Sunday, March 27, 2016

2016 Physics Undergraduate Symposium

On Saturday, March 26th, the undergraduates of JMU Physics presented their research in front of their professors and colleagues.  Listed are those who presented, their research professor, and what topic they presented on.

Angelica Watson
Dr. Adriana Banu
Studying the (α,p)-process in X-ray bursts using rare isotope beams

Evan Meekins
Dr. Derek Dolney & Dr. Adriana Banu
Fitting the Bragg Curve: Increasing the Accuracy of Proton Therapy with On-Site Data Analysis

Brian Seymour
Dr. Klebert Feitosa
Interfacial Bubble Deformations

Jason Ferguson
Dr. Anca Constantin
Searching for Accreting Supermassive Black Holes in Bulgeless Galaxies

Jacob Green
Dr. Anca Constantin
Exploring Long-Term Variability in Active Galactic Nuclei Via Monte Carlo Simulations of Optical Spectra

David H. Olson
Dr. Costel Constantin
Structural and Electrical Characterization of Amorphous and Crystalline Manganese Oxide Thin Films Deposited by DC Magnetron Sputtering

Justin M. Kaczar
Dr. Giovanna Scarel & Dr. Brian Utter
Effect of Angle Dependence on the Electric and Entropic Contributions of Infrared Power Generation

Thomas St. John
Dr. Giovanna Scarel
The effects of infrared radiation power variation on infrared power generation

Griffin Hundley
Dr. Sean Scully
Searching for Traces of Planck-Scale Physics with High Energy Gamma Rays

Justin Leas
Dr. Keigo Fukumura
X-ray Photoionization of Magnetically-Driven Accretion-Disk Winds

Olivia Cypull
Dr. Klebert Feitosa
Droplet Dynamics of a Flowing Emulsion System

Ian Davenport
Dr. Ilarion Melnikov
Classification of Landau-Ginzburg Theories

Josiah Lapolla
Dr. Dana Longcope & Dr. John Unverferth
Modeling the Effects of Magnetic Field Variation on Solar Flares

Sean Scro
Dr. Keigo Fukumura
Spectroscopic Modeling of X-ray Absorbers in the Transient Black Hole Binary GRO J1655-40

Aidan Gordon
Dr. Giovanna Scarel & Dr. Brian Utter
Modeling Chaotic Phenomena

Many thanks to everyone who presented!

Gliding Through the Last Demystifying the Expert

Last Thursday (March 24th), Dr. Anca Constantin and Dr. Klebert Feitosa hosted New & Improv'd and Dr. Roshna Wunderlich for the last "Demystifying the Expert" of the 2015-2016 school-year.

The evening started off well with a 20 questions-esque game where the improv team had to guess Dr. Wunderlich's professional title and research topic.  Several guesses included, but were not limited to, "Can it be found in Disney World?  In the hearts and minds of children?", "Is it us?  A young body like mine?  Inside us?!", and "Is it that thing Dr. Frankenstein used to bring his monster back to life?" 

After a series of laughs, the audience learned that Dr. Wunderlich is a professor in Biology and head of the JMU Women's Rugby Team.  She also researches the behavioral patterns of societal interactions of lemurs.  She does so in the prospect of learning the secrets of their longevity, and perhaps apply that knowledge to expanding the human lifespan.  Many think that their heightened lifespan has to do with the fact that they hibernate for seven months, which could also help humans in the field of space travel in regards to cryostasis.

When asked how they endure this, Dr. Wunderlich explained that they store the food as fat in their tail, which warranted a "junk in the trunk" reference and possible qualifications for future astronaut candidates.  Dr. Wunderlich then talked about how her team tracks the lemurs with fitbits and magnetic field positioning techniques, as well as their interactions with their children.  She also described the lemur mating season as "like Spring Break in Tampa," with the improv group adding, "That must be the craziest three days ever!"

Further discussing lemurs, the improv teamed asked how they lemurs respond when Dr. Wunderlich's team interacts with them.  She answered, "We just blowdarted them out of a tree, how do you think they feel?"  When asked if she hunted them, Dr. Wunderlich responded, "No we have a guy who's really good with a blow dart.  We just catch them when they fall."

The event concluded with the improv group guessing several biological acronyms/terms, as well as the 2-truths & 1-dare game.  This led to great discussions about how mother lemurs jump from tree to tree with their babies attached to them, healthcare costs for the average lemur, and the differences between Rugby and common terminologies.

Thank you to everyone involved in the last Demystifying the Expert of the year!