Physics and Astronomy

  • Liam Powers

Liam Powers ’23

Major

Physics

Minor

Mathematics

Activities

  • Research Lead under Dr. K Martin-Wells
  • President of Society of Physics Students
  • Physics Department TA
  • Physics Department Tutor
  • Tech Support Supervisor
  • Treasurer of the Delta Pi Sigma Fraternity
  • Events Marshal for the Ursinus Democrats

Research

In broad terms, I study the mechanics of impacts on the lunar surface. My research specifically studies the distribution of secondary material that has been ejected from a primary impact site to form a more complete understanding of that primary impact. We specifically study Tycho crater, one of the youngest (~100 million years old) and most well preserved craters on the Moon. Currently, we are working to develop a more efficient method of crater counting, and distinguishing between secondary and primary craters. Crater counting is an extremely time intensive and subjective method of data collection, so we are working to streamline the process to collect a larger amount of more reliable data, which will in turn improve our models. So basically, I count a lot of holes on the Moon.

The Spatial Relationship Between Tycho Secondary Craters and Distal Impact Melt Deposits

The Spatial Relationship Between Tycho Secondary Craters and Distal Impact Melt Deposits(Summer Fellows)

Towards A Repeatable Crater Counting Method For Undergraduate Crater Counters

 

My Experience

Getting to direct all of my attention into a single problem, and work that problem for weeks, was an extremely valuable experience. As I prepare for graduate school, learning to focus on one big problem and break it down into individual, smaller problems which I can solve is an incredibly valuable skill. This, combined with the experience of laboratory research, will be an immeasurable help as I continue my STEM career.

The coolest part was probably compiling the data once I finished all my counting. Seeing thousands and thousands of data points combined and collected into one number or one graph is a terrifying but also very exciting process. You get to see if all your hours of work give you the prediction you expect, or if your data uncovers some exciting new pattern.

The professors of the physics department have made a huge difference in my education at Ursinus, especially my advisors Kassandra and Ross Martin-Wells. I would not be able to do everything I do without the support and guidance from them.

Academic Connection

I love the ability to actually get to know my professors. Especially in a smaller department like mine, you really connect with your professors after 3 or 4 years in a way that just isn’t possible at larger schools. The knowledge and guidance I have received because of this is immeasurably valuable.