MSUM Physics and Astronomy Seminar Series

Friday, Dec. 7 | 3 p.m. | Hagen 325

Student Projects:

Jane Glanzer, Senior Project: B-Band Stretch Method for SN 2011fe.
SN 2011fe was a Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) that occurred in the galaxy M101 in 2011. Type Ia act as good distance indicators because of their ability to be standardized, meaning that there is a distinct relationship between their light curve shape and brightness. One of the techniques used to standardize SNe Ia light curves is the stretch method. The stretch method works by fitting your supernovae light curves to a template light curve. The template has a time axis that will be linearly stretched/compressed around the time of peak brightness to try to match the observational data. From this, a stretch factor “s” can be translated to a distance measurement. This projects goal was to determine the stretch factor for SN 2011fe, and therefore the distance to M101.

Aidan Shafer, Senior Project: Approximating the Ground-State Energy of Helium. 
A classic computational problem in physics is calculating the energy levels of atom. This paper explores a few of the simpler approximation techniques for calculating the ground-state energy of helium: First order perturbation theory and variational method, and a simple geometrical model. The approximations are 5.31%, 1.95%, and 0.37% off from the experimentally measured value, respectively. Even these fairly simple techniques give fairly accurate results.

Abel Eshete, Seminar Project: Energy of an Electron in a Hydrogen Atom. 
At the beginning of the 19th century, various experiments were being made that cannot be explained by classical mechanics. One of these was the motion of electron in an atom. According to classical mechanics, “electron is particle which moves in a circular path around the nucleus”. If electrons behaved this way then due to the acceleration, the electron will lose its energy and spiral in to the nucleus and atoms would no longer exist. In 1900, the German physicist Max Plank found out that a particle can absorb and emit energy in a discrete form. In 1905 Albert Einstein and showed that light can have a particle nature. Using the wave particle duality of light and the concept of discrete energy the Danish physicist Neils Bohr showed that an electron in the hydrogen atom could absorb and emit a certain allowed energy. In this experiment, we will verify Bohr’s model by determining and comparing the theoretical and experimental wavelength of photons.