Junior Independent Study

Students stand on a sunny lawn in front of a blooming redbud tree.

The junior physics majors are each working away on their “self-designed” projects. Each student develops a proposal for their own research question and spends the weeks after spring break developing a procedure, exploring their question, and then writing up their results. It’s so much fun for me as the professor to walk around checking on everyone and talking through the challenges and results!

We (the juniors plus Aidan, one of our helpful senior TAs) took a short break this afternoon to eat some frozen treats outside on this sunny day. The redbud outside Taylor are as lovely as ever this year, and the spring beauty wildflowers are still blooming.

Here are a few images and blurbs about some of the different projects!

For my Junior IS self-design project, I worked with a chemical system called BZ waves. It creates excited wavefronts in a different color that you can make into spiral shapes.  My goal was to measure how the wavelength of these spirals changes if they are on a curved surface. The photo is an example of a spiral wave on a hemispherical shell which is outlined in yellow. This can be used to model many natural behaviors such as the electrical impulse over heart muscle or signals that travel over different regions of the brain. 

-Tali Lansing