Research opportunities and facilities
Within this department, there are many opportunities for you to engage in research (independent study projects, honors theses) with our faculty, or as part of collaborations with this department and off-campus labs, both in the US and abroad. Come talk to us about the kinds of research work being done here in our labs.
The department's outstanding research facilities are all housed in the F. W. Olin Science Center. They include the following:
- 6-meter recirculating flume. Our research flume, built by Engineering Research Design, was installed in 1999 and is the largest recirculating flume in the state. It has a maximum flow rate of 40 liters per second and a range of 0 to 5% in slope. The flume facility is used to study turbulence and forces involved in sediment transport. Contact Professor Doug Thompson for more information.
- an ion accelerator. The Daghlian ion accelerator lab features a 1 million electron-volt Pelletron accelerator built by National Electrostatics Corporation, one of the largest of its kind located at a liberal arts college. It is used to study atomic and molecular collisions and for research in materials analysis. Contact Professor Michael Monce for more information.
- an observatory: The department hosts a 20-inch Ritchey-Cretien reflector in the Olin Observatory. It is used for CCD photometry of active galaxies and variable stars. The Olin Observatory also opens it doors to the public for sky viewing events throughout the year. For more information about public events, please visit our Observatory Events page.
- a photonics laboratory: The photonics lab hosts a fully-automated semiconductor device characterization setup, a high-speed optoelectronic system for generation of high power and short optical pulses for free-space optical communication applications. The photonics research focuses on the invention of new semiconductor device concepts, the practical realization of those devices, and their integration into subsystems. Contact Professor Mohamed Diagne for more information.
The department also oversees the science division machine shop located in the Olin Science Center in the basement next to the other physics, astronomy and geophysics labs.
If you are interested in pursuing honors theses in one of these facilities, you should get in touch with the appropriate professor early in your career at Connecticut College. Many of our students have co-authored papers with our faculty on research conducted on and off campus and presented their research at professional society meetings nationally.