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Haverford College
Departments of Physics and Astronomy
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Student Research: Senior Theses

Our majors find the Senior These to be one of the most challenging experiences at Haverford, but also the most satisfying. With guidance from their faculty mentors, students write a paper, typically 25-50 pages long including figures and references, aimed at a general audience of physicists. Frequently, this leads to a publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

2013 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Avian Flocking Dynamic: Studying the Function of Signaling and Vision
  • Quantum State Tomography by Coupled Target-Probe Qubit Evolution
  • Photoconductivity in DNA-Porphryin Complexes
  • Investigating Tidal Structures Surrounding the Galaxy NGC 5907
  • Small Stars and Heavy Metal - Using HST Globular Clusters to Derive an Empirial Photometric Metallicity Relation for Low-mass Stars
  • Item Response Theory Analysis of the Conceptual Survey of Electricity & Magnetism and of Lawson's Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning

2012 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Initial Characterization of a Histidine-d(C2) Vibrational Probe and Progress Towards its Incorporation in Influenza Hemagglutinin
  • Quantum Logic
  • Synchronization of Chlamydomonas Flagella, Studied in Two-Dimensional Films
  • Properties of X-ray Selected AGN Pairs in the Chandra COSMOS Survey
  • Investigating Precursor Phase Solar Coronal Temperature Changes and Wavelength-Dependent Differences in Solar Flare Observations
  • Expansion of the Early Universe: A Numerical Simulation of Chern-Simons Inflation
  • Dark Matter Detection with DMTPC: Distinguishing WIMPs from Neutron Backgrounds
  • Galactic Interactions and Star Formation in HCGs 92 and 97
  • An Extended Approach to Determining the Detectability of Milky Way Satellites
  • A Search for RR Lyrae Stars in Segue 2 and 3

2011 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Quantifying Entanglement in Mixed Quantum States
  • Magnetic Field Generation through Coupling with the Inflation Field
  • Segue 3 – Investigating An Atypical Star Cluster
  • Photoconductivity of Self-Assembled Chrysotile-Porphyrin Nanohybrids
  • Simulating Observations of the Milky Way Halo
  • Electron Beam Lithography for Length-Dependence Studies of Organic Nanowires
  • Deformations of a Sheared, Cohesive Granular Material in Two Dimensions: Local Order And Rearrangements in an Amorphous System
  • The Compression and Concentration of Classical and Quantum Information
  • Interactions of Swimming Algal Cells in a Quasi-Two-Dimensional Fluid Film
  • Mobbing: A Study in Flocking and Evasion
  • Stability of a Cosmological BCS Condensate as Dark Energy

2010 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Searching for Milky Way Dwarf Galaxies in RCS2
  • Photoconductive Properties of Self-Assembling Chiral Porphyrins
  • Probing Cosmic Reionization at 3 cm
  • Photometric Analysis of Willman 1, an Ultra-Faint Galactic Satellite
  • The Observed Kinematics of Ultra-Faint Galaxies
  • Emergent Inflation from a Cosmological BCS Neutrino Condensate
  • The Chapman Enskog Expansion on the Sphere

2009 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Spectral Energy Distributions of Radio Sources in Medium Redshift Galaxies: Implications for Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect Surveys
  • Effect of Xenon on Photoconduction in TPPS4 Nanorods
  • The Coupling of Gravitational Waves to Matter - An Unanswered Question in General Relativity?
  • Modeling TPPS4 Aggregation with Molecular Dynamics
  • Anisotropic Particles in a Fluid Flow
  • Discrete Simulations of Fluid Flow on Curved Surfaces
  • Scattering in Quantum Lattice Gas Models
  • Star Formation and Dust Obscuration in the Tidally Distorted Galaxy NGC 2442
  • Circular Dichroism Spectroscopy by Scattering: A Survey Method in the Search for Extraterrestrial Life
  • Vortex Dynamics in Two Dimensions

2008 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Explicit, Efficient Decomposition of Multi-qubit Quantum Gates
  • The Appearance of Swirl in an Axisymmetric Converging Flow
  • Trajectories of Inertial Particles and Fluid Elements
  • Effects of Oxygen and Gating on Porphyrin Nanowires
  • Effects of Aging Time and Porphyrin Concentration on the Morphology of Meso-tetrakis(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphine (TPPS4) Nanorods, and Effects of Morphology on Their Photoconductivity
  • Forster Energy Transfer in Nanostuctures

2007 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Sulfonated Porphyrin Aggregates: Morphology and Optoelectronics
  • Experimental Methods of Analyzing Fluid Systems: Particle Tracking in a Kolmogorov Flow
  • Persistent Photoconductivity and Photo-Induced Morphological Changes in Porphyrin Nanorods
  • Flow Properties of Dense Colloids in Microfluidic Devices
  • Electronic and Structural Properties of Porphyrin Nanorods and Nanofiber Bundles
  • Entropic Ordering of Bacteriophage
  • Evidence for Inverted Spectrum 20 GHz Emission in the Galactic Plane
  • A Quantum Entanglement Measure for Mixed States

2006 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Computational Physics at Haverford College:  Using the Matlab Programming Language
  • Dynamics of Surface Flow in Horizontally Vibrated Granular Layers
  • A Model for Molecular Wires: Formation of Linear Aggregates of Coproporphyrin and Coated Spheres with Submicron Radii
  • The Photoconductive Properties of Phorphyrin Nanorods Over Long Time Scales
  • Scanning Conductance Microscopy of Porphyrin Nanorods

2005 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • High Voltage Behavior of Carbon Nanotube in UHV
  • The Photoconductivity of Porphyrin Nanorods"
  • Structural Investigations of Nanorod Aggregates of Meso-Tetrakis (4-Sulfonatophenyl) Porphine"
  • Elastic Instability in Elongational Polymer Flow"
  • Using Nanotubes for Enhanced Atomic Force Microscopy
  • "Shear-Induced Aggregation of a Binary Granular Mixture in an Annular Geometry"
  • Physics of Quantum Dots"
  • Construction of a Magneto-Optical Trap for the Trapping and Cooling of Individual Rubidium Atoms"
  • Micromagnetic Manipulation of Cardiac Tissue"
  • Development and Testing of Java Applets for Physics Education"

2004 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Carbon Nanotube AFM Probes for Use in Solution"
  • Fast Granular Flow"
  • Simple Simulation Solution: Least-Squares Linear Parameterizations of Activation Energies in Rh/Ag(001)"
  • Nanoscale Contacts Using Carbon Nanotubes"
  • Fluid Mechanics and Mixing on Small Scales"
  • Modeling Endosymbiotic Evolution"

2003 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Electron Transport in Graphite Nanocrystals"
  • Determining the Effects of Elasticity on the Mixing Dynamics of Polymeric Fluids"
  • Towards a Model of Symbiotic Evolution - The Origins of Eukaryotic Life"
  • Carbon Nanotube Breakdown"
  • Structure and Properties of Myosin-II Aggregates"
  • On the Conductivity of DNA: A Novel Approach"

2002 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Mixing in Polymer Solutions"
  • Ice Nucleation in Clouds"
  • Edge Transfer Lithography"
  • Investigation into the Electrical Properties of Atomic Wires"
  • Modeling Lipid Raft Diffusion in T-Cells"
  • Cross Correlation of the Cosmic Microwave Background with Radio Sources"
  • Detecting Diffuse Optical Light in the Cluster of Galaxies Abell 1413"
  • ADAF Model Predictions of Black Hole Mass from a Radio/X-ray Luminosity Relation"
  • Diffuse Interglactic Light in Abell 2218: Does it Trace the Dark Matter?"
  • Serendipitous Expedition: Radio Source Counts at 8.5 GHz"

2001 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Accessing Polymer Structural Information with Laser Tweezers"
  • The Effects of Primordial Black Holes on the Cosmic Microwave Background"
  • Shear Flow Effects in Granular Materials"
  • Fluid Mixing in Two-Dimensional Chaotic Flows"
  • Structure in the Visual Field (or, why your optic nerve isn't as thick as your arm)"
  • Rhodium Excavations of the Silver Surface"
  • Approximating Phase Transition Temperatures"
  • It's Alive! Genetic Assisted Design and the Evolution of Digital Circuits in Field Programmable Gate Arrays"
  • Clustering of Vibrating Particles Immersed in a Viscous Fluid"
  • Periodic Variables in the Young Cluster NGC1333"
  • Large-scale Structure of the Cosmic X-ray Background"

2000 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Modeling Phase Separation in Systems of Vibrated Granular Particles"
  • Searching for Companions to Nearby Stars Using Methane-Band Imaging"
  • Making Contact with Atomic and Molecular Wires"
  • Radio Source Counts at 1.4 GHz"
  • Nanotribology - A Modern Approach to the Study of Friction"
  • Misconceptions and Instructional Methods in Introductory Physics: Energy and Momentum"

1999 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • The Electronic Properties of Atomic Sn Wires and an Investigation of the Double Piezoelectric Effect"
  • Mechanisms of Vacancy and 2nd Layer Adisland Formation in the Rh/Ag(001) System"
  • A Model for Spontaneous Outflow from an Advection Dominated Accretion Flow"
  • Velocity Statistics and Phase Transitions in a Vibrated Granular Monolayer"
  • Some Applications of Scanning Tunneling Microscopy to the Study of Proteins"
  • Contemporary Applications of EPR-Bohm Entanglement"
  • Using Laser Tweezers for Determining the Elasticity of Novel DNA Systems"
  • Cosmology from Compact Extragalactic Radio Sources"
  • Transient Ordering of Adatoms on Surfaces of Square Symmetry"

1998 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Studies of Transient Mixing Phenomena in Two Dimensional Flows"
  • Frictional Dynamics of Granular Materials"
  • Single Electron Devices: Progress in Physics and Fabrication"
  • A Statistical Search for Ghost Images in the Radio Sky"
  • Structure and Stability of Sharp Tungsten Asperities"
  • Using Biological Specificity to Image Proteins with a Scanning Tunneling Microscope"
  • Long Term Magnetic Activity Variations in Post Main-Sequence Stars"
  • Making Atomic Wire Contacts Through UHV-STM Field Evaporation"
  • Educational Strategies for Dealing with Preconceptions Held by Introductory Physics Students"

1997 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Using Biological Specificity to Study Proteins with Scanned Probe Microscopes"
  • Wave Patterns: An Interplay Between Geometry and Nonlinearity"
  • Platinum (110) as a Scanning Tunneling Microscope Tip Characterizer"
  • Primeval Galaxies or Very Distant Active Galactic Nuclei? Radio Mapping to Determine the Properties of High Redshift Objects in the Hubble Deep Field"
  • Ultrahigh Vacuum Scanning Tunneling Microscope Investigation of the Stability of Sn Adsorbed onto Si(100)"
  • Mechanisms of Vacancy Formation in the Rh/Ag(100) System."
  • An STM Study of Chlorophyll Aggregation and the Conduction Mechanisms that make Imaging Possible"

1996 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Large-Angle Anisotropy in the Cosmic Microwave Background: A Fingerprint of Conception or the Wrinkles of Maturity?"
  • The Chemical-Mechanical Polishing of Josephson Junctions (A Type of Superconducting Electronics)"
  • Computer Simulations of Gravitational Lensing: A Theoretical Approach"
  • The Scanning Tunneling Microscope and Quantum Corrals"
  • Near Infrared Observations of Distant Galaxies"
  • Surface Brightness Fluctuations and the Distances to NGC 2778, NGC 2872, and NGC 3379."
  • The STM in Biology: Premises, Promises and Problems"
  • Mixing of a Dye in Two Dimensional Turbulence"
  • Monte Carlo Simulation of Radiative Heat Transfer and Solar Collector Optical Efficiency"

1995 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • W(001) Surface Reconstruction: Toppling Conventional Models"
  • Experimental Investigation of Linear Stability in the Faraday Experiment"
  • The Use of Hierarchically Structured Software as a Learning Supplement for Introductory Quantum Mechanics"
  • Modifying High School Physics with a Project Based Curriculum"
  • Phase Transition from Computer Simulations of Alkali Metal Absorption"
  • Rimming Flow: An Investigation of Wavelength Instabilities in a One-Dimensional Pattern Forming System"
  • Quasi One-Dimensional Conductors as a Model for One-Dimensional Conduction"
  • Feedback Control Systems in a Scanning Tunneling Microscope"

1994 Physics & Astro Senior Theses

  • Quantum Interference in Percolating Manifolds"
  • Time Averaging of Spatiotemporally Chaotic Faraday Waves in a Circular Container"
  • An Application of Group Theory to Molecular Quantum Mechanics"
  • Introductory Physics Instruction: A Transformation of Intuitive Models"
  • Detecting Gravitational Waves and Excitations of Earth Vibrations by Terrestrial Mechanisms"
  • Jovian P-mode Oscillations and the Crash of P/Shoemaker Levy 9"
  • An STM for Imaging Biological Molecules"
  • Detection and Control of Chaos"
  • A Device for Automatically Controlling the Intensity of a Laser Tweezer"
  • Pulse Excitations of the Earth's OS2 Normal Mode and the Search for Gravitational Waves"
  • Using the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect as a Cosmological Probe"
  • Infrared Search for a Dwarf Component of Dark Matter and Photometry of an M8 Giant"
  • The Design of a Scanning Tunneling Microscope and Ultrahigh Vacuum Chamber for Microscopy and Nanofabrication"
  • Three Dimensional Instabilities in Thin Film