Physics and Astrophysics majors complete a year-long research project during their senior years as part of their graduation requirements. This gives them an opportunity to put what they've learned in their classes into practice and helps to prepare them for jobs or graduate school.
In addition to writing a formal paper describing their research, students produce web sites to showcase their projects.
Muneo Ishikawa worked with Dr. Harmon to examine the effect of orbital resonance on Jupiter's moon Ganymede.
Rachael Roettenbacher worked with Dr. Harmon to study differential rotation on the star II Pegasi by imaging its starspots.
Steph Vasicek worked with Dr. Trees to study the dynamics of rocketry.
Clint Davis worked with Dr. Andereck to study self-organized criticality with an eye to its application to loose-snow avalanches.
Yun Kyoung "Claire" Ryu worked with Dr. Trees in to study protein folding using the Ising model.
Laura Becker worked with Dr. Andereck to study the relation between symmetries and conservation laws using the mathematical theory of groups.
Bryan Daniels worked with Dr. Trees to study the synchronization of globally coupled nonlinear oscillators using the Kuramoto model. You can view a popular video he made showing spontaneous synchronization of couple metronomes on YouTube.
Charini Perera worked with Dr. Harmon to seek evidence for differential rotation on stars other than the Sun.
Beth Cademartori worked with Dr. Harmon to produce images of the surfaces of spotted stars based on the variations in stellar brightness which the dark spots produce as the stars rotate.
Cory Casto worked with Dr. Andereck to study how the interface between two fluids having different viscosities behaves as the cylinder containing them is set into rotation.
Adam Stein worked with Dr. Harmon to search for undiscovered asteroids using CCD images he acquired at Ohio Wesleyan's Perkins Observatory.
Senior projects are not the only opportunity for research at Ohio Wesleyan. The OWU Summer Science Research Program and the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program funded by the National Science Foundation give highly qualified students the chance to collaborate with a faculty member on a research project over a ten-week period during the summer.
Our students have won accolades for their research. Yun-Kyoung "Claire" Ryu '07 and Rachael Roettenbacher were each one of three students nationwide to receive the Society of Physics Students Outstanding Student Award for Undergraduate Research for 2007 and 2008, respectively. Claire presented her research at the International Conference of Physics Students in London, England in August, 2007. Rachael will do likewise in Cracow, Poland in August, 2008. Rachel has also been named a Finalist for the 2008 Vanderbilt Prize for Undergraduate Research in Physics and Astronomy. At the National Sigma Xi meeting in Detroit, MI in November, 2006, Rachael, Claire and Brian Siller '07 presented posters describing their research. Students from over 100 academic institutions competed for awards for their presentations. The highest honor of a Superior rating with a blue ribbon and cash award went to 24 students. Two of the three posters judged Superior in the Physics and Astronomy category were those of Rachael and Claire. In addition, Brian's poster was judged as Excellent and awarded a gold ribbon.