By Brian Sobotko '16

Connecticut College wins Culture of Service Award

The Connecticut College Department of Psychology received the 2013 American Psychological Association’s (APA) Culture of Service Award.The award, which the APA gives to a maximum of two departments a year, recognizes departments “that consistently support service by faculty at all levels, encourage students to engage in service and demonstrate a commitment to service in the psychological sciences,” according to a press release on the College’s website.

Associate Professor of Psychology and department chair Ruth Grahn explained that her department has a commitment to “giving psychology away.” It gives presentations to local, state and federal agencies about how psychology can inform public policy, including participating in a congressional briefing regarding psychiatric diagnoses. The department also interacts with the local community and schools including demonstrations for Brian Awareness Week and the Kids Judge Neuroscience Fair where Connecticut College students teach elementary school students and engage them with hands-on activities.

The APA said in a statement, “The Department of Psychology at Connecticut College exemplifies what a culture of service to the discipline should be through its support of faculty serving on national boards and committees, editing journals, mentoring students, participating on academic committees, becoming involved in the local community, and promoting the value of psychological science in the public eye.”

Bates physicist tapped by NASA for research

Assistant Professor of Physics Nathan Lundblad, an atomic physicist at Bates was recently selected by NASA as one of a just a few scientists to perform research on its new Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL). Lundblad, who studies atomic behavior at ultra-cold temperatures, will serve as principle investigator for one of seven new NASA research projects. The CAL is a refrigerator-sized apparatus. The goal is to create the coldest known environment in the universe, one ten-billionth of one degree above absolute zero.

Lundblad saw the opportunity to do this type of research as previously out of reach. “The idea that I proposed to NASA has been popping around in my head for some years,” he said, “but it’s virtually impossible to do in the presence of gravity.”

“The astronauts aboard the ISS will be able to make small changes, but they are very busy up there. So in general the biggest challenge is running this apparatus remotely, and that’s totally different from how we do things on Earth,” Lundblad continued.

Lundblad will work at Bates in his lab with a postdoctoral researcher and his students to design experiments. The research will begin this May and continue through 2019.


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