Hiram College

Hiram physics majors Samantha Hudson, Troy Prunty, and Jaden Slovensky presented posters on their polymer physics research at the American Physical Society’s March meeting in Los Angeles. The gathering gave students a chance to learn about new research in condensed matter and materials physics. They also heard Barry Barish, Nobel Prize winner in physics, deliver his address “Einstein, Gravitational Waves and a New Science.”

Mark Taylor, Ph.D., associate professor of physics, facilitated the students’ spring break trip, on which he also joined them. At the meeting of some 10,000 physicists from around the world, Dr. Taylor delivered a talk on polymer folding in confined and crowded environments, which he coauthored with Hiram senior Christopher Vinci.

“I not only teach physics at Hiram, but I do physics at Hiram and I love engaging students in authentic scientific research and exposing them to the world of professional science,” Dr. Taylor says. “Being able to take students to a major meeting like [this] is a wonderful opportunity.”

Hudson showcased her research in her poster presentation “Studying the Volume Phase Transition of Polymeric Microgels.” She conducted the study last summer with Kiril Strelezky, Ph.D., associate professor of physics at Cleveland State University.

Prunty presented his poster “Polymer Folding in Cylindrical Confinement” and Slovensky discussed his poster, titled “Folding of a Square-Well chain in a Hard-Sphere Brush.” Both students conducted their research with Dr. Taylor at Hiram last summer.

“This type of professional science experience was valuable to me as an undergraduate at MIT and I believe it has been of great value to all my research students at Hiram,” Dr. Taylor says of the APS meeting. “It is only in such a major venue as the March meeting that my students appreciate that we are actually doing world-class physics research here at Hiram.  This is actually a big deal …  this is truly a distinctive feature of Hiram College.”

Dr. Taylor’s research is funded  by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Division of Material Research.