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Chair's Annual Statement


As we start the final year of The University of Texas–Pan American, the Department of Physics and Geology will continue advancing research and education in the areas of Astronomy, Geology, Physics, and Physical Sciences. As Chair, I would like to share with you some of the accomplishments of the department during the past years.

Our department now serves about 25 % more students relative to two years ago. In the lower undergraduate classes our students have the option of traditional one-site lecture instruction, hybrid, or fully online. Moreover, our undergraduate laboratories have state-of-the-art equipment, which add to the enhancement of the educational facilities available to our students. Advanced undergraduate physics classes are now offered jointly with UTB through interactive TV services. Our computational laboratory has been extensively upgraded with the addition of new powerful PC and Mac computers loaded with scientific software. These facilities are open to all UTPA students, staff, and faculty. Our planetariums have been also upgraded: The UPTA Planetarium now has a new NanoSeam dome, seats, and projection system. The portable planetarium, which travels to local schools, has also a new dome. Last but not least, new planetarium movies have been added to our collection that also cover non-Astronomy related areas.

Our major experimental research facilities include an x-ray difractometer and an infrared interferometer, mostly used for material science research. Physics and non-Physics majors under the supervision of our faculties use these facilities to produce cutting-edge research. Access to powerful computational facilities allows the simulation of material properties, thus offering more research options to our students.

Overall, the last two academic years, resulted in the strengthening of the Department of Physics and Geology's education and research, thus enhancing the servicing to the community. We are confident that this successful trend will continue under UTRGV.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nikolaos (Nicholas) Dimakis
Chair, Department of Physics and Geology
University of Texas – Pan American