Physics & Engineering Summer Research
Cornell students frequently complete summer research experiences, either at Cornell College or at other institutions around the world. Below are descriptions of some of their recent work.
Cole Horan worked at Cornell College, exploring data gathered from radio signals emanating from a star-forming region called the Rosette Nebula. Cole created computer models of the shape of the nebula to determine the electron density in the nebula, and used electron density, along with a quantity called rotation measure, to calculate the magnetic field in the nebula.
Laura Wetzel worked at the Albert Einstein Institute in Hannover, Germany, through an international REU program through the University of Florida. Her project was titled "Characterization of passive fiber resonators" and involved determining the limitations of fiber resonators as optical frequency references. Her work contributed to laser stabilization in an extremely sensitive interferometer for the possible detection of gravity waves. Laura graduated in spring 2016.
Lawrence Dennis spent the summer at Indiana University working on an experiment with Dr. Mike Snow searching for forces beyond the Standard Model. The purpose of the experiment was to find a force that acts between the spin of one particle and the mass of another. Lawrence worked to find materials with a magnetic susceptibility of zero for use in the next round of these experiments. Lawrence is pursuing a Ph.D. in physics at the University of California – Davis, starting fall 2015.
Brian Hixson-Simeral and Phyo Lin worked at Cornell College, making Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC) from scratch. They made the TiO2 nanoparticles using a high-pressure autoclave. They explored several methods for adhering the nanoparticles to a substrate. They used a BET device to determine the surface area of the nanoparticles. They also fabricated quantum dots to explore as an alternative to dye molecules. Brian and Phyo graduated in spring 2016.
Bhaskar Koyyalamudi worked at Cornell College to fabricate graphene and use it to build a supercapacitor. Bhaskar transferred to Illinois Institute of Technology to pursue Chemical Engineering.
Laura Wetzel worked as an intern at Los Alamos National Lab in Los Alamos, New Mexico, in the Shock and Detonation group. She built and programmed a white-light spectral-interferometer in order to calibrate spectrometers for an ultrafast dynamic ellipsometry experiment. She also modified a computer program which simulates a laser-shocked thin film of liquid, to account for possible volume-changing chemical reactions which could occur behind the shock front in the film.
Nathan Wichman and Lawrence Dennis worked at Cornell College, making Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC) from scratch and measuring and modeling their electrical characteristics and efficiencies. They made refinements to an electrochemical impedence spectrometer (EIS) to measure detailed electrical characteristics of the solar cells. Nathan graduated in 2014.
Kathleen Ellis spent the summer at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Kathleen used the computer program Octave to numerically calculate the electrical characteristics of a photovoltaic cell made of a mixture of two different organic semiconductor materials. The electrical characteristics depend on the shape of the interface between the materials, which can be modeled as a diode and resistor network. Kathleen received a Master’s in Sustainable Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Sean McKenna was one of a dozen students selected for the Space Astronomy Summer Program at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. The Space Telescope Science Institute is the scientific operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope and for the future James Webb Space Telescope. During the summer program, students work individually with STScI researchers and staff on research projects that might include data reduction and interpretation, software development, scientific writing, and preparing data for public releases. Sean received a Ph.D. in Computing: Graphics and Visualization at the University of Utah in 2017.
Joey Hambleton participated in the NSF-REU research program in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Oklahoma University. He analyzed data taken from the Fermilab high energy particle collider. Joey received a Master’s in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Wichita State University and is working as an Electrical Engineer at Textron Aviation.
Suzannah Wood earned a Cornell Fellowship to study with Joyce Guzik '82 at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Suzannah will work on modeling the interior of the Sun, including the effects of early mass loss and electron screening. Suzannah received a Ph.D. in Solid State Chemistry at the University of Oregon in 2017.
Kathleen Ellis and Mandip Sibakoti worked at Cornell College, making Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC) from scratch. They made the TiO2 nanoparticles using a high-pressure autoclave. They developed an electrochemical impedence spectrometer (EIS) to measure the electrical characteristics of the solar cells. Mandip is pursuing a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota.
Alex Yeagle worked with the High Energy Physics group at Kansas State University as a part of the MicroBooNE collaboration. The goal of the project was to create a reliable procedure for hand-scanning events from computer simulations of the MicroBooNE detector. He worked to identify events caused by electron-neutrinos (νe) and discriminate from all other events in order to properly measure neutrino mixing angles.
Aaron Zaubi worked at the University of South Florida in the Applied Physics Department. Aaron’s project was to help build a device to gather spectroscopic data from single quantum dots. The device included optics to collimate and focus a laser beam used to excite the quantum dots, a cryostat to cool the quantum dots, and a spectrometer to collect the light emitted from the quantum dots. Aaron teaches physics at Madison Park High School in Boston, MA.
Kunnawalkam Raghav did his summer internship at one of the leading theoretical research institutes, the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) in Chennai, India. The group Raghav worked with was trying to incorporate thermal field theory into non-commutative quantum field theory. Raghav’s work involved making calculations which were intended to help him improve his understanding of field theory. Raghav received a master’s in Nuclear Physics from SUNY Stoney Brook in 2013, and a Ph.D. in Heavy Ion Physics at Rutger’s University in 2017.
Suzannah Wood worked in the Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics & Engineering Research, at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Suzannah used a CCD camera imaging technique to determine the three dimensional structures of small dusty plasma clusters. She also carried out N-body numerical simulations of the structures to compare to the experimentally determined structures.
Talon Holmes - Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - Cornell College
Nathan Jepsen - Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - Cornell College
K.E. Raghav - Particle Physics - University of Iowa
Alex Yeagle - Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - Cornell College
Aaron Zaubi - Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - Cornell College
Fadzai Fungura – Medical Physics - Cornell College
Andrew Reindel - Astrophysics - Los Alamos National Lab
Zach Zasada – Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - Cornell College
Adam Skokan – Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - Cornell College
Julia Kamenetzky - Astrophysics - Cornell University
Adam Culberson – Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - Cornell College
Andrew Reindel – Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - Cornell College
Esther Chapman - Astrophysics - Bucknell University
Zoe Downing - Particle Physics - CERN (Switzerland)
Julia Kamenetzky – Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - Cornell College
Lucas Jorgensen – Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - Cornell College
Logan Squires – Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - Cornell College
Zoe Downing - Condensed Matter Physics - Penn State University
Tim Harrington-Taber - Nuclear Physics - Indiana University
Esther Chapman – Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - Cornell College
Sarah Collins – Dye Sensitized Solar Cells - Cornell College