Time for a Board Meeting of the Jonathan F. Reichert Foundation, an ambitious non-profit working to establish programs and grants for hands-on instructional laboratories in physics, beyond the first year of university jfreichertfoundation.org

In preparation for tomorrow’s celebration of Illinois Wesleyan’s annual “Nerd Shirt Day,” today I am wearing a shirt from the SPIE national organization, featuring a shark with “firkin’ lasers on its head!”

Please share these (4) job announcements at Illinois Wesleyan (a nice, small, undergraduate-only institution). We have (2) tenure-track openings in Physics and (2) tenure-track openings in Chemistry: iwu.edu/human-resources/job-op

During this academic year, Illinois Wesleyan University is searching for TWO (yes, 2!) tenure-track Physics faculty members, who will begin their appointments in Fall, 2024. Bring a friend! iwu.edu/human-resources/job-op

Help spread the word! We have approval to search for (2) tenure-line hires, and (2) visiting professors, for the Illinois Wesleyan Physics Department. It's a nice community to join! iwu.edu/human-resources/job-op

By Wednesday, March 8, please submit your abstract. Share your research and celebrate our community at the conference on Optical Trapping & Optical Micromanipulation (OTOM XX) spie.org/OP23N/conferencedetai

I have treasured the experience, and look forward to my 20th and final time chairing the OTOM conference. It will be wonderful

What a year for the Illinois Wesleyan Physics Department! Less than a week after graduating a bumper crop of Physics majors, on May 7 the headline was "American Institute of Physics Recognizes Illinois Wesleyan." Then, on Oct 31, a new headline, "Physics Professors Recognized for Efforts to Increase Understanding, Appreciation of Field," celebrated our work with the American Association of Physics Teachers. Now, we are being recognized by the American Physical Society, leading to the headline "Physics Department Awarded for Improving Undergraduate Physics Education." Congratulations to all who’ve helped build community here!!

One of these 2.5-day experiences can be an incredibly efficient use of your time! Build community. Together, we make a difference!

Some people like Inkscape. It has a graphical user interface, but also allows you to enter precise coordinates if you want (and it's scriptable). There is even a plug-in that allows you to enter LaTeX directly (for labels and such). For example, for his honors thesis, a recent IWU Physics major found an Inkscape component library for optics to be useful. — However, on my Mac laptop, I've made from scratch all of the components contained in my own version of this open-source library of optical components, which I've posted to stenciltown.omnigroup.com/user . My version is for use with an application called OmniGraffle, which I've used to make all of the optical schematics you'll see in my lab procedurals — and in the example schematic shown below (which I made by following a similar example provided by Henning Vahlbruch).

I just got this solder reflow oven, with which students can complete all the soldering of components onto a Printed Circuit Board in 8 minutes! For the solder paste on hand, we simply select “Heat Wave3” and let it run.

Tomorrow's lecture in Optics is about coherence. (The image is from our paper in Am. J. Phys. from 2016.)

More than saying, “Do what you can, and not what you can’t,” I urge celebrating the small wins. Celebrate when you can!

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