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Senior Thesis Projects

Senior Thesis Projects

The following options are available to satisfy the writing intensive curriculum (WIC). There is a formal class (PH317), or, students can write a senior thesis with one-on-one guidance from a research mentor. If working with a research mentor, you will enroll in PH401 (research) and PH403 (thesis).

PH317 - Adv. Phys. Lab

12 available projects
Graduating students: Allard ('23), Bickley ('23), Gregory ('24), Han ('23), Hildebrandt ('24), Koutsopoulos ('23), Le Fevre ('23), May ('23), Ragan ('23), van Balderen ('23), Bennett ('23)

Project information

The advanced physics lab gives students experience with designing and performing physics experiments and writing advanced lab reports. The next offering of PH317 is Winter term, 2024


David Craig

0 available projects
Graduating students: Kangethe ('23), Seibert ('23), Siebersma ('23)
Continuing students: Lein ('24),

Project information

  • Quantum inequalities in the decoherent histories formulation of quantum theory
  • Decoherence, the uncertainty principle, and quantum information
  • Canonical structure of loop quantum cosmology
  • Singularity resolution in loop quantum cosmology
  • Emergence of the arrow of time
  • Effective equations in loop quantum cosmology
  • Path integrals, decoherence, and partitions of space-time paths

Tevian Dray (Mathematics)

0 available projects

Project information

  • Math Education; mathematical physics

Elizabeth Gire

1 available project
Graduating students: Seghers ('23), Shapton ('23)
Continuing students:

Project information

  • Students use of various sensemaking strategies in PH315 and PH335
  • Development of course materials and assessments for Paradigms courses.

Matt Graham

0-1 available project
Graduating students: Zaback ('23)
Continuing students: Goodwin (’24), Moret (’25)

If interested, please consider applying to URSA-ENGAGE advertisement, SURE or other scholarship programs through with lab (http://sites.science.oregonstate.edu/physics/energetics/). End of the Spring term is the best time to inquire unless applying for a scholarship program (then ask early, ask often).

Project information

Optoelectronics: electronic confinement and current generation in emerging semiconductor materials. Optical laser spectroscopy.


Kathryn Hadley

0 available projects
Graduating students: Erickson, A ('23)
Continuing students: Jones, C ('24), Jackson, D ('24)

Project information

Computational astrophysics: modeling protostellar systems; Rossby wave instabilities, plasma shocks


Jeff Hazboun

2-3 available projects

Project information

Gravitational wave astronomy with pulsar timing arrays. Using signal analysis, Bayesian data analysis methods and astrostatistics to understand gravity. Computational astrophysics focused on supermassive binary blackholes.


Greg Herman

0 available projects

Project information

Ambient-pressure XPS (expt)


Pavel Kornilovich (Hewlett Packard)

0 available projects

Project information

  • (computational) Stable knots in nematic liquid crystals.

Davide Lazzati

0 available projects

Project information

  • Contact Dr. Lazzati (Astrophysics). Projects normally involve some computer coding. Besides that there is a lot of flexibility with finding a project that satisfies the student's curiosity about the subject.

Yun-Shik Lee

1 available project
Continuing students: Johnson, N ('24)

Project information

  • High-Field Terahertz spectroscopy of 2D materials

Corinne Manogue

0 available projects
Current students: Takach ('24)

Project information

  • Contact Dr. Manogue (Physics Education, mathematical physics)

David McIntyre

0 available projects
Graduating students: Snyder, B ('23), Stephens, J ('23)

Project information

  • Optical tweezer trapping and Brownian motion (exp/comp)
  • Optimized laser focusing via adaptive optics and machine learning (exp/comp)
  • Optical spectroscopy of materials (exp/comp)

Ethan Minot

1 available project
Continuing students: Wall ('24, PH minor)

Project information

  • Characterization of two-dimensional semiconductors (atomically thin crystals) using atomic force microscopy, electrical measurements, and optical measurements.
  • Characterization of carbon nanotube electrical properties as a function of gas ratios in the growth process.

Oksana Ostroverkhova

1 available project
Continuing students: Kirms ('23), Munk ('24)

Project information

Light-matter interactions in organic microcavities and plasmonic nanostructures


Venessa Polito

1 available project

Project information

Solar physics research projects will involve analysis of data from NASA satellites to study solar flares or other energetic events on the Sun and/or comparison with computational models.


Weihong Qiu

1 available project
Graduating students: Eagen ('22)
Continuing students: Chen ('23)

Project information

Experimental/Computation Biophysics

  • In silico characterization of the interaction of molecular motor proteins with the tracks they run on
  • Characterize the mechanism of bidirectional kinesin motor proteins

Heidi Schellman

0 available projects (2022/23)
Continuing students: Lefevre, P. ('24)

Sabbatical 2022-23

Project information

Neutrino physics.


Guenter Schneider

2 available projects
Graduating students: Shin ('23)
Continuing students: Freeman('24)

Project information

Computer modeling of materials properties, for example superconductors and topological materials (requires some programming). Develop tools (requires a lot of programming) to setup and analyze (may include visualization and machine learning) aforementioned calculations. There is flexibility to tailor projects to the interests and curiosity of students.


Xavier Siemens

Graduating students: Pelletier ('23), Ashby ('23), Lein ('23)
Continuing students:

Project information

  • Using radio telescopes to search for pulsars
  • Using radio telescopes to perform gravitational wave observations (pulsar timing)
  • Searching pulsar timing data for nanohertz gravitational waves.

Nick Siler

1 available project
No current students

Project information

How will climate change affect extreme precipitation from atmospheric rivers in western North America? Involves analyzing numerical simulations using Matlab or Python.


Bo Sun

1 available project
Graduating students: Melville ('23), Chavez ('23)
Continuing students:

Project information

  • Characterizing cell migration in conflicting environment (experimental, and matlab data analysis)
  • Developing deep learning methods for cell detection and tracking (proficient programing skills needed)
  • Comparison of dimensional reduction algorithms for cell migration trajectories

Janet Tate

0 available projects
Continuing students: Farmer, S ('23)

Project information

More information

  • Amorphous-to-crystalline transition in thin films
  • Optical properties of semiconductors (experimental)

Rebecka Tumblin

Project information

  • Computational astrophysics.
  • Metalicity of stars and planets, data mining, cluster analysis

KC Walsh

0 available projects
Graduating students: Toll, M ('23)

Project information

  • Ecampus comparative study of introductory physics using educational data mining and learning analytics.
  • Predictive modeling student success using various artificial intelligence methods.
  • Language processing student's reflective writing.

Allied-disciplines, OSU advisors:


Chong Fang (Chemistry)

0-1 available projects

Project information

Using steady-state and time-resolved spectroscopic methods to study fluorescence mechanisms of functional molecular systems (e.g., proteins, chromophores, biosensors) in solution. Contact Dr. Fang at Chong.Fang@oregonstate.edu or visit the group website.


Erin Pettit (CEOAS)

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences


Paul Cheong (Chemistry)

Computational Chemistry


Brian Woods (Nuc. Eng.)

Graduating students: Holler ('23)

Project information

Inertial Electrostatic Confinement Reactor


Vince Remcho (Chemistry)

Graduating students: Chirica ('23)


Allied-disciplines, advisors outside OSU: