Physics Students Present Research at OSAPS

By Jordan Unger

Youngstown State University students presented their research at Bowling Green State University for the Ohio-Region Section of the American Physics Society meeting on Oct. 7 and 8.

Five students from YSU presented research at the conference, one giving an oral presentation and four giving a poster presentation.

Christopher Watenpool, a YSU electrical engineering student, gave the oral presentation at OSAPS. Watenpool said he conducted his research based on previous work by Donald Priour, a YSU physics professor.

“I found the research he was doing to be particularly interesting,” Watenpool said. “It was mainly condensed matter theory particle physics.”

Watenpool presented research on harmonic and inharmonic oscillators, and the effects that introducing a random noise, by means of heating, has on one-dimensional chains. Watenpool said the research is graduate level material.

“This is really heavy into the theory and looking at how these systems react,” Watenpool said. “From that, you can use these theories to apply to other research that can really be beneficial.”

This was the fourth conference in which Watenpool has presented research. He said presenting in front of professionals in the field gets easier each time.

“You’ve been through the motions, you know what to expect,” he said.

Donald Priour accompanied Watenpool at OSAPS, and said the student did a great job of presenting.

“[Watenpool]’s making a transition that isn’t an easy one to make,” Priour said. “He’s not so much remembering something or reading or learning a script as he is explaining what he did in his own words.”

The conference was broken into 10-minute oral presentations and simultaneous poster sessions.

The YSU group that presented a poster discussed using chemical treatments as disposition agents on titanium, which allows for other medically beneficial materials to be applied for hip and knee replacements.

Brian Schubert, chemical engineering student, said the research was originally conducted by Kathryn Shields, who has since graduated. His group worked with Holly Martin, assistant professor in the department of chemical engineering.

“It was more of a collaborative effort,” Schubert said.

YSU students David Bernard, Nick McGuigan and Martin Strong also presented the poster at OSAPS.

The oral and poster presentations received positive responses from the professionals at the conference. Watenpool said they were engaged in the presentation.

“The community is really welcoming to undergraduate students getting into research,” Watenpool said.

Watenpool said they hope to get their research published in the Physical Review B, a physics material international academic journal, in the near future. Schubert said the continued study of their subject will help support a grant for further research.

Priour said these opportunities are essential for students.

“The sooner the students are exposed to public speaking and the more often they do it, the better advantage they gain,” Priour said.

Opportunities to do research and present it bring students one step closer to internships and graduate school, Watenpool said.

“If students are really looking into getting experiences or applying what they’re learning from the classroom from the STEM community, definitely go and seek out research opportunities if they can,” Watenpool said.

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