Current theoretical research topics include meso and nanostructure formation, complex (dusty) plasmas, gravitoelectrodynamics, protoplanetary/protostellar evolution, grain charging in dense and tenuous complex plasmas, grain coagulation in nebular clouds, ordered grain lattice formation within complex plasmas, wave propagation through ordered and disordered complex plasmas, numerical modeling of hypervelocity impacts, superstrings, M-theory, early universe cosmology and high energy astrophysics.
Current experimental research topics include laboratory simulations of meso and nanostructure formation, complex plasmas, protoplanetary/protostellar evolution, grain charging in dense and tenuous dusty plasmas, grain coagulation in nebular clouds, ordered grain lattice formation within dusty plasmas, wave propagation through ordered and disordered complex plasmas. dispersion relationships as well as low velocity shock physics. Additional research is being conducted in the areas of hypervelocity impact studies, sensor design and calibration as well as prototype design of dust particle accelerators.
Through CASPER's partnership with the CTAS (Central Texas Astronomical Society) and the Meyer Observatory located at Clifton and in collaboration with the UT astronomy department, CASPER students can study luminosity curves for white dwarf stars. The data collected is used to study periodic variations in the intensities of these stars, where the expected periodicity is in the range of 1s to 1000s. This time scale allows for usable data to be taken in the relatively short period of time of one night to a few nights.
In all of the above, CASPER's research/education paradigm is uppermost. Project team meetings (conducted three times weekly) include high school students up to graduate students. This unique approach to the research/education environment has proved exceptionally successful. CASPER RET Fellows actively develop curriculum modules for the public school system that allow this paradigm to be infused into the classroom. Beta testing of these stand alone modules is ongoing.
Graduate students within CASPER are supported either by their department, outside funding, research contracts or some combination of the above. In addition, NASA/Texas Space Grant Consortium Fellowships are available for both graduate and undergraduate students pursuing a degree at Baylor University in any of the areas within the Center. CASPER Internships during the fall, spring and summer semesters as well as a limited number of high school scholar fellowships are also available. During the summer, CASPER offers REU, RET and High School Scholar opportunities. Information concerning these should be directed to Truell_Hyde@baylor.edu.