The faculty of the St. Olaf Physics Department have several ongoing research projects that provide not only important contributions to the scientific community, but also a research experience for undergraduates. In the summer of 2011, twelve physics majors worked on projects led by faculty members both on campus and at several sites around the United States. If you are interested in an undergraduate research experience, contact the chair, David Nitz, or the advisors for the projects listed below for an application. Summer research positions usually offer a stipend and housing allowance as well as a chance to gain invaluable experience in a research setting.
Ice and Climate Geophysics Group (CEGSIC) (Bob Jacobel and Knut Christianson)
Student research in the Antarctic, Greenland, Sweden and Washington.
Positron Research Group (Jason Engbrecht)
Student research on positron applications.
Surface and Interface Physics Research Group (Brian Borovsky)
Student research on friction, wear, and other mechanical properties
of high-speed microscale systems.
Programming for Discovery (Amy Kolan)
Fourier Transform Spectroscopy of Rare Earth Elements (David Nitz)
The primary goal of this project is to measure atomic transition probabilities for iron group and rare earth atoms using broadband, high resolution Fourier Transform Spectroscopy.
Non-Visual Photoreception (James Demas)
Specifically, we measure the contribution of rod and cone derived input on the estimate of mean light levels (i.e. irradiance) in visual environments with differing degrees of contrast (i.e. variance around the mean light level).