Undergraduate Research at the
American Association of Physics Teachers 1998 Winter Meeting

In January of '98, three of our B.S. Physics undergraduates, Doug Garrett, Kyler Keuhn, and
Alex Small, had the opportunity to present talks to the American Association of Physics
Teachers (AAPT) 1998 Winter Meeting
in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Doug Garrett's talk, entitled "Magnetism of V, Mo, and Co Surface Impurities on Pb
Measured by their Pair-Breaking Effect", outlined experiments where the tools of
superconductivity were used to investigate the magnetic moments of impurity atoms and
clusters on the surface of a very thin film of Pb. In this talk, he concluded that individual V
atoms on the surface of Pb are magnetic while single Mo and single Co atoms are not.
"However," Garrett goes on to explain, "we also found that clusters of Co are magnetic which
one might expect given the Ferro-magnetic nature of bulk Co."

Kyler Keuhn presented the talk, "Multiple Wavelength Observations of the Sirius Binary Star
System, with Applications for Research and Education", which was based on his research
experiences from the previous summer at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) where
he had participated in their Research Experience for Undergraduates Program. This research
focused on the ALEXIS (Array of Low-Energy X-Ray Imaging Sensors) satellite which is
operated by LANL for the Department of Energy. He explains, "I worked with the satellite's
scientific team, correlating their recent and archived data of the Sirius binary star system with
other ground and space-based observations." In addition to his research, Keuhn also spoke
of his educational experiences of his summer at LANL, such as peer learning and his work
with LANL's Bradbury Science Museum where he was responsible for updating the ALEXIS

Alex Small's presentation, entitled, "Computer Control of Reflection High-Energy Electron
Diffraction Measurements", focused on work performed by Small under the supervision of
USC Physics and Materials Science Professor, Anupam Madhukar, and USC Materials
Science Professor, Ping Chen. Small elaborates, "I developed software to control RHEED
experiments (Reflection High Energy Electron Diffraction)
, a technique that aims an electron
beam at a surface and gathers information on the microscopic structure of the surface from
the diffraction pattern of the electrons.

According to Small, "The USC contingent was clearly the best one [at the AAPT
Conference]. Other schools sent larger contingents, but their talks were mostly about class
projects whereas ours were from real research labs doing publishable research." Kyler Keuhn
found the experience of presenting a conference talk to be "extremely valuable" for its
practical aspects of learning how to present and explain research in a conference setting.
Doug Garrett agrees, saying, "The actual act of delivering a presentation in front of an
audience was, intellectually speaking, the most challenging and rewarding aspect of the
experience. One must present in a concise and transparent way the main ideas and results of
some very complicated experiments and theories. If this is properly done, then there will be
many questions that will have to be answered in a diligent and clear manner. The reward is
great when tasks such as these have been successfully completed."

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