Mark Moog ’11: Research Update

markmartinmoog.jpgMark Moog spent his summer studying particle physics with professor Jerry Gilfoyle.  The two began their work together after Mark’s freshman year at UR.  Mark used the University of Richmond supercomputer cluster to run simulations of a possible future experiment at the CEBAF accelerator at Jefferson National Laboratory in Newport, VA.  The simulations address whether the experiment would be able to accurately measure the form factor of the neutron at high energies.  In addition to his work at Richmond, Mark also traveled to Jefferson lab to help monitor the accelerator during ongoing experiments there.   This fall, Mark travels with professor Gilfoyle to a national physics conference in Oakland, California to present the results of their work. 

Brian Mahoney ’09: Research Update

briand_mahoney.jpgBrian Mahoney will graduate this year with degrees in both chemistry and physics.  His research has been in the chemistry department with Wade Downey, and he spent his summer developing a new way to synthesize propargylic alcohols.  These compounds are frequently used as starting points for further sythesis of drug compounds by the pharmaceutical industry, and Brian has worked to make the sythesis faster and more economical.  Brian began working with professor Downey during his freshman year.  This fall, he will present his work at a chemistry conference in Nashville, TN. 

Garrett Graham ’10 travels to China

garrettcookgraham.jpgJunior Garrett Graham just spent a year in China.  While there, he participated in a Mandarin immersion program at Nanjing University, traveled for two months, and then volunteered with a school for migrant laborers’ children and a Chinese sustainable development NGO.  A math and physics double major, this year he plans to work with Dr. Ovidiu Lipan researching mathematical biology.

Alex Cooke ’10: Research Update

alexmilescooke.jpgJunior Alex Cooke, together with sophomore Adam Hake, spent his summer doing research with professor Ovidiu Lipan in biological physics.  Alex, a physics major, has been emersed in wet-lab molecular biology this summer, which has whetted his appetite for the study of genetics in the biology department.  He currently plans to major in interdisciplinary physics with a concentration in biology.  He has been studying iron uptake system in the bacteria E. Coli, which is usefule for understanding the general problem of iron regulation in cells.  He will continue his research with professor Lipan this year.

Calina Copos ’10 travels to Scotland

calinaanamariacopos.jpgPhysics major Calina Copos, ’10, spent her spring semester studying at University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She studied Archeaology and Mathematics while she was there, and also had a chance to travel around Europe, enjoying digestives and tea as often as possible, and hiking around the Highlands with the Hillwalking Society of Edinburgh.  Calina has been active in research at UR since the summer before her first year, studying nuclear physics with professor Con Beausang.

Students travel to AAS meeting in St. Louis

Four physics students traveled with professor Ted Bunn to the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in St. Louis, Missouri this summer, to present their work.  Pictured below are (from left to right) Austin Bourdon, Brent Follin, Ben Rybolt, Ted Bunn, and Jeff Zheng. 

Matt Jordan, '11: Research Update

mattb_jordan.jpgSophomore Matt Jordan spent his summer working with professor Jerry Gilfoyle to analyze the systematic uncertainties in measurements taken at the CEBAF particle accelerator at Jefferson National Lab.  They are are part of a large, international collaboration studying the structure of the deuteron particle, and the results of their experiments will ultimately be used to test current theoretical models of nuclei.  The bulk of their work was performed here at UR on the physics department’s powerful supercomputer cluster.   Matt began working with professor Gilfoyle during his freshman year.  Their research continues this academic year, and in October the two will travel to to present their work at a conference in Oakland California.

Nathanial Mason, ’10: Research Update

nathanielsaulmason.jpgPhysic major Nat Mason did research over the summer with professor Ovidiu Lipan in the field of Biological physics.  Nat is working on the heat shock system in mammalian cells. He is looking for ways to undderstand the response of the cells to a double heat pulse. This research will open new perspectives on heat shock memory (thermotolerance).  Nat has worked with professor Lipan since his first year, and continues his research this fall.

Adam Hake ’11: Research Update

adamm_hake.jpgSophomore Adam Hake spent his summer doing research with professor Ovidiu Lipan in biological physics.  Although Adam has been emersed in wet-lab molecular biology, he is also highly interested in the theoretical aspects of biological systems.  He has been studying iron uptake system in the bacteria E. Coli, which is usefule for understanding the general problem of iron regulation in cells.  He will continue his research with professor Lipan this year.

Brent Follin ’09 travels to Scotland

brentt_follin.jpgBrent Follin, a double major in physics and philosophy, spent the spring of his junior year in Scotland, at the University of Edinburgh.  While he was there, Brent studied optics and condensed matter physics, and reports developing a fondness for Scotch Whiskey.   He also spent some time traveling in Italy and Spain.  This semester, Brent continues his research in Cosmology with professor Ted Bunn.

Jeff Zheng ’11: Research Update

haoxuanzheng.jpgHaoxuan (Jeff) Zheng started research in Ted Bunn’s research group during his freshman year and continued during the summer afterwards.  He examined theoretical models of dark energy, the mysterious phenomenon that is causing the expansion of the Universe to accelerate.  He used observations of supernovae, the microwave background radiation, and other observations to see what limits we can place on the physical properties of dark energy.

Ben Rybolt ’09: Research Update

bent_rybolt.jpgBen Rybolt worked in Ted Bunn’s research group during the summer of ’08 and during the school year before then. His work has focused mostly on testing methods for diagnosing and removing contaminants from maps of the cosmic microwave background radiation. He presented his work in a poster at the summer 2008 meeting of the American Astronomical Society in St. Louis.

Brent Follin ’09: Research Update

brentt_follin.jpgBrent Follin has worked in Ted Bunn’s research group for the summers of 2007 and 2008, focusing on issues related to the construction of MBI, a new telescope being constructed for observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation. Along with Peter Hyland (U. Wisconsin and McGill U.), Brent and Ted solved an important problem related to finding the best possible design for this sort of telescope. Brent presented preliminary results in a poster at an American Astronomical Society meeting in St. Louis this summer, and we just submitted a paper for publication. Ted wrote a bit more about this in his blog.

Austin Bourdon ’10: Research Update

austinpaulbourdon.jpgAustin Bourdon has worked in Ted Bunn’s research group for the past two summers, examining a bunch of possible explanations for some unexplained features in maps of the cosmic microwave background radiation. He presented his work in a poster at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Denver this summer, and he is coauthor on a paper recently submitted to the journal Physical Review D. Bunn wrote more about this on his blog, and you can see the paper here.

Cosmin Pancratov ’10: Research Update

cosminpancratov.jpgCosmin Pancratov ’10 is first author on a series of three articles just published in the journal Computing in Science and Engineering.  The articles describe the optimization of a numerical routine used for image analysis, work done with physics professor Matt Trawick, computer science professor Kelly Shaw, and Jake Kurzer ’10, all coauthors.  Cosmin and Jake both began doing research with Trawick during their freshman year.   

Class of 2009

Current senior physics majors:


Sara Atwater

East Aurora, NY

Research: Polymer Physics (since 2nd year)


Whitney Brooks

Chesapeake, VA

Research: Cosmology (since 2nd year)


Berta Darakchieva

Plovdiv, Bulagaria

Research: Nuclear Physics (since 1st year)


Mila Evtimova

Sofia, Bulgaria

Research: Nuclear Physics (since 1st year)


Brent Follin

Jefferson, MD

Research: Cosmology (since 1st year)


Brian Mahoney

East Aurora, NY

Research: synthetic chemistry (since 1st year)


Ben Rybolt

Hixson, TN

Research: Cosmology (since 2nd year)


Class of 2010

Current juniors


Alex Cooke

Newfane, VT

Research: Biological Physics (since  pre-3rd year)



Calina Copos

Voorhees, NJ

Research: Nuclear Physics (since pre-1st year)



Austin Bourdon

Lexington, VA

Research: Cosmology (since pre-2nd year)


Garrett Graham

Brevard, NC

Research: Biological Physics (since 3rd year)



Colin Lincoln

Hingham, MA



Nat Mason

Jacksonville, FL

Research: Biological Physics (since 1st year)


Cosmin Pancratov

Galiti, Romania

Research: Polymer Physics (since 1st year)

(actually a C.S. major, but we still like him)