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Undergraduate and Fifth-Year Research

Student working with instrument in physics

Opportunities to Pursue Research

We believe it is important for undergraduates to make an early transition from classroom work to the more direct and active learning process involved in research. By becoming involved in research and collaborating with others, you’ll acquire a high degree of exposure and self-reliance.

How soon should you get involved in research? It depends on your level of ability and your motivation. However, the earlier you begin, the more rewarding your project will be. Most physics majors start in their junior year, but some have been known to begin in their first or sophomore year.

What Might You Research?

Your research usually will connect to the work of a faculty mentor. Research in the department is broadly concentrated in the experimental and theoretical study of condensed matter physics — a term for the physics of solids, gases, and liquids.

Our faculty’s experimental research focuses on:

  • Granular matter
  • Fluid dynamics
  • Applied mechanics
  • Scanning tunneling microscopy
  • Correlated electron systems
  • Superconductivity
  • Renewable energy technology
  • Complex microbial ecosystems

Our faculty’s theoretical research includes:

  • Computational physics
  • Computer simulation studies of phase transitions
  • Investigating theoretical and computational problems at the interface of physics and biology


Although the stereotype of a scientist might be that of a solitary worker working in a laboratory late at night, the reality is that researchers collaborate with other scientists from all over the world and across disciplines.

Our faculty regularly collaborate with colleagues at other institutions, and are involved in interdisciplinary research on active matter, environmental issues, physics education, and the technology of renewable energy.

Additional Opportunities

  • Publications: Our undergraduates often publish papers in refereed journals along with their faculty advisers and other collaborators.
  • Presentations: Share your research at Clark’s annual undergraduate Fall Fest and Academic Spree Day events.
  • Student Journal: Submit your research for publication in Clark’s student-run Scholarly Undergraduate Research Journal.

Recent Honors Theses

  • Ram Sharma: “Density Driven Instability During Granular Injection in a Hele-Shaw Cell”
  • Greg Jones: “Modeling Traffic with 3D Printed Soft Robots”
  • Camille Bales: “Angular Dependence of the FFLO State in BETS Superconductors”
  • Burhan Ahmed: “Analysis of Charge Density Wave States and Strain in CeTe2”
  • Bernny Ramirez: “Lumbriculus variegatus Locomotion in Granular Media”
  • Yonatan Hazan: “Designing a 2-Axis Solar Tracker in Order to Maximize Efficiency”
  • Lubaina Selani: “Understanding the structural and surface electronic properties of cuprous oxide nanocubes”
  • Max Newman: “Reconditioning and testing a Small Radio Telescope”
  • Donny Pearson: “STM, SEM, and Self-Assembly of Cuprous Oxide Nanocubes”
  • Matthew Alvarado-Ross: “Analysis of Charge Density Wave States and Lattice Strain in TbTe3

Summer 2019 Research

  • Paul Chapman
  • Owen Ganter
  • Samuel Hoang
  • Trang Hoang
  • Trinh Huynh
  • Abhiram Kolluri
  • Jacob Kolodney
  • Jack LaVelle
  • Schuyler McDonough
  • Matthew Pacenka
  • Alejandra Rosselli Calderon
  • Aandishah Samara
  • James ’39 and Ada Bickman Summer Science Research Internship: Matthew Pacenka
  • Bruce and Shari Weiller Summer Undergraduate Research Award: Alejandra Rosselli
  • Maurine H. Milburn Summer Research Fellowship: Owen Ganter, Abhiram Kolluri and Jacob Kolodney
  • Albert C. Erickson ’30 Summer Research Award: Trihn Huynh and Jack LaVelle
  • Stanley Geschwind Memorial Summer Research Internship for Physics Undergraduates: Schuyler McDonough

University Funds

  • Trang Hoang: LEEP and Noyce Funds
  • Samuel Hoang: LEEP Funds
  • Aandishah Samara: Global Scholars Fund

External Funds

  • Liana Shpani: REU: University of South Florida, Physics and Medical Engineering
  • Michael O’Connor: REU: Northwestern University, Materials Science and Engineering Department

Student Research Stories

Curiosity drives senior’s traffic pattern research

Greg Jones uses physics technology, 3D printing to examine how backups form

Read More
Liana Shpani makes a quantum leap

Sophomore looks for patterns in the universe at a microscopic level

Read More
Solar project aims to power cell phones

Megan McIntyre taps into sun's energy

Read More
Contact Information

Department of Physics

Office Location
  • Math-Physics Building, Physics
    Room 241
    950 Main Street
    Worcester, MA 01610

  • 1-508-793-7169
  • 1-508-793-8861 Fax