Physics Department News Archive

July 26, 2005

Summer Research 2005

Sioux Falls -- A number of Augustana College physics students are involved in research this summer in Sioux Falls and locations around the country. The department views research experience as an essential part of a undergraduate physics education and encourages as many students as possible to participate in summer programs.

Much of the physics summer research is conducted as part of an Augustana/Kansas State collaboration. Students involved in this work have been exploring how ionization of hydrogen molecules by fast ions depends on the relative alignment of the hydrogen internuclear axis and the incident ion direction. These alignment effects are interesting checks of quantum scattering calculations, and may help researchers to understand how interference effects from the two nuclear centers of the hydrogen molecule might one day be used as a probe of the nuclear position. Augustana student Nora Johnson started this work in summer 2004, and she continues her involvement as a KSU graduate student. Joining her this summer are Augustana College students Jamie Kapplinger, a senior from Spring Grove, MN, Ryan Mello, a senior from Casper, WY, and Mike Lundy, a sophomore from Sioux Falls, SD. Faculty involved in the project include Eric Wells at Augustana and Itzik Ben-Itzhak and Kevin Carnes at KSU. The experimental work takes place at KSU's Macdonald Laboratory, a large facilty for atomic, molecular, and optical physics research. When not in Manhattan, the students are involved in data analysis and feasiblity studies for future experiments.

Several other projects are underway as well. Kelsie Betsch (Augustana '05) has spent most of the summer preparing her senior research project for publication. She has used a statistical analysis technique to identify the essential parts of a laser pulse that has been optimized to produce a selective molecular fragmentation. Collin Taphorn, a chemistry and physics major from Storm Lake, IA, is working with Dr. Brian Moore of the chemistry department on developing molecular dynamics simulations. David Huebner, a physics, computer science, and mathematics major from Fargo, ND, is constructing a computer cluster to be used for large scale calculations. Further off campus, Ashley Chipman, a senior engineering physics major is working at NASA's White Sands Test Facility.

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Students from the Augustana College / Kansas State University collaboration in front of beamline LA15 in the Macdonald Laboratory at KSU. From left to right: Ryan Mello (Augustana), Mike Lundy (Augustana), Eli Parke (KSU), Nora Johnson (Augustana alumni, now a KSU graduate student), and Jamie Kapplinger (Augustana).

Nora and Jamie (obscured) make adjustments to the apparatus while Mike gives sage advice.

The entire chemistry/physics summer research crew for 2005. Front row (L-R): David Huebner, John Schniederman, Dr. Duane Weisshaar, and Ryan Mello. Middle row (L-R): Mike Lundy, Katie Severson, Angela Hays, Lesli Johnson, Heidi Reuter, Jessica Pauman, and Collin Taphorn. Back row (L-R): Jamie Kapplinger, Dr. Eric Wells, Dr. Jetty Duffy-Matzner, Will Buchanan, Eric Villa, Dr. Gary Earl, and Dr. Brian Moore. Not pictured: Kelsie Betsch, Michael Amolins, Brian Rekken, and Ashley Chipman.