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Honors Convocation, the Tenth Annual Saint Vincent Academic Conference, and the Largest Science Experiment in History

By: Dr. John Smetanka
Posted Mon., April 22, 2013

PaviliionThe end of each academic year brings a number of significant events to campus. One of these special days is Saint Vincent’s Honors Convocation and Academic Conference - this year held on Wednesday, April 24. For the past ten years, the day of Honors Convocation has been an opportunity for student to share their work with the larger community. In addition to recognizing students, faculty, and staff who have won a variety of awards in the Bascilica in the early afternoon, over 200 students will be presenting their research and creative work in our Academic Conference after the Honors Convocation (2-7pm).

 
The recently completed Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion will house the Academic Conference again this year. The Saint Vincent community is celebrating both the tenth anniversary of the Conference and finishing and fully funding the entire Science Pavilion project. Planning for the Science Pavilion began over a decade ago, about the same time the first Academic Conference was held. Each year the conference has grown in size. Again this year, the Academic Conference will include posters, oral presentation, panel discussions, musical performances, and visual arts. Students will be speaking on their capstone research projects, internships, and study abroad experiences. Honors students who traveled to China over spring break will present at 5:45pm in the Planetarium. Classes are canceled during the Honors Convocation and Academic Conference to allow all students and faculty to attend. The public is welcome and strongly encouraged to join us. mike williams 

This year, our Honors Convocation speaker is Dr. Michael Williams. A 2001 Saint Vincent College graduate who majored in Physics and Mathematics, Dr. Williams earned his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. He then went on to a post-doctoral position in Great Britain. Last year he returned to the United States and is an Assistant Professor in the Physics Department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is member of one of the teams of scientists working at largest science experiment in history, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. This experiment discovered a new fundamental particle last summer and last month confirmed, as expected, that this new particle was indeed the Higgs boson. The Higgs is theoretically the particle that causes all other particles to have mass.


CERN LHC 

Dr. Williams continues to work to understand the properties of the Higgs and its implications on our basic understanding of matter. In addition to his Honors Convocation talk, Dr. Williams will be giving a public lecture on the LHC (shown above) titled “What we have learned so far.” His talk will be at 7pm on Thursday, April 25 in the Luparello lecture hall in the Dupré Pavilion. The talk is free and open to the public. If you come you will learn the significance of the image below.

Higgs event
 

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Dr. John Smetanka,
Academic Affairs

Dr. John J. Smetanka has been a member of the full-time faculty since 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of Saint Vincent College, a position he has held since January, 2008.