Physics majors at most other colleges simply have to take exams prior to graduation. CC physics majors participate in a Senior Seminar to earn their degree. Working alongside a physics professor, the student conducts his/her own independent research. Rather than end with just another essay or paper, the student must test his/her knowledge by presenting to the entire CC science community, communicating his/her complex ideas in language non-science majors can understand. Presentations run about 45 minutes including questions, and are then evaluated by two professors. Forced to interact with others at a highly intellectual level, our rugged CC physics majors do more than a simple exam. There are 12 senior physics majors, but here are three samples of their exciting developing projects.
A Broncos fan, and lover of both jorts and America, Nathan Childs also loves the Manhattan Project. Called the biggest scientific undertaking in United States’ history, the Manhattan Project, and the making of the atomic bomb, catalyzed major nuclear physics development and spurred incredible amounts of ethical questioning. Childs seeks to calculate the neutron capture cross-sections of several different elements including U238, U235, and possibly plutonium.Both atoms are isotopes of Uranium found in nature. U238 is used for increasing the efficiency of the atomic bomb and U235 is used to sustain a fission chain reaction. Childs will also conduct some critical mass calculations and explain the early design of the bombs, including the amount of material needed to sustain the nuclear chain reaction in these weapons. The inspiration for the idea came from a book he read called, “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” by Richard Rhodes, and his respect for the vision of 20th century physicists like Bohr, Fermi, Oppenheimer, and Lawrence. Childs is amazed with America’s effort to finish the atomic bomb, and we look forward to the outcome of his incredible ideas.
In his own words, ”I was born in Denver but have moved all around the US and even to London. I went to high school in Houston, but I’m very glad to be back out in Colorado.”
Interests: ”I love to snowboard, fly-fish, rock-climb and adventures in general. And the Broncos, gotta love the Broncos.”
Academia: ”I’m concentrating on Astrophysics, but I’ve contemplated engineering and almost became an environmental science major before physics.”
Favorite Pair of Pants: ”It’s a toss-up between my jorts, which are always a go to, or some new American flag shorts. The company’s motto is ‘suns out – thighs out.’”
Chaos starts with the beginning of a block: a quick decision towards one class, the closing of another, saving a spot at lunch, or not eating outside. Small everyday actions like these often spur massive long term effects we can never predict or comprehend, embodying a theory commonly known as “The Butterfly Effect.” Lammers desires to comprehend the incomprehensible. Though currently in the planning stages, he’s looking to give an overview of the Chaos Theory, the phenomenon including “the development of apparently random behavior in systems governed by deterministic laws”. Lammers plans to “examine in depth the development of chaos in logistic maps used by population biologists, as well as in driven damped oscillators.” These maps model chaos, explaining the population growth of certain organisms with countless variables scientists otherwise couldn’t account for. He would also like to build a sort of “double pendulum system that will exhibit chaotic behavior.” Lammers is interested in the universality of chaos, such as its presence in cloud formation, long-term climate, stock market fluctuations, oscillators, and many more everyday systems. For the latter half of his seminar, he hopes to explore “the role of chaos and fractals in developing the structures of living organisms.” As a double major in philosophy, Lammers strives to incorporate philosophical implications in an already intriguing and all-encompassing topic we can’t wait to try to understand.
In his own words.: “I am a Physics and Philosophy double major from San Antonio Texas.”
Interests: ”I play soccer for the men’s Varsity team at CC, act as a sports information intern in the off season, and work in the Writing Center as a writing tutor. In my free time I like to get out doors, hike, camp and the like.”
Tid-Bit: “I enjoy writing and building siege weapons (I have a 7i-nch Trebuchet stored in the physics building at present).”
Favorite Pair of Shorts: ”Pin stripe shorts for sure.”
Many assume music requires a form of instrument, but Brendan Lamarre attempts to create music with electricity. Lamarre wants to build a musical tesla coil, a device that will “shoot arcs of electricity out with a programmable frequency so that I can effectively play a song.” If you search “musical tesla coil” on YouTube, you can find multiple videos of people playing songs like the “Mario Brothers theme song” or even “Mortal Kombat”, all with lightning flashing across the scene in sync with the beats of the music. The aforementioned videos have over one million views each. Lamarre Solid State Tesla Coil should use music as its input; the electricity will arc at different audible frequencies and play a desired song. We look forward to seeing flashes of “lightning” produce music, the ultimate visualizer function for any music track imaginable.
In his own words: “I am from Denver, Colorado. I was interested in physics ever since my first physics class junior year of HS.”
Interests: ”I love to ski, play lacrosse, rock climb, hike, and ski. Pretty much any outdoor activity.”
Tid-Bit: “I have done two REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates), an astrophysics one at Boulder and an electrical engineering one at Princeton.”
Favorite Pair of Shorts: ”I’d have to say cut off snow pants.”