Undergraduate Research Opportunities 2022-2023

Active Research in the Yale Physics Department

2022 Slide Deck

Astrophysics and Cosmology

Charles Bailyn, Charles Baltay, Paolo Coppi, Marla Geha, Larry Gladney, Steve Lamoreaux, Reina Maruyama, Daisuke Nagai, Priya Natarajan, Laura Newburgh, Nikhil PadmanabhanMeg Urry, Frank van den Bosch, Pieter van Dokkum

Atomic, Molecular and Optics

Yoram Alhassid, Charles Brown, Jack Harris, Steve Lamoreaux, Reina Maruyama, Owen Miller, David Moore, Nir Navon, John Schotland, Douglas Stone


Damon Clark, Thierry EmonetJoe Howard, Andre Levchenko, Ben Machta, Simon MochrieJohn MurrayMichael MurrellCorey O’Hern, Alison Sweeney

Condensed Matter Experiment

Charles Ahn, Sean Barrett, Hui Cao, Eduardo da Silva Neto, Michel Devoret, Jack HarrisYu He, Steven Konezny, Simon Mochrie, Daniel Prober, Peter Rakich, Peter Schiffer, Robert Schoelkopf, Hong Tang

Condensed Matter Theory

Yoram Alhassid, Meng Cheng, Steve Girvin, Leonid Glazman, Sohrab Ismail-Beigi, Ben Machta, Corey O’Hern, David Poland, Shruti Puri, Diana Qiu, Nicholas Read, John Schotland, R. Shankar, Douglas Stone, John Wettlaufer

Gravitational Physics

Walter Goldberger, Vincent Monchrief

Nuclear Physics Experiment

Helen CainesKarsten Heeger, Steve Lamoreaux, Reina Maruyama, David Moore

Nuclear Physics Theory

Yoram Alhassid

Particle Physics Experiment

Keith Baker, Charles Baltay, Sarah Demers, Larry Gladney, Karsten Heeger, Steve Lamoreaux, Reina Maruyama, David Moore, Laura Newburgh, Paul Tipton

Particle Physics Theory

Thomas Appelquist, Walter Goldberger, Ian Moult, Andrew Neitzke, David Poland, Witold Skiba

Quantum Physics

Yoram Alhassid, Sean Barrett, Charles Brown, Steven Girvin, Jack Harris, Karsten Heeger, Steve Lamoreaux, Reina Maruyama, David Poland, Shruti Puri, Diana Qiu, Nicholas Read, John Schotland, Douglas Stone, Hong Tang

Helen Caines

Contact: Helen Caines (helen.caines@yale.edu)

URL: https://wlab.yale.edu/research/relativistic-heavy-ions

Research Area: Experimental Nuclear Physics

Research Opportunity Type: In Lab

Project Description: Data analysis working with group members on the STAR experiment or ALICE experiment to learn more about the properties of nuclear matter when its heated to extreme temperatures. Additionally there’s the possibility for some hands-on hardware projects.


Damon Clark

Contact: Damon Clark (damon.clark@yale.edu)

URL: http://clarklab.commons.yale.edu/

Research Area: Biophysics

Research Opportunity Type: In Lab

Project Description: Our lab is interested in understanding how small neural circuits perform basic computations. We do this with experiments in the visual system of the fruit fly. We tie these experiments closely to computational and theoretical models for visual processing. Past projects for undergraduates have involved measuring fly behavior, modeling the responses of a neural circuit, and tracking human eye movements. If you’re interested, please send me an email and we can arrange to talk!


Sarah Demers

Contact: Sarah Demers (sarah.demers@yale.edu)

URL: http://demerslab.yale.edu/

Research Area: Experimental Particle Physics

Research Opportunity Type: In Lab and remote

Project Description: Work on the ATLAS Experiment (Higgs physics and tau lepton identification)

Work on the Mu2e Experiment (event selection - trigger - studies)


Thierry Emonet

Contact: Samuel Brudner (samuel.brudnet@yale.edu)

URL: https://emonet.biology.yale.edu/

Research Area: Biophysics

Research Opportunity Type: In Lab

Project Description:

We combine theory and experiments to understand the biological computations that enable organisms to sense and navigate chemical signals. We work with both bacteria and fruit flies.

On the neurobiology side we just discovered that flies can smell the motion of odors! https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05423-4 and News and Views: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-03561-3 and Yale News: https://news.yale.edu/2022/11/09/flies-smell-motion-odors-and-use-it-nav…
Join us to discover how flies use this newly discovered sense to navigate. We have theoretical projects involving solving optimization problems to discover the optimal strategy to use odor motion in navigation, and experimental projects in which we put flies in a virtual environments to measure how they combine odor motion and other information to navigate.

On the microbiology side we are examining how groups of bacteria with diverse navigational capabilities nevertheless manage to migrate as coherent groups. we are also measuring how efficiently do bacteria and group of bacteria process information. Both theoretical and experimental projects are available.


Jack Harris

Contact: Jack Harris (jack.harris@yale.edu)

URL: https://harrislab.yale.edu/

Research Area: Quantum Physics

Research Opportunity Type: In Lab

Project Description:

A variety of projects in support of our experiments on quantum effects in macroscopic objects, the interplay between light & sound at the quantum level, and the rich topological structure of coupled resonators. Student projects might involve finite element simulations, data analysis, coding, laser optics, mechanical design, or coding.


Karsten Heeger

Contact: Karsten Heeger (karsten.heeger@yale.edu)

URL: http://heegerlab.yale.edu/

Research Area: Experimental Particle Physics, Experimental Nuclear Physics, Quantum Science

Research Opportunity Type: In Lab and Remote

Project Description: Heeger’s group is interested in understanding the properties of neutrinos and dark matter in the Universe. We conduct experiments at various facilities around the world to measure the mass of neutrinos, determine if neutrinos are their own antiparticles, and measure neutrino oscillations. Research opportunities exist in the CUORE/CUPID, Project 8, and PROSPECT experiments.


Joe Howard

Faculty: Joe Howard(jonathon.howard@yale.edu)

Contact: Carol Martin (carol.martin@yale.edu)

URL: https://howardlab.yale.edu/

Research Area: Biophysics

Research Opportunity Type: In Lab

Project Description: We have theoretical projects for those without biological research experience and laboratory projects for those that do.
Theory project:
Mean and computational field models of branching morphogenesis. We have a very interesting experimental system in which the fly neurons undergo what we call “branching morphogenesis” in which lateral branching from existing branches creates a cell with up to 2000 branches in 5 days. While we have an “agent-based” model that recapitulates the morphology, we are currently seeking a “mean-field” model in which we formulate the growth process as a reaction-diffusion partial differential equation. You would be working with a PhD student and a postdoc testing out the predictions of several formulations of the model in order to fit experimental data.
Experimental project:
Depending on the research experience, the project could be on measuring development of neurons in flies using confocal microscopy or the diffusion of proteins on microtubules using single-molecule fluorescence microscopy.


Steve Konezny

Faculty: Steve Konezny (steve.konezny@yale.edu)

URL: http://konezny.sites.yale.edu/

Research Area: Experimental Condensed Matter

Research Opportunity Type: In Lab

Project Description: We study the mechanisms of charge transport and structure-electronic property relationships in materials that are the backbone of many renewable energy strategies such as solar cells, batteries, and fuel cells. These studies inform the design of materials and devices with optimal performance and energy conversion efficiency. I have a few research projects that are focused on fabrication, measurement, and/or theory, depending on student interest and experience.


Steve Lamoreaux

Faculty: Steve Lamoreaux (steve.lamoreaux@yale.edu)

URL: https://haystac.yale.edu/

Research Area: Astrophysics and Cosmology

Research Opportunity Type: In Lab

Project Description: Over the last year, an apparatus to measure the gravitation constant G has been assembled. This apparatus is different from most that have been used in recent measurements of G which show excessive scatter, making it the least accurately known fundamental constant. These experiments were based on dynamic measurements for which properties of the system, including anelastic relaxation response, are difficult to control.

Tasks include analyzing existing data, setting up a laser interferometric position measurement system, and improving the torsion pendulum vibrational modes.


Simon Mochrie

Contact: Simon Mochrie(simon.mochrie@yale.edu)

URL: http://mochrielab.yale.edu//

Research Area: Biophysics

Research Opportunity Type: In Lab and Remote

Project Description: (1) Particle tracking and cross-correlation using video microscopy data to understand chromatin dynamics; (2) Implementation of a spatial-light-modulator(SLM)-based light beam profiling optical system for spatially-resolved fluorescence microscopy; (3) Simulations of the dynamic organization of chromatin loops using genomic “big data” inputs


David Moore

Contact: David Moore (david.c.moore@yale.edu)

URL: https://campuspress.yale.edu/moorelab/

Research Area: Experimental Nuclear Physics

Research Opportunity Type: In Lab

Project Description: We have open projects aiming to test fundamental physics at the precision frontier of nuclear and particle physics. Ongoing projects are in either searching for neutrinoless double beta decay (nEXO) or using levitated optomechanical sensors as probes of new physcs (SIMPLE).


Nir Navon

Contact: Nir Navon (nir.navon@yale.edu)

URL: https://uqm.yale.edu/

Research Area: Ultracold Quantum Matter / Quantum simulations

Research Opportunity Type: In Lab and Remote

Project Description:

Some of the most puzzling open problems in modern physics involve the behavior of assemblies of many interacting quantum particles. Our research group at Yale University specializes in the study of this quantum many-body problem using highly-controllable ultracold quantum matter. We aim at improving our understanding of quantum phases of strongly-correlated matter (and their collective excitations), and explore the emergence of universal states in far-from-equilibrium quantum dynamics. We have ongoing opportunities for undergraduate research, both in-lab and theoretical/numerical simulations.


Corey O’Hern

Contact: Corey O’Hern (corey.ohern@yale.edu)

URL: https://jamming.research.yale.edu

Research Area: Biophysics

Research Opportunity Type: In Lab

Project Description: The OHern research group carries out research in theoretical and computational studies of soft matter and biological physics. The group currently has open research projects in predicting the glass forming ability and mechanical properties of alloys, erosion in fluid driven granular beds, clogging in microfluidic channels, structure prediction of protein-protein interfaces, and collective cell motion in wound healing, zebrafish tail bud development, and breast cancer invasion.