Independent Study

The year-long senior thesis project, or senior Independent Study (I.S.), allows you to experience the beauty and cohesiveness of physics by working on an extended project closely with a faculty advisor. There are few projects, even though narrow in scope, that do not require a breadth of understanding and a dependence on the lecture and laboratory material covered in the major courses. Thus, the senior I.S. is an integral part of your education. It can provide a stimulating climax to your college career while, at the same time, it can be a defining introduction to your profession.

2016 Senior Independent Study Titles [abstracts]

  • Michael Bush, A Comparative Analysis of Photon and Electron Wave Functions in Spherically Symmetric Potential
  • Mitch Gavin, An Injector to Investigate Reaction-Diffusion-Advection Systems
  • Laura Grace, Period Doubling in Bubbling from a Submerged Nozzle
  • Mitch Gavin, An Injector to Investigate Reaction-Diffusion-Advection Systems
  • Colm Hall, Nonlinear Dynamics Analysis of Stellar Data Sets
  • Nathan Johnson, Charge Carrier Characteristics in Doped Semiconductor Heterostructures
  • Andrew King-Smith, Manipulation of Polarized Transverse Spatial Modes to Induce Non-linear Structures Using the Geometric Phase
  • Matthew King-Smith, Analog Quantum Simulator
  • Spencer Kirn, Excitation Waves in Planar, Inhomogeneously Illuminated Systems
  • Maggie Lankford, The Production and Manipulation of Nonseparable Spin-Orbit Modes of Light Under Hong-Ou-Mandel Interference Conditions
  • Yashasvi Lohia, Modal Analysis of Light Propagating Through Structurally Disturbed Optical Fibers
  • Noah Megregian, Stochastic Resonance in a Mechanical Bistable System
  • Calvin Milligan, Strange Nonchaotic Pendulum
  • Diego Miramontes, Creating Quasi Two-Dimensional, Curved Molds with 3-D Printing Technology
  • Paroma Palchoudhuri, An Experimental and Mathematical Study of Avalanche Behavior
  • Graham Schattgen, Air Powered One-Way Arrays
  • Nathan Stone, Critical Systems: An Exploration of Cohesion and the Moments of Distribution
  • Catherine Tieman, Quantum Ring Exchange Interaction on a Pyrochlore Lattice

2015 Senior Independent Study Titles

  • Shawn  Bowman, Modeling the Optical Emission Line Profiles of Active Galactic Nuclei: Working Towards a Continuous Optical Classification Scheme Beyond Type1/Type2
  • Evan Hagedorn, Understanding the Origin of Swelling Force in Organically Modified Silica
  • Nicolae Istrate, Theoretical Resonance Calculations for the Isobaric Analogs 133Sn and 133Sb
  • Min Sung Kim, Stopping Power Analysis of 37K, 44Cl, and 71Br Incident on a He: CO2 (9:1) Gas Target
  • Brian Maddock, Modifying the Virasoro-Shapiro Amplitude to Correspond to the Glueball Trajectory
  • Saul Propp, Relativistic Perturbations and Ontological Implications: Exploring the Zitterbewegung and Laying the Groundwork for a Quantum Ontology
  • Jairaj Ranchod, Archimedes Drill Propulsion
  • Joseph Smith, Topological Defects in Nematic Liquid Crystals and the Behavior Induced by Adding Polystyrene Microspheres to 5CB
  • Amanda Steinhebel, Solitons and Their Symmetries: A Mathematical Analysis
  • Elliot Wainwright, Avalanches on a Critical Conical Bead Pile: Exploration of Tuning Parameter Space and Mathematical Foundations

2014 Senior Independent Study Titles

  • Benjamin Harris, Establishing Methods to Track Surface Avalanches on a Bead Pile
  • Vanessa Logan, Worlds as Real as Ours: Image Processing and Differential Photometry of Transiting Exoplanets
  • Danielle Shepherd, Go with the Flow: Developing Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulations According to the Navier-Stokes Equations
  • Prakrit Shrestha, Universe from Scratch: Exploring Quantum Gravity in 2+1 Dimensions Using the Causal Dynamical Triangulation Method
  • Deepika Sundarraman, The Manipulation of Transverse Spatial Mode and Polarization Degrees of Freedom of Light in an Asymmetric Interferometric System

2013 Senior Independent Study Titles

  • Theresa Albon, The Entanglement and Relaxation of Liquid Crystal Shaped Granular Media
  • Daniel Axe, Temperature's Effects on Expansion Force of Osorb®
  • Andrew Blaikie //
  • Lilianna Christman, The Effects of a Magnetic Field on a Conical Bead Pile
  • Lorenzo Dumancas, Optimization of BEEM Techniques
  • Thomas Gillis, Manipulation of Transverse Photonic Degrees of Freedom via Classical and Hong-Ou-Mandel Interference
  • Samuel Mermall, The Motion of a Flapping Flag: Chaos or Noise?
  • Duncan Price, Liquid Body Armor and Shear Thickening Fluids
  • Tyler Rhoades, Differential Photometry of Transiting Exoplanets
  • Michael-Erik Ronlund, Sorting Spatial Wavefunctions of Photons by Parity
  • Syne Salem, Spacetime: Engineering and Metaphysics
  • Matt Schmitthenner, A Theoretical and Experimental Pattern Analysis of Electrohydrodynamic Convection in a Liquid Crystal System
  • Karl Smith, Electrons Aligned and Felines Undefined: Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics and Perturbing the Spin-Orbit Interaction in Electrons
  • Andrew Sopher, Head for Safety
  • Philip Wales, Spring Dot

2012 Senior Independent Study Titles

  • Mohammad Saif Ahmad, Parity-based Measurement and Control of the Spatial Wave Function of Photons
  • Patrick Butler, Air Drag and External Ballistics
  • Matt Damon, Progress toward Using an Optical Tweezer to Make Scattering-based Size Measurements
  • Sarah-Beth Loder, Experimentally and Computationally Determining the Theoretical Aqueous pKa of Three UV-absorbing Benzophenone Derivatives
  • Alyse Marquinez, The Rocket Science Behind the Political Science: Comparing Space Visions fo the Presidents from 1993-2011 and the Rocket Technology That Helped Characterize Them
  • Katsuo Maxted, A Cyclic Aero-mechanical Array of One-way Coupled Oscillators
  • Larry Markley, Perturbing Spacetime
  • Margaret Raabe, Manipulation of a Photon's Spatial Wave Function
  • Kemal Ramic, Monte Carlo Simulations of the Clumpy Torus in Active Galactic Nuclei
  • David Simpson, Analysis of the Correlation Length Amplitude of Nitrobenzene and Dodecane Binary-Fluid Solution

2011 Senior Independent Study Titles

  • Louisa Catalano, Tighten Up: A Preliminary Study of Knots
  • Amanda Logue, Understanding the Expansion of a Swellable Silicate
  • Roger Klein, A Study of the Structure/Function Relationship of NicF in the Bordetella bronchiseptica Nicotinic Acid Degradation Pathway
  • Alex Saines, Order and Chaos in the Rotation and Revolution of Two Line Segments
  • Daniel "Alex" Sullivan, Determining the clumpy nature of the toroidal region: An analysis of X-ray emissions from active galactic nuclei
  • Ingrid Thvedt, Exploration of the Effects of Cohesive Forces in a Bead Pile

2010 Senior Independent Study Titles

  • Corwin Atwood-Stone, Accretion Features of AU Mon
  • Alison Huff, Examining the Characteristics of 17R4 Using Refractive Indices and Dynamic Light Scattering
  • Heather J. Moore, Continuous Wave Cavity Ringdown Spectroscopy
  • R. Michael Winters, The Two-Higgs Doublet Model and Sonification: Using Sound to Understand the Origin of Mass (Physics and Music)

2009 Senior Independent Study Titles

  • Averell Gatton, The Brain vs. Rule 137: Using Spacetime Patterns to Classify the Complexity of Cellular Automata
  • Matt Gorski, The Consistent Histories Interpretation as a Solution to the Quantum Measurement Problem (Physics and Philosophy)
  • Evan Heidtmann, A Differential Equations Model of Insulin Spherulite Growth and a Surprising Connection to Algebraic Topology (Physics and Math)
  • Frank King
    /. (Physics and Math)
  • Mary Elizabeth Mills, Self-Organized Criticality and the Effects of Pseudo-Randomly Dropping Beads onto a Bead Pile
  • Martha Roseberry, Finicky Freezing: Investigations into the Causes of the Mpemba Effect
  • Henry Timmers, The Construction of a Continuous Wave Cavity Ringdown Spectrometer
  • Mike Zappitello, A Fractal Model of Protein Aggregation (Physics and Math)
  • Mark Zimmerman, Percolative and Conductive Properties of Spherical Mixtures

Read the abstracts to these Senior Independent Study theses and more at our department website.