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Physics & Astronomy

Materials Simulation Group

What do we do?

What happens when titanium and molybdenum are mixed together? How does adding a little bit of yttrium affect a chunk of magnesium? Can we "cook" a mixture of aluminum and copper to improve its performance. Can platinum be alloyed or processed in a way that improves its strength? How can we take what we know about physics to make a new material?

In the Materials Simulation Group (MSG), we focus on two primary areas: 1) materials questions like those above, and 2) new algorithms, mathematics, and software to enable simulations of these questions. In our group, we perform "virtual" experiments---simulations on the computer. Students can be involved in a variety of ways. In the past, all dedicated students have ended up with at least one peer-reviewed paper. (See my my publications list for examples.)

What do you have to know?

Students must be be motivated to learn and must dependably balance research time with classes, family responsibilities, etc. Funding is available for all students who so demonstrate. Students in the MSG group are expected to spend at least 10 hours/week on research, even during the busy times of the semester. Experience shows that spending less effort that this leads to little progress.

Few successful students had prior knowledge in solid state physics or had abilities such as programming and using Linux/Unix. Such things are nice but exerting the effort to learn makes all the difference.

Getting Started

Basic skills thats students will need to be productive in the MSG group include:

  • programming
  • Unix/Linux skills (you will use the command line a lot)
  • text editor (emacs, vi, etc.)
  • basic knowledge of crystal structure
  • computational physics

If you want to see if you would enjoy working in our group,

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