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Physics is the study of the most fundamental concepts and forces in nature. It provides the skills and opportunity to work within dynamic research fields in astronomy, materials science, nanotechnology, optics, and high energy physics.

Physics had a strong showing in creative activity and research this past year. Physics faculty had a large number of articles appear in leading peer-review journals, gave some significant presentations, and had continued success in acquiring external funding. Among the achievements are Dr. Christine Broadbridge’s promotion to the Director of STEM Initiatives at Southern and Dr. Todd Schwendemann’s  campus directorship of the CT Space Grant Consortium. Physics was very active this past year writing grant proposals to external and internal funding agencies. In addition to new funding from a NSF MRI grant of $150,000 for two years, there is continued funding for over $500,000 from NSF grants and the Werth Family Foundation. Drs. Broadbridge, Enjalran, and Schwendemann made a presentation at the New Haven Manufacturers Association Meeting on student research experiences and preparation of the future workforce.

Southern students and students working with Southern faculty and programs (e.g., Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), SCSU & Yale) were active in research, writing their results for publication, and presenting their data at professional conferences. Students were co-authors on 4 papers and gave 14 presentations at national and local conferences. Several students gave presentations at Southern’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference in the Spring. Poster presentation topics included BioPhysics, Astrophysics, Nanophysics, among others. Physics students also co-presented with Physics faculty at the Industry Academic Fellowship Werth Foundation Meeting in Summer 2014 and at the Material Research Society Fall Meeting. Four undergraduates, Eric Gossett, Alexis Ernst, Peter Litwin, Rebecca Petronchak, completed Honors Theses. Three students, Roshan Ghimire, Keshav Puri, Andrew Lombardo, received Masters of Science in Applied Physics degrees. Two recent graduates will head off to doctoral programs; Eric Gossett will be a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University and Alexis Ernst will be a Ph.D. student in Materials Science at UCONN.

Physics Department

Recent Departmental and Faculty Successes

Dr. Christine Broadbridge was a co-author with other scientists for the article, “A high density two-dimensional electron gas in an oxide heterostructure on Si (001),” for Appl. Phys. Letters Materials. She was also invited to present, “CRISP MRSEC: Achievement of 21st Century Skills via Team Based Interdisciplinary Research in Materials Science,” at the 2014 SACNAS Conference in Los Angeles, CA.

Dr. Matthew Enjalran presented his research in theoretical physics, “Charge and magnetic correlations near the Mott transition of the Hubbard model on the anisotropic kagome lattice,” at the International Conference on Highly Frustrated Magnetism at Queens' College, Cambridge, UK. He was also invited to present at a workshop for Theorists and Undergraduate Institutions, KITP, at UC Santa Barbara.

Dr. Leon Finch co-authored with several scientists, “Electron and Positron Fluxes in Primary Cosmic Rays Measured with the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the International Space Station,” and “High Statistics Measurement of the Positron Fraction in Primary Cosmic Rays of 0.5-500 GeV with the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the International Space Station,” for Phys. Review Letters.

Dr. Elliott Horch was lead author on “Observations of Binary Stars with the Differential Speckle Survey Instrument. V. Toward an Empirical Metal-Poor Mass-Luminosity Relation,” for Astronomical Journal. He co-authored with others, “Understanding the Effects of Stellar Multiplicity on the Derived Planet Radii from Transit Surveys: Implications for Kepler, K2, and TESS,” for the Astrophysical Journal. He was also invited to speak on his research with a talk entitled, “Cutting the cord: toward wireless optical intensity interferometry,” at the conference for Advanced Photon Counting Techniques IX, in Baltimore, MD.