Eclipse 2017: Pretending to be an astronomer

I’m frequently a little jealous of my astronomy colleagues – they teach the courses that are more fun and get to show a lot of amazing pictures in their talks.  Physics, when compared to astronomy, is less fun, more intimidating, and waaaaay less pretty.  With all of my astronomy colleagues up north viewing the totality, I had the opportunity to be the “astronomer” on campus today.

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Paper Published in JBO!

Monte Carlo simulations support non-Cerenkov radioluminescence production in tissue

Nicole L. Ackerman
Agnes Scott College, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Decatur, Georgia (United States)
Federico Boschi
University of Verona, Department of Computer Science, Verona (Italy)
Antonello E. Spinelli
San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Centre for Experimental Imaging, Department of Medical Physics, M (Italy)
J. of Biomedical Optics, 22(8), 086002 (2017). doi:10.1117/1.JBO.22.8.086002
There is experimental evidence for the production of non-Cerenkov radioluminescence in a variety of materials, including tissue. We constructed a Geant4 Monte Carlo simulation of the radiation from P 32 and Tc99 m interacting in chicken breast and used experimental imaging data to model a scintillation-like emission. The same radioluminescence spectrum is visible from both isotopes and cannot otherwise be explained through fluorescence or filter miscalibration. We conclude that chicken breast has a near-infrared scintillation-like response with a light yield three orders of magnitude smaller than BGO.

Getting ready for fall semester!

My summer has been filled with wonderful travel and research, but now I am 100% focused on fall courses.  Both of my fall courses are getting revamped!  Intro physics has a very new structure, and electronics has been changed from a two-course sequence to a single course.  Both of these courses need new schedules, activities, and assignments.  While I have been working hard all summer, getting to August has accelerated my work!

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Paper Accepted!

My paper “Monte Carlo Simulations Support Non-Cerenkov Radioluminescence Production in Tissue”, written with Federico Boschi and Antonello E Spinelli, has been accepted to the Journal of Biomedical Optics. This paper covers research that I performed this spring, while on leave at Ospedale San Raffaele, in Milan.

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Teaching Nuns through ETSI


This is my 3rd year teaching monks through the ETSI program, but this is the first year that a separate course was held for nuns.  I was very fortunate to be selected to stay longer in India to co-teach the first year physics curriculum with Prof. Heidi Manning.  This program will continue for a few years, and I hope that I will again have the opportunity to teach the nuns!

A video on the nuns is available below (made by wonderful on-site professional videographers!)