Detecting Cosmic Rays from a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Where do cosmic rays come from? Solving a 50-year old mystery, a collaboration of researchers has discovered it's much farther than the Milky Way.

In an article published in the journal Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.aan4338), the Pierre Auger Collaboration has definitively answered the question of whether cosmic particles from outside the Milky Way Galaxy. The article, titled “Observation of a large-scale anisotropy in the arrival directions of cosmic
rays above 8 × 1018 eV,” notes that studying the distribution of the cosmic ray arrival directions is the first step in determining where extragalactic particles originate.

The collaborating scientists were able to make their recordings using the largest cosmic-ray observatory ever built, the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina. Included in this collaboration are David Nitz and Brian Fick, professors of physics at Michigan Technological University. 

"We are now considerably closer to solving the mystery of where and how these extraordinary particles are created, a question of great interest to astrophysicists,” says Karl-Heinz Kampert, a professor at the University of Wuppertal in Germany and spokesperson for the Auger Collaboration, which involves more than 400 scientists from 18 countries.

Cosmic rays are the nuclei of elements from hydrogen to iron. Studying them gives scientists a way to study matter from outside our solar system—and now, outside our galaxy. Cosmic rays help us understand the composition of galaxies and the processes that occur to accelerate the nuclei to nearly the speed of light. By studying cosmic rays, scientists may come to understand what mechanisms create the nuclei.

Astronomer Carl Sagan once said, “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”

To put it simply, understanding cosmic rays and where they originate can help us answer fundamental questions about the origins of the universe, our galaxy and ourselves.

Read the entire story.

New Bus Routes

School is meant to be challenging—overcoming obstacles is a part of learning. Sometimes, however, an obstacle is just an obstacle. When the Graduate School asked students about their Michigan Tech experiences and offered to help, the students jumped at the chance to speak up: It can be hard to get around town, they said. Our students love the bus services provided by Michigan Tech Transportation Services and the City of Houghton, but, they ventured, would it be possible to have evening routes, Saturday routes to the west Houghton commercial strip (Econo/Shopko, Walmart, Aspirus, Razorback Drive), and vehicles that could accommodate families?

After considerable planning, Transportation Services, the Graduate School and the Graduate Student Government announce new bus routes to address these concerns. Effective immediately, all three student issues, as well as the needs of the campus community at large, have been addressed by the schedules described below. This free shuttle service is available to University students, staff and faculty.

Services available:

  • Campus Parking Shuttle: A loop connecting the MUB to commuter lots throughout campus, including the SDC; runs through business hours. 
  • Daniell Heights Loop: A small loop connecting University housing (Daniell Heights) to the MUB; runs through business hours.
  • Michigan Tech-City Shuttle + Daniell Heights Loop: A larger, figure-8 loop that provides a second Daniell Heights/MUB run every hour, which also includes a trip through downtown Houghton, up to the commercial strip in west Houghton (Econo/Shopko, Walmart, Aspirus, Razorback Drive), and returns through town via Houghton Avenue; begins at 7 a.m. and runs every hour, with the final loop returning to MUB at 6:45 p.m. (a great commuter route).
  • Michigan Tech-City Shuttle Evening Loop: Combines a loop around the MUB/Heights route with a ride along Sharon Avenue to the west Houghton commercial district (Econo/Shopko, Walmart, Aspirus, Razorback Drive), returns back along Sharon Avenue to the Heights and MUB; runs Wednesday through Friday, beginning at 6:45 p.m. from the Upper Heights to west Houghton, with the final loop returning to the Heights at 8:45 p.m.
  • Saturday Shuttle-New New New! The University has partnered with Lamers Bus Lines to provide free bus service on Saturday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 30 from Daniell Heights to the west Houghton commercial district; begins at noon from the Upper Heights to the west Houghton commercial district and runs approximately every hour with the last loop at 3 p.m. Note, currently this Saturday service is for students and children over the age of 4.

Questions?  Contact GSG President Hossein Tavakoli, or Graduate School representative Shellie Crisman. Taking a bus is convenient, energy efficient and can even be part of a wellness plan (if you walk one way). Route details may be found at these links:

View the shuttle schedule here.

Visit here for interactive Shuttle Maps or contact Transportation Services ( with any questions.

EndNote Workshops at Van Pelt & Opie Library

Learn how EndNote can help you easily create and manage bibliographic information and incorporate references into your writing. EndNote also offers a relatively easy way for faculty to upload citations into Digital Measures.

The "EndNote Basic" workshop will be from 1:05 to 2:15 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 26). During the session, we will cover how to create and build an EndNote "library," add full-text documents and best practices for organizing your references. The workshop will be held in Library 242 and registration is required. Register for EndNote Basic.

The workshop "EndNote Cite While You Write" is from 2:15 to 3 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 26). Learn how to incorporate your EndNote library citations into a Microsft Word document in the particular style your manuscript requires. Attendees will also learn how to locate and import specialized output styles. Attending EndNote Basic, or prior knowledge of building and managing an EndNote library, is recommended.

This workshop is a continuation of EndNote Basic and will be held in Library 242 as well. Registration is required.

Our Library 242 instruction room has EndNote X8 installed on Windows workstations. Attendees may bring their own laptops with EndNote X8 downloaded prior to the session. Visit the library’s EndNote LibGuide to download the software and get a sneak peek at what EndNote can do for you

Click here to view all of the library’s upcoming workshops. Email with any questions.

Remembering Professor Richard Honrath

The Richard E. Honrath Memorial Lecture is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday (Sept. 25) in M&M U115.

Jose D. Fuentes, professor of meteorology in the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, at Penn State University will present "Turbulent transport and chemistry of halogens in the Arctic boundary layer.”

The Lecture is sponsored by the Earth Planetary and Space Sciences Institute (EPSSI) and the Richard E. Honrath Memorial Fund.

Honrath was a professor in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering. He was also the founding director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program before he tragically died in a kayaking accident in 2009. 

VPR Campus Satellite Office Pilot

The Vice President for Research (VPR) is piloting a satellite office on campus. Jennifer Bukovich from the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) and Christopher Stancher from the Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA) Office are housed on the 6th Floor of the Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building to support faculty and staff in areas related to sponsored programs.

The location of the satellite office provides faculty and staff in the College of Engineering, College of Science and Arts and the School of Technology with direct and convenient access to SPO and SPA.

While on campus, SPO, SPA and the representatives will assess the needs for administrative support related to sponsored programs and provide suggestions on how those needs can be met. The VPR Office is extremely excited about this opportunity to be located on-campus and looks forward to the personal interaction this location will provide.

For assistance, stop by Dow 616 and 617 during normal office hours. For questions regarding this pilot, contact Lisa Jukkala in SPO at 7-2226 or Tammy LaBissoniere in SPA at 7-2244.

Resume Blitz: No Appointment Necessary

Company representatives and community professionals are seated at the Resume Blitz from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and Monday (Sept. 25) in MUB Commons to help students.

Students are encouraged to stop by with a printed copy of their resumes to receive improvement tips before Fall Career Fair. Career Services would also like to thank the Michigan Tech faculty and staff volunteers participating in Resume Blitz.

Railroad Night XIII is Oct. 3

Registration is now open for Railroad Night XIII. This year's Railroad Night will take place from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 3 in the Memorial Union Ballroom. Students may meet industry professionals from 5 to 6 p.m. and participate in a social hour from 6 to 7 p.m. Dinner will begin at 7 p.m. Kevin Riddett, president and CEO of RailWorks, will provide the keynote address this year.

RailWorks is a leading rail industry company, offering infrastructure design and construction services, as well as signals and communication services, for both the freight and transit rail markets. Railroad Night provides a relaxed, dine-with-industry atmosphere, designed to encourage discussion of rail industry opportunities for students interested in the industry. Students, faculty, staff and interested community members are invited to attend. Registration for the event is open online.

We are charging a $5 fee to all participants, which will be used to fund door prizes for student participants. Students should use the Student Registration option, and faculty, staff and community members should use the Guest option. Contact David Nelson, or 7-1734 if you have questions. Packages on Sale

For as low as 60 cents a game for the 2017-18 season, fans of the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) can watch the league and their favorite team, live or on-demand, via, the association's official online streaming platform.

In partnership with industry leader Stretch Internet, provides fans with high-quality, HD broadcasts (when available from the originating arena) on multiple platforms, including – new for this season – TV-connected devices via custom apps on Apple TVAmazon Fire TV and Android TV. is the exclusive home for up to 182 games featuring WCHA schools during the 2017-18 college hockey season. Fans are treated to a responsive viewing experience customized for their medium of choice (computer, tablet, phone or OTT app), while certain subscription packages provide multiple screen layout options for desktop users (including picture-in-picture, multi-view format to watch up to four games simultaneously and full-screen video).

"As the digital world continues to evolve, and with it our fans' viewing preferences, we are pleased to enhance the product in significant ways," said WCHA President and Men's League Commissioner Bill Robertson. "The addition of OTT apps, along with continuing to provide flexible subscription offerings, allows our fans to engage with WCHA video content wherever they may be, and whenever and however they want."

 Read the full story and find out more about Michigan Tech sports at

Football Huskies Back on the Road

The Michigan Tech Football Huskies look to even their record on the season when they travel to Saginaw tomorrow to take on the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals.

Tech is 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the GLIAC while Saginaw Valley is 2-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play.

Last week, after scoring the game's first touchdown, Tech fell to nationally ranked Grand Valley State 42-7. After starting the season 2-0, the Cardinals lost their conference opener to Wayne State, 41-31.

Tomorrow's kickoff is at 1 p.m. Local radio broadcast is 93.5 Fm, audio webcast is on and video is available here.

Civil & Environmental Engineering Graduate School Information Night

Join civil & environmental engineering faculty and graduate students in a round-table Q&A discussion from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, in Dow 870.

Hear about why to consider graduate school, what the accelerated master's program entails, about the application process and how to navigate financial aid, along with much more. Pizza and refreshments will be provided.

The event is sponsored by Chi Epsilon & MTU Graduate School.


Natasha Hardy, a PhD candidate in the Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors (ACSHF) program, will present at the ACSHF Forum 2 to 3 p.m. Monday, (Sept. 25), in Meese 109.

User research in industry, including research methods, skill development and office politics usability research, is a growing field with many new job opportunities that mesh well with an ACSHF degree.

However, it is a field that hasn't developed consistent standards or processes. During this talk, Hardy will share an overview of the field and some of the skills and research methods that are (currently) relevant.

Terrific Teaching at Tech

One of the exercises we do in the Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) training course is to watch some videos of different lab teaching assistants in action. In one of the videos the TA does a lot of explaining while students listen and watch. In the other, the TA leads a messy dialogue as students assert ideas, talk to each other and ask questions with occasional guidance from the TA. We label these two styles “univocal” and “dialogic” modes.

Since they’ve already been subjected to two weeks of my preaching about active learning, students are quick to guess that the dialogic mode results in deeper understanding and better retention. They often quickly label it the “best” style and imply that its use is always preferred. 

Then I show a video where students are painfully stuck on a problem. The TA swoops in and says things like “Are you sure that’s correct?” and “I’ll leave to you to discuss that.”  You can imagine that his students aren’t happy. After the TA leaves, his students use words like “torture” to describe what’s going on.

While I’m convinced that student dialogue is better for most learning, I think we sometimes implement active learning by throwing our students into deep water and hoping that they can swim. Student resistance to active learning is sometimes generic discomfort with change or reluctance to put in the needed effort, but just as often it may be that we’ve asked them to take a step bigger than their preparation allows. 

I find that the biggest challenge of using active learning is the careful balance between providing students with the needed information and challenging them—just enough—to actively put it to work. I encourage you to think about this univocal and dialogic balance in your teaching.

If you’d like to talk more about ways of finding this balance in your classroom, stop into the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning.


Ryzewski to Deliver Keynote Celebrating Industrial Archaeology

As part of the Visiting Women and Minorities Lecture and Scholar Series, the Social Sciences Department, in collaboration with the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, invites you to "Preserving Legendary 20th-Century Sites in Detroit: The Role of Archaeology in Post-Industrial Communities." The talk by guest scholar Krysta Ryzewski will be held at 4 p.m. today (Sept. 22) in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

For more information, see previous Tech Today article.


C-Cubed Lunch Today

C-Cubed lunch is today from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge. The buffet lunch is $10 per person. Cash, credit cards and C-Cubed gift certificates (available in the Memorial Union office) are accepted.

All faculty and staff along with guests are invited. C-Cubed lunches are held each Thursday and Friday throughout the academic year. Here is the menu for today:

  • Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly (GF)
  • Sweet and Sour Tofu (GF, Vegan)
  • Rice Noodle Salad (GF, Vegetarian)

V- Vegetarian, VE-Vegan, Vegetarian, GF- Gluten Free


ICC Distinguished Lecturer Series

The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) will host Jie Wu from 3 to 4 p.m. today (Sept. 22) in Rekhi 214.

He will present a lecture titled "Algorithmic Crowdsourcing and Applications in Big Data." Refreshments will be served. Jie Wu is director of Center for Networked Computing (CNC) and Laura H. Carnell Professor at Temple University. He served as the associate vice provost for international affairs and chair in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Temple University. A full bio and abstract can be found online.


KIP September Seminar

The KIP Fall Seminar Series will kick off today with John Davis, professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology & Health Science at Alma College presenting, "Adaptations to long-term altitude exposure: implications for physical performance at high altitude," from 3 to 4 p.m. today (Sept. 22) in the ATDC 101.


"Rise of the Robots" Author to Speak Tomrrow

Do robots want your job? Martin Ford, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author of the New York Times best-selling book, "Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future," will answer that question when he presents a public lecture from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. tomorrow (Sept. 23) at the Rozsa Center at Michigan Technological University. 

Ford will also present a lecture at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Rozsa Center titled "Disruptive Technology: Do Robots Want Your Job?" Admission is free. A Q&A and book-signing will follow.


Food Pantry Volunteers Needed

The HuskyFAN Food Pantry on campus is in need of volunteers. The Pantry is open from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and is located in the Hamar House (CDI). 

If you're interested in learning more about volunteering, emaill


Coffee Chat: Rubrics and Responsibility 

In this Coffee Chat, we'll share ways to advance the profession from "listen-and-regurgitate" to content ownership without over stressing students. Join us at 3:30 pm Thursday (Sept. 28) for this conversation and discussion. Coffee and light refreshments will be available to those who register by Monday, (Sept. 25).    

On the Road

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) gave an invited keynote address titled "The Rise of Distributed Manufacturing with 3-D Printing" at a 3-D Printing Specific Industry Seminar run by the Hong Kong Productivity Council and the Hong Kong 3-D Printing Association Sept. 15 in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong.

In the News

Research by PhD Student Emily Prehoda (SS), Chelsea Schelly (SS) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) titled, "How solar power can protect the U.S. military from threats to the electric grid" was covered by Salon.


Steve Patchin, director of Career Services, co-authored "The Super Bowl of Recruiting on College Campuses" with Raymond Mizgorski of Carnegie Mellon University and Stacy Moore of Delaware Valley University. The article was featured on the National Association of Colleges and Employers blog and is the first in a series of STEM collaboration blogs.