Saturday research presentations

8:30 – 10:00

Session #1, 10:15 – 11:45

Daily Homework: A Study-Skills Strategy
Robert Arts (University of Pikeville)
Abstract: Often in science courses homework problems are assigned in block sets that represent content throughout a topic. Students are encouraged to look over these problems following each lecture as a study aid for the material presented. More often than not, students wait until the due date for these problems sets to begin their attempts; resulting in a flurry of questions and concerns. This presentation will focus on the switch from these homework blocks to smaller daily assignments that represent content from an individual lecture. Logistical information about the assignments, a compare and contrast of block homework scores to those of daily homework scores for the same student group, and student feedback will be a part of the presentation.

Middle School Students’ Perceptions of PBL in Uruguay: Final Analysis
Wilson Gonzalez-Espada, Rosina Perez, and Marcos Sarasola (Morehead State University, Catholic University of Uruguay)
Abstract: Project-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered, inquiry-based pedagogical approach that integrates the development of content knowledge and critical thinking skills. Although common in U.S. physics classrooms, some Uruguay schools are starting to integrate PBL into their curricula to reduce student attrition. How do middle school Uruguayan student perceptions of the benefits of participating in PBL change before, during, and after PBL implementation? Data suggest project, teacher, and school specific factors could influence these perceptions.

Photon Simulation Studies for LSST’s Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC) Using Bellarmine University’s Open Science Grid (OSG) Tier2 Grid Supercomputer
Russell Sexton, Stephen Denny, Stephen Brown, M. Saleem and Akhtar Mahmood (Bellarmine University)
Abstract: Bellarmine University is part of the Kentucky Association for Research with LSST (KARL) research consortium and is a member of LSST’s Dark Energy Scientific Collaboration (DESC). We have implemented a dedicated grid site using the Open Science Grid (OSG) cyberinfrastructure at Bellarmine University to perform Photon simulations for the LSST’s Dark Energy Science Collaboration. LSST will have a 3.2 Gigapixel camera (the world’s largest digital camera once completed). LSST will conduct a 10-year survey of 37 billion stars and galaxies that will deliver large volumes of images and data sets (astronomical catalogs) that is thousands of times larger than previously compiled to address some of the most pressing questions about the structure and evolution of the universe, such as understanding Dark Energy that is driving the acceleration of the cosmic expansion. LSST will produce 15 Terabytes of raw data images per night. LSST will produce about 200 Petabytes of imaging data over 10 years of operation, which will be the largest astronomical data set in the world. We are part of the DESC-Computing and Simulation Working Group and are involved with the Survey Simulations and the Computing Infrastructure sub-groups. We are pioneering and spearheading the LSST grid computing efforts using the OSG cyberinfrastructure. The LSST project is developing a set of sophisticated simulation tools to produce realistic LSST images. Photon Simulator (PhoSim) is one of the major LSST’s simulation tools. Our efforts are aligned with the LSST-DESC Science Roadmap and are part of the LSST-DESC PhoSim Working Group goals/tasks on Large-Scale Grid Computing implementation in order to run the PhoSim Monte-Carlo simulations and some of the LSST DC2 (Data Challenge2) simulation jobs on the grid using Bellarmine University’s Tier2 Grid Supercomputer. PhoSim package uses FFTs (Fast Fourier Transforms) and fast intercept calculations to determine a comprehensive physical description of the atmosphere and the LSST telescope & CCD camera in order to simulate realistic optical/Infrared astronomical images.

Robotics with Humanoid Robot NAO and Hexapod (Robotic Spider)
Carlos Galindo, Stephen Brown, M. Saleem, and Akhtar Mahmood (Bellarmine University)
Abstract: Robotics is an exciting field. Various types of robotics devices are being used in many sectors of the industry, in NASA’s Mars missions, hospitals and movies, among others. Since robotics technology has witnessed a remarkable growth, there is a need to educate the next-generation undergraduate STEM students in robotics. At Bellarmine University’s Physics Department, we have been conducting research in fully-autonomous robotics with our Humanoid-Robot NAO and in semi-autonomous robotics with Hexapod in our Robotics Lab. We have programmed a humanoid robot, called NAO that has the ability to detect the surroundings and can hear, communicate, carry out conversations with humans and can even sense/detect being touched. We have programmed NAO in Python to become fully-autonomous. NAO has 25 degrees of freedom and has multiple touch sensors, and hence is able to carry out specific tasks in the lab and can work alongside with students. NAO is controlled by a specialized Linux-based Operating System, called NAOqi, which allows NAO to interpret and understand data received by its sensors. NAOqi powers the robot’s hardware, which includes four microphones (for voice recognition and sound localization), two speakers (for multilingual text-to-speech synthesis) and two HD cameras (for vision, including facial and shape recognition). Natural and human-created disasters often leave search-and-rescue missions reliant on human efforts in dangerous scenarios. We have experimented with applying semi-autonomous functionality by building a Hexapod robot using a PlayStation-2 controller that can be used to aid human operators in search-and-rescue operations. Using this controller, we are able to investigate the movements of the hexapod and understand its physical capabilities, which is necessary to determine whether a hexapod could function in diverse environments. We will highlight the advantages of implementing semi-autonomous human-operated robotics.

Morehead State University’s Collection of Vintage Physics Equipment
Logan Hankins and Jennifer Birriel (Morehead State University)
Abstract: The preservation of antique and vintage instrumentation is a common practice across all disciplines. Such items are found in museum, universities and personal collections. Morehead State University started as Morehead Normal School in the 1930s so it is not surprising that a small variety of vintage physics equipment exists on campus. We collected physics equipment from labs and storage areas and set about the task of identifying each piece. Identification methods included internet searches, professional assistance, and company consultation. The goal is to establish a display this vintage equipment in the public “museum” area of Lappin Hall. In this talk, we discuss our identification methods and present a sample of some of our most impressive vintage pieces.

Long-Term Monitoring of Night Sky Brightness on the Campus of Morehead State University
James Blackburn and Jennifer Birriel (Morehead State University)
Abstract: The use of artificial light at night increases night sky brightness above natural levels, causing a phenomenon known as light pollution. Light pollution has negative ecological and economic consequences and yet it can easily be remedied. The first step to addressing light pollution is to quantitatively document night-sky brightness and compare it to natural levels of night sky brightness. In 2010, an ethernet enabled Unihedron Sky Quality Meter was installed on the roof of Lappin Hall. This device makes photometric measurements of night brightness. Nightly monitoring reveals changes in sky brightness with natural phenomena such as lunar phase and night sky cloud cover. We report on recent measurements and discuss problems encountered in maintaining the device’s operation.

Session #2, 1:00 – 2:30

Revisiting streptavidin-biotin interaction with enhanced AFM techniques
Bradley James Mahaffey1, Robert Walder2, Thomas Perkins2 (1-Morehead State University1, 2-UC Boulder)
Abstract: Single molecules force spectroscopy (SMFS) is a type of atomic force microscopy (AFM) that’s aims to characterize mechanical properties of molecules and resolve kinetic parameters and energetic landscapes. This has historically been performed with substrate and cantilever chemistry functionalization that does not yield high quality data in a timely manner. When data is recorded, it can be misconstrued, due to nonspecific adhesions of biomolecules, as an interaction of a complex or unfolding of a protein. Additionally, when a ligand binds to its receptor, the complex can be at a disposed orientation with respect to an assumed vertical application of force. We apply the program, as adapted from recent work (Walder et al. 2018), to establish a centered force pulls routine, in attempt to represent the recorded force as accurate as possible. With these enhanced AFM techniques, we can correct for any misconceptions as to the kinetics and energetics of the Streptavidin-Biotin complex’s interaction.

Using the Sport of Soccer to Study Projectile Motion
Zack Roe and Ignacio Birriel (Morehead State University)
Abstract: A basic problem in introductory physics classes is projectile motion and the use of kinematic equations. In this study we designed and built a machine that uses two electric motors to “shoot” soccer balls. We are able to examine how different angles and different rpm, from the electric motors, effect the distance, velocity and spin of the ball. Video analysis software, Tracker, was used to record the ball’s velocity and acceleration with respect to position as the ball traveled from the machine to the point of impact with the ground. The data allowed us to write a program in C++ that can predict distance and velocity when given the angle with respect to the ground and the rpm of the electric motors.

Round and Round in an Introductory Physics Class
Sid Cowen and Ignacio Birriel (Morehead State University)
Abstract: In this project, we redesign a device used during MSU’s Math, Physics and Technical Education (MPATE) day. The device is intended to give students a hands-on activity demonstrating kinematic and rotational motion, and stimulate interest and understanding in introductory physics class environments. The results proved to be a new device with improved balance, accessibility, and convenience, all while maintaining the desirable attributes of the original design, as well as proving very cost efficient.

The Physics of Powerlifting
Scott Anderson and Ignacio Birriel (Morehead State University)
Abstract: This presentation is over the exploration of the physical science concepts utilized in the sport of powerlifting. The squat and the deadlift are the two different exercises being analyzed in this study. This study will quantify the motion of the lifter through the squat, and the motion of the bar through the deadlift, using a wireless dynamic sensor system that measures acceleration. For the squats, an accelerometer was placed near the center of the back and recorded the acceleration in three dimensions during the lift. As for deadlifts, the accelerometer was strapped to the bar while the lift was performed. For the data analysis the change in acceleration over time (Jerk) was calculated for each lift. Lastly, differences in the acceleration from the first repetition and the last repetition were analyzed to display fatigue throughout lifting, which causes a breakdown of form and increases chance of injury.

The Flying Discs
Michael Carwell and Ignacio Birriel (Morehead State University)
Abstract: Flying discs – more widely known as Frisbees – are fairly common toys. Since their release in 1957 they have only grown in popularity due their phenomenal aero dynamical properties. On a calm summer day at the park one may expect to find game of Ultimate Frisbee or even see a match of disc golf. This experiment focuses on the latter. In disc golf there are three different types of discs: a putter, a midrange disc, and a driver. As in golf, the different discs provide the ability to throw different distances. When examining the discs they all seem the same weight and surface area; however, one will quickly notice the lip of the driver is “sharper” than that of the putter. For this project, distance traveled and time of flight of the three different discs were gathered in the field. A theoretical model written in C++ which includes the drag and lift forces on a commonly shaped disc was used to compare to the experimental data.

2:45 – 4:15

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