GPS Movie Night!


Join the GPS Social Committee for a Movie Night! We will be watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail starting at 5pm this Friday, June 28th. Popcorn will be provided, but feel free to bring any other snacks that you want. This event is also BYOB. Hope to see you there!

GPS End-of-Year Picnic!

Come join GPS at Potato Creek State Park on June 8th for our End-of-Year Picnic! Celebrate the end of a great school year and welcome the incoming first-year students with friends, BBQ food, drinks, and canoeing!

RSVP HERE for carpooling, +1s, potluck dishes, and canoe rentals! Look for a reminder email soon with more details.


Annual GPS Holiday Party

Happy holidays everyone!
This year we will be hosting the annual potluck and board game GPS Holiday Party at the Indian Lakes Club House on December 8th at 6:30 pm (immediately following the Department Party). Families, significant others, and guests are more than welcome.  Please bring a snack to share and a board game to play.
Click here for directions from NSH.  If you need or can give a ride, see our carpool page.

Student Spotlight – James Kelly

In high school, I scoffed at the idea of putting more effort into my humanities classes because I thought a smart person like me should pursue only the hardest subjects, and surely those were not them! In college, still interested in science but only pretending to have my priorities straight in a new world of opportunity, my scientific endeavor continued. I just wanted to do something challenging, without much thought as to why I was doing it.

Notre Dame physics made sense given my background, but the program has ultimately steered me away from the thing I ostensibly came here to do and altered my course in ways I never anticipated. My advisor, Maxime Brodeur, has been every bit the positive mentor one could hope to have in graduate school and that I was searching for during my second year. And my project, a two-pronged approach to measuring exotic atomic masses of relevance to the astrophysical rapid neutron capture (r) process through instrument development and Penning trap mass spectrometry, has been (mostly) captivating and rewarding. But I’ve realized now in my fifth year that it’s not so much doing science that I enjoy, but communicating its significance. Given that I think everyone should regard science’s methodology and culture as highly as I do, I want to work as its advocate to promote scientific thinking in areas beyond fundamental research.

After graduating and hopefully whiling away at least some of the six-month grace period before my undergraduate student loans come due, I’ll make myself useful somewhere between those doing research of the type I will have left behind and those in government who have to confront its findings.

Student Spotlight – Gary Uppal

Gary Uppal is a fourth year working with Dervis Vural. Gary’s research mainly involves population dynamics and understanding how cooperation might evolve in biological systems. The evolution of cooperation is still an active area of research, since social systems are always susceptible to exploitation by cheaters. In particular, he has been studying the effects of fluid dynamical forces on the social evolution of microbes. Originally from California, Gary did his undergrad at UC Davis. He first wanted to go into astronomy after reading a book on the solar system in the third grade, and later changed his interests to high energy physics and then to statistical physics. He enjoys collecting – and occasionally reading – books, traveling, live music, practicing meditation, and spending time with family and friends. After graduation, he wants to find a job either in academia or industry where he can continue to do research and continue to learn.

Game Night

Join GPS for a game night immediately following the Happy Hour this Thursday in NSH 202. We will provide pizza and other refreshments. Bring your favorite games to play!

Student Spotlight – Michael Planar

Michael is a seventh year graduate student working for Professor Colin Jessop. He spent a few years measuring the properties of the Higgs boson through its decay into two photons as measured by the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) at the Large Hadron Collider. He also spent a few years working on the Electromagnetic Calorimeter for the CMS. This impressive assembly of crystal and electronics allows for precise measurement of photon and electron energy in the CMS and is especially important for the analysis that Michael performs. He chose to work with Prof. Jessop and the CMS detector because they use cutting edge technology and analysis techniques. Michael spent the last 4 years living in France and working at CERN in Switzerland. He enjoys swimming, playing card/board/video games, and helping out at his family farm in Minnesota.  After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, Michael plans to move into industry where he hopes to continue developing new hardware and innovative analysis techniques.