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Physics prof studying the early universe, strong nuclear force keynotes LTU Research Day

Release Date: April 20, 2021
Research Day

LTU President Virinder Moudgil (left) and Srini Kambhampati (right), dean of the LTU College of Arts and Sciences, congratulate Research Day keynoter George Moschelli.
LTU photo / Matt Roush.

SOUTHFIELD—A Lawrence Technological University physics professor who won a $180,000 federal grant to model subatomic particles provided the keynote address at LTU’s eighth annual Research Day Friday.

“Research Day provides further evidence of Lawrence Tech’s emerging role as a research-focused university, doing truly groundbreaking research work in science, engineering, design, and the humanities,” LTU President Virinder Moudgil said. “We are proud to showcase the research work of our students and faculty, and want to emphasize that unlike many larger institutions, undergraduates at Lawrence Tech participate in meaningful research to advance knowledge and improve society.”

Moschelli’s research, funded by the National Science Foundation, focuses on using mathematics to model the behavior of superheated “soups” of subatomic particles that were formed in the earliest moments after the Big Bang—as well as in huge, powerful atomic particle accelerators. Modeling the expansion and cooling of this quark-gluon plasma will provide important insights into the behavior of the early universe, and help guide future research into the behavior of these elementary particles and the strong nuclear force. “Understanding the strong force could have the same world-changing impact that understanding electricity had, like the difference between smart phones and candles,” Moschelli said.

He went on to discuss how technologies developed for the particle collider experiments have already found direct practical applications. These include particle beams for medical treatments, imaging techniques, new types of computer chips, and much more.

Moschelli’s NSF grant provides for student research assistant salaries and attendance at physics research conferences and research centers. Moschelli said the students working with him on his NSF project and other projects are primarily undergraduates, and they have included students studying not only physics, but also engineering, computer science, and biochemistry. He also stated that past student research assistants have gone on to careers in robotics, computer science, nuclear physics, medical physics, and astrophysics.

Another 11 papers were presented in the online Research Day, six from graduate students and five from faculty members. Topics included sensors to monitor the health risks of e-cigarettes. increasing employee retention in the hospitality industry, determining customer sentiment through social media, making retail architecture more sustainable, developing a germicidal ultraviolet light system, novel methods for detecting cyberattacks, and more.

Also at Research Day, 39 undergraduate students, seven graduate students, and three faculty members presented research posters.

Managing the annual Research Day and Presidential Colloquium is Matthew Cole, associate professor in the LTU College of Business and Information Technology. Said Cole: “Research Day 2021 was a huge success! Strong introductions by President Moudgil and Provost (Tarek) Sobh set the stage for an amazing keynote address webinar by physics professor Dr. Moschelli. The virtual format this year required all paper and poster presenters to record a YouTube video of their presentation which allows for repeated viewing of the presentations. We look forward to our next LTU Research Day in 2022, tentatively scheduled for April 8, 2022. Each year I am always thankful to the incredible work from the LTU students and faculty, and the continued support from LTU staff and administration to maintain our strong culture and focus on scholarly activities.”

All presentations and research posters are available online at https://www.ltu.edu/provosts_office/research_day.asp.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers nearly 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.


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