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2007 Sigma Pi Sigma Undergraduate Research Awards
Award Information & Previous Recipients

The following five Society of Physics Students (SPS) chapters have received Sigma Pi Sigma Undergraduate Research Awards to fund chapter research projects. The awards provide calendar year grants to support local chapter activities that are deemed imaginative and likely to contribute to the strengthening of the SPS program. The program is funded through income from the Sigma Pi Sigma Trust Endowment Fund. Award details...

University of Southern Mississippi
  University of Southern Mississippi
 

From left to right, back row: Tyler McCleery, Gregory Carson. Front row: Dwana King - SPS president, Dr. Alina Gearba - Faculty advisor,
Randall Dannemann.


Characterization of a Rubidium Magneto-Optical Trap

Final Project Report

Abstract
Recently, at the University of Southern Mississippi, rubidium atoms were cooled and trapped in a magneto-optical trap (MOT). The proposed research program consists of a systematic characterization of the rubidium MOT in terms of the total number of trapped atoms versus different laser intensities, laser detunings, and magnetic field gradients.

Principal Proposers: Dwana J. King, Gregory Carson, Tyler McCleery and Randall Dannemann
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Alina Gearba

 
Indiana University
  Indiana University
  Left to right: Greg Pauley and Andrew Ferguson.

Studies of a Pyroelectric Crystal to Develop a Tabletop Neutron Source

Final Project Report

Abstract
It is proposed to develop a neutron source from an existing commercial product. The tabletop device uses a pyroelectric crystal to create an electric field that accelerates ions towards a deuterated target to produce neutrons via fusion. The neutrons will be characterized and used to further study particle interactions by Indiana University undergraduate students.

Principal Proposers: Greg Pauley and Andrew Ferguson
Chapter Advisor: Dr. Mike Snow
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Rick Van Kooten

 
Idaho State University
  Idaho State University
  Left to right: Dr. Steve Shropshire, SPS Advisor; Zebulon Graham, SPS President; David Coneff; Cody Womack; Andrew Sayler; and Dr. Dan Dale, Research Advisor. The device we are holding is a prototype solar cell panel, similar to the larger one we will build for this project.

A Measurement of the Atmospheric Optical Thickness Using Photovoltaic Cells

Interim Project Report

Abstract
We propose to carry out investigations involving solar cells. These investigations involve measurement of the atmospheric optical thickness (aot), using bandpass filters to determine wavelength dependence of the aot, and a technique for optimizing the photovoltaic panels' alignment. Using a given intensity of sunlight, we will also determine the absolute efficiency of the photovoltaic panel. Finally, we will determine the effects of diffuse light on the photovoltaic panels by masking the solar cells to block the access of direct sunlight.

Principal Proposers: Zeb Graham, David Coneff and Andrew Sayler
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Dan Dale and Dr. Steven Shropshire

 
Central Washington University
  Idaho State University
  Left to right: James Mullen and Travis Peterson.
  Idaho State University
  Left to right: Dr Brunstein (technical advisor) and Sammi Abdul-Wahid.

Electronic Realization of Chaotic Systems

Final Project Report

Abstract
The Central Washington University chapter of SPS is interested in experimentally investigating electronic realizations of chaotic systems. J.C. Sprott has reported on a class of chaotic differential equations that can, in principle, be simply realized using discrete electronic components. These circuits can be used to easily investigate chaotic behavior in a simple system. This will be done by constructing a simple chaotic circuit and investigating the chaotic output, while varying the controls parameters. We will use a computer interface that will allow us to automate the investigation of the relationship, collect data, and to vary initial conditions. Another aspect that we propose to investigate is the synchronization of two additional chaotic circuits.

Principal Proposers: Taylor Kendall, David Cross, James Mullen and Eric Kangas
Chapter Advisor: Dr. Sharron L. Rosell
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Michael R. Braunstein

 
University of Louisville
  University of Louisville
 

Left to right: Tim Allen, Blakesley Burkhart, Ben Snook, Albert Bolander, Brett Batchelor, and Faculty Advisor Dr. David Brown.


Two Panel Cosmic Ray Telescope

Interim Project Report

Abstract
Recent findings have shown that cosmic rays traveling through the atmosphere may play a role in weather patterns. The research plan is to use the detector to determine if there is a correlation between cosmic ray flux and thunderstorms by studying the flux during lightning, cloud formation, and rain.

Principal Proposers: Timothy Allen, Brett Batchelor, Albert Bolander, Blakesley Burkhart and Benjamin Snook
Faculty Advisor: Dr. David Brown

 
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