The Physics Department has active student research programs in lasers, optics, and computational modeling of biological systems. Many opportunities exist for students to work in interdisciplinary projects involving chemistry, biology, neuroscience and computer science. Projects span the range from Independent Study courses, Honors theses, and paid summer internships with the Drew Summer Science Institute. Faculty and students have been supported in their work from NSF, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Research Corporation, Council on Undergraduate Research, and American Physical Society Division of Laser Science.
The University’s observatory with its 16″ research-grade optical telescope, CCD camera, and computer workstations enable students to conduct research projects in such areas as forefront galactic structure modeling, variable star photometry, and analysis of images from sophisticated digital detectors.
Physics students can also work with distinguished industrial scientists through the Charles A. Dana Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti (RISE) program at Drew. Recently retired from such corporations as Novartis, Merck/Schering-Plough, and Alcatel-Lucent, these science fellows are continuing their research at Drew, and, most important, are involving Drew undergraduates in their work.
All student independent research projects are regularly carried out under the mentorship of a RISE fellow, or one of the resident faculty within the department, on a project of mutual interest. Senior projects conducted under the Honors Program and leading to a successfully defended thesis, result in specialized honors in physics being awarded at graduation.
Finally all physics majors are encouraged to apply for and participate in one or more summer research internships, either at Drew in the Summer Science Institute or externally. All students who have wished to do so in the past five years have been accepted in nationally competitive summer programs. These have included those at research universities sponsored by NSF REU grants, private industry such as Alcatel-Lucent, and government labs such as NIH, NIST, and NASA. Students participating in such programs have the opportunity to immerse themselves in an area of possible future research interest, measure themselves against students from other schools, scout out potential graduate schools, and possibly publish their research as an undergraduate. Students regularly share their summer experiences at a series of fall physics department colloquia.
Recent Research Topics
- The States and Vibrations of Elastic Beams
- The Inverse Problem in Classical Scattering
- The Born Approximation and Quantum Mechanical Scattering
- The Pulsed Dye Laser and Optogalvanic Effect
- Analytical Models for Heavy Quark Systems
- Total Internal Reflection of Acoustic Waves in an Inhomogeneous Half-Space
- An Investigation of (Zn, S) Co-doping in InP Semiconductors (Honors Thesis)
- An Investigation of Pulsed Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
- Laser Spectroscopy
- Scattering Theory: Inverse Scattering and the Theory of the Rainbow (Honors Thesis)
- Photometric Observation of Variable Star Y Leo
- Experimental Study of Holographic Gratings in a Photorefractive Polymer Composite (Honors Thesis)
- Computational modeling of neural systems