Cosmic Collisions

Michigan Tech researchers contribute to follow-up studies of the binary neutron star merger observed by the LIGO & Virgo projects.

Albert Einstein proposed his general theory of relativity in 1916, predicting the existence of gravitational waves, which are often called “ripples” in the space-time continuum.

Gravitational waves are created by cataclysmic events in space including supernovas and collisions of black holes. The origins of gravitational waves tell us about the events that caused them, and can even help us understand more about the origin of the universe itself. 

On Aug. 17, advanced LIGO and advanced Virgo detectors observed gravitational waves emitted from two neutron stars colliding, also known as a binary neutron star merger. This is the first time gravitational waves have been recorded from the coalescence of neutron stars. The binary neutron star merger occurred 130 million light years away, which in galactic terms, is just around the block.

You can read the full story on the Michigan Tech news website.

How Do People at Michigan Tech Experience Life at the University?

Working, living and learning at Michigan Technological University is shaped by the attitudes, beliefs, experiences and perceptions of the students, faculty and staff.  What are those attitudes, beliefs, experiences and perceptions, and how do they affect life on campus? 

Michigan Tech is committed to finding out. So the University formed a Climate Survey Working Group and hired a consultant from Pennsylvania State University, Susan Rankin of Rankin & Associates, to conduct a campus-wide assessment of the beliefs, behaviors and practices of members of the Michigan Tech community. She has conducted more than 170 institutional climate assessments at colleges and universities.  

The study opened yesterday (Oct. 17) and runs until Nov. 10.

“The Working, Living and Learning Assessment will pose questions related to backgrounds and groups with which people identify, as well as attitudes and beliefs about their own and other groups on campus,” said Jill Hodges, executive director of Institutional Equity and Inclusion. “The survey is voluntary and confidential. Those taking it can choose not to answer any question.  It should take 20 to 30 minutes to complete. 

The full story is available on the Michigan Tech news website.

Pavlis Honors College Application Deadline is Sunday

Pavlis Honors College is accepting applications for Spring 2018 through this Sunday (Oct. 22). Students are eligible to apply to join the Learning Community if they have two or more years remaining on campus.

The Pavlis Learning Community offers six distinct pathways on which students may build their honors program:

Each provides a framework of support, exceptional resources and a community of scholars for students interested in challenging themselves, doing more and making a difference. If you know of a student who may be interested in joining the Pavlis Honors College, encourage them to apply.

If you would like to request more information regarding our pathways, email us at

Applications will be accepted through Sunday (Oct. 22). However, students who apply early will be given preference. Space is limited. Find out why success means more than GPA at

Congratulations to the 2017 Cohort of Trained Staff Mentors

Ann Kitalong-Will, Business Operations and chair of the WorkLife Advisory Committee, announces that Michigan Tech's second cohort of trained staff mentors completed the university's Staff Mentor Training program on Sept. 27.

These mentors join our first cohort of staff mentors who are available to partner with staff wishing to develop professional knowledge and skills, create strategies for effective home-work blending, get to know Michigan Tech and the Keweenaw or grow their networking skills.

Michigan Tech's WorkLife Connections Office developed the Whole-life Mentoring Model, which is based on the philosophy that assisting employees to grow both personally and professionally empowers our employees to grow in their careers and to give back to our University and local communities. The Whole-life Mentoring Model was developed with funding received from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).

If you are interested in being mentored, submit a Staff Mentoring Interest Form. New staff members and union employees (UAW, AFSCME, POA) are especially encouraged to apply to partner with a mentor.

The 2017 Mentor Cohort graduates are:

Lori Weir (Facilities Management)

Sharon Attaway (Career Services)
Nancy Banfield (IT Operations)
Bobbie Dalquist (Financial Services & Operations)
Stacey Donnelly (Career Services)
Shelley Farrey (Career Services)
Jodie Filpus-Paakola (SBE)
Beth Frederick (Facilities Management Custodial Services)
Wendy Hackman (Facilities Management Custodial Services)
Laura Harry (Memorial Union)
Kristi Kesti-Pieti (Sponsored Programs Office)
Karen Maki (IT, Business Operations)
Tanya Maki (Human Resources)
Tammy Monette (Facilities Management Custodial Services)
Josh Myles (IT Operations)
Kimberly Puuri (Compliance, Integrity, & Safety Office)
Brenda Randell (Office for the Associate VP for Administration)
Michelle Reed (SoT)
Heather Sander (Office of Advancement)


Congratulations to the Staff Mentor graduates. If you are interested in being mentored, click here.

Pavlis Honors College Wins Relief Fundraising Challenge

Congratulations to Pavlis Honors College — winner of the Disaster Relief Fundraising challenge announced in Tech Today Sept. 29.

Pavlis raised $400 and will receive a La Cantina lunch for everyone who donated. Close runner-ups were Canterbury House, the Department of Social Sciences and the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science.

Thank you to everyone who donated — together we raised $1,561.

People are still recovering from these disasters across a number of countries and we encourage everyone to continue to give generously to help.

Homecoming Cardboard Boat Races Set for Friday

What better way is there to celebrate Homecoming than by watching students race boats made out of cardboard? The races will take place starting at 4 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 20) at the Houghton Waterfront Park, near Shoots and Ladders.

There will be free bus shuttles starting at 3 p.m. to and from the Cardboard Boat races. The shuttles will end when everyone waiting for a shuttle has been returned at the end of the races. The continuous loop route will make stops at the Student Development Complex (SDC), Memorial Union Building (MUB) bus stop and Houghton Waterfront Park.

For more information, contact Student Activities at 7-1963.

Laxco Microscope Demonstrations

Representatives from Fisher Scientific will provide demonstrations for their line of Laxco Microscopes. All faculty, staff and graduate students that use microscopes in their work are welcome to attend.

Lunch will also be provided for attendees. Microscopes will be set up from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today in Dow 707.

Company Research Workshop

Want to impress a job recruiter with your knowledge of their company? How about finding the perfect information to use as questions for your interviewer? Join the Van Pelt & Opie Library's Company Research Workshop to learn the best resources for company research and how to turn info you find into interview questions that are sure to impress.

The workshop is from 12:05 p.m. to 12:55 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 19) in Library Room 242. Registration is required.

Coffee Chat. Perusing the Past, Planning the Future

 At this Coffee Chat, we’ll review past coffee chat and luncheon topics and the resources still available. We’ll then brainstorm topics for future sessions and discuss ideas under consideration to help the CTL continue to get feedback necessary to plan development activities for instructors in areas that are most needed.  

Join us at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31 and let your voice be heard. Coffee and light refreshments will be available to those who register by Monday, Oct. 30.   

Carnegie Museum Natural History Seminar Series

Several Michigan Tech faculty will deliver presentations during the 2017-18 Carnegie Museum Natural History Seminar Series: Citizen Science

The first of six public presentations was held last night. Robert Nemiroff (Physics) presented "Citizen Science and Astronomical Imagery: From Galaxies to Eclipses."

Here's a list of upcoming seminars. All are from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and take place at the Carnegie Museum in downtown Houghton:

  • Nov. 14, "Citizen Science – Moosewatch on Isle Royale” by Rolf Peterson (SFRES) and Candy Peterson
  • Jan. 16, “Satellites, Radars, Rulers: How Do We Measure Snow on Global to Local Scales” by Mark Kulie (GMES)
  • Feb. 20, “Can citizens impact governance by collecting climate data?: A case from the tropical mountains in Veracruz state, Mexico” by Alex Mayer (CEE)
  • Mar. 20, “Students Engaged in Lake Superior Science,” by students and teachers participating in the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative
  • Apr. 17, “Birds & Citizen Science: From Christmas Counts to Publishing Research on Birds” by David Flaspohler, (SFRES) and Joseph Youngman, Copper Country Audubon

More information on the Carnegie Museum is available online.

LiLu Funkenbusch PhD Defense Today

Chemical Engineering student LiLu Funkenbusch will present her PhD Defense at 9 a.m. today in Chem Sci 201.

Her presentation is titled "Catalytic Hydrotreatment for the Development of Renewable Transportation Fuels."

Continuous Improvement Connection

When it comes to Lean thinking and practicing, you may automatically think about how it helps your work life. Yes, Lean is a great way to help with work, but it can actually be applied to a wide variety of settings outside the walls of an office.

Lean can help in your personal life too. Scary right? Changes in your personal life can certainly be intimidating, which is why people do not necessarily take Lean to the next step and change their personal lives in Lean ways.

"Improvement usually means doing something that we have never done before." - Shigeo Shingo

Just as you can find wastes at work, we can all think of at least one area in our own lives that produces waste; whether it be in our daily travel to and from many places, getting tasks accomplished around the house, or finding a balance of work and family life. One way to help in finding this balance is to create a personal Kanban for your daily or weekly responsibilities.

Laying out your day or week so that you can see the important things that need to get done can help you find the time to focus and actually complete them. This tool helps you so that you can manage your time better and make the most out of it.

Personal Kanbans are as easy as three columns: To do, Doing and Done. Or they can be as complicated as prioritizing tasks within those three areas: Hot, Warm and cold. If you have any questions about personal Kanbans and how to get started with one, do not be afraid to contact us via email.

On the Road

Mark Kulie (GMES/EPSSI/GLRC) presented an invited talk entitled "Snowfall in the GPM Era: Assessing GPM Snowfall Retrievals Using Independent Spaceborne, Reanalysis, and Ground-Based Datasets" at the 2017 NASA Precipitation Measurement Missions Science Team Meeting in San Diego, CA.

He also presented a poster entitled "Ground-Based Profiling Radar Applications for Spaceborne Snowfall Retrievals" at the same meeting.


Campus Communicators Meets Tomorrow

Visit Clichéland with campus communicators at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Oct. 19), in Memorial Union B001. Bring your laptop or other device, and some content that needs refreshing—for example, your school or department's website landing page impact statement. Students, faculty and staff are welcome.      



Writing Exceptional Letters of Recommendation Seminar Today

Bruce Seely, the dean of CSA, will present to faculty on writing exceptional letters of recommendation for students, specifically for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). This seminar is offered as part of Michigan Tech's annual NSF graduate fellowship seminar series. The session is open to all faculty interested in learning tips about writing exceptional letters of recommendation. The session will be held from noon to 1 p.m. today (Oct. 18) in the Pat Nelson Graduate Conference Center on the fourth floor of the Administration Building (room 404). Feel free to bring your lunch.


Night Owls Community English Class Starting Tomorrow

If you wish to improve your English conversational skills, join us for the Night Owls program. You will learn survival English, feel part of a welcoming community, and get to experience a Thanksgiving meal at the end.

The cost is $25 for 6 weeks. Meetings are from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays from Oct. 19 to Nov. 23 at Library 243 at Michigan Tech.  Registration is required.

For more information, contact Heather Deering, ELI Director at 487-2009 or


Kitty Donohoe Concert This Friday

Through generous support from a Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) mini-grant, the English Education Program, partnering with the Copper Country Reading Council (CCRC), invites the MTU community to a family-oriented concert in Houghton at at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20 at Saints Peter and Paul Church (Madeline Street).

We are able to offer the community accomplished musician and children's author, Kitty Donohoe. Kitty Donohoe will be visiting the Copper Country this fall as the CCRC's visiting artist in the schools for the CCRC's North Woods Kids Project. The concert is free, and family-oriented; however, donations to the CCRC at the door would be appreciated and are used to support classroom and community literacy projects in the Copper Country. For more information, read the original Tech Today article.


Family Write Night is Friday

The Michigan Tech Multiliteracies Center (MTMC ) is hosting a Family Write Night to celebrate the National Day on Writing. There will be storytelling, puppets, writing activities, and story games.

The event is from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday (Oct. 20) in the MTMC, Walker 107. All children are welcome. Snacks provided.


"Picasso at the Lapin Agile" Tonight, Tomorrow and Friday 

The Michigan Tech Theatre Company will perform the Steve Martin comedy "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" again this week. Performance are at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Oct. 18) tomorrow and Friday (Oct. 19-20) in the McArdle Theatre in the Walker Art and Humanities Center.  

Tickets are $13 for adults, $5 for youth and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or on the night of each performance at the McArdle Theatre, beginning one hour prior to showtime. 


PUSH Physical Theatre Presents "Dracula" Saturday

Just in time for Halloween, Bram stoker’s "Dracula" comes to the Rozsa Center. The classic tale of seduction, desire and madness from the masters of motion theatre.

PUSH Physical Theatre’s "Dracula" is an acrobatic spectacle like nothing you have ever seen, a groundbreaking, thrilling and unforgettable ride into the warped world of one of literature’s most famous villains. "Dracula" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 21), at the Rozsa Center.

And, an added bonus: Come for the show, stay for the party! Keweenaw Young Professionals Present Cocktails After Dark, a "Dracula" after-party, in the Rozsa lobby, free for anyone with a ticket to "Dracula." Enjoy a cash bar with Dracula-themed drinks, snacks, a “Dracula’s Lair” photo booth, and meet the cast of Push Physical Theatre’s "Dracula."

Tickets for"Dracula" at the Rozsa Center are on sale now, $22 for adults, $10 for youth (PG-13), and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa box office the night of the show.

Note: The Rozsa box office opens only two hours before performances.

In the News

First Bell, a daily science and engineering newsletter published by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), reported on a Detroit News story about the American Society for Mobility's self-driving research site, a partnership with 15 Michigan universities, including Michigan Tech. 


Popular Science reported on the top science and tech universities in the country, listing Michigan Tech among "more STEM schools we love." 


The Detroit News published an article about autonomous vehicles research at Michigan universities, mentioning that Michigan Tech is one of three Michigan universities whose students have been invited to participate in a three-year autonomous vehicle competition sponsored by General Motors and SAE.