Stetson University

College of Arts and Sciences


Stetson Physics - Quality Matters

One measure of the quality of our majors and our program is our ability to place them into summer research internships like the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs funded by the National Science Foundation.  These are very competitive programs and they allow undergraduate students to do research with a Ph.D. level mentor.  A full 50% of our graduates from the last ten years did a summer research internship at the following locations:
  • Boston University
  • Clemson University
  • Florida International University
  • Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
  • High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, CO
  • Iowa State University
  • Laser Interferometer Gravity-wave Observatory/LIGO, California Institute of Technology
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • NASA
  • Stetson University SURE Program
  • University of Florida
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Michigan

A second measure of quality is what our majors choose to do after graduating from Stetson.  Students enter the program with a wide range of career interests so we should not judge one choice as being better than another, but having a high percentage of students pursue graduate degrees shows that the Department has fostered an interest in further inquiry.  Thirty students graduated from Stetson in the last ten years with a major in physics.  Two of those students were in dual-degree programs and also received a B.S. in engineering from an engineering school.  Of the 28 that went through the standard physics program: 

  • 22 (79%) are known to have been accepted into graduate programs,
    • 13 (46%) for physics or a related scientific field,
    • 6 (21%) for engineering,
    • 5 (18%) for other fields, mostly business,
    • 2 student pursued degrees in both business and engineering,
  • 2 (7%) went right to work as scientists, and one of them plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics in the near future,
  • 1 (4%) went right to work as a high school physics teacher,
  • 1 (4%) is working as a financial analyst (using physics as a liberal arts degree), and
  • 2 (7%) we do not have information on.

A third measure of the quality of our program is the quality of the graduate schools that our graduates attend.  Physics graduates from the last ten years have attended:

  • Auburn University
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Louisiana State University
  • Stetson University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Florida
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Texas, Houston
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Wake Forest University
  • Washington University
  • Yale University


 Stetson Physics Majors - Senior Research Projects

click here to read the abstracts

Nuclear Effects in 3He Structure functions and Symmetries
Jacob Ethier, Stetson University, and Wally Melnitchouk, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

A Dynamic Computational Study of the Role of Ion Channels in a Neuron
Eric Hall and Dr. Danielle Morel, Stetson University 

Determining the Critical temperature of a YBCO Superconductor using AC Susceptibility Measurements
Nicholas Puerling and Dr. Kevin Riggs, Stetson University 

Analyzing Reverberation Times in the Rinker Environmental Learning Center
Brett Abraham, Stetson University; Dr. Kevin Riggs, Stetson University

Calculating the Local Acceleration Due to Gravity Using a Pendulum
Robert Erdman, Stetson University; Dr. George Glander, Stetson University

Roemer's Speed of Light
Amanda Hartlieb, Stetson University; Dr. Kevin Riggs, Stetson University

Building an Optical Pyrometer that Calculates Blackbody Temperatures Using the Intensity of Two Infrared Wavelengths
Stephanie Lengeman, Stetson University; Dr. Kevin Riggs, Stetson University

Determining the Hall Coefficient of Gold Thin Films
Christopher Rowley, Stetson University; Dr. Kevin Riggs, Stetson University

Using a Toy Monte Carlo Simulation to Accurately Measure the Distance between a Neutral Pion and a Cesium Iodine Detector
Angela Steinmann, Stetson University; Dr. Myron Campbell, University of Michigan; Dr. Danielle Morel, Stetson University

A Study of the Frequency Doubling Conversion Efficiency of the Non-Linear Optical Crystal KTP
Sommer White, Stetson University; Dr. Kevin Riggs, Stetson University

The Role of Voltange Dependent Dendritic Ion Channels in Linear Synaptic Integration
Igor Domladis, Stetson University; Dr. Danielle Morel, Stetson University

Drag Coefficeint of a Model Rocket
Daniel Yount, Stetson University; Dr. Kevin Riggs, Stetson University 

Using Spectrally Resolved White-Light Interferometry for Absolute Distance Measurement with Wide Dynamic Rage
Andrea Belanger, Stetson University; Robert C. Youngquist, Kennedy Space Center 

Electric Impedance Tomography
Timothy Holifield, Stetson University; Dr. George Glander, Stetson University

Glancing Angle Deposition with Enhanced Substrate Control
Brian Bell, Stetson University; D. Schmidt, E. Schubert, UNL

Photoionization of the excited sodium atom from the 2p subshell
Christian Pecora, Stetson University; Dr. Haripada Saha, University of Central Florida

The Effects of Magnetic Fields on 90° Scattered Polarization at Sodium D1 and D2 Wavelengths
Brandon Marsell, Stetson University; Dr. Steven Tomczyk, High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, CO.
            Brandon won the R. S. Jin Award (best oral presentation) at the Zone 6 SPS meeting on February 17, 2007 at Florida Institute of Technology.  The best of 16 presenters, Brandon even beat out five graduate students! 

Imaging the Magnetic Domains of Magnetotactic Bacteria Using Magnetic Force Microscopy
Justin Black, Stetson University; Dr. Kevin Riggs, Stetson University

LIGO Detection Efficiency Studies in Searches for Gravitational Waves from Binary Neutron Star Inspirals
Sarah Caudill, Stetson University; Peter Shawhan and Duncan Brown, LIGO, CalTech, Pasadena, CA

Building a Computer Controlled Liquid Nitrogen Cryostat
Danielle Mollman, Stetson University; Dr. George Glander, Stetson University

Design of a Force Sensor using Strain Gages to measure the Elastic Modulus of a Fibroblast seeded Scaffold
Renee Dickinson, Stetson University; Joshi and Webb, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Speckle Pattern Averaging in Electronic Speckle Pattern Interferometry
W. Langston, Stetson University; Dr. Kevin Riggs, Stetson University

Development of a Third Generation Piezoelectric Contact Sensor with Applications to Manatee Protection Systems and Remotely Operated Vehicles.
Dan Carlson, Stetson University; Larry Taylor at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Studying the Thermodynamics of Vortex Tubes
Nick Frost, Stetson University; Dr. Tom Lick, Stetson University

Analysis of Magnetic Structures via Magnetic Force Microscopy
Jon Gosnell, Stetson University; Dr. Kevin Riggs, Stetson University

Setting Up the Small Radio Telescope (SRT) and the Galactic Rotation Experiment
Ari Litwin, Stetson University; Dr. Kevin Riggs and Dr. Anthony Jusick, Stetson University

An Explication of the Construction of a Laser Doppler Velocimeter, for the Purpose of Examining the Onset of Turbulence in Fluids
R. Adam Pridemore, Stetson University; Dr. George Glander, Stetson University

Thermal Stability of Ti on Al-110 Single Crystal Surface
S. Paul Stuck, Stetson University; work done at Ion Beam Lab, Montana State University.

Our Students Dare to be Significant 

  • A full 50% of our graduates in the past 10 years participated in competitive summer research opportunities.

  • Students work one-on-one with a faculty mentor to do professional level research as a capstone project in their senior year (see below).
  • In the past 15 years, 100% of our students who wished to pursue graduate study placed into a graduate program! ~ Those who choose not to pursue graduate study have successfully entered the work force in a wide array of careers.
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