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The physics program offers numerous research opportunities in theoretical physics, experimental physics and observational astronomy for undergraduate students. Physics majors at Colorado Mesa University are required to take a total of four credit hours of senior research and senior seminar courses as well as possibilities for independent study and informal individual mentorship. This offers students opportunities for learning beyond the classroom, exposure to currently exciting developments in physics and development of research techniques and skills.

The CMU physics faculty are actively involved in research in a variety of fields and each has several publications in prominent journals and conference proceedings. Areas of current interest include:

  • Material Science and Nanotechnology
  • General Relativity and Gravitation.
  • Quantum Computing and Quantum Information.
  • Quantum Light-Matter Interactions in Solid State.

Physics students at CMU frequently participate in summer research programs at other institutions, typically via the NSF REU program.

CMU is a partner in the Falcon Telescope Network with the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.  Students at CMU will have access to several 20" research grade Ritchey Chretien Telescopes with one being located right near Grand Junction at The Grand Mesa Observatory.

Student Research Highlights

Recent and past highlights of research involving Colorado Mesa University physics undergraduate students include:

  • Bret Brouse, Scott Jackson, and Dr. Chad Middleton published their work "Anisotropic evolution of D-dimensional FRW spacetime" Eur. Phys. J. C (2019) 79: 982.
  • Scott Jackson won the best oral presentation in physical and environmental sciences for the 2018 CMU Student Showcase for this talk "Examining The Vacuum Regime In The D-Dimensional Friedmann-Walker-Robertson Model of Cosmology"
  • Bret Brouse won the best poster presentation in mathematics for the 2018 CMU Student Showcase for his work "An investigation of physics using model theory and first order logic".
  • Brandon Gracey and Dr. Jared Workman published their work "G2 and Sgr A* A Cosmic Fizzle at Galactic Center",  ApJ 843, (2017)
  • Jaimie Stephens and Dr. David Collins  published their work "Depolarizing Parameter Channel Estimation Using Noisy Initial States", Phys. Rev. A, 92, 032324 (2015).
  • Jeremiah Moskal ported the Sedov Taylor code written in Fortan 77 by F. X. Timmes and J. R. Kamm to Python and has contributed the code the astrophysical community.  This code will allow for new hydrocdes to validate their own Sedov Taylor simulations very quickly and efficiently see here - Sedov Taylor Code  
  • Brandon Gracey won an award for the best poster presentation at the 2015 CMU Student Showcase for work done on the simulation of the encounter of the gas cloud G2 and the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy SGR A*.
  • Danny Weller and Dr. Chad Middleton published their work "Elliptical Like Orbits On A Warped Spandex Fabric: A Theoretical/Experimental Undergraduate Research Project", Am. J. Phys. 84, 284 (2016)
  • Danny Weller presented his senior research at the 2014 APS Four Corners Meeting at Utah Valley University. 
  • Tom Morrison won an award for the best poster presentation at the 2014 CMU Student Showcase for work done on the simulation of the emitted spectrum from accretion disks at various inclination angles.
  • Caitlin Heath published her work with Dr. Jared Workman on initial mass functions of stellar populations in galactic clusters in the Monthly Notices of The Royal Astronomical Society. See: "Modeling Increased Metal Production In Galaxy Clusters With Pair-Instability Supernovae", Brian Morsony, Caitlin Heath, and Jared Workman, accepted in MNRAS.
  • Michael Langston published his work with Dr. Chad Middleton on orbits on spandex in the American Journal of Physics. See: "Circular orbits on a warped spandex fabric", C. Middleton and M. Langston, Am. J. Phys. 82, 287 (2014)
  • Jaimie Stephens placed as "runner-up" for the undergraduate poster presentation at the Spring 2014 SPS Zone 14 Regional Meeting.
  • Garry Stewart won an award for the best poster presentation at the 2013 CMU Student Showcase. Garry presented results of his senior research project which investigated the oscillations of a magnet levitated above a superconductor.
  • Caitlin Heath won a Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award for her poster at the 220th AAS meeting in Anchorage, AK. Only four undergraduate students received Chambliss medals at this meeting. Her poster described her senior research project, "The Importance of High-Mass Stars for Metal Enrichment in
    Galaxy Clusters."
  • Ethan Stanley and Dr. Chad Middleton published their work "Anisotropic Evolution Of 5D Friedmann-Robertson-Walker Space Time", Phys. Rev. D, 84, 085013 (2011)".
  • Peter Schulze won the 2011 award for Outstanding Performance in Physics at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Student Symposium. This was open to graduate and undergraduate students doing research at Los Alamos during the summer of 2011.
  • Casey Brown won the award for the best oral presentation at the 2011 Mesa State College Student Showcase. Casey presented results of his senior research project which investigated the dynamics of various football throwing motions.
  • Jacob Cady won the award for the best presentation by an undergraduate student at the annual APS 4Corners Section meeting held at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado in October 2009.
  • Jacob Cady published his analysis of the high road/low road classical dynamics problem in the Journal of Undergraduate Research in Physics. See: Jacob Cady and Chad A. Middleton, "The High/Low Road Demonstration, Or Birds On A Wire," J. Undergraduate Research in Physics, 22, Dec 2009.
  • Dan Rottinghaus published his work on the tipping of a kayak in the Journal of Undergraduate Research in Physics. See: Daniel R. Rottinghaus and Chad A. Middleton, "Kayaking Physics: The Tipping Angle," J. Undergraduate Research in Physics, 22, Aug 2009.

Research Areas