LAWRENCE — Forty-one students at the University of Kansas are returning to campus this fall having spent the summer working on an undergraduate research project.
Their projects range from studies relating to autism or to stroke treatment, to collecting mosquito specimens in the Amazon, or to preparing to test a wind turbine design in Antarctica.
The projects are funded with awards to support original, independent research by undergraduates enrolled on the Lawrence campus. The University Honors Program administers the awards with funds from the Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett, director of the University Honors Program, said she is impressed with the diversity of research topics and the quality of the students’ work.
Projects are selected based on overall quality of the proposal, student’s academic record and ability to complete the proposed research project, project’s potential contribution to knowledge, and educational value of the research to the student.
Students receiving awards for summer 2011 are listed below by hometown, level in school, major, parents’ names, high school attended, faculty research adviser, the project title and a brief description of the project.
From Eudora 66025
Kimberly Ann Scherman, senior in English and strategic communications; parents: James A. and Marguerite M. Scherman; Eudora High School; adviser: Charles Marsh, associate professor of journalism; “Comparative Study of Three West Coast Student Farms.” Scherman visited student farms at Oregon State University; the University of California, Santa Cruz; and the University of Washington to compile a best-practices report on university student-run farms. She will make recommendations for KU’s Student Farm located on a KU Field Station northwest of Lawrence. She also plans to determine the top five reasons that people eat locally produced food and that people join a student farm.
From Lawrence 66046
Ellen Marie Hernly, senior in environmental studies; parents: Stanley and Joni Hernly; Lawrence High School; adviser: Dorothy Daley, associate professor of political science; “The Formation, Prevalence, and Impact of Urban and Rural Food Deserts in Kansas.” Hernly is examining why some communities in Kansas have reliable access to healthy and affordable foods, while others do not. Urban food deserts have received attention as a driving force behind soaring obesity rates, but less is known about rural food deserts. Her research will contribute to a broader understanding of how community characteristics influence access to healthy and affordable food.
From Lawrence 66044
Marysa Erin Sacerdote, senior in visual art; Laguardia (N.Y.) High School Music Art; adviser: Gina Westergard, associate professor of visual art; “Professional Practices for Working Artists.” Sacerdote is researching business aspects of being a professional independent metalsmith and jeweler. She is studying divergent approaches to prosper as a working artist in today’s market. Her research includes bookkeeping, marketing, production and promotion, as well as establishing an internet presence.
Ryan Michael Schick, senior in art; Warrensburg (Mo.) High School; adviser: Judy McCrea, professor of visual art; “Process and Analysis of Intuitive Abstraction in Painting.” Modernism released painting from its historical role of documenting people and events. Painting became more self-referential, psychological and spiritual.... not by what the painting depicts but because of what it "IS." Schick’s influences are from the modernist era and he has proposed a series to demonstrate the artist's perceptual and conceptual elements as he abstracts directly from his surroundings.... including use of a live model.
Laura Dyan White, senior in applied behavioral science; Shawnee Mission South High School; adviser: Derek Reed, assistant professor of applied behavioral sciences; “Children's Preference for Limited- versus Extensive-Options.” White is examining whether children exhibit “choice overload” when picking toys to play with. Choice overload occurs when too many choices – typically a “good” thing – becomes overwhelming and results in negative outcomes. White will observe whether children prefer to choose from large or small arrays of toys; how many times they switch between toys; and the percentage of actual play that occurs when large or small array options are offered.
From Lawrence 66047
Logan James Wille, senior in physics; parents: James and Marianne Wille; Lawrence High School; adviser: Judy Wu, Distinguished Professor in physics and astronomy; “Atomic Layer Epitaxy of Hexagonal Boron Nitride for use in Graphere Based Electronics.” Wille is working with a team of researchers focused on development of other technological important materials that can be combined with graphene, which is a sheet of single layer carbon atoms, to build novel electronic devices. Boron nitride is an insulator, which could be grown with defect free surface of extremely small thickness of about one nanometer using an in-house atomic layer deposition system designed and assembled by Wille and other team members.
From Lawrence 66046
Andrew Travis Williams, senior in design; parents: Gerry and Sherry Williams; Lawrence High School; adviser: Tom Huang, associate professor of design; “Bamboo strip project.” Williams is designing and constructing a bench from bamboo using joinery techniques pioneered in wooden boat construction and cabinetmaking. The flexibility of bamboo, woodworking tools and computer technology allow him to work with materials and processes not previously attempted. He plans to enter his piece in international furniture design competitions.
From Lawrence 66047
Sun Young Yoon, senior in chemistry; parents: Kyung Hye Ahn and Wang Joon Yoon;
Bishop Seabury Academy; adviser: Paul Hanson, professor of chemistry; “Synthesis of Tricyclic Benzofused Sultams for Biological Screening within the NIH Molecular Library Program Utilizing a Reaction Pair Strategy.” Yoon is working with researchers at the Center for Methodologies and Library Development in KU’s Higuchi Biosciences Center. They are investigating the development of new chemistries to construct novel molecular libraries that are inspired by several biologically active sulfonamides and sultams. Ultimately biological screening of these sultams within the National Institutes of Health Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network will provide insight into their potential bioactivity and allow for second-generation evolution of synthetic methodologies leading to more refined libraries to aid in drug discovery.
From Lecompton 66050 and Lawrence 66049
Jared J. Powell, senior in philosophy; David Powell and Tracy Powell; Perry-Lecompton High School; Kelley Massoni, lecturer in sociology: “Faith in Pop Culture: Religious Representation on TV.” Powell is using the acclaimed television series “House” to study the place of religion in popular media. He is identifying religions represented in the series and analyzing the use of religion as a plot device, how the practitioners of religions are portrayed and whether or not these representations support or challenge existing religious stereotypes.
From Hays 67601
Kathryn Elaine Unruh, senior in behavioral neuroscience; parents: Stan and Vickie Unruh; Hays High School; adviser: Christa Anderson, research associate, Life Span Institute; “Visual Scanning and Pupillary Responses to Dynamic and Static Scenes in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Children with autism have altered processing to social images, especially when motion is present. Unruh is examining children’s processing of social images that have motion and that are still. She is using an eye-tracking system that can determine exactly where a child focuses on a screen displaying either a video clip or a still photo. The system can also determine the size of the child’s pupil while looking in a certain direction. Children will view a still photograph and video clips of social (the Wiggles) and non-social (Baby Einstein) scenes. Children with autism should have altered pupil responses to the social images (videos and still) and no differences in responses to non-social images.
From Oskaloosa 66066
Anne Alexandra Glanville, senior in atmospheric science ; parents: John and Carol Glanville; Oskaloosa High School; adviser: Adrian Melott, professor of physics and astronomy; “Climate Change Caused by a Gamma Ray Burst.” Glanville seeks to determine whether or not a gamma-ray burst that is thought to have hit the Earth at least once since the planet developed an oxygen atmosphere would generate enough opacity from nitrogen dioxide to cut off sunlight sufficiently to kick the climate into glaciation.
From Lenexa 66215
Emily Madonna Owens, senior in cognitive psychology; parents: Mark and Susan Owens; Shawnee Mission West High School; adviser: Doug Denney, professor of psychology; “Assessment of speed of processing and executive function deficits in Multiple Sclerosis.” Owens is working with a researcher studying the impact that multiple sclerosis has on patients’ cognitive functioning, specifically executive functioning. About 50 percent of multiple sclerosis patients have some measurable problem with cognition, although a much smaller percentage of these patients will find their day-to-day functioning seriously impaired by cognitive deficits. Owens will examine whether patients with MS if provided sufficient time to work on executive task-function problems can perform with a success rate similar to individuals with no neurological disorders.
From Lenexa 66215
Harrison Whitefield Smith, junior in Slavic languages and literatures; parent: Geoffrey Smith; Whitefield Academy, Kansas City, Mo.; adviser: William Comer, associate professor of Slavic languages and literature; “What is Beauty?: Dostoevsky's Aesthetics in The Idiot.” Smith is examining the power and limitations of beauty in Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot, whose hero the author conceived of as “the most beautiful man in the world.” His paper will draw heavily on Dostoevsky’s notebooks to The Idiot and will synthesize the novel’s discussion of aesthetic questions.
From Olathe 66062
Daniel M. Kennedy in senior aerospace engineering and astronomy; Belton (Mo.) High School; adviser: David Besson, professor of physics and astronomy; “Autonomous South Pole Power Station.” Kennedy is working with KU researchers experimenting with producing wind turbine power in the extreme climatic conditions at the South Pole. Nearly one third of all of cargo that is hauled into South Pole is fuel for the station's megawatt power generator. Standard turbines cannot survive the minus-90 degree temperatures of South Pole winds. In December, Kennedy will travel to the South Pole with his adviser to work on his project investigating the potential for wind turbines to power a research station.
Ashley Nicole Martin, senior in pharmacy; parents: Michael and Susan Martin; Olathe South High School; adviser: Honglian Shi, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology; “The role of Iron in HIF-1 degradation and neuronal death.” Martin’s project focuses on identifying a potential target for stroke treatment. Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the United States and there is no cure. Specifically, she is exploring how iron ion in neurons degrades hypoxia inducible factor 1, which, many recent studies have demonstrated, protects neurons from stroke-caused death.
Blake Anthony Rohde, junior in computer engineering ; parents: Anthony and Debbie Rohde; Olathe Northwest High School; adviser: Swapan Chakrabarti, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science; “Long Distance Wireless Transmission SD Interfacing Peripheral Device.” Rohde is designing and building a plug-and-play (Secure Digital Memory Card) that will allow gadgets such as digital cameras automatically to send recorded data to remote locations -- continually freeing up space on the memory card. One use of this design would be time-lapse photography.
Daniel Patrick Simon, junior in biology and microbiology; parents: Philip and Vickie Simon; Blue Valley West High School; adviser: Scott Hefty, assistant professor of molecular biosciences; “Elucidation of Inhibitory Mechanism of Cellulose Based Compounds on Chlamydia Infection and Development of Topical Microbicide.” Simon is working with Hefty, and Sarah Kieweg, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, who are collaborating on a project to reduce the rate of transmission of Chlamydia, the world’s most prevalent sexually-transmitted bacteria. They have been testing the ability and efficacy of cellulose based excipient polymers to prevent Chlamydia infections as a vaginal delivered microbicide. They have discovered that a number of compounds that are typically the inert delivery substance, inhibit Chlamydia infections within a tissue culture format. Simon’s project focuses on determining what [stages of the] chlamydial infection process is disrupted by these compounds. His study will be useful in improving the inhibitory properties of these compounds.
From Olathe 66061
Taylor Anne Terreau, senior in social work; Olathe East High School; adviser: Leslie Hasche, assistant professor of social welfare; “Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Rates of Geriatric Depression: A Critical Approach.” Using data from the national Health and Retirement Study, Terreau will examine how race and ethnicity relate to depression among older adults. With the growing size and diversity of our aging population, Terrau’s research will be informative for health and social service providers.
From Olathe 66062 and Overland Park 66221
Benjamin Isaac Weintrub, senior in engineering physics and physics; parents: Leah Berens and Hal Weintrub (66221); Blue Valley West High School; adviser: Judy Wu, Distinguished Professor in Physics and Astronomy; “Fabrication and Electrical Characterization of Carbon-Based Nanostructures.” Weintrub is working with researchers in Wu’s lab to investigate the limiting factors on carbon nanotube infrared photodetectors. In a recent work on individual multiwall carbon nanotube photodetectors, Wu’s lab has demonstrated a record high detectivity (by one order of magnitude high than that in commercial VOx uncooled) infrared detector. Weintrub is examining possibilities to further the performance of these detectors.
From Overland Park 66223
Jeremy Hopper Ims, senior in astronomy, mathematics and physics; parents: Teresa Hopper and John Ims; Home School - State of Kansas; adviser: David Besson, professor of physics and astronomy; “Determining the Arrival Angles of the Cosmic Ray Fluence.” Ims is working to optimize data collected by two radio frequency antennas located in Tunka Valley, Siberia, to measure the arrival directions of so-called “cosmic ray” particles. These particles are created by violent stellar and galactic processes and are constantly bombarding the Earth’s surface. Pre-existing instruments at the same location in Siberia have been used to measure the arrival directions these particles. The use of radio wave antennas to do such measurements is novel. Ims hopes to use measurements from the pre-existing cosmic ray detector to inform his optimization of the radio-wave antenna data, and demonstrate the viability of that technique.
From Overland Park 66213
Kathryn Lee Songer, senior in human biology; parents: Joanne and Stephen Songer; Olathe North High School; adviser: Lisa Timmons, associate professor of molecular biosciences; “Adenylyl Cyclase and Stress.” Cells are constantly exposed to a number of different environmental stressors, such as temperature, oxidizing chemicals and toxins that damage DNA and protein. Fortunately, cells have a number of different molecular tools that can combat environmental stress. These tools are especially important in traumatic disorders such as cancer or heart disease. In these situations, not only does the underlying disorder impart cellular stress, often medications used in treatment may contribute to stress as well. Songer’s project further investigates the role of cyclic nucleotides -- molecules that are normally produced by cells in response to insulin signaling, for example -- in fundamental stress responses in cells.
Prairie Village 66208
Thomas A. Radocy, senior in biology; parent: Judith Jagger; Lawrence High School; adviser: Caroline Chaboo, assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology; “Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) in Madre de Dios Department, Peru, with Distributional Assessment using Ecological Niche Modeling.” Radocy’s project included traveling to Peru this summer to collect specimens as part of an inventory of a site in the southeast Amazon. Researchers expect that mosquito diversity and the potential rate of mosquito-borne diseases will change as the area's largely intact lowland rainforest, with massive tributaries of the Amazon River, undergoes dramatic changes due to logging, gold mining and the construction of the trans-oceanic highway from Brazil, across Peru, to the Pacific coast.
From Leavenworth 66048
Elisabeth Grace Broaddus, senior in classical languages and English; parents: Matthew and Angela Broaddus; Atchison High School; adviser: Misty Schieberle, assistant professor of English; " ‘To Amenda His Wronge’ Feminine Networks and Agency in John Gower's Confessio Amantis.” To examine traditional assumptions about medieval women's lack of access to power and authority, Broaddus is exploring two medieval tales in which women exact revenge on a man who has offended household and familial propriety. One tells how a man murdered his wife's father; the other of a man’s abuse of his wife's sister. Broaddus combines close reading with historical explorations of women's authority, medieval legal traditions and the medieval household to demonstrate how women's networks, between sisters or between ladies and their housemaids, allow women to attain agency (authority) and right wrongs perpetrated by men.
From Tonganoxie 66086
Austin Franklin Smith, junior chemical engineering; parents: Jeanne and Frank Smith; Tonganoxie High School; adviser: Michael Detamore, associate professor of chemistry and petroleum engineering; “Radiation sterilization of hyaluronic acid.” Smith is working with a research group in Poland this summer to understand better an important material that has widespread uses in medicine, ranging from lubricants for arthritic joints to biomaterials used for regeneration of tissues in the body. Smith’s project will help in establishing a synergy between the group in Poland and ongoing work at KU to develop new biomaterials for regenerative medicine.
From La Cygne 66040 and Iola 66749
Kellen Thomas Bolt, senior in American studies and English; parents: Ken Bolt and Kay Bolt (Iola); Iola Senior High School; adviser: Susan K. Harris, Distinguished Professor in English; “Immigrants in Nature: Environment and National Subjectivity in American Immigrant Fiction (1890-1920).” Bolt is examining the relationship of immigrants to the natural world—the American environment. The topic is rarely considered in literary studies, in part because immigrants were associated with urban rather than rural spaces. Immigrants by definition were not Americans, therefore they had no place in the movement or in the natural world. Bolt is investigating immigrants’ responses to this scenario--as urban residents, as farmers and as travelers.
From McPherson 67460
Grace Dallae Chin, senior in art; parents: Ku-Sup and Shin-Hee Chin; McPherson High School; adviser: Yoonmi Nam, associate professor of visual art; “Obok and the 5 Directions: A Meeting of the Mystical, Mythical, and Mundane.” Chin’s work explores her Korean-American identity by using images of Korean traditional paintings and folk art, while subtly manipulating the content by taking elements out of context or embedding images of contemporary objects. One of her lithographs references a Korean traditional still life painting in which she has inserted a teddy bear and an iPod. Her project brings together personal and shared cultural histories and symbolism. Chin is creating two series of artist’s books, each containing multiple books. The books also become objects that can be viewed and handled.
From Manhattan 66503
Isaac Steven Fees, senior in chemical engineering; parents: Gary and Bronwyn Fees; Manhattan High School; adviser: Ward Thompson, professor of chemistry; “Computational Modeling of the Optical Properties and Excitation Energy Transfer Phenomena within Light-Harvesting Pigment Protein Complexes.”
From Hutchinson 67502
Brandon James Ricke, junior in chemical engineering; parents: Judy and Darrel Ricke; Hutchinson Senior High School; adviser: Prajna Dhar, assistant professor in chemical and petroleum engineering; “Exploration into the Dynamics of Protein Aggregation.” Ricke’s project is focused on learning more about how a protein involved in Alzheimer's disease -- amyloid-beta (A-beta) -- interacts with brain cells to cause cell death and ultimately memory loss. The body’s cell contents are well protected by a thin layer of molecules called a cell membrane. While A-beta is essential for the proper functioning of the brain, it is hypothesized that the unhealthy form of this protein can start attacking the cell membrane. Ricke is monitoring the changes that a model cell membrane will undergo in the presence of this unhealthy protein. He also hopes to determine if the membrane’s composition can make it more or less susceptible to these attacks.
From Salina 67401
Robert James House, senior in anthropology and human biology; parents: Linda Lawrence and Ray House (Salina); Salina High School Central; adviser: David Frayer, professor of anthropology; “Orbital Depth Variation in Modern Humans.” House is studying the depth of the eye socket in a large skeletal population at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Ohio. He is focused on describing the possible relationship between orbital depth and other cranial and facial dimensions in European- and African-Americans. The study is relevant to understanding the evolution of the orbital shape change in fossil humans.
From Salina 67401
Scott Archer Mitchell, senior in chemical engineering, biochemistry and biology; parents: Mark and Kathi Mitchell; Salina High School South; adviser: Cory Berkland, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering; “Investigation of engineered soluble antigen arrays as novel diagnostic tools for multiple sclerosis.” Mitchell is studying the progression of multiple sclerosis in animals treated with nanomaterials specifically designed to interfere with immune responses in autoimmune diseases. These nanomaterials are natural polymers that display patterns of antigen that are responsible for the immune response to the myelin sheath, which is the underlying cause of multiple sclerosis. His project will contribute to the research of the potential use of these antigen displays to stop the autoimmune response and of these nanomaterials as a diagnostic tool for early detection of multiple sclerosis.
From Wichita 67206
Rebecca Lynn Mandelbaum, senior in English; parent: Susan Mandelbaum; Independent High School, Wichita; adviser: Mary Klayder, lecturer in English; “Nature as a Commodity: A Creative Account of Tourism in a U.S. National Park.” Mandelbaum is working her way through the National Parks in the west, creating a portfolio of nature writing that includes prose and poetry. Much of her nature writing began with her observations of wildlife while rock climbing and hiking.
From Topeka 66601
Devon K. Cantwell, senior in political science and women's studies; parents: Joyce Cantwell; Washburn Rural High School; adviser: Brent Steele, associate professor of political science; “Conflict: Tactics of Agency and Gender Roles.” Cantwell is examining the role, practices and representations of women soldiers in various African war zones. Her project will demonstrate how women are not, as is presumed, simply “victims” in war but can also serve as active agents in combat and violence. She is reviewing reports by human rights and non-governmental organizations, among others, to determine not only what information is reported but also how women are represented -- as victims or active agents -- in conflict and security situations.
From Topeka 66617
Joshua Calvin Sagely Meier, senior in visual art; parents: Diane Sagely and Timothy Meier; Perry-Lecompton High School; adviser: Cima Katz, professor of visual art; “Language, Literature, & Light.” Meir is animating text from disparate historical literary sources as well his own writings for two installations. He is creating two short stop-motion videos in which animated text moves across reflective mylar. The text relates to the visual properties of the reflective mylar. Just as the mylar bends, reflects and distorts light, the animated text will bend, reflect and distort the meaning of the projected writings. Meir is also creating five photo lithographs to document single moments of the video and serve as a counter balance to the ephemeral condition of the installations by capturing movement in a singular instant.
From Topeka 66611
Sydney L. Piles, sophomore preparing to study nursing, parents: Daniel and Jane Piles; Hayden High School; adviser: Craig Martin, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; “Elucidation of the Mechanism of Water Absorption in Plants with CAM Photosynthesis.” Piles is investigating precisely how plants that grow in very dry environments obtain their water. Many of these plants have a special physiology that helps them conserve water, but her experiments are investigating whether or not this special physiology might also help such plants harvest water too.
From Columbia 65203
Arthur Wesley Ankeney, junior in biochemistry and mathematics; parents: Mary and John Ankeney; Columbia-Rock Bridge (Mo.) Sr. High School; adviser: Lisa Timmons, associate professor of molecular biosciences; “Correlating Cyclic Nucleotides with Stress Tolerance, Longevity, and Reproduction.” Ankeney is working on a project related to understanding better the stress responses within cells that can occur with long-term use of medications. Cyclic nucleotides can affect the ability of cells to respond to environmental stress, and the cellular levels of cyclic nucleotides can become altered by some medications. Ankeney is using advanced biochemical techniques to measure precisely the amount of each cyclic nucleotide in cells and to correlate the levels of cyclic nucleotides with environmental stress responses. His results will provide insights into the design of novel therapeutics that may help alleviate cellular stress.
From Liberty 64068
Emily Eleanor Page, senior in sociology and Spanish; parents: Tom and Cheryl Page; Liberty (Mo.) High School; adviser: Joey Sprague, professor of sociology; “Study of Hookup Culture at KU.” Page is investigating hookup culture on campuses. A hookup is defined as a sexual event occurring outside of an exclusive relationship. Research indicates that women are less likely to be sexually satisfied in a hookup than are men. Some research finds that women use hookups in search of a rewarding ongoing relationship. Other studies show that college women prefer hookups to ongoing relationships to avoid distraction from their academic goals. Page is comparing the experiences of women enrolled in college with those who are a few years past graduation. She hopes to determine whether college women celebrate and embrace hookup culture or merely tolerate its inequalities until they have better alternatives.
From Rich Hill 64779
Jessica Renee Brooks, senior in environmental studies and global and international studies; parents: Bryan and Evelyn Brooks; Rich Hill High School; adviser: Garth Myers, director and professor of African and African American studies; “An Assessment of the Consequences of Finishing Construction of the Jonglei Canal in Southern Sudan on the Region, Country, and Nile River Basin.” Brooks is conducting email and phone interviews with scholars, bureaucrats, planners and others in the Nile region of Southern Sudan, the world’s newest nation. She is exploring how the changing political geography of the former Republic of Sudan will intersect with the long-planned Jonglei Canel in Southern Sudan. Originally designed to speed the flow of water north to Sudan's major metropolis of Khartoum and to Egypt, dam construction has potential for harmful consequences for the environment and cultures of Southern Sudan's Sudd Basin - a wildlife-rich, seasonally flooded wetland.
From Hastings 68901
John-Marc J. Skoch, senior applied behavioral science; parents: Michael and Virginia Skoch; Saint Cecilia High School, Hastings; adviser: Florence DiGennario Reed, assistant professor of applied behavioral science; “Instructional versus Schedule Control of Humans' Performance on a Simulated Work Task.” Skoch is studying how different types of managerial or supervision styles may influence the degree to which employees follow instructions when there are competing work contingencies.
From Fargo 58103
Kelsi Marie DeVos, senior in behavioral neuroscience; parents: Dennis and Susan DeVos; South High School, Fargo; adviser: Paul Atchley, associate professor of psychology; “Effects of Phantom Phone Ringing.” Surveys indicate young adults commonly think they hear their phone or feel it vibrate, even when the phone is not nearby or on their person. DeVos is testing to determine if younger adults who have grown up with these technologies are dedicating part of their attention toward seeking out indications of contact via their phones. She will use techniques from psychophysics to examine the sensitivity of younger adults to their own phone and text alerts as well as how often they experience false alarms.
From Athens 45701
Gregory Frank Pach, sophomore in physics; parents: Mary Jane Kelley and Chester Pach; Athens High School, The Plains; adviser: Adrian Melott, professor of physics and astronomy; “An Increase in Long-Lived Genera.” Pach is working on an astrobiology project that examines a cylicity in biodiversity on Earth. Research indicates that fossils of longer-lived species don’t display a periodicity, but shorter-lived species display a 62-million year periodicity in a number of genera of marine fossils. Using computer analysis, Pach explored the boundaries between “long” and “short-lived.” He is a contributor to a paper written with Melott and Richard Bambach of the Smithsonian Institution Natural History Museum on their discovery of another pattern: over the last 500 million years, there has been a major systematic increase in how long groups of creatures survive before going extinct.
From Sofia 1330
Yasen Ivanov, senior in physics and computer science; Lawrence High School; adviser: Alice Bean, professor of physics and astronomy; “Testing the Functional Range of the Pixel Optical Hybrid.” At the heart of the Large Hadron Collider located near Geneva, Switzerland, is a 66-mega pixel camera capable of taking almost a billion pictures per second. This detector, which is made of silicon, helps to determine the position of particles passing through to a precision that is 10 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Data from the detector will be transferred onto computers using optical fibers. Ivanov is working at KU to ensure that the full data readout chain from the detector through these optical fibers is fast enough and accurate enough to handle the future data rate. He is modeling the detector readout using a test board setup with a field programmable gate array that he must program. He then will test a new prototype system for this detector at KU.