Carnegie Mellon University

Research during the Fall or Spring Semesters

Our undergraduate students participate in all research areas in the Department during the fall and spring semesters, either for credit or for pay.  For example, our physics majors have assisted faculty members with software development, helped in our laboratories, and one even spent a semester at the South Pole installing the Viper Telescope.

Examples of recent undergraduate research projects:

  • Studies of Biomembranes, and Peptide-Membrane Interactions
  • Casimir Force: Measuring Vacuum Fluctuations
  • Deposition of Hydrophobic Materials from Drying Drops
  • Detector Development for High Energy Physics
  • Gravitational Fields of Topological Defects
  • Monte Carlo Simulations of Quasicrystals and Ferrofluids
  • Preparation, Characterization, and Properties of Buckyballs and Nanocrystals
  • RF Surface Impedance Studies of Type-I Superconductors
  • Silicon Vertex Detector Resolution Studies
  • Thermal Lensing
  • X-ray Scattering Experiments
  • Pulse Design in NMR Quantum Computing


Please first contact a department advisor if you are interested in doing research during the semester with one of our faculty members. We will assist you in finding a suitable faculty member and research project.

Our undergraduates have attended scientific meetings, presented papers, and co-authored journal articles and patents. Recent examples include:

  • M.F. Matty, L. Lancaster, W. Griffin, and R.H. Swendsen, Comparison of canonical and microcanonical definitions of entropy, Physica A 467 (2017), 474.

  • A.Z. Stetten, G. Moraca, T.E. Corcoran, S. Tristram-Nagle, S. Garoff, T.M. Przybycien, and R.D. Tilton, Enabling Marangoni flow at air-liquid interfaces through deposition of aerosolized lipid dispersions, J. Colloid Interf. Sci. 484 (2016), 270.

  • A. Gurvich and R. Mandelbaum, The impact of correlated noise on galaxy shape estimation for weak lensing, Monthly Notices Royal Astronom. Soc. 457 (2016), 3522.
  • L. O’Neil, K. Andenoro, I. Pagano, L. Carroll, L. Langer, Z. Dell, D. Perera, B.W. Treece, F. Heinrich, M. Lösche, J.F. Nagle, and S. Tristram-Nagle. HIV-1 Matrix-31 membrane minding peptide interacts differently with membranes containing PS vs. PI(4,5)P2. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1858 (2016), 3071.

  • S.K. Piotrowski, M.F. Matty and S.A. Majetich, Magnetic fluctuations in individual superparamagnetic particlesIEEE Trans. Mag. 50 (2014), 2303704.

  • J. Albert and R.H. Swendsen, The Inverse Ising Problem, Physics Procedia 57 (2014), 99.

  • A.L. Boscia, B.W. Treece, D. Mohammadyani, J. Klein-Seetharaman, A.R. Braun, T.A. Wassenaar, B. Klösgen, and S. Tristram-Nagle, X-ray structure, thermodynamics, elastic properties and MD simulations of cardiolipin/dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine mixed membranesChem. Phys. Lipids 178 (2014), 1.
  • A.L. Boscia, K. Akabori, Z. Benamram, J.A. Michel, M.S. Jablin, J.D. Steckbeck, R.C. Montelaro, J.F. Nagle, and S. Tristram-Nagle, Membrane structure correlates to function of LLP2 on the cytoplasmic tail of HIV-1 gp41 proteinBiophys. J. 105, (2013) 657.
  • C.A. Becker, F. Tavazza, Z.T. Trautt, R.A. Buarque de MacedoConsiderations for choosing and using force fields and interatomic potentials in materials science and engineering, Curr. Opin. Solid State Mat. Sci. 17 (2013), 277.
  • K. Hallinen, S. Tristram-Nagle and J.F. Nagle, Volumetric stability of lipid bilayers, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 14 (2012), 15252.