Physics Research

Research Projects

At Truman you have ample opportunities to engage in research with a faculty mentor. Research is a requirement of the BS degree, and it culminates with a presentation at a local, state, or national professional conference. Physics majors also take advantage  of Research Experience for Undergraduates sites at various universities and national labs.

Recent and current student projects include:

  • Ultrasonic studies of tissue
  • Construction of a numerical action minimizer
  • Modal characteristics of clarinet reeds
  • Magnetic damping by eddy currents
  • Diode laser atom trap
  • Nonlinear dynamics and chaos
  • Propagation of surface elastic waves

Faculty Research

Taner Edis

Various theoretical and computational projects related to quantum mechanics in phase space: trying to understand Wigner functions as the time-component of an underlying probabilistic particle current.

Michael Goggin

Experimental, theoretical and computational projects involving quantum optics, nonlinear dynamics, and the classical-quantum transition.

Laser cooling and trapping of atoms; The interaction of light with atoms; Distributions of short-time Lyapunov exponents of chaotic systems; Calculation of level curves of the Wigner distribution function for the square barrier potential.

Vayujeet Gokhale

Astrophysics; Formation and evolution of compact binary stars; Population synthesis of binary stars;  Accretion disks; Planet formation and habitable  planets;  Astronomy; CCD Photometry; variable stars.

Ian Lindevald

Research involving the physics of sound production and radiation in musical instruments. Characterizing woodwind reeds — asking whether variations in the vibrational modes of woodwind reeds are correlated with variations in the quality (timbre, “playability”) of the reeds as perceived by players. Experimental component: using holographic interferometry to image reed vibrational modes as well as other acoustical techniques. Theoretical component: modeling reed vibrations using finite element techniques.

Samuel Ling

Theoretical and experimental projects, plus research on physics education. Ultrasonic study of the elastic properties of heart tissue and other biological materials; Organic semiconductors; Surface plasmons; Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy; Investigating the effectiveness of active learning methods in physics education.

Eduardo Sanchez Velasco

Mainly theoretical and computational projects. Wave propagation, surface elastic waves; Ray theory and caustic formation; Physics of imaging, seismic and X-ray imaging; Mathematical physics, differential geometry; Foundations of quantum mechanics; Quantum optics and quantum electronics; Computational fluid dynamics; Numerical simulations in statistical mechanics; Phase transitions and critical phenomena.

Truman student Nathan Klein

Even in a small department, the personal contact matters. In the fall of my freshman year, I went to a barbecue at a professor’s house, so I met students and professors personally early on. I also joined the Society of Physics Students, where I met older students who gave me good advice about my four-year plan.

Nathan K., Physics Major, Philosophy & Religion Minor