Research Participation

Every physics major is encouraged to participate in an independent research project whether during the summer or the academic year. Click here to see the research projects from 1999-presentStudents are exposed to a synthesis of research and teaching from the time they enroll in their first physics course at Davidson.  Building on this initial experience, upper level courses develop skills in instrumentation and research methods.  By the end of their 4 years at Davidson, most students have been involved in either ongoing projects with departmental members, projects developed by the student for whom we have the appropriate equipment and expertise already available, or projects done during the summer at national laboratories or research universities.  The close collaboration between faculty and students is similar to the experience students will have in any graduate research program. However, our students use the equipment and are not just passive observers as undergrads are at research universities.  A student’s work usually results in oral presentations at local, regional and national professional meetings.  Publication of their work in professional journals is an attainable goal for many of our students.

Recent research projects have included:  Excitation dependence of radiative efficiency in InGaAs lattice-matched to InP,” “Creation, Confinement and Detection of Negative Ion Species,” “Supersymmetric Quantum Mechanics,”“Quenching of Green Upconverted Fluorescence in Er3+-doped Sol Gel-prepared Glasses,” “Second-order Elastic Constants of AgCl(56.6%)/AgBr from 23 to 400°C,” “Interferometric Wavelength Measurements,” “Ions in Electromagnetic Traps,” and “An Examination of Atomic-Field Interactions.”  Four of the above projects were done for Honors in Physics.  The results of these projects have been presented by our students at meetings of the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society and the North Carolina Academy of Science.  Our students consistently win awards for the best student presentation at these meetings. 

Two students appear as co-authors on a computational physics textbook published by John Wiley & Sons.  National recognition and awards have been given to ten student/faculty software projects dealing with chaos, lasers, statistical physics, laser cooling and trapping, ion traps, atom-field interactions, Delphi tools, molecular dynamics and Physlets (scriptable Java applets designed for physics) in recent years.

There are employment opportunities for students interested in doing research in physics at Davidson during the summer. Students have also participated in summer research programs at Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Georgia, the University of Virginia, the University of Tennessee, Florida State University, North Carolina State University, Syracuse University, and Cornell University.

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