Summer Research at Carleton

Summer 2016 in the Physics and Astronomy Department

During the Summer of 2016 a limited number of research positions will be available. These positions will be paid the campus wide rate provisionally set at $4400 for ten weeks of work.


Students should contact the faculty member with whom they wish to work by February 15 and set up an appointment to discuss the research project and their qualifications for the job. Invitations to join a research group will be issued in early March. Student who receive invitations to join a research group must make a commitment before leaving campus for spring break.


Students offered a position will be required to do a spring term Special Project with their research advisor. Some Physics & Astronomy professors require more terms of academic research before a student is hired for summer work. These professors identify their summer research student(s) early in the academic year.

Faculty/Student Summer Research:

The Towsley Endowment and our current HHMI grant provide financial support for Carleton students working with Carleton science and math faculty on campus (or in the field) during summer and over winter break. Click HERE for more info!

Marty Baylor

Although I am not taking research students this summer, I am looking for one or two students two work with me to inventory demos and equipment in the department as part of the Broadening the Bridge grant with St. Olaf and enter the information in a Filemaker Pro server. Comfort with programing would be helpful, but is not required. The expectation would be 2 students for 20 hours per week for 10 weeks (with the ability to perform another campus job), but this is negotiable based on the interest and experience of the students (i.e., could work less time for more hours). This opportunity is dependent on receiving funding for the project, which I won't know until early May. If you have any interest, please contact me at

Melissa Eblen-Zayas

I am looking for two summer research assistants to work on two condensed matter/materials physics projects: 1) understanding how an unusual phenomenon called phase inhomogeneity impacts the properties of colossal magnetoresistive (CMR) materials and 2) exploring the feasibility of using magnetite electrodes for hydrogen production as a method for energy storage. Both projects involve hands-on fabrication of samples. For the CMR project, we are interested in characterizing the unusual magnetic and electric properties of CMR samples and trying to understand how they are connected to material fabrication methods. For the hydrogen production project, we characterize how electrode fabrication impacts the potential for energy storage applications. Students who work in my lab gain experience in LabVIEW programming, low temperature experimental methods, high vacuum techniques, and materials characterization techniques such as transport and magnetization measurements, glancing incidence x-ray diffraction, cyclic voltammetry, and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy.

Students who have done work with me during the fall and winter terms will have priority for summer positions, but I encourage other students, particularly freshmen and sophomores, to talk with me about these positions. Being an experimentalist is, in part, about being creative, patient, detail-oriented, self-motivated, and able to solve real-life, messy — quite literally! — problems, and those traits are more relevant for lab work than having taken particular physics courses. Please send me an e-mail ( to find out more.

Eric Hazlett

My research focuses on trapping atoms with lasers to explore the excitement/mysteries of quantum mechanics.  The goal is to produce a Bose-Einstein condensate of Rb atom and trap it in a ring trap made from a hollow laser beam. Now this project is just starting up so there will be a lot of construction and design of lasers, electronics, and infrastructure of the lab and experiment.   There will be lots of optics and electronics work. No course requirements are needed.  I will have two or three openings for projects during the summer.  Please email me ( if you are interested.

Arjendu Pattanayak

There are two fronts to my research. 

(A) The older track tries to understand the behavior of quantum nonlinear systems, focusing on the role of decoherence and the difference between quantum and classical systems, including things like how entanglement depends on dynamics, and how you might be able to control quantum behavior. The work is both analytical and computational, and some students going with few assumptions about their background. I prefer working with juniors (or seniors) but several sophomores and some first-year students have done really well in my groups. I do like a long-term commitment -- for at least 2 terms. Travel to conferences to report on results is very likely. More information is on my research web page at

(B) The other newer track is a somewhat of a change in direction for me. I have been thinking about energy issues for a while, and I have one idea about how to open a research front on 'micro-energy harvesting' (googling that phrase would be a good start to understanding what it means). I would be happy to get started on this with any student that cares to learn about this with me.

Joel Weisberg

Joel will be working with students before and during summer 2015, doing pulsar research to study general relativity, the interstellar medium, and pulsars’ emission processes. Carleton students, colleagues elsewhere, and Joel are observing pulsars at Arecibo, PR, Parkes, Australia, and elsewhere for a variety of projects. They are studying the properties of pulsars in an effort to understand the underlying emission mechanism; measuring the density, turbulence, and magnetization of the interstellar medium by watching its effects on pulsar signals; and studying Einstein's General Theory of Relativity by carefully observing the orbit and pulseshape of a binary pulsar. 

We would start winter or spring term by reading and discussing articles on these topics, and learning computer programming, so that we can hit the ground running in the summer.  The projects involve the use of unix, fortran, IDL, and C programs to plan the observations and to analyze the data we collect on these objects; and our own minds to think creatively  about the results.   Astrophysics I or II is a suggested prerequisite but we can be flexible; most important is a sincere interest in astrophysics.  

Currently it looks like his student roster is full, but you may contact him to see, at

Other 2016 Summer Positions

Summer Science Fellowships

The goal of the Summer Science Fellowship is to broaden participation of historically underrepresented groups (including gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, and disabilities) in the sciences and math. Carleton Summer Science Fellows have the opportunity to work in a research lab either at Carleton or at another institution for at least two summers with a stipend of $4,300 each summer. Summer Science Fellows participate in group meetings and activities both before and after the summer research experience and are expected to enroll in the 1 credit Science Fellows Research Colloquium both in the spring before and the fall following their research experience.  Click here for more information! 

Kolenkow-Reitz Fellowship:

The Kolenkow-Reitz fellowship provides research support for Carleton students working with non-Carleton science and math faculty at another institution during the summer or over winter break. Click here for important information.

More descriptions will be coming soon!  In the mean time, check out the various special projects offered by faculty members that happen throughout the academic year here.