site, SUNY Oneonta will be hosting a fun evening of space exploration for students, staff and the general public on Friday, Sept. 30th from 6-8:30 pm. Visitors can explore interactive activities at the Science Discovery Center, view life-size print-outs of the latest JWST images, and watch the original press release of the first images.

Starting at 7 pm in Perna Science room 121, the main event will be a talk by SUNY Oneonta alumni Mike Engesser from the Space Telescope Science Institute who worked on the MIRI instrument on the James Webb space telescope.

To find out about other Webb First Look events, check out: Webbtelescope.org


Summer 2022 Research Activities

Congratulations to Jacob Ghiorse ’24 and Andrew Lutz ’25 on being awarded Summer Research Fellowships by the SUNY Oneonta Student Grant Program for Research and Creative Activity. Through this program, which is funded by the SUNY Oneonta Foundation Inc. and the SUNY Oneonta Alumni Association through charitable gifts and grants, Jacob and Andrew received $3000 fellowships and $800 for research expenses. Through a three pronged approach under the supervisions of Dr. Hugh Gallagher, Jacob and Andrew observed and characterized the properties of seiche.