welcome to


home       schedule       wizards      photos       sponsors       history

Important Info:

2014-2015 Wizards Schedule

* Special Accommodations: If you have a special need or disability, please notify the Physics Office, 303-492-6952, a few days in advance of the show you will be Best wheelchair access to Duane Physics is through the east doors.
Wizard Profiles*:

image002.png Prof. David Nesbitt:
Director of CU Wizards
Chemistry in the Kitchen

David Nesbitt has been the director of the CU Wizards Program since 1994. He is a Professor Adjoint at the University of Colorado, Boulder in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and a Fellow of JILA (CU Boulder and NIST). His research interests include laser spectroscopy, dynamics, and kinetics of fundamental molecular, bio-molecular, and nanoparticle systems, studied at either the quantum state-to-state or single molecule level. To learn more about Professor Nesbitt's research, visit http://jila.colorado.edu/nesbitt/

Prof. Deborah Wuttke and Prof. Dylan Taajtes
Biochemistry for Kids!

About Prof. Wuttke's lab: "Our laboratory investigates interesting biological systems from structural, biophysical and biochemical perspectives. These studies further our understanding of the biology of the systems studied as well as provide insights into the fundamental nature of protein structure and function. The systems selected for study encompass several rapidly developing areas in biology and biochemistry, including telomere biology, viral replication, the estrogen receptor, and protein stability."

About Prof. Taajtes Lab: "The Taatjes lab investigates the molecular mechanisms by which the human transcription machinery functions and is regulated. Proper regulation of gene expression is fundamental to every major physiological process, and changes in gene expression patterns are hallmarks of human development and disease. Consequently, the questions that we address in the Taatjes lab are fundamental and of broad significance. At the moment, our research has direct implications for heart disease and development, mental/neuronal development, cancer, diabetes, and aging."

Prof. Tarek Sammakia:

Polymers, Foams, and Gels

The Sammakia group is interested in various aspects of organic synthesis and is currently engaged in projects directed at the discovery of new catalysts for asymmetric synthesis, mechanistic investigations of reactions which proceed with high levels of selectivity, and the total synthesis of biologically active natural products.

Prof. Lewis Harvey:
Psychology: The Science of Illusion and Reality

Lewis O. Harvey, Jr. is Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology. He received his Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the Pennsylvania State University in 1968.

Professor Harvey’s areas of research include vision and visual perception, psychophysics and human factors. He has made precise measurements of the properties of human perceptive fields using psychophysical methods and compared these fields with the receptive fields of visual cells in the monkey. He is also investigating the effects of dynamic organization of perception caused by the interaction among spatial elements of the visual stimulus. He has developed rapid and efficient methods for measuring sensory sensitivity in vision and has applied these methods to chemosensory sensitivity testing.

Prof. Leslie Leinwand:
Hope for a Broken Heart

In her show Hope for a Broken Heart, Prof. Leinwand, of CU Boulder's molecular, cellular and developmental biology department explores the workings of the heart and the world of genetics. During the show, the audience will get to see and touch real hearts, measure their own heart rates and blood pressure and find out how particular substances and activities affect their heart rates, including exercise and energy drinks. They also will learn about genetics and find out who in the audience has certain genes. Leinwand, who is internationally known for her research on genetic heart defects, is the chief scientific officer for the University of Colorado's Biofrontiers Institute, which was founded in 2003 to foster new research, teaching and technology development in the fields of life sciences, physical sciences, math, computational sciences and engineering.

Prof. Veronica Bierbaum:
The Magic of Chemistry

Professor Bierbaum presents "The Magic of Chemistry", which demonstrates that seemingly "magical" reactions are based on well-understood, fascinating chemistry. She is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and is devoted to improving large lecture courses through innovative approaches. She is also committed to outreach and diversity, and serves on the BVSD Science Review Committee. Professor Bierbaum has been named a College Scholar, a AAAS Fellow, and the 2012 Distinguished Research Lecturer. Her research involves studies of fundamental reactivity and thermodynamics that are relevant to atmospheric and astrochemistry.

Prof. Konrad Lehnert:
Waves and Radios: The Physics of the Information Age

Prof. Konrad Lehnert and his graduate students perform a Wizard show called "Waves and Radios: The Physics of the Information Age." The show explores the physical laws that underlie modern wireless communication technology. During his junior high school years, Konrad developed a strong interest in electronics and wireless technology. Indeed, before embarking on his career as a research scientist, Konrad designed circuits for cellular phones. These days he is JILA Fellow and a professor in the CU Physics Department. His research investigates exotic electrical circuits whose behavior is governed by the laws of quantum mechanics.

Prof. Janet De Grazia:
Go With the Flow!

Professor and CU Wizard Janet De Grazia presents the "Go With the Flow" show at CU Wizards. She is a senior instructor in the University's Department of Chemical and Mechanical Engineering. Main research focuses include engineering education for children and how to improve instruction. She is the director of outreach for the integrated teaching and learning lab and named the "Professor Who Makes A Difference," in Mechanical Engineering, 2000. Professor De Grazia was awarded the Sullivan-Carlson Innovation for Teaching award in 1999.

Prof. Noel Clark:
Light, Polarization and Liquid Crystals

Professor Noel Clark, along with Professor David Walba has presented the "Liquid Crystals" show here at CU Wizards. Prof. Clark teaches Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder. Clark conducts research with the Liquid Crystals Group and his work is directed towards understanding and using the properties of condensed phases. His research ranges from experiments on the fundamental physics of phase transitions, such as melting, to the development of liquid crystal electro-optic light valves. For more information about the Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal Research Center, visit their website: http://lcmrc.colorado.edu/

Prof. David M. Walba:
Light, Polarization and Liquid Crystals

Professor Walba is the other half of the liquid crystals team. He teaches chemical and biological engineering as well as chemistry and biochemistry at CU Boulder. He is both a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Walba leads the Walba Group at CU, which focuses on organic stereochemistry in the context of liquid crystal science and technology. For more information about the Walba Group, visit the website at http://walba.colorado.edu

Prof. Margaret Murnane:
Lasers and Light!

Professor Murnane is one of the CU Wizards that leads the Lasers and Lights show. She is a fellow here at JILA in the Department of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineerin, and is a NIST senior research scientist. Professor Murnane has been the recipient of the Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award from the American Physical Society in 1997 and was a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow in 2000. She co-leads the Kapteyn/Murnane Research Group with Professor Henry C. Kapteyn.

Prof. Henry C. Kapteyn:
Lasers and Light!

Professor Kapteyn teams with Professor Murnane to bring you the "Lasers and Light" show at CU Wizards. Professor Kapteyn is also a fellow at JILA and instructor of physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has won several awards, including a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award in 1992 and the Adolph Lomb Medal from the Optical Society of America in 1993. Professor Kapteyn is co-lead on the Kapteyn/Murnane Research Group, which integrates research from the areas of atomic & molecular physics, chemical physics, materials physics, chemistry and optical physics. This group is dedicated to understanding the use of electromagnetic radiation, including the application of laser and x-ray sources. For additional information, visit the website, http://jila.www.colorado.edu/kmgroup/index.htm

Prof. Casey Hynes:
Chemistry: Pow! Wow!, Water, Water Everywhere! and H2O!

Professor James T. "Casey" Hynes teaches chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has won several awards, including the ACS Hildebrand Award in Theory and Experiment of Liquids in 2005. His work focuses on the theory of chemical reactions in solutions and at interfaces, and the theory of vibrational flow from and in molecules in solution. To learn about Prof. Hynes's research, visit his website: http://www.colorado.edu/chem/DEC/people/hynesj.html

Prof. Eric Cornell:

Speed: High speeds and low speeds. What animal goes so slow it makes a snail look as fast a cheetah? How fast does a yell travel? Also, meet the World's Fastest Kid, and the World's Slowest Kid! Professor Eric Cornell studies Bose-Einstein condensation, the science of the super cold. Also, he tries to figure out if an electron is round, or egg-shaped. Why? Ask him at the Wizard show!

Professor Eric Cornell is a JILA fellow and research physicist and fellow of NIST who teaches Physics here at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Professor Cornell won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2001 for his work on the Creation of the Bose-Einstein Condensate (1995). He is the principle investigator of the Cornell Group, researching primarily atomic and molecular physics, precision measurement, the Bose-Einstein Condensate and extremely cold atomic gases.

Prof. Paul Beale:
Clocks and Time! and Time Flies

Professor Paul D. Beale is a professor of physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has won several awards, including the Boulder Faculty Assembly in Teaching Award in 2004. Professor Beale's research interests include theoretical condensed matter physics. To find out more about his research, visit his Web site at http://spot.colorado.edu/~beale

Professor Tom Perkins:
From Very BIG to Very small: Microscopy and the Powers of 10

My research focuses on single molecule measurements of biological systems. One outstanding question is how motor proteins transduce chemical energy into physical motion? Another is how does the structure and dynamics of membrane proteins affect their functions? We specialize in developing and applying high precision measurements using optical traps and atomic force microscopes to answer these and other interesting questions.

Susan Marie Fronczak:
Marie Curie

Since 2001 Susan Marie Frontczak has portrayed her original program on the life of Marie Curie 300 times across 24 of the United States and nine foreign countries. Frontczak, like Curie, enjoyed school, and promotes awareness that academic excellence can lead to outstanding achievement. Marie Curie's perseverance in purifying a grain of radium from a ton of pitchblende, in part, inspired Frontczak to major in Engineering, where she worked for fourteen years before pursuing full time writing and acting. Susan has always viewed both science and art as valid outlets for creativity. She believes that Marie Curie's inner complexity is not known, and deserves to be. Her motto is: "Give me a place to stand, and I will take you somewhere else." It is her aim to reveal the human behind the scientist, while placing Marie Curie's life and accomplishments in a memorable historical context. http://www.storysmith.org/

Prof. Andrew Hamilton:
Black Holes

Andrew Hamilton is an astrophysicist known for his scientifically accurate general relativistic visualizations of black holes, which have appeared on a number of TV documentary programs, including Nova and National Geographic, in a show at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and on the web, including on YouTube.

His computerized renderings, which take viewers into black holes utilizing video game software developed by Silicon Graphics and are based on Einstein's equations, are designed to visualize the unseen, he told The New York Times. "When I started this, I had no idea what would emerge from the equations," he said.

Dr. Hamilton, who has published broadly in the fields of astrophysics, cosmology and relativity, is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Fellow at the JILA research institute.

                                                  Prof. Mathias Weber
                                                       Sink or Swim!

Prof. Mathias Weber explored the physical and chemical properties that effect buoyancy, providing fun demos and hands on fun with the kids!
Mathias Weber is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Fellow in the JILA research institute. He holds the  2009 CAREER Award of the NSF and was a 2001 Emmy-Noether Fellow of the German Science Foundation. His work includes the solvation effects on the chemistry of transition metal complexes, energy flow of molecules and Supramolecular chemistry and materials at very high pressure. 
For more information about his research please visit: 

Prof. Dana Anderson
Waves the Changed the World

Dana Anderson is a professor in the CU Boulder Department of Physics and a Fellow in the JILA research institute.  His research focuses on non-linear optics, atom optics and optical precision measurements. 
For more information about his research please visit:

Prof. Zoya Popovic
Waves that Changed the World

Zoya Popovic is a Professor in the CU boulder Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering.  She has previously been a Research Fellow at the Coleman Institute in 2008 and received the IEEE MTT Distinguished Educator Award.  Her research interests include electromagnetics as well as RF and microwaves. 
She also active in the Microwave Active Antenna Group at the CU Boulder campus.:  http://ecee.colorado.edu/microwave/index.php

Prof. Steve Pollack
 Whispers and Bangs; The Physics of Sound

What is sound? What is happening around you  (and inside you) when you play the guitar, strike a gong, blow on a bottle, pop a balloon, crack a bullwhip... How quiet can we make a room, how loud can we shout? Who can hear better, kids or parents? Why might that be? How could you ever hope to measure "loudness" or "pitch"?  And what would happen if you sucked all the air out of steel barrel?

Steve Pollock is a Professor in the CU Boulder Department of Physics.  His research focuses on Physics education.  He address the efficacy of physics curricula as well as gender gaps in introductory Physics.  He heads the K-12 team of researchers in the Learning Assistant Model for Teacher Education in Science and Technology (LATEST). Professor Pollock has recently been honored to be chosen for the Carnegie/Case 2013 U.S. Teacher of the Year award.  Prof. Pollock is also active in the Physics Education Research@Colorado group:  http://www.colorado.edu/physics/EducationIssues/

Prof. Deborah Jin
The Physics of Sports!

Deborah Jin is a Professor Adjunct in the CU Boulder Department of Physics and a NIST Fellow in the JILA research institute.  Her research focuses on ultra-cold polar molecules, momentum resolved Rf spectroscopy and Bragg scattering of a strongly interacting BEC.  For more information on her work please visit her web-page at :  http://jila.colorado.edu/~jin/

Prof. John Bohn
The Physics of Sports!

John Bohn is an Associate Research Professor in the CU Boulder Department of Physics and a Fellow in the JILA research institute.  His research includes the theory of collisions between trapped atoms and molecules in a dilute gas in an ultra-cold environment.  Further reading on Professor Bohn's work can be found at:

Prof. Kristi Anseth
Chemistry to Heal the Body

Kristi Anseth is a Professor in the CU Boulder Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering Department, Tisone Professor, Assistant Professor of Surgery and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.  Among her many awards are: election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013, Hazel Burns Award in 2013 and UC Distinguished Research Lecturer in 2011.  More information on her awards can be seen at : http://www.colorado.edu/chbe/kristi-s-anseth
A major focus of Professor Anseth's research in the Anseth group is the development of biomaterial scaffolds with highly-controlled architectures and chemistries for three-dimensional cell culture, tissue regeneration, and biological arrays and/or assays. 
For more information about her work please visit her website:  http://www.colorado.edu/ansethgroup/

Prof. Darin Toohey
Climate Change in a Bottle

Darin Toohey is a Professor in the CU Boulder Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. His research focuses on the design and construction of ultra-sensitive instrumentation for atmospheric measurements.  He studies the effects of inorganic free radicals that may have an indirect effect on the radiative balance of the earth. 
For further information, please refer to his webpage: 

Prof. Eric Stade
Fibonacci and Phi:  Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Eric Stade is a Professor in the CU Boulder Department of Mathematics.  His primary research interest is in Number Theory and Special Functions.
For additional information please visit his website: 

Prof. Steve George
The Chemistry of Energy

Steve George is a Professor in the CU Boulder Departments of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Chemistry and Biochemistry.  Among his many awards are 2004 Inventor of the Year and the 2002-2004 NSF Creativity Award.  The focus of his research is surface chemistry, thin film growth and nanostructure properties.  In 2014 he led a group whose efforts led to a patent for a process to create ultra-thin metal films using atomic layer deposition. 
For further information on Professor George please visit his website at:  http://www.colorado.edu/chbe/steven-george

Prof. Steven Brown
The Chemistry of the Atmosphere

Steven Brown is a Professor Adjoint at the University of Colorado, Boulder in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Research Chemist at NOAA. He was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2002)
 and CIRES Outstanding Performance Award (2003) and member of a scientific team awarded the Colorado Governor's Award for High Impact Research (2014). His research of atmospheric chemistry involves the development of highly sensitive optical instrumentation for laboratory and field studies.
For further information on Professor Brown please visit his webpage: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/csd/staff/steven.s.brown/

Michael Dubson
Boom!  The Physics of Sound and Music

Michael Dubson is a Senior Instructor and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies in the CU Boulder Department of Physics and a member of the Physics Education Research Group.  Mr. Dubson wrote, produced and starred in the KCNC channel 4 science outreach segments geared toward 5th graders.

 Prof. Neils Damrauer
The Chemistry of Solar Fuels

 Neils Damrauer is an associate professor of chemistry at CU-Boulder.  His research involves developing tools and molecular systems to understand and control photochemical transformations.  Better understanding of how energy and charge flow within complex systems ameliorates efforts to convert sunlight to electricity or fuel stocks.
For further information about Professor Damrauer please visit his website: http://chem.colorado.edu/damrauerlab/

Other Previous Wizards:
Prof. John Taylor
Prof. Brian Agrow
Prof. Jim Faller
Prof. Kathy Rowlen

*Information gathered from departmental and group websites.

© cu wizards 2012 | contact us | wizard image by darwin bell