Student Research

Every Alleghenian completes a Senior Project in his or her major field—a significant piece of original work, designed by the student and a faculty advisor, that demonstrates to employers and graduate schools the ability to complete a major assignment, to work independently, to analyze and synthesize information, and to write and speak persuasively.

Because physics students work closely with the faculty, assisting them in their research, Senior Projects in the department are often related to faculty research interests. Many students also do research before the senior year as part of independent study and summer research projects.

Some recent Senior Project titles:

  • “Formation of Massive Stellar Objects and Intermediate Mass Black Holes Due To Runaway Collisions in Young Dense Solar Clusters”
  • “A Study of Secondary Cosmic Rays and the Construction of a Secondary Cosmic Ray Detector”
  • “Intensity and Plymer Dependence of Photoinduced Azimuthal Gliding in Dye-Doped Nematic Liquid Crystals”
  • “Chaotic Rotations of the Director in Azo Dye-Doped Nematic Liquid Crystals”
  • “Radio Waves from the Heavens: The Study of Radio Signals from Space”
  • “Synthesis of Rare Earth Crystalline Thermometer for Low Temperature Metalloprotein EPR Measurements”
  • “Electron Paramagnetic Resonance of Color Centers in Precious Gems”
  • “Investigation of Low Temperature Ammonia-Helium Collisions: State-to-State Cross Sections”
  • “Ising Model Simulation of a Two-Dimensional Antiferromagnetic Triangular Lattice”

Selected Student Achievements

  • Department of Energy four-year fellowship worth $160,000 for graduate study.
  • One of just 15 teams selected to participate in the Cornell University Supercomputing Program for Undergraduate Research (one of only two teams from undergraduate institutions).
  • Senior project recognized as the top paper at a student research conference.
  • Grant for week-long visit to the Columbia University Radiation Laboratory, where student and professor demonstrated spectroscopic techniques.
  • Several papers a year are published by physics faculty with students as coauthors.
  • In 1996, three Allegheny graduates were among just 100 selected nationwide to receive fellowships from NASA’s Graduate Student Researchers program.