The department of physics and astronomy currently has several research programs which are open to student involvement at all levels. If you are interested in participating, feel free to contact the faculty members involved for more information.
The current astronomical research program at UW Oshkosh is centered on gathering abundance and population data from field stars to probe of the structure of our Galaxy. Many important questions remain unanswered about its chemical and dynamical history and the processes which shape its present characteristics. A detailed knowledge of the properties fo the stellar populations throughout the galactic disk can place significant constraints on many of the possibilities. With recent improvements in detector technology, theoretical models, and large aperture telescopes, we may finally be in a position to address these issues.
There are several research projects which are either ongoing or in the planning stage, most of which have openings for student contributions.
Contact: Nadia Kaltcheva
Currently, this research centers around an off-campus collaboration with Hartmut Höchst at the University of Wisconsin's Synchrotron Radiation Center. Right now, we are interested in geometric, thin-film effects that are predicted to modify the magnetic circular dichroism signals from ferromagnetic materials.
Contact: Dennis Rioux
Physics Education Research
The physics education research group at UW Oshkosh seeks a deeper understanding of how students learn introductory topics in physics. Currently, we are engaged in a series of systematic studies to identify mechanisms or "triggers" for learning the Newtonian force concept.
These studies are leading us in two directions:
- a critical re-examination of the history of mechanics, especially ancient Greek, Islamic, and French-Renaissance texts, and
- the development of a novel description ("model") of cognitive processes necessary for understanding Newtonian mechanics.
Certain aspects of this model are being studied empirically in UW Oshkosh classrooms. Modern student reasoning is used to clarify interpretations of the historical literature, and vice versa. This approach extends studies by Jean Piaget (1893-1980) on the relation between psychogenesis and the history of science. Recent advances in classroom technology allow us to pose and answer many new research questions in this area.
The Physics Education Group meets once per week and is welcome to all interested students.
Contact: Mark Lattery