Current Undergraduate Research Openings

Astrophysics & Cosmology

Prof. Ian Dell’Antonio: Distribution of dark matter in the Universe and the evolution of the dark energy density using gravitational lensing and other astrophysical techniques.  

Prof. Rick Gaitskell: Our group,, is part of the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) collaboration,, which operates a dark matter detector using liquid xenon technology. The LUX experiment is located at the Sanford Laboratory at Homestake Mine in South Dakota. The first run in 2013, LUX became the world leading experiment looking for the direct detection of WIMP (weakly interacting massive particles) dark matter. LUX is carrying out further dark matter search runs in 2014-2016. The group is also involved with the design and construction of the future LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) experiment,, which will serve as an major upgrade to LUX. Undergraduate projects will focus on analysis and simulations for LUX, as well as detector fabrication and characterization for LZ. Students involved with the experiment will gain substantial experience in underground science, rare event searches, and cutting-edge technologies in particle astrophysics.  Openings are available for the academic year and/or summer.

Prof. Greg Tucker: Research is focused on making measurements of the early universe. Measurements of the cosmic microwave background to understand the first fraction of a second after the Big Bang. Measurements of highly redshifted neutral hydrogen to understand the earliest stages of structure formation.    We are also developing an experiment concept to characterize massive exoplanets. Openings are available for the academic year and/or summer.  

Biological Physics

Prof. Jay Tang: Seeking talented and enthusiastic undergraduates to participate in research on bacterial swimming and cell crawling. Work involves experiments using various microscopy techniques, as well as computer modeling and simulations.

Prof. Derek Stein: Available projects are: DNA dynamics in solid-state nanopores, DNA dynamics in nanofluidic structures, Single-molecule DNA manipulation using optical tweezers, and Electrokinetic energy harvesting in nanofluidic channels.

Condensed Matter Experiment

Prof. Kristie Koski (Chemistry): Current opening for an undergraduate in measuring charge density waves in 2D materials using transmission electron microscopy and device physics.

Prof. Humphrey Maris: Opening for a student to work on the behavior of electrons in superfluid helium. We have succeeded in making a movie showing the motion of a single electron. This research could include both experiment and theory.

Prof. Vesna MitrovicCurrent opening for students to work on simulating NMR spectra in materials exhibiting exotic magnetic and orbital orders. Also, to work on various aspects of application of NMR to quantum computing.

Prof. Gang Xiao: Research: fabrication, characterization, and study of magnetic tunneling junctions and spintronic systems.  A candidate should be interested in working on various research projects. Students must be US citizens or permanent residents. If not, he or she will need to apply for UTRA for the summer.

Prof. Jim Valles: The Physics of Swimming Paramecia – we are investigating how paramecia sense forces as they swim. Their force sensing mechanism is ultra sensitive and not well understood. And, Nanostructured superconductors and metals – we investigate how patterning metals and superconductors with nanometer scale structure (like perforating them with small holes) influences their properties.  

Condensed Matter Theory

Prof. Brad Marston: Current opening for an undergraduate to work on a climate modeling project.  Familiarity with basic physics and the ability to program computers is required.  Please visit Environmental Condensed Matter Physics page for more information.

Elementary Particle Experiment

Explore nature's high energy frontier by becoming involved in experimental particle physics, with funded research opportunities associated with the CMS detector at the Large Hadron Collider, including visits to Fermilab and CERN. Undergraduates can contribute to data analysis and physics results and participate in hands-on detector work including R&D on advanced detectors, both in the summer and during the academic year.  To discuss these possibilities contact Profs. Dave Cutts, Ulrich Heintz, Greg Landsberg or Meenakshi Narain.

Elementary Particle Theory

Prof. David Lowe: Research in gravitational aspects of string theory, including black holes and applications to cosmology.

Prof. Marcus Spradlin: Research in particle physics and string theory, including theoretical and computational projects exploring the mathematical structure of scattering amplitudes.

Prof. Anastasia Volovich: Current openings for undergraduates to work on various aspects of field theory and string theory.