Senior I. S. Projects

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Two notes from Psychology Major Christopher Causey ’85 (link to article):

Independent Study is the “art of incrementalism.”

“It’s easy to get paralyzed by the size and scope of a project like I.S.,” he said. “I gained the confidence and ability to think about the project not in its entirety, but as a series of steps. Learning to view challenges as incremental processes has really helped me throughout my career. It’s been an efficient, effective way to achieve meaningful impact.”


  • Nick Gaba, Effects of Solvent and Polymer Properties on the Enthalpy of Swelling of Swellable Organically-Modified Silica
  • Aman Jissa, Investigating the dynamics of avalanches on a bead pile using functional analysis
  • Abrar Khondker, GALFIT Decomposition of Disk Galaxies in the Extended Groth Strip
  • Kelly Kim, Interevent Time Correlations for Avalanches on a Conical Bead Pile 
  • Aidan Mason, Building a Flow Reactor to Investigate BZ Systems
  • Kelsey McEwen, Determining the Trajectory of an Anisotropic Particle in an Electromagnetic Field
  • Luke Wilson, Relativistic and Asymmetric Diffusion Models using Partial Differential Equations















  • Corwin Atwood-Stone, Accretion Features of AU Mon
  • Alison Huff, Examining the Characteristics of 17R4 Using Refractive Indices and Dynamic Light Scattering
  • Heather Moore, Continuous Wave Cavity Ringdown Spectroscopy
  • R. Michael Winters, The Two-Higgs Doublet Model and Sonification: Using Sound to Understand the Origin of Mass






  • Andy Brinck, Comparison of High and Low Flux States of the Microquasar XTE J1748-288
  • Austin Carter, Ballistic Electron Emission Microscopy of InAs/GaAs Quantum Dots
  • Mark Lightfoot, Measuring the Coexistence Curve of 8-Arm Star Polystyrene in Methylcyclohexane
  • Saleh Satti, Phase Transitions and Dielectric Anisotropy in Nematic Binary Mixtures: Comparing 7CB and MBBA Mixtures to 5CB and MBBA Mixtures
  • Daniel Utley, Measuring the Reflectivity of Semiconductor Mirrors Using Light-Intensity Ring-Down in a Half-Symmetric Resonator


  • Katie Frato, Experimental Studies of Signal Noise in Gene Regulation in the Inducible Antibiotic Resistance Pathway of Escherichia coli
  • Nick Harmon, Chaos on S2:The Newtonian Two-Body Problem on the 2-Sphere
  • Tom Spears Searching for Possible Correlations of γ-Ray and X-Ray Emissions from Active Galactic Nuclei
  • Nithya Venkataraman, The Turbidity and Correlation Length Amplitude of 8-arm Star Polystyrene in Methylcyclohexane Near The Critical Point


  • Clinton Braganza, The Turbidity of 8-Arm Polystyrene in Methylcylochexane in the One-Phase Region Near the Critical Solution Point: A Small Step in Determining the Effects of Polymer Architecture on Critical Amplitudes
  • Daniel Brubaker, A Mechanical System Designed to Exhibit Bistable Stochastic Resonance
  • Christie Egnatuk, Kaluza-Klein Theory
  • Nick Hanson, Two-Dimensional Clustering Transitions in Vibro-Fluidized Hard Spheres
  • Ryan Hartschuh, Measuring the Coexistence Curve of 8-Arm Star Polystyrene in Methylcyclohexane
  • Bradley Lignoski, Decoherence, the Classical Appearance of the Quantum World and Quantum Evolution
  • Jeffrey Moffitt, Self-Erasing Perturbations of the Abelian Sandpile Automata 
  • Rebecca Urban, Dynamics of a Steel Bead Pile Exhibiting Self-Organized Criticality


  • Sara Connolly (Chemical Physics), Synthesis and Deformation of Smectic-A Liquid Crystals
  • Matthew Krivos, Effect of a Dropped Bead’s Kinetic Energy on the Self-Organized Critical Behavior of a Bead Pile
  • Christopher Locke, The Turbidity of an 8-arm Star Polystyrene in Methylcyclohexane Near the Critical Temperature
  • Joshua Martin, The Investigation of Possible Candidates for a Calamitic and Discotic Mixture and the Physical Properties of the Eutectic Mixture N4
  • David J. Miller, The Flux Creep Automaton
  • Derek Somogy, Ammonia Emission in Star Forming Region S235 A/B


  • Lauren Ault, Cosmological Nucleosynthesis
  • Drew Bouchard, Neutral Dielectric Anistropy in a Binary Liquid Crystal Mixture
  • Rachel Mary Costello, Visualization of Objects in the Vicinity of a Black Hole
  • Scott Hughes, An Investigation Using Cellular Automata and Differential Equations to Model Magnetic Flux Creep Through a Type II Superconductor, Represented by an Array of Coupled Josephson Junctions, Using a Standard Square Lattice, as Well as a Non-traditional 6-Fold Symmetric Lattice
  • Amy Lytle, A Structural and Optical Study of Evaporated Droplets Containing DNA
  • Chris Templeman, Kinematics of Granular Material in a Two-Dimensional Couette Shearing Cell


  • Geoffrey Bonvallet, Placement of Bright S88B Objects on a Hertzprung-Russell Diagram Using Visible Light Measurements
  • Sridhar Chandramouli, Noise Enhanced Propagation in an Array of Schmitt Triggers
  • Sean English, The Formation of Complex Lenses from Evaporated Droplets Containing DNA
  • Andrew Nowicki, Measurement of the Turbidity of the Critically Composed Binary Fluid Mixture Succinonitrile and Water in the One-Phase Region Near the Critical Solution Point Using Light Scattering
  • Timothy Sir Louis, Self-Organized Criticality in a Bead Pile
  • Zakir Thaver, Chaos in the Brain: A Nonlinear Time Series Analysis of Electroencephalograms


  • Joshua Bozeday, Noise Enhanced Propagation in an Electronic Array
  • Madhujit Ghosh, Measurement of the Heat Capacity of the Binary Fluid Mixture of Succinotrile and Water Near the Upper Critical Consolute Point Using Adiabatic Calorimetry
  • Manon Grugel, Λ
  • Andrew Kuck, Noise Enhanced Propagation
  • A. Christine Rauch, A Study of the Phase Transitions of Mixtures of the Nematic Liquid Crystals 5CB and MBBA
  • Paul Rebillot, Static Traversable Wormholes and the Violation of Null Energy Conditions
  • David Walkenhorst, Reducing Viscous Drag Using Microbubbles


  • Jason Darfus, Photometric Measurements of Variable Stars as a Tool to Determine Astronomical Distances
  • Jodee Jones, Kinematic Parameters Important to Biological Motion: A Macroscopic and Microscopic Analysis
  • Jonathan Keim, Classical Electron Theory For a Non-point Charge
  • Bryan Prusha, Nonlinearity and Computation: Implementing Logic as a Nonlinear, Dynamical System
  • Woody Shew, Taming Chaos in an Array of Pendulums


  • Erica Bramley, Electro-optics of a Smectic A Liquid Crystal Doped with Nanoparticles
  • Delaney DeMay, Examining the Lyotropic Liquid Crystalline Phases of a Physiological Mixture
  • Christopher Ditchman, Investigation of Transients and Static Modulated Phase in the Nematic Liquid Crystals 5CB and CCH-7
  • Noah Johnston, An Exploration of the Ueda Oscillator Using Analog Computers to Map the Three Dimensional Phase Space to Two Dimensions: A Look into the Future, Using the Techniques of the Past
  • Francesca Mascarenhas, Hearing the Shape of a Sound: The Physics of Colliding Bars
  • Anindya Mukherjee, Illuminating an Endpoint
  • Ali Rauf, Predicting Earthquakes
  • Christopher Spillmann, The Kinetics of Palmitic Acid Self-Assembled Aggregates


  • Darwin Keith-Lucas, η: An experiment measuring the turbidity of the binary fluid methanol-cyclohexane, determining the elusive exponent η
  • Ali Özgenç, The Kinetics of Fatty Acid and Phospholipid Solid Self Assembly
  • Salman Saeed, Frequency Dependence of the Modulated Phase in 5CB
  • Cyrus Screwvala, The Chaotic Tumbling of Hyperion: Moon of Saturn


  • Ronald Craig, Flexoelectric Effect in the Nematic Liquid Crystal 5CB (4-cyano-4′-n-pentylbiphenyl)
  • Anne Flewelling, Phase Transitions in a Monolayer of Phospholipids: Using the Langmuir Balance Technique
  • Paul Hall, The Turbidy of the Binary Fluid Mixture Methanol-Cyclohexane Near the Critical Point: the Measurement of the Fisher Critical Exponent η
  • Priyavadan Mamidipudi, Effects of Magnetic Fields on the Modulated Phase of 5CB
  • Andrew Martin, An Automated Analysis of Swimming Behavior in Paramecium Tetraurelia
  • Jared Ripps, An Investigation into the Structure of Agarose Using Laser Light Scattering


  • William Antel, Chaotic Dynamics on Rippled Surfaces
  • John Cuff, Electric-Field-Induced Freedericksz Transition in the Nematic Liquid Crystal 5CB
  • Rohan Defonseka, Measurement of the Heat Capacity Anomaly of the Binary Fluid System Triethylamine-Water Near the Critical Solution Point Using Adiabatic Calorimetry
  • Michael Hunter, Spatiotemporal Chaos on a Sphere of Duffing Oscillators
  • Stephen Nichols, Study of the Effects of an Electric Field on Agarose Gel by Neutron Scattering


  • Joshua Fagans, The Fourth Dimension Unveiled: A Preliminary Reconnaissance of Four Dimensional Objects from Mathematics and Physics
  • Peter Hourigan, New Nematic-Smectic-A Transition Instability in Di-Heptyl-Alkyl Azoxybenzene Liquid Crystal Focusing on Anchoring Breaks and Transitions
  • Nikfar A. Khaleeli, Adiabatic Calorimetry Measurement of the Heat Capacity of the Binary Fluid Triethylamine-Water Near the Critical Point
  • Asad Khan, The Chaotic Behavior of a Single-Mode Semiconductor Injection Laser Coupled with an External Feedback Cavity
  • Linda D. King, An Investigation of the Excess Volume Effect of the Binary Liquid Mixture Perfluoromethylcyclohexane + Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Taka Kumashiro, Quantum Metaphysics: A Dialogue in Search of Knowledge
  • Christopher J. Levy, Self-Organized Criticality in a Conical Sandpile
  • Mark McKinney, Chaos in Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystals
  • Joseph Neff, Signal Recognition Using Chaos and Control Algorithms


  • Christopher Hamilton, Controlling Chaos with Weak Perturbations Using the Dynamics of Chaos in a Dripping Faucet as a Base
  • Erich P. Ippen Jr., Numerical Simulation of Chaotic Resonance
  • David H. Kime, The Venus Puzzle: Tectonics and Terrestrial Planets


  • Richard C. Bailey, A Study of Electro-Optic Properties of Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystals as a Function of Sample Curing Time
  • Mark L. Bricker, A Dynamic Light Scattering Study of a Nematic Liquid Crystal in the Presence of a Magnetic Field
  • Alice D. Churukian, Chaos in a Dripping Water Faucet
  • Karl A. Crandall, Determining the Bend Elastic Constant of the Liquid Crystal Di-Heptyl-Alkyl Azoxybenzene (Using Freedericksz Transition)
  • Douglas A. Halverson, A New Method for the Experimental Investigation of Self-Organized Criticality
  • Andrew O. Mellinger, Multiple Time Dimensions
  • Victor T. Norton (Chemical Physics), The Belousov-Zhabotinskii Reaction: a computer simulated study of bromate oscillators and autocatalysis
  • Jonathan F. Partee, Adiabatic Calorimetry Measurement of the Heat Capacity of Triethylamine-Water Near the Critical Point
  • Thomas M. Taczak, BumperPool: A New Region for Chaotic Billiards


  • Dennis Kuhl, The Excess Volume Effect of the Binary Liquid Mixture Perfluoromethylcyclohexane + Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Susan Leitholf, Ion Beam Mixing in a Bismuth Silicon Bilayer
  • Karen McEwen, Avalanches in an Hourglass
  • Naseem Rahman, Electrical Properties of an Infinite Grid of Resistors


  • Bryan R. Johnson , Calculating a Dimension of a Strange Attractor
  • John M. Mandryk, Using Energy Relationships for the Verification of the Modeling of a Vaulting Pole Based on the Elastica Theory of Euler
  • Donald L. Mosteller, A Photon Correlation Spectroscopy Study of Brownian Motion
  • John G. Scudder, Escape! A Computer Solution to the Restricted Three-Body Problem
  • Craig E. Selby (Chemical Physics), Coexistence of the Binary Fluid Perfluoromethylcyclohexane-Isopropyl Alcohol


  • Supratik Burman, An Analysis of the Wave/Particle Nature of Statistically Independent Photons
  • Sergio DeSouza-Machado, A Computer Simulation Study of Deterministic Dissipative Systems Exhibiting Chaotic Behavior
  • Gregory D. Elfring, An Introduction to Fractal Geometry and its Applications
  • Todd Ewers (Chemical Physics), Observation of Phase Transitions in Ceramics, Cyclobutanes, and Cycloheptanes by DSC Methods
  • Vonda Fairbanks, The Excess Volume Effect of Methanol-Cyclohexane in the One-Phase Region
  • Ashok Mittal, A Study of Brownian Motion Using Photon Correlation Spectroscopy
  • Palani Sakthivel, Coefficient of Expansion of a Thin Aluminum Film
  • Stephen G. Stafford, Turbidity Measurements in the Near Critical Region for the Binary Mixture Polystyrene Diethyl Malonate


  • Kevin P. Andrews, The Coexistence Curve of the Binary Fluid Triethylamine-Water
  • John B. Fanselow, Adiabatic Calorimetry Measurement of the Heat Capacity of a Near Critical Binary Fluid
  • Scott R. Gunselman, The Physics of a Racquetball Racquet: The Sweet Spot
  • Daniel O. Hogenboom, A Study of Brownian Motion Using Light Scattering
  • Ashok Mittal, A Study of Brownian Motion Using Photon Correlation Spectroscopy
  • Terrence B. Khoo, A Study of the Proper Order Parameter for Binary Liquid Mixtures
  • Mike LaVilla (Chemical Physics), Cyclic Voltammetry Study of the Vitamin B12 Complex TRNS-Aqua Cobalt III
  • Scott P. McLean, A Biomechanical Analysis of the Power Generating Phases of the Front Crawl Stroke
  • George F. Miller, A Technique for Determining the Contact Time of a Golf Club-Ball Collision and its Relationship to Club Velocity
  • Eric Parker, High Resolution Stand-Alone Video Processor
  • Anna C. Ploplis, Turbidity of Polystyrene-Diethylmalonate Near the Critical Point


  • Solomon Ngubane, Heat Capacity of a Binary Fluid Mixture: Methanol-cyclohexane


  • Bill Andrew (Chemical Physics), A Test of the Lorentz-Lorenz Relation in an Isobutyric Acid and Water Binary Fluid
  • Charles Partee, Heat Capacity of a Binary Fluid
  • Raheel J. Rae, Automated Classification of Stellar Spectra
  • Kent A. Thurston, An Analysis of Optical Spectra of Cataclysmic Variable H2252-35


  • Polly Groth, Empirical Strain Modeling in California: Use of Very Long Baseline Interferometry
  • Douglas A. Iams, An Analysis of Simultaneous Optical and Ultraviolet Spectra of SCO X-1
  • Polly Wardwell, The Coexistence Curve of Methanol-Isooctane


  • Robert Cohn (Chemical Physics), Effects of Acetone Impurity in a Near-Critical Mixture of Methanol and Cyclohexane
  • Jeffrey B. Parker, The Design and Testing of an Apparatus for the Measurement of the Ultrasonic Properties of Liquids


  • Arvind Ahuja (Chemical Physics), Thermal Expansion of Bovine Femur as a Function of Temperature
  • Steven E. Hoell, Photographic Studies of Vortex Dynamics in HE II
  • Ann Mowery (Chemical Physics), Light Scattering in a Near-Critical Binary Fluid Mixture
  • Lori Pederson, An Investigation of the Heat Capacity of the Binary Fluid Mixture Nitroethane-3-Methylpentane Near its Critical Point