Post Briefs, February 2023

Cadets Attend Physics Congress

During the fall semester, Karsten Wahl ’23, James Hebert ’24, Mitchell Meyer ’24, and Timothy Daigneau ’25, all physics majors, along with Col. Daniela Topasna and Col. Gregory Topasna, professors in the physics department, participated in the 2022 Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Congress—100 Years of Momentum in Washington, D.C. The cadets, also members of the Society of Physics Students, presented at the poster session their work on thin films, astronomy, nanotechnology, and superconductors. They attended career workshops, social events, and talks given by physics Nobel Prize recipients and scientists from various physics fields. Lab tours at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and the University of Maryland Department of Physics were highlights of the experience. The event, which occurs every three years, is supported by the American Institute of Physics and hosted by Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society.

Retired Professor Featured on Spy Podcast

Col. Rose Mary Sheldon, who retired in 2019 after teaching at VMI for more than 25 years, has recorded an Apple podcast entitled “Espionage in the Ancient World” for the program Spycraft 101 with Justin Black. Her episode began airing at the end of January and will be archived on most popular podcast platforms. The podcast features authors, historians, and former members of the military sharing how espionage and secret operations have shaped history.

Cadets Visit Power Plant

A group of 2nd Class cadets majoring in mechanical engineering recently visited Dominion Energy’s Bear Garden Generating Station in New Canton, Virginia, to enhance their studies in thermodynamics, energy generation and use. The station uses both gas turbine and steam turbine power cycles, giving the cadets the opportunity to see power generating equipment first-hand and gain insight on how power plants operate. Paul Damerell, adjunct professor and Wachtmeister Chair in Science and Engineering, and Dr. Shrabanti Roy, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, accompanied the group. “An advantage of visiting a combined cycle plant like Bear Garden is that you can walk right up to the equipment and ask questions to the plant manager about how it operates,” said Damerell.

Institute Brass Travels to Europe

VMI’s brass ensemble, the Institute Brass, traveled to the Czech Republic and Germany over winter furlough. The small group of cadets, led by Col. John Brodie, had a whirlwind tour consisting of performances in and around Prague, Czech Republic and in Ansbach, Germany. VMI alumnus Lt. Joshua Chapman ’19, who is stationed at Katterbach Kaserne, a U. S. Army base in Ansbach, Germany, arranged for the group to perform at the base as a fundraiser for the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. In the Czech Republic, they performed at the University Defense, the only military institution of higher education of the Czech Armed Forces, in Brno. After that concert, the cadets were able to meet and share experiences with their Czech counterparts. As guests of U.S. Embassy Military attaché Col. James “Hack” Harbarger, they sat in on a rehearsal of the Czech Army Central Band at their headquarters located at the Ministry of Defense in Prague.


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