The focus of my research for the last several years has been the investigation of collective and few-particle excitations in the tellurium nuclei. This work is done in collaboration with scientists from the University of Dallas, the United States Naval Academy, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Cologne. The work is supported primarily by grants from the National Science Foundation. The excited levels of nuclei and their decay characteristics are investigated by observing emitted electromagnetic radiation. We are especially interested in multi-phonon structures, intruder states, and excitations in which neutron and proton excitations are incoherent. At the University of Kentucky this is done by utilizing the (n,n´g) reaction mechanism. Protons are accelerated using the 7 MV Van de Graaff accelerator located in Low-Energy Nuclear Structure Laboratory located in the Physics and Astronomy department at the University of KY. A picture of the accelerator with the tank off is shown to the left.
For more information on Dr. Hicks' research click here.
My research, which was initially funded by the Nancy Cain Marcus and Jeffrey A. Marcus Chair in Science, involves photometric studies of cataclysmic variable stars (CVs). CVs are a class of short period semi-detached binaries that consist of an accreting white dwarf primary and often a low mass main sequence secondary star. The orbital periods of CVs typically range from approximately 0.06 day to 0.6 day, which makes them ideal for observations. Accretion takes place when the secondary star fills its Roche lobe and matter is transferred through the L1 Lagrange point. Two structures in non-magnetic CVs are of interest in our research: (1) the accretion disks, where half of the gravitational potential energy of the accreting material is released, and (2) the boundary layer between the accretion disk and the surface of the white dwarf, where the kinetic energy of the flow is thermalized and radiated. Temperatures of the accretion disk range from 5000 K at its outer edge to over 10000 K at its inner edge and the disk radiates over a broad energy range from the optical through the far ultraviolet.
Shown to the left is V1331 Cyg which we began studying in summer 2003.
For more information on Dr. Olenick's research, click here.