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Research Opportunities in the Department

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Performing Research in Physics

Most undergraduate physics students will perform research during his/her studies here.  What is the best way to find a job doing research with one of our faculty?  Take as many opportunities as you can to meet them and ask if they have opening in their labs.  On this page you will see some postings for research positions in faculty laboratories, but these are not the only opportunities available.  In addition to your teachers, attending events such as Monday lunches with Physics Faculty will give you the chance to introduce yourself and ask about performing research.

Cornell supports undergraduate research in many ways.  Read about Hunter Rawlings III Cornell Presidential Research Scholars.

A partial list of current research positions available in the Department of Physics.

Most undergraduate research positions are unadvertised and students are encouraged to contact a number of faculty in their search.  Below are a few advertised positions. (updated October 2015)

Research with Professor Tomás Arias

Apply quantum mechanics and supercomputing to important problems with societal impact: alternate energy technologies and biophysics.  Prospective students must have significant computing skills (experience with Linux a big plus) and have done well in undergraduate quantum mechanics courses.

Contact Professor Arias


Research with Professor Ivan Bazarov

My lab offers multiple research opportunities for undergraduates. The range of activities spans from high quantum efficiency photocathodes, design and construction of a high voltage photoemission gun, experimental study of field emission, beam dynamics theory and modeling.

For more info see

Contact Professor Bazarov


Research with Professor Carl Franck

For Fall 2016, Winter Break 2017, Spring 2017 course credit and Summer 2017:  Seeking an enthusiastic undergraduate to join in our experimental, theoretical and/or computational studies of either 1) signaling in living matter and transitions to multicellular life or 2) X-ray experimental physics, especially novel forms of spectroscopy aimed at uncovered electronic correlation effects in condensed matter and atomic systems. In the first effort we exploit laboratory optical techniques, in the later we are interested in performing experiments with energetic electron scattering and especially X-ray photons scattering at Cornell’s synchrotron radiation facility, CHESS.

Contact Professor Franck


Research with Professor Georg Hoffstaetter

1) Research with high-brightness electron beams.

(a) Ions attracted to the electron beam, disturbing it’s motion.

(b) Fields excited by the beam in superconducting accelerating structures. (HOM heating and BBU instability)

(c) beam loss from intense accelerated beams.

(d) charge particle optics for multiple beams in one beam pipe.

2) Research with superconducting accelerating structures.

(a) Modern electropolishing of superconducting cavities.

(b) Plasma cleaning of the inside of superconducting cavities.

Find up to date student projects at

Contact Professor Hoffstaetter


Research with Professor Rob Thorne

Water is critical to life, yet many aspects of its interactions with biomolecules remain poorly understood.  We are looking for one or more undergraduates to assist in experiments and analysis related to the physics of water and ice formation in biomolecules and in biological structures. These problems are directly connected to important challenges in X-ray crystallography and molecular structure determination of proteins and in cryopreservation and recovery of biological tissues.  Sample projects include exploring preferential hydration and water structure in proteins using precision density measurements; and exploring glass formation and ice recrystallization during rapid cooling and thawing of aqueous solutions using high speed imaging.

Each of these projects is reasonably self-contained and should lead to journal publications. Good hands, good organizational skills, and a good work ethic are the key requirements.  We may also have some computational projects - assisting with analysis of data collected at CHESS - for suitably qualified students.

Please contact Prof. Thorne (ret6) for more information.


Research with Professor Jane Wang

Professor Wang’s research aims to identify, investigate, and discover new phenomena in a broad range of physical and biological systems.

Project 1:  Using human and computer interface to study physics of movement.

We are seeking enthusiastic  undergraduate students to participate in our explorative project on using human and computer interface to study physics of movement. If you have a strong background in physics and computer science, and are open-minded and  willing to work with dedication, please contact Prof. Jane Wang ( with a brief description about your background and a resume.

Project 2:  Tracking kinematics of Dragonflies in free flight.

We have lots of new high-speed 3D videos of dragonflies in free flight.  We need help to extract full 3D wing and body kinematics.  Minimal requirement:  a facility with computer, e.g. Matlab, and a willingness to look.  Please contact Prof. Jane Wang ( with a brief description about your background and a resume.

Contact Professor Wang