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One of the things that excites me most about Physics is our continuing struggle to develop a better understanding of how the world works at a fundamental level. We Physicists also work to apply that understanding to complex, real world problems. For me, one of the great pleasures of Physics is finding creative ways to address these challenges. I enjoy teaching Physics and Astronomy at all levels in our curriculum.
Black Holes and Cosmic Jets
I study distant active galaxies. Active galaxies are extremely energetic galaxies, giving off so much energy that they can be viewed from billions of light years away. All of the unusual, energetic behavior in an active galaxy can ultimately be traced to its galactic center or nucleus, a region only a few light years across. These objects are therefore often called "Active Galactic Nuclei" or "AGN" for short. It is now believed that all AGN have, at their center, a super-massive black hole that is millions or even billions of times the mass of our Sun. Matter falling inward toward the black hole dramatically releases energy to generate the phenomena we observe.
There is a sub-class of AGN that have strong jets of plasma which stream outward from the galactic nucleus and are visible at radio wavelengths. These radio jets come in a number of morphologies with the most spectacular maintaining collimated flows for tens or even hundreds of thousands of light-years before terminating at hotspots in large, inflated radio lobes. I study these jets to understand their physical properties and how they are created by the super-massive black hole and accretion disk of in-falling matter at the center of the galaxy.
- “Inverse Depolarization: A Potential Probe of Internal Faraday Rotation and Helical Magnetic Fields in Extragalactic Radio Jets”, by Homan, D. C. (2012) The Astrophysical Journal Letters vol. 747, p. L24
- “Relativistic Beaming and Gamma-Ray Brightness of Blazars”, by Savolainen, T., Homan, D. C., Hovatta, T., Kadler, M., Kovalev, Y. Y.;,Lister, M. L., Ros, E., & Zensus, J. A. (2010)Astronomy & Astrophysics vol. 512, id.A24
- “MOJAVE: Monitoring of Jets in Active Galactic Nuclei with VLBA Experiments. VII. Blazar Jet Acceleration”, by Homan, D. C., Kadler, M., Kellermann, K. I., Kovalev, Y. Y., Lister, M. L. Ros, E., Savolainen, T., & Zensus, J. A. (2009) The Astrophysical Journal vol. 706, p. 1253
- BIOL 150 - Introduction to the Science of Biology
- BIOL 202 - Ecology and Evolution
- BIOL 312 - Herpetology
- BIOL 370 - Conservation Biology
I study the habitat requirements and long-term population trends of pond-breeding amphibians. I am currently working on projects designed to improve our understanding how both adults and juveniles choose among different suitable upland habitats. I also study long-term demographic patterns of several species with the goal of improving our ability to distinguish between natural and human-caused population fluctuations.
- Homan, R.N., M.A. Atwood, A.J. Dunkle, and S.B. Karr. 2010. Movement orientation by adult and juvenile wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) and American toads (Bufo americanus) over multiple years.. Herpetological Conservation and Biology. v. 5 no. 1 p. 64-72
- Homan, R.N., C.D. Wright*, G.L. White*, L.F. Michael*, B.S. Slaby*, and S.E. Edwards*. 2008. Multiyear study of the migration orientation of Ambystoma maculatum (Spotted Salamanders) among varying terrestrial habitat. Journal of Herpetology. v. 42 p. 600-607
- Windmiller, B., R.N. Homan, J. V. Regosin, L. A. Willitts, D. L. Wells and J. M. Reed. 2008. Two Case Studies of Declines in Vernal Pool Breeding Amphibian Populations Following Loss of Adjacent Upland Forest Habitat. Herpetological Conservation: Urban Herpetology . v. 3 p. 41-51
- Homan, R.N., B. S. Windmiller, and J. M. Reed. 2007. Comparative life histories of two sympatric Ambystoma species at a breeding pond in Massachusetts. Journal of Herpetology. v. 41 p. 401-409
- Regosin, J.V., B.S. Windmiller, R.N. Homan, and J.M. Reed. 2005. Variation in terrestrial habitat use among four pool-breeding amphibian species and its conservation implications. Journal of Wildlife Management. v. 69 p. 1481-1493
- Homan, R.N., J.M. Reed, and B.S. Windmiller. 2004. Critical thresholds associated with habitat loss for two vernal pool-breeding amphibians. Ecological Applications. v. 14 p. 1547-1553
- Homan, R.N., J.M. Reed, and L.M. Romero. 2003. Corticosterone concentrations in free-living spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum). General and Comparative Endocrinology. v. 130 p. 165-171 View [pdf]
- Homan, R.N., J.V. Regosin, D.M. Rodrigues*, J.M. Reed, B.S. Windmiller, and L.M. Romero. 2003. Impacts of varying habitat quality on the physiological stress of Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum). Animal Conservation. v. 6 p. 11-18
- Homan, R.N., J.M. Reed, and B.S. Windmiller. 2003. Analysis of spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) growth rates based on long-bone growth rings. Journal of Herpetology. v. 37 p. 617-621 View [pdf]
- Homan, R.N. 2012. Fluctuation and Stability: A seven year study of spotted salamander demography and migratory orientations. Ohio Amphibian Research and Conservation Conference.
- Homan, R.N. 2011. Multiyear demographic study of three co-occurring pond-breeding amphibian species. 96th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America.
- Rumschlag, S.L*, T. Lan*, and R.N. Homan. 2010. A pilot study examining the role of conspecific chemical cues affecting juvenile American toad (Bufo americanus) orientation behavior. 95th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America.
- Homan, R.N., M.A. Atwood*, A. Dunkle*, and S.Karr.* 2009. Multi-year study of adult and juvenile Wood Frog and American Toad migration orientations. 94th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America.
- Homan, R.N., C.D. Wright*, L.F. Michael*, and S.A. Edwards*. 2007. Distribution of Ambystoma maculatum among different habitat types surrounding a single breeding pond. 92nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America.
- Homan, R.N., C. D. Wright*, and D. Walker*, 2006. Correlates of location and movement of Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) in the breeding pond. Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.
- Wright, C. D.* and R.N. Homan, 2006. Demographic correlates between upland and wetland usage in Ambystoma maculatum. 115th Annual Meeting of the Ohio Academy of Sciences.
- Homan, R.N., B.S. Windmiller, and J.M. Reed, 2004. Demographic clues about differences in relative vulnerabilities of two sympatric Ambystoma species. 18th Annual Meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology.
- Homan, R.N., B.S. Windmiller, and J.M. Reed, 2003. Critical Thresholds Associated with Habitat Loss for Two Vernal Pool-Breeding Amphibians. 17th Annual Meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology.
- Newcomb Homan, R., B.S. Windmiller, and J.M. Reed, 2001. Demographic Consequences of Upland Habitat Loss on Two Ambystoma Species in Eastern Massachusetts. 86th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America.
* indicates student coauthor
Senior Research Projects Supervised
- Robert Stenger ('13) - Spatiotemporal variation in microhabitat characteristics of spotted salamander habitat.
- Justina Bartling ('13) - First detection of ranavirus in Taylor-Ochs Pond and American toad tadpole susceptibility.
- Mark Mangus ('12) - Investigating the factors influencing migration orientations of the wood frog.
- Eric Stachura ('12) - Habitat distributions of four life stages of the spotted salamander in and around a temporary ponds.
- Tian Lan ('11) - American toad and spotted salamander juveniles' ability to detect and orient toward conspecific chemical cues.
- Joe Freundlich ('11) - Multiyear study of three pond-breeding amphibians in Taylor-Ochs.
- Samantha Rumschlag ('10) - Amphibian habitat use: demography at an undisturbed pond and a pilot study for juvenile orientation behavior.
- Meredith Atwood ('09) - A multiyear survey of amphibian demography and habitat distribution at a vernal pool.
- Kyle Renaldo ('09) - Continued exploration of local small ponds: Examining amphibian populations and habitat type.
- Brian Slaby ('08) - Upland habitat use by a breeding population of Ambystoma maculatum (Spotted Salamanders).
- Sarah Karr ('08) - An Exploration of the Larval Stage of the Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum).
- Ashley Dunkle ('08) - Ecological factors influencing dispersal in Rana sylvatica (Wood Frog)
- Gretchen White ('07) - Third year survey of a breeding population of spotted salamanders and their habitat.
- Sarah Edwards ('06) - A survey of the migrating breeding population of spotted salamanders at the Taylor-Ochs pond in the Denison University Biological Reserve.
- Dawn Walker ('06) - Correlates of upland and wetland habitat use by spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum).
- Christian Wright ('06) - Demographic correlates between upland and wetland habitat characteristics for a breeding population of Ambystoma maculatum (Spotted Salamander).
- Lindsay Michael ('05) - A survey of a breeding population of spotted salamanders and their habitat.
- Society for Conservation Biology
- Sigma Xi
- Ecological Society of America
- American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
- Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
Dr. Brian Hortz has been a part of the athletic training staff since 1995. He has been in the role of head athletic trainer since 1997. In addition to his on-field work with Denison athletes, Hortz also serves as an Associate Professor in the university's Physical Education department and athletic training major.
In 2008-09, Hortz was named the Ohio Athletic Trainer of the Year which was awarded by the Ohio Athletic Trainers Association. Hortz is the second Denison athletic trainer to receive the coveted award from the OATA. His mentor, Dale Googins, was named the Ohio Athletic Trainer of the Year in 1986. Hortz was selected for the award thanks to his outstanding contributions to the profession of athletic training at the state and national level. He has also excelled in the classroom through authored publications, presentations and in his preparation of future athletic trainers.
A native of nearby Heath, Ohio, Hortz graduated from Heath High School in 1990. Hortz's interest in sports medicine began when he was an undergraduate at Denison where he graduated in 1994 with a B.A. in physical education with a concentration in sports medicine. Upon graduation form DU, Hortz pursued a master's degree in sports medicine from Ohio University while spending one year as the head athletic trainer at Crooksville High School. Hortz then continued his post-graduate studies at The Ohio State University where he completed his doctoral degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis in health education.
Hortz's primary responsibilities at Denison include the supervision and instruction of student athletic trainers, both in and out of the classroom, as a professor in Denison's department of athletics, physical education and recreation, as well as administrating the athletic training program at Denison.
Included among Hortz's professional affiliations are membership in the National Athletic Trainers Association, the Great Lakes Athletic Association and the Ohio Athletic Trainers Association. Hortz is also an active member in several Denison University committees.
Julie earned a B.A. in art history from Denison and her J.D. from the University of Southern California. She practiced law in Los Angeles before directing advancement efforts at Stanford University's Southern California office, the University of Pennsylvania, and Friends' Central School in suburban Philadelphia. She returned to Denison in 2000 as vice president to lead the fundraising, communications and alumni relations efforts. She also serves as a member of the president's senior staff.
Ching-chu Hu’s music has been performed in the United States, England, Germany, Russia, Austria, China, Taiwan, and Australia, and reviews have described his music as “incredible” and “deeply moving.” Recent honors have included composer-in-residence at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, and guest composer at the American Music Week Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria. Hu has been a composition fellow at the Aspen and Bowdoin Music Festivals, Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Banff Centre for the Arts. He has received performances in various national and international festivals and concerts, including the Alternativa Festival (Center “DOM”) in Moscow.
Born in Iowa City, Iowa, Ching-chu Hu studied at Yale University, Freiburg Musikhochschule in Freiburg, Germany, The University of Iowa, and the University of Michigan, where he earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Composition. His composition teachers included William Bolcom, William Albright, Michael Daugherty, Leslie Bassett, Bright Sheng, Evan Chambers, and David Gompper. His conducting teachers included Alastair Neale, David Stern, and James Dixon. He also studied piano with Donald Currier, Stéphane Lemelin, and Logan Skelton and bass with Diana Gannett and Eldon Oberecht. He is active as a pianist and conductor, and wrote the scores for several short award-winning films. Recent commissions include works for the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, the Granville (Ohio) Bicentennial Committee, the University of Iowa School of Music’s Centennial celebration, the Greater Columbus Community Orchestra, the Newark Granville Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Children’s Choir and the Chamber Music Connection, string duo Low and Lower, Western Springs Suzuki Talent Education Program’s 30th Anniversary Concert in Chicago Symphony Center’s Orchestra Hall as well as Newark Granville Youth Symphony’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts performance. Upcoming premieres include commissioned work by the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra, West Texas A&M orchestra, marimbist Mayumi Hama and pianist Minju Choi.
Conductor Donald Portnoy and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra performed In Frozen Distance and violinist Wolfgang David premiered Passions at Wigmore Hall in London, England. Other notable performers include flutist Betty Bang Mather, bassists Robert Black and Anthony Stoops, violinists Scott Conklin and Gabe Bolkosky, Moscow Conservatory’s Studio New Music Ensemble, Brave New Works New Music Ensemble, Brooklyn Rider String Quartet, the National Dance and Opera Orchestra of China, and the Kiev Philharmonic. His music can be heard on the ERM Media’s “Masterworks of the New Era” CD series (vol. 4), Albany Records CD “Finnegan’s Wake” (Troy 680), “Star of the County Down” (Troy 937), “Spirals: American Music in Moscow” (Troy 1095), “Vive Concertante” (Troy 1110-11), “Violinguistics” (Troy 1138) “Insights: New Music for Double Bass” (Troy 1457) and Capstone Records’ “Journeys” (CPS-8809), with an upcoming CD release from Scott Conklin.
He was the first recipient of the Bayley-Bowen Fellowship, Denison University’s first endowed fellowship for a junior faculty member and it is a three-year fellowship for 2004-07. Ching-chu Hu is Associate Professor of Composition and Theory and is the Richard Luicer Distinguished Professor. More information can be found at: www.chingchuhu.com
My goal as a composer is to create music that is lyrical and driven by narrative. My music tends to be tonal centric, yet filtered through a contemporary lens. I write both instrumental and vocal music in many different genres for solo, chamber, and large ensembles. Currently, most of my work tends to be commissioned for specific performers or ensembles. I write for young musicians and professional artists for a variety of occasions, including solo recitals, centennial/bicentennial celebrations, festivals, and international tours. Each composition clearly expresses my “voice,” reveals my “fingerprint.” Being raised in an artistic Chinese family in the middle of the United States has influenced my music, just as my formal training has refined my compositional skills.
- Insights (contrabass and piano) and Beyond (contrabass) on Albany Records Insights: New American Music for Double Bass, recorded by bassist Anthony Stoops (Albany Records Troy 1457)
- In Frozen Distance (orchestra) on Journeys, Capstone’s Society of Composers, Inc. CD Series, recorded by the National Chinese Dance and Opera Orchestra (Volume 23)
- The Swash of Water and Red (string) on Albany Records Spirals: American Music in Moscow, recorded by Moscow Conservatory Studio of New Music (Albany Records Troy 1095)
- Snow Ash (violin and piano) on Albany Records Violinguistics, recorded by Scott Conklin and Alan Huckleberry (Albany Records Troy 1138)
- A Tempered Wish (violin and chamber orchestra) on Albany Records Viva Concertante, recorded The University of Iowa Center for New Music (Troy 1110-11)
- Glaciers Red: Vistas Veiled (violin and piano) on Albany Records Star of the County Down, recorded by Wolfgang David and David Gompper (Albany Records Troy 937)
- In Frozen Distance (orchestra) on ERM Media’s Masterworks of the New Era CD Series, vol. 4, recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic
- Passions (violin and piano) on Albany Records Finnegan’s Wak,e recorded by Wolfgang David and David Gompper (Albany Records Troy 680)
- Performed on accompanying CD for Proof Through the Night: Music and the Great War, by Glenn Watkins (UC Berkeley Press). Ravel, “Frontispice” (Gompper, Lecuona, Hu)
My current research interests include (1) gender differences in social behavior, (2) the social influence processes used to change others' attitudes and behavior, and (3) the personalities of attorneys.
First, I am interested in gender differences in a variety of social behaviors, as well as differences in the social evaluation of women's and men's behavior. My research in this area has examined the content of attitudes toward men and women, gender differences in interaction patterns, and the appropriateness of women's and men's emotional reaction to life events. My current research projects focus on the social consequences of women's and men's emotional expressions during job interviews and political campaign speeches.
- Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (2005, August). Perceptions of political candidates: The consequences of emotional expression. Paper presented in the Division 9 Symposium, Gender and the Politics of Emotion, at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
- Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., & Kelly, J. R. (2002). Gender stereotypes of emotional reactions: How we judge an emotion as valid. Sex Roles, 47, 1-10.
- Kelly, J. R., & Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (2000). The appropriateness of emotional expression in women and men: The double-bind of emotion. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15, 515-528.
- Kelly, J. R., & Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (1999). Gender-emotion stereotypes are context specific. Sex Roles, 40, 107-120.
- Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., & Kelly, J. R. (1996). Sex differences in interaction style and group performance: The process-performance relationship. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality [Special Issue: Handbook of Gender Research], 11, 255-275.
Social Influence Processes
My second line of research addresses the social influence processes that individuals and groups use to change others' opinions and behavior. I am particularly interested in the conditions under which a minority opinion holder can influence the opinion of a majority, and the social influence processes by which a minority and majority opinion holders exert their influences. My recent work on these issues has been in the context of psychology and law.
- Eagly, A. H., Kulesa, P., Brannon, L. A., Shaw, K., & Hutson-Comeaux, S. (2000). Why counterattitudinal messages are as memorable as proattitudinal messages: The importance of active defense against attack. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 1392-1408.
- Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (1999). Majority and minority influence: Use and effectiveness of social influence processes. The Group Psychologist, 9, 11-12.
- Kelly, J. R., Jackson, J. W., & Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (1997). The effects of time pressure and task differences on influence modes and accuracy in decision-making groups. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 10-22.
Personalities of Attorneys
The third line of research examines the personality characteristics of attorneys. In particular, I am interested in individual differences between trial and non-trial attorneys as well as gender differences. To examine some of this research click here. We have developed a webpage that summarizes the research we have conducted on this topic and contains a Psychology and Law Research Guide to articles about various topics in the field of psychology and law .
- Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., Bluestein, B. M., & Wagner, B. C. (2004, May). Gender differences in the personality characteristics of law students and attorneys. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Society, Chicago, IL.
- Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., & Pukay-Martin, N. D. (2003, May). Personality characteristics of trial and non-trial attorneys. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society, Atlanta, GA.
- Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., Westerhaus, E. K., & Snyder, R. (2002, June). Personality characteristics of women in male- and female-dominated occupations. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society, New Orleans, LA.
- Dr. Hutson-Comeaux, a 1991 graduate of Denison, returned to join the psychology faculty in 1997. She teaches courses in introductory psychology, personality theory, social psychology, research methods and statistics, and a seminar on the psychology of law.