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I view undergraduate research as both an important teaching activity and a critical part of my overall research strategy.  As such, I work with students on problems that are directly in line with my current research program, benefiting both the student and me. 

My areas of research are gravitational lensing and classical general relativity.  Students working with me can expect to work on projects that further our understanding of how light rays propagate through spacetime, and how, by studying the properties of these light rays, we may understand the universe. 

Past students have completed numerical and analytic projects.  They have presented their work at the ATP Undergraduate Research Celebration, and published their work as senior theses, in the Undergraduate Review, and in professional journals.  Nine of my former undergraduate students have enrolled in graduate school after completing their studies.  Past students have also attended regular group meetings with my collaborator, Professor Ian Dell'Antonio, and his students at Brown University.

Current Undergraduate Research Students:

*        Megan Lalumiere will conduct research on Type-D metrics, Godel-style metrics and coordinate transformations as supported by an ATP Summer Grant in Summer 2019

*        Contact me . . .

Past Undergraduate Research Classes:

*        Physics 422: Computer Simulations in the Physical Sciences (Spring 2017) – large group of students!  Students worked on a number of research problems including how to best divide work across a multi-processor computer cluster, how to examine where caustics have occurred in light rays, how lights rays move in the Godel Universe, and how to create or model galaxy clusters.

*        Physics 422:  Computer Simulations in the Physical Sciences (Fall 2011) -- Alex Roche, Kathryn St. Laurent, Joseph Fitzgerald, Dino Dourountoudakis, and Erkan Gulturk.  This class re-examined my paper with Bryan Campbell that looked at combining Hubble Space Telescope with ground-based images to detect the location of matter in a cluster from gravitational lensing (shear) data. This class improved on my work with Bryan in two ways. First the actual code written by members of the class is far superior and more efficient than the code Bryan and I wrote originally. Second, students in the class were able to show that including noise in the shear did not reduce the ability to detect the matter distribution. This class was supported by an ATP Semester Grant. The class made a presentation at the end of the semester, and two students will continue working on the problem in the spring 2012 semester. .

*        Physics 422:  Computer Simulations in the Physical Sciences (Fall 2008) -- Scott Johnson, John Rossman, Rob Schweitzer, Charles Harnden, and Scott Schlef.  The class computed the optical wave-fronts and wave-front singularities in Kerr (rotating black-hole) space-times, making still pictures and animations.  The data for the wave-fronts was generated using adaptive step-size C++ code that the students wrote during the fall term.  The animations were produced using Mathematica.  In fall 2008, the class received an ATP Course Grant that was used to purchase student versions of Mathematica and technical books.  Continuing in spring 2009, Scott Johnson and John Rossman received ATP Semester Grants which were used to discuss the project with Dr. Arlie Petters of Duke University.  Work is continuing to produce pictures for Dr. Petters for his upcoming book.  The class presented at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in April 2009.  More results can be found here.


Other Possible Undergraduate Research Projects:

*        Examination of how to best determine image locations (and create black hole shadow images) in non-perturbative gravitational lensing.

*        Examination of detailed caustic structures for non-symmetric galaxy clusters.

*        Examination of multiple lens plane Jacobian from the non-perturbative standpoint.  How does the shear from multiple lensing events add up?  (follow-up to Frittelli, Kling, & Newman)

*        Formation of strong lensing arcs and flexion from thick lens approach to gravitational lensing (follow-up to L. Bianchini) 

Past Undergraduate Research Projects:

*        Riordan Ernesti, Undergraduate Research Course, ‘Modeling galaxy formation using Newtonian dynamics’ (Spring 2019)

*        Robert Stanton, Undergraduate Research Course, ‘Initial studies in solving the non-perturbative lens equation. (Fall 2019)

*        Tyler Martell, Undergraduate Research Course, ‘Investigation of the Geodesic Deviations Equations in the context of weak gravitational lensing.’ (Spring 2018)

*        Eric Grotzke, ATP Summer Research Grant, Honors Thesis, co-author on two papers in GRG, ‘Wave fronts of point sources near Kerr Black Holes’ (Summer 2016-Spring 2017)

*        Kevin Roebuck, NASA Space Grant, Honors Thesis, co-author on two papers in GRG, ‘Wave front singularities in the Godel solutions to the Einstein Field Equations.’ (Summer 2016-Spring 2017)

*        Aly Aly, ATP Summer Research Grant, co-author paper in GRG, Honors Thesis, ‘Geodesic Deviation in the Newman Penrose Spin Coefficient Formalism’ (Summer and Fall 2014)

*        Tim Waite, NASA Space Gant, co-author paper in GRG, ‘Beowulf cluster modeling of photon wave-fronts near Kerr Black Holes.’ (Summer 2014)

*        Josh Napolitano, Undergrad Research Course, ‘Comparison of gravitational lensing signatures of singular solutions’ (Spring 2013)

*        Jared Buckley, Undergrad Research Course, ‘New Investigation of the Lorenz Equations in a Chaotic Attractor’ (Fall 2012)

*        Alex Roche, Summer ATP Award, "Computer Code in Support of Gravitational Lensing"(BSU Summer 2012)

*        Erkan Gulturk completed work on multi-grid methods for interpolation between the grids - follow-up to Physics 422 Fall 2011 Course.

*        Adelmar DoCanto, Summer ATP Award, NCUR, Undergraduate Review, "Can weak lensing observations constrain matter density fall-off (truncation) at large radii?"(BSU Summer 2011)

*        Scott Schlef, Summer ATP Award, NCUR,  senior Honors Thesis, "Dealing with Multiple Lens Planes in Gravitational Lensing."  (BSC Summer and Fall 2009)

*        John Rossman, ATP Semester Grant to attend a research meeting with Dr. Arlie Petters of Duke University in Spring 2009, "Examination of the Kerr black hole structure -- implications for wave-fronts."  (BSC Spring 2009)

*        Scott Johnson, ATP Semester Grant to attend a research meeting with Dr. Arlie Petters of Duke University in Spring 2009, "Advanced wave-front animations in Kerr space-times."  (BSC Spring 2009)

*        Chris Cepero, Summer ATP Award, NCUR, Undergraduate Review, "Accuracy of thin-lens approximation for weak gravitational lensing."  (BSC Summer 2008)

*        Louis Bianchini, Summer ATP Award, NCUR, Undergraduate Review, General Relativity and Gravitation,  "Modeling image distortion using the optical scalar equations of general relativity for "realistic" matter distributions."  (BSC, Summer and Fall 2008)

*        Ren Li, senior independent study, "Investigating the Ricci and Weyl Curvature Tensors in the Weak Lensing Context."  (BSC, Spring 2007)

*        Bryan Campbell, Summer ATP Award, senior Honors Thesis, NCUR, Physical Review D,  Undergraduate Review, "Integrating the Bianchi Identities for Weak Gravitational Lensing." (BSC, Summer and Fall 2006)

*        Jason Tower, Summer ATP Award, senior Thesis, NCUR, submitted to Undergraduate Review, "Light Cones for Spherically Symmetric Black Holes." (BSC, Summer and Fall 2006)

*        Niel Roza, senior independent study, "Non-perturbative gravitational lensing using three dimensional mass models." (BSC, Spring 2006)

*        George Levesque, senior Honors Thesis, "Numerical approaches for moving lenses." (BSC, Spring 2005)

*        Karen Kelleher, senior independent study, "Nonlinear dynamics and an electronic circuit." (BSC, Spring 2005)

*        Brian Keith, Summer ATP Award, senior Honors Thesis, NCUR, Undergraduate Review, Classical and Quantum Gravity, "The Bianchi identity and weak gravitational lensing." (BSC, Summer and Fall 2004)

*        William Plick, Keck Summer Research Grant and senior Honors Thesis, "Numerical approaches to cosmological lensing." (Connecticut College, Summer and Spring 2004)

*        Matthew Veigas, senior Honors Thesis, "Gravitational lensing for Kerr Spacetime." (Connecticut College, Fall 2001 - Spring 2002)

Undergraduate research and professional development for science faculty