Ten Illinois State physics students had papers accepted for the 24th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago.

The Physics Department has had undergraduate researchers speaking at this conference every year since it was inaugurated in 1990. This year’s conference was held November 7. The conference highlights research by undergraduates in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math) from throughout the Midwest.

Nick Christensen is shown presenting his research on Constant-Temperature Constant-Pressure Molecular Dynamics Simulations.

Nick Christensen presents his research on constant-temperature constant-pressure molecular dynamics simulations.

Ninety-two student presentations were grouped into eight “strands” based on research topic, with 39 talks in three physics strands. Illinois State student talks covered a wide range of topics, including nonlinear dynamics in space plasmas, synchronization of coupled neurons, molecular dynamics simulations, collision induced ionization of Helium, and vacuum polarization and pair creation.

For the first time at the conference there was also a poster session, in which physics major Dan Edie presented his research on spacecraft measurements of Ganymede’s magnetosphere.

Dan Edie is shown with his poster discussing his research with another scientist.

Dan Edie discusses his poster with another scientist.

Following their presentations, the students were able to take tours of the lab and talk to some potential employers. This year’s events began with a keynote presentation by an Argonne engineer on determining the efficiency of alternative vehicles, including hybrids, electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells, and natural gas and bio-fuel vehicles.

The Argonne Symposium is a great opportunity for undergraduates to experience a professional conference, to interact with peers doing research at other universities, and to learn about research and careers at the laboratory and beyond.