PHYS 498 and 499 (Senior Seminar and Project) Spring 2017

Students - the following are some interesting sites that help answer questions about ethical behavior in research and publishing. While the issues are focused on are research condect and misconduct, many of the topics generalize  to other types of professions.

You might be interested in looking at Retraction Watch
See handout page for syllabus.


PHYS 499 students - get talking to faculty NOW, (don't wait until the semester starts). If you have been involved in research with a faculty member, it is OK to dig deeper in that topic  as the 499 project. I guarantee that putting together the Phys 499 report and doing the background work on it will get you much deeper.

PHYS 498 students - not a bad idea to start thinking NOW, and still is good idea to start talking to faculty before the semester starts. Think about it when it is still fun and deadlines are still far away.

See the list at the bottom of the page for potential topics that faculty have suggested.


Meets Friday 2:00-4:30pm (Class meets 2-3pm. Physics Colloquium (with refreshments starting at 3:00 pm) will generally end a bit before 4:30)
LaTourette Hall 227

The Fall 2017 syllabus is posted below. The list below is more up-to-date of all faculty who have given topics that they feel they can mentor or that might be suitable for project. To mentors (and advice to students) Student have the best time and do the best with topics that have been fairly focused from the beginning, so don't be afraid to send in a fairly specific topic.  It is hard for a student (who is not an expert in the field) to figure out what fits and what does not fit into the scope of the suitable 1 semester project without guidance.  When you see your mentor make sure from the beginning to start working on the scope of the project to make it concise and focused. 

And Faculty and students should remember - a one semester project is really about 10-12 weeks. The last few weeks of the project are required for working on the finals reports and the presentation, and tying up loose ends.  This is different more formal experience than an open ended research experience where it can just keep going or changing every week to something that catches the faculty or student's fancy.

Catalog description:

PHYS 498. SENIOR SEMINAR (1 credit) Topics of current interest in physics and physics educa-
tion. Attendance at the Department of Physics colloquium series required. PRQ: PHYS 374 and
senior standing in physics.

PHYS 499. SENIOR PROJECT IN PHYSICS (3 credits, honors credit) Program of study and research in a special area of physics selected in consultation with a faculty member and approved by the depart ment chair. Project results evaluated by a faculty panel. A student who receives credit for PHYS 499 may not also receive credit towards the major in PHYS 459. PRQ: PHYS 374 and senior standing in physics.

Faculty and either their suggestions for topics or description of their expertise. The research active faculty in the department will have websites that discuss their interests and expertise. Students are encouraged to start talking to faculty NOW!. The topic and its boundaries need to be defined (and approved by faculty mentor) in under 2 weeks into the semester.

Where faculty and research faculty have provided them, some links to an article or site that illustrates the topic is provided.


Jahred Adelman 
The Higgs boson: Why was it needed, and how was it discovered?
The Standard Model: Why is it incomplete, and where might we find new physics?
Gerald Blazey ... (on administrative leave from Department)
Dennis Brown
        Mossbauer Spectroscopy
Dhiman Chakraborty
The mysteries of dark matter and/or dark energy.
The universal preponderance of matter over antimatter.
What is the origin of mass?
Swapan Chattopadhyay
        Accelerator Physics
Omar Chmaissem
        Neutron Scattering techniques
George Coutrakon
        Medical Physics
Bogdan Dabrowski
Energy conversion: Thermoelectrics and Solid Oxide Fuel Cells.
Energy utilization: Oxygen Storage and High Temperature Superconductors.
Multiferroics and Magnetic Semiconductors for Spintronics.
Paradigm of oxides orbitronics: Creating order at atomic scale.
Bela Erdelyi
Andreas Glatz
        Simulation techniques in condensed matter physics
David Hedin
Detecting particles and searching for new phenomena.
Yasuo Ito
Electron Tomography.
Laurence Lurio
X-ray lasers
Thermodynamics of membranes.
Stephen Martin
Supersymmetry and the frontiers of physics.
The cosmological constant and the expansion history of the universe.
Beyond the minimal Higgs boson.
Triggers for new physics discoveries at the Large Hadron Collider.
Susan Mini  ... (on administrative leave from Department)
Philippe Piot
Photon and Electron beams: Interactions, Synergies and Applications.
Youngmin Shin
Metamaterials: Novel optoelectronic RF structures for future accelerator and radiation source application
Carol Thompson
Are bananas ferroelectric? - a current controversy  (a cautionary tale try google  - Bananas go ferroelectric.)
Magnetic Force Microscopy of magnetic domains via AFM  (requires a bit of time at Argonne)
X-ray reflectivity as a probe of surfaces and interfaces (requires some use and knowledge of matlab).
Michel van Veenendaal
Observing changes with X-rays in a split picosecond.
X-ray absorption and X-ray scattering.
Roland Winkler
Aharonov-Bohm effect (a ”quantum paradox”: tuning the intereference of electrons by
means of a magnetic field though the electrons never ”see” the field)
Berry phase (another ”quantum paradox”: if we ”rotate” a quantum system by 2pi, it can
be different from the system before the rotation).
Schrdinger’s cat (another ”quantum paradox”: Why is Schrdinger’s cat dead and alive at
the same time?).
Datta-Das spin transistor (a transistor that uses the electrons’ spin degree of freedom
instead of the electric charge of the electron).
Coulomb blockade and single-electron tunneling (in the nanoworld, one electron more or
less on a device can make a big difference).
Giant magnetoresistance (tuning electric resistance by means of a magnetic field, useful
for modern harddisk read heads).
Zhili Xiao
Nanoscale Superconductors.
Nanomaterials based gas sensors.
New superconductors.
Vishnu Zutshi
          Detectors in HEP and medical physics