Getting a physics degree at Utah State University (USU) is not just about taking courses and passing tests. A USU physics degree is about learning how to *do* physics and, most importantly, learning how to teach oneself the physics needed to solve problems as well as engaging in research and experiments in order to discover new aspects of the field. All physics majors finish their USU degree by doing just that. Through the capstone course, Research in Physics, each student teams up with a faculty mentor to perform research in a variety of physics topics over one or more semesters. Upon completion of their project, each student prepares a written exposition and gives a public presentation of their work. Many of these projects are documented here.

#### 2021

Comparisons of Mesospheric Temperatures Between 70 and 110 km: USU Lidar, NASA's TIMED Satellite, and the MSIS2 Empirical Model, David M. Collins

The Effects of Materials and Profiles of Gratings on Diffraction Spectra, Brock Halling

Phase-Space Dynamics of Runaway Electrons in Tokamaks, Gavin Held

Improving Skills in Computer Methods: Introductory Toolkit to Python for Undergraduate Physics Majors, Erin O'Donnell and Melissa Rasmussen

Developing Electron Beam Lithography at Nanoscale Device Laboratory, Din Pašić

#### 2020

Clustering and Classifying Geophysical Rock Properties of the San Andreas Fault, Jared Bryan

Giving Students a Better Understanding of the Concepts Behind the Coriolis Force, Ridge Cole

Traveling-Wave Electrophoresis: 1D Model, Austin Green

Synthesis of Graphene by Liquid Precursors at Lower Temperatures, Clayton Hansen

Determining the Phase of the Diurnal, Solar Thermal Tidal Wave in the Upper Atmosphere Using Nighttime Na Lidar Measurements, Trevor Harshman

Determing the Chaotic Nature of Periodic Orbits, Bo Johnson

Waves Over McMurdo Station, Robert Johnson

Material Outgassing Kinetics: The Development of a Testing Capability, Alex Kirkman

Fabrication of Suspended Microbolometers on SOI Wafers, Isaac Maxfield

National Security and Climate Change, Madison Moran

Understanding Noether’s Theorem by Visualizing the Lagrangian, Seth Moser

Hodographic Analysis of Na Lidar Data to Measure Atmospheric Gravity Wave Parameters, Jeffrey Ormsby

Optical Relaxation of Defects in Kapton Caused by Irradiation, Ashlan Keeler Swainston

#### 2019

Monitoring Ambient Laboratory Conditions with a Raspberry Pi, Joshua Boman

Decomposing the Hamiltonian of Quantum Circuits Using Machine Learning, Jordan Burns, Yih Sung, and Colby Wight

Thermal Oxidation of Silicon in a Home-Made Furnace System, Joshua Koskan

Porting Symbolic Libraries from Maple to Python, James Lewis

Physics 4900, David Maughan

Yang-Mills Sources for Biconformal Gravity, Walter Davis Muhwezi

Relaxation of Radiation Effects in Polymers, Alexandra Hughlett Nelson

Thermodynamic Properties of Black Holes, Geoffrey Schulthess

Octonionic Maxwell Equations, Ben Shaw

Mathematica Program to Compute Klein Gordon Equation for Generic Black Holes, Brant Smith

#### 2018

Numerical Methods for Anisotropic Thermal Conduction, Brett Adair

Investigation of an Unusual Thin Layer Descending Through the Upper Stratosphere, Houston D. Bentley

Gravity Waves Over Antarctica, Vanessa Chambers

Phonon Dynamics of Alkali Metals in the HCP Lattice Structure, Jake Christensen

Solar Observatory: Shedding Light on the Surface of the Sun, Zane F. Davis

Calculating Redshift via Astronomical Spectroscopy, Joshua Glatt

D-Region VLF Monitoring System, Jonh Carlos Mojica Decena

Characterization of Programmable Arduino Sensors, Brett Mortenson

Impact of Bubble Baths on Stainless Steel Sphere Water Entry, Wesley Robinson

Mathematica Program to Compute Klein Gordon Equation for Generic Black Holes, Brant Smith

Atmospheric Gravity Wave Events over Antarctica, America Wrobel

Sodium Lidar for Mesopause Temperature and Wind Studies, Xiaoqi Xi

#### 2017

Growing Bores at the South Pole, Mikaela Ashcroft

The Global Positioning System, Brendon Baker

UV Degradation of Polycarbonate, Katie Gamaunt

The Use of Plenoptic Cameras in Astronomy, James R. Hamilton

Explorations in Hybrid Rocket Technology: Arc-Track Ignition in 3D-Printed Rockets, Richard Harvey

Rayleigh-LIDAR Observations of Mid-Latitude Mesospheric Densities, Brandon S. Hustead, Lucas R. Priskos, Jonathan L. Price, and Joshua P. Herron

An Investigation of the Alkali Metals in the fcc Structure Using an Embedded-Atom-Method (EAM) Model, Marcus Jackman

Arduino and Raspberry Pi in a Laboratory Setting, Dustin Johnston

Investigating the Weddell Sea Anomaly using TIE-GCM, DaeSean K. Jones

Measuring and Modeling the Conductivity of Highly Insulating Materials, David King

Analysis of Carbon and Nitrogen Stable Isotope Levels in Side-blotched Lizards ( Uta stansburiana ) Fed Varying Diets, Kati Mattinson

Reducing the Contact Time of Bouncing Droplets using Macro-Textured Surfaces, Andrew Merritt

Microcontroller Survivability in Space Conditions, Windy Olsen

Rayleigh-LIDAR Observations of Mesospheric Densities, Lucas R. Priskos, Brandon S. Hustead, Jonathan L. Price, and Joshua P. Herron

Wormholes: Gates to the Stars?, Samuel Shreeve

Tilt Classifications in Perfect Fluid Cosmology, Bryant Ward

#### 2016

Algorithms for the Optical Profiling of the Atmospheric Limb Radiometry Data Analysis for the OPAL CubeSat, Eric D. Ashby

High Altitude Payload for CubeSat Aeroboom Development, Jessica Gardiner

The Consensus Problem, Cellular Automata, and Self-Replicating Structures, David Griffin

Atmospheric Modeling for OPAL Mission, Preston Hooser

Complexity and Art, Jeffrey Jenkins

Importance of Grad-Shafranov Re-Solves Towards Accurately Modeling an ITER Equilibrium in NIMROD, Joseph Jepson

Mineral Physics Modeling of the Effect of Water on Crustal Seismic Velocity Ratios, Eric Lyman

Smartphone Seismology: Data Acquisition Through Consumer Available Devices, Matt Olsen

The Schwarzschild Solution and Timelike Geodesics, Matthew Ross

Mysterious Mesospheric Bores Over the South Pole, Christina Solorio

Predictive Formula for Electron Range over a Large Span of Energy, Anne Starley

The Equivalence Problem: Einstein-Maxwell Solutions, Rebecca Whitney

OPAL CubeSatellite Flight and Line of Sight Integration Modeling, Kenneth Zia

#### 2015

Electrically Induced Plasma, Nate Ashby

Imaging the Brigham City Fault Segment Using Electrical Resistivity Tomography Techniques, Alex Barker

Centrality Measures of Graphs utilizing Continuous Walks in Hilbert Space, Jarod P. Benowitz

Thermal Evidence of Flat-Slab Subduction Perturbations in the Western US, Michael Berry

PT401 Paint Process Development and Infrared Reflectance Measurements, Sariah Cassidy

Statistical Variation of Diverse Light Emission Measurements from Bisphenol/Amine Epoxy Under Energetic Electron Bombardment, Justin Christensen

Suitability of Nickel Chromium Wire Cutters as Deployable Release Mechanisms on CubeSats in Low Earth Orbit, James Gardiner

Analysis of Electrostatic Breakdown Sites, Sam Hansen

Physics Education: Analysis of the Effects of i>clicker Usage in the Gen Ed Classroom on Content Learning, Collin Mortensen

Catching Mesospheric Gravity Waves Over Bear Lake, Utah, Kelly Osborne

Langmuir Probes in a Microwave Generated Plasma, Wesley Rawlins

The Schwarzschild Solution and Timelike Geodesics, Matthew B. Ross

#### 2014

Neutral Density Behavior from 45-90 km Based on Rayleigh Lidar Observations Above USU, David Barton

Creating an Electronic Analog of a Stomatal Network, David Berg

Constructing a Flat Field for Scientific Astronomical Imaging, Catharine Bunn

Computational Modeling of Doped Helium Clusters, Ryan Carlsen

GASPACS Structure: Designing to Survive, John Ellis

A Study of Anisotropic Chemical Etching on Crystalline Silicon, Gregory D. Erickson

High Precision Rapid Convergence of Asian Options, Mario Y. Harper

Creating Hertzprung-Russel Diagrams Of Open Clusters, Margaret Jensen

Rainich Geometrization of Real Massless Scalar Fields, Dionisios Krongos

Diffusive Electron Heat Flow and Temperature Variance Along Magnetic Field Lines, Michael Kushlan

Improved Measurements in Conductivity for Highly Disorganized Resistive Materials, Phil Lundgren

Soft Circuits: Improving Attitudes Toward Circuits Through Crafternoons, Darren McKinnon

Carbon Nanotube Sensors and Field Emitters, Ben Pound

Global Nightly OH and O2 Mesospheric Airglow: Examining a Decade of Measurements Using the NASA SABER Satellite Sensor, Jonathan Price, Jordan C. Rozum, Gene Ware, and Doran Baker; *The Journal of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, & Letters*

Analyzing Solutions to the Einstein Equations Using Differential Geometry, Jordan Rozum

#### 2013

Forward Model for Temperature Derivation from Atmospheric Lidar, Jaren Hobbs

The Potential of Educational Video Games, Phillip Hunt, Jan J. Sojka, Stephen Clyde, William Bermudez, Gortdon Fjelsted, Ryan Lauritzen, and Sam Shwartz

Studying Light Pollution in and Around Tucson, AZ, Rachel K. Nydegger