The University of Alabama strongly encourages students to get involved in research throughout their undergraduate degree. Research significantly enhances a student’s understanding of the scientific process and is a critical component of a student’s qualifications for graduate programs, especially in the fields of physics and astronomy.

two undergraduate women stand next to their poster presentation

Interdisciplinary student engineers Erin Martin (left) and Tobi Adedokun (right) present a poster at the 2016 UA Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Symposium.

Research Opportunities

Students at the University of Alabama have multiple opportunities to undertake research both within the Dept. and University or at external sites such as national labs or other institutions. In addition, students at UA are awarded the opportunity to present their research at regional and national conferences and meetings. For more information on research opportunities, please refer to the following sites:

Dept. of Physics & Astronomy Undergraduate Research

College of A&S Undergraduate Research

UA Career Center

UA Undergrad Research Conference

NSF REU summer programs (Research Experience for Undergraduates)

American Physical Society: List of Internships & Summer Programs

American Astronomical Society: List of Internships & Summer Programs

Federal opportunities for undergrads at

NASA One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI)

Pathways to Science is a project of the Institute for Broadening Participation (IBP). It supports pathways to the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Pathways to Science places particular emphasis on connecting women and minority groups with STEM programs, funding, mentoring, and resources. Its website can be used to find undergraduate summer research opportunities and graduate fellowships.

Dept. of Physics & Astronomy Undergrad Research

The Department of Physics and Astronomy provides many opportunities for  students majoring or minoring in physics, astronomy, or related fields, to be involved in active research on cutting edge scientific topics. This page lists some faculty currently seeking undergraduates to be involved in research and examples of projects students are currently or have recently been involved in.

The following faculty members are currently accepting undergraduate students for research projects:  Jeremy Bailin, Sergei Gleyzer, Conor Henderson, Adam Hauser, Matthias Kaminski, Gary Mankey, Preethi Nair, Igor Ostrovskiy, Andreas Piepke, Marcos Santander, Ion Stancu, Dean Townsley, Wang-Kong Tse.

If you are a student looking to get into research and something sounds interesting to you, please email the faculty member and make an appointment to discuss research with them. You are also encouraged to contact other faculty members not on the list above to inquire about projects during the semester or the summer.

Current & Recent Projects

Dual accreting supermassive black holes in merging galaxies.
Isabella Dugas/ Dr. Nair

Theoretical investigation of valley Hall effect in 2D transition metal dichalcogenide under photoexcitation.
Phuong Nguyen / Wang-Kong Tse

Micromagnetic investigations of spatial fluctuations of the first order perpendicular anisotropy.
Kayla Cole / Dr. C. Mewes

X-ray properties of merging galaxies.
Jeremy Cummings/ Dr. Nair

Structural decomposition of elliptical galaxies in the HST COSMOS and Frontier field.
Jacob Powell/ Dr. Nair

Measuring Spiral Arms in nearby galaxies
Carlisle Wishard/ Dr. Nair

Structural decomposition of barred galaxies in the HST COSMOS field.
Alex Hoffmann / Dr. Nair

Impedance analysis of zirconium-based chemical sensor materials.
Cole Harris / Dr. Hauser

Theoretical investigation of damping in exchange bias systems.
Alison Farrar / Dr. C. Mewes

X-ray Magnetic Circular Dichroism (XMCD) of metal-oxide nanoparticles.
Josh Phillips / Dr. Hauser

Applying pattern recognition techniques to galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Illustris simulation.
John Andrews / Dr. Nair

Thermal Spin Transfer Torque in Confined Systems.
Jessica Pugh / Dr. C. Mewes

τ neutrino detection in IceCube and IceCube-Gen2
James Parkes / Dr. Williams

Materials Design for Spintronic Devices.
Jaclyn Schillinger / Dr. C. Mewes

Reflection High Energy Electron Diffraction of Epitaxial Films
Thomas Jacob McDill / Dr. Mankey

Photometry of Galaxy Zoo collisional ring galaxies.
Kevin Battles / Dr. Keel

Raman Spectroscopy of carbon coalescence induced modes.
Wagner Souza / Dr. Araujo

Automation of a Near-Field tip production apparatus.
Jordan Fuhrman / Dr. Araujo

Setting up a Magnetostriction apparatus: a instrumentation point of view.
Kaio Alexandre / Dr. Araujo

Introduction to experimental particle physics research
Jacob Morrison, Shaun Hogan, Alison Marsh / Dr. Henderson

Hard-Magnetic Alloy Formation in Magnetic Superlattices
Jake Green / Dr. Schad

Studying the Outskirts of Non-Cool Core Galaxy Clusters With Suzaku
Kaitlyn Lyle / Dr. Irwin

How quickly do the properties of dark matter halos change?
Michael Sitarz / Dr. Bailin

The formation of warps in galaxy formation simulations
Kevin Battles / Dr. Bailin

Synthetic images of simulated galaxies
Matthew Leeds / Dr. Bailin

Development of calibration sources for dark matter search experiments
Jaclyn Schillinger / Dr. Busenitz

Detection and control of of radon-induced activities in bulk plastic
Brett Kizer / Dr. Busenitz

Research with the Hadron Calorimeter of the CMS experiment at the CERN LHC
Kyle Miskell / Dr. Rumerio

Development of a radon detector.
Emily Baade, Alexander Mathers, William Layfield / Dr. Piepke

Switching behavior of RAMA (Reconfigurable Array of Magnetic Automata) cells
Kevin Jenkins / Dr. C. Mewes

Vibrating sample magnetometry
Josh Jones / Dr. LeClair

Calibration of IceCube Energy Scale with LED Flashers
Brian Hannan / Dr. Williams

Simple experiments for public outreach
Terrance Gibson / Dr. LeClair

Calibration of Radio Neutrino Detectors in South Pole Ice
Timothy Keele / Dr. Williams

Verifying Shock-capturing Methods for Hydrodynamic Simulations in Degenerate Matter
Broxton Miles / Dr. Townsley

Fourier-transform noise spectroscopy
Tara Gernhardt / Dr. LeClairDevelopment of a thin film susceptometer
Sarah Betzig & Anthony Castro / Dr. LeClair

Analog & digital electronics
Josh McDonald & Nick Ragland / Dr. LeClair

Development and installation of a data acquisition system for the cosmic ray veto detector of the EXO double beta decay experiment.
Evan Niner, Mitchell Hughes / Dr. Piepke

Development of an open-source 3D physics engine
Ryan Tucker / Dr. LeClair

Construction and characterization of a solid-state audio-distortion circuit
Hunter Adams, Mathew Ware, Dan Mitchell / Dr. LeClair

X-ray reflectivity of epitaxial multilayered structures
Eric Edwards / Drs. LeClair & Mankey

Fabrication and Calibration of Muon Veto Panels for the EXO Neutrino Project
Matt Sturdivant / Dr. Piepke

Non-local damping effects in Py-Cu-FeMn trilayers
Eric Edwards / Dr. Mewes

Monte Carlo simulation of electron track topology in gaseous Xenon
Kurt Barry / Dr. Piepke

Low temperature and high frequency ferromagnetic resonance investigations
Matthew Bradford / Dr. Mewes

Calculation of ion transport through gaseous Xenon
Evan Niner / Dr. Piepke

Investigating magnetostrictive properties of thin ferromagnetic films on silicon substrates
Wes Erbsen / Dr. Mewes

Development of data acquisition hardware for the EXO muon veto
Spencer Carter / Mitchell Hughes / Dr. Piepke

Developing an algorithm for detecting double-pulse structures induced by tau neutrino interactions in IceCube data
Daniel Bush / Dr. Williams

Stoner-Wohlfarth astroid (online simulation)
Michael Vogel / Dr. Mewes

Developing a tau neutrino simulation in the low-energy extension of the IceCube neutrino detector
Heath Gurganus / Dr. Williams

Characterization of solid-state and vacuum tube audio amplifiers
John Kentros & Hunter Adams / Dr. LeClair

Electron Tunneling through self-assembled monolayers
Abel Demissie / Dr. LeClair & Dr. Szulczewski (CH)

Impedance spectroscopy and optically-assisted transport in organic semiconductors
Dina Genkina / Dr. LeClair

Preparation and testing of plastic scintillation detectors for the EXO neutrinoless double beta decay experiment
Kurt Barry & Evan Niner / Dr. Piepke

Low cost data acquisition system for undergraduate electricity and magnetism lab experiments
Eric Stough / Dr. Mewes / Dr. LeClair

Development of a microwave point-contact system for spin-torque tunneling experiments
Joan Reichwien / Dr. LeClair / Dr. Mewes

Testing of the cosmic ray veto detector system for the EXO double beta decay project
Evan Niner / Dr. Piepke

Census of star formation in the galaxy cluster Abell 851, from Kitt Peak imagery and correlated with galaxy structures from Hubble data
Christy Hyde / Dr. Keel

Surface photometry of Seyfert galaxies from Hubble archival data, part of a wider project on the history of supermassive black holes
Cassandra Morton / Dr. Keel

Connections between dust structures in galaxy nuclei, from Hubble data, and structures in the outer regions of the galaxies as seen in ground-based images
Stephanie Cunningham / Dr. Keel

222Rn activity detection Limits of delayed coincidence
Evan Niner / Dr. Piepke

Electron Spectroscopy of Ultra Thin Magnetic Films 9/05-present
Patrick Patterson / Dr. Mankey

Thin Film Materials for Magnetic Storage
Jason Duty / Dr. Mankey

Construction of an Advanced Electronic Control System
David Wilbert / Dr. Mankey

The Farnsworth Fusor-A Portable Plasma Fusion Generator
Adam Parker / Dr. Mankey

Defect analysis in MOSFET oxide layers
Robert Hamner / Dr. Schad

Design and prototype tests of the calibration systems for the Double
Chooz neutrino experimentBen Picone / Dr. Busenitz

Development of event reconstruction algorithms for the Double Chooz experiment
Ben Picone / Dr. Stancu

Measurement of the cosmic ray muon flux at the underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, NM
Nao Mimoto / Dr. Piepke