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 and Barton Pritzl
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:
1. a critical re-examination of the history of mechanics, especially ancient Greek, Islamic, and French-Renaissance texts, and
2. 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
Physics of Nanofibers
This research is focused on preparation of metal-oxide and composite metal-oxide nanofibers using electrospinning method. By varying chemical composition of the solutions for electrospinning we are able to create great variety of flexible nanofibers with diameters ranging from 500 nm down to 50 nm, and to tune their physical and chemical properties. Surface morphology of nanofibers is investigated using electron microscopes whereas structural changes are probed with X-ray diffraction system. Infrared and ultraviolet spectroscopies are used to probe the optical properties of the fibers whereas surface area determination is performed with a BET instrument.
Contact: Nenad Stojilovic
Infrared and Magneto-Optical Spectroscopy of Exotic Materials
In this project we use infrared and magneto-optical spectroscopy to probe electrodynamic response of charge carriers in materials with exotic properties. We are currently interested in iron-based superconductors and topological insulators. Experiments are performed at temperatures ranging from room temperature down to 5 Kelvin. For magneto-optical studies, performed in fields up to 18 Tesla, we use facilities at National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. These projects are done in collaboration with Dr. Sasa Dordevic from the University of Akron and Dr. Cedomir Petrovic from Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Contact: Nenad Stojilovic