Physics
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Optimization of Muon Injection and Storage in the Fermilab g2 Experiment: From Simulation to Reality
The anomaly of the muon magnetic dipole moment, $a_\mu \equiv (g_\mu  2)/2$, is a sensitive probe into the Standard Model~(SM) of particle physics because it can be calculated with high precision and also measured with ... 
Searching for Dark Matter with Boosted Higgs Decays in ProtonProton Collisions at sqrt(s) = 13 TeV with the ATLAS Detector
If Dark Matter particles interact with Standard Model particles, it could be possible to pair produce Dark Matter particles in association with a detectable Standard Model particle at a collider such as the LHC. If this ... 
Neural Mechanisms of Trial and Error Learning: a Study from Bird Song
In this dissertation I examine how variation is generated, shaped and controlled in the brain during trialanderror learning. The first part of this dissertation concerns the mathematical modeling of networks of neurons ... 
Quantum Dynamics in Rugged Energy Landscapes, and Additional Topics in Disordered Systems
This thesis concerns the interplay of quantum mechanics with strong disorder, and the novel dynamical phases that are unique to disordered quantum systems. The results that we present apply to systems ranging from spin ... 
Axionlike Dark Matter Detection with Mercury199 Atoms
The objective of this dissertation is to search for axion dark matter through the coupling between the axion field and the electric dipole moment(EDM) of mercury199 atoms. If the axion is the significant fraction of dark ... 
Interlayer Valley Excitons in TwoDimensional Semiconductor Heterostructures
The ability to isolate and manipulate twodimensional crystals into carefully designed van der Waals heterostructures is an emerging technology that offers an unprecedented level of control over the optical and electronic ... 
Investigating and Improving Student Understanding of Superposition in Introductory and Quantum Physics Courses
This dissertation presents results from research and curriculum development related to student understanding of the principle of superposition in introductory optics and upperdivision quantum mechanics courses. The focus ... 
Probing valley and magnetic photoexcitations in 2D crystals and their heterostructures
Layered materials are excellent systems for investigating physics in two dimensions. Understanding the optical response of 2D layered materials and their heterostructures at the atomically thin limit is an important aspect ... 
Improving the Accuracy and Application of Nanopore DNA Sequencing
DNA contains the code of life, forming the molecular basis for all of life's diversity. The past several decades have witnessed remarkable progress in our ability to read and understand life's code through DNA sequencing. ... 
Methods for a dedicated breast cancer scanner combining positron emission tomography (PET) and mammography imaging
The PET/X breast imaging system is designed to be a compact positron emission tomography (PET) scanner with a rectangular field of view (FOV) that can be mounted directly over the conventional mammography scanner. This ... 
Finitebeta simulations of HITSI and HITSI3 using the NIMROD code
The Helicity Injected Torus with Steady Inductive helicity injection (HITSI) and HITSI3 experiments are a pair of devices that form and sustain spheromak plasmas through the use of Steady Inductive Helicity Injection ... 
From Quantum Gravity to Combinatorial Hives: Addressing Longstanding Puzzles with Novel Approaches
A thesis in two parts, this manuscript concerns the applications of contemporary techniques in optimization, network theory, combinatorial topology, and other branches of discrete mathematics to longstanding problems in ... 
The search for an organizing physical framework for statistics
Theories of statistical analysis remain in conflict and contradiction. But nature reveals an elegant and coherent formulation of statistics in the thermal properties of physical systems. Demanding that a viable statistical ... 
Large Momentum Separation Matter Wave Interferometry
This work establishes a new benchmark for momentum separation in a matter wave interferometer with stable, visible fringes. With a path separation of 112 photon recoil momenta, our signal visibility of 30% and phase stability ... 
Enhancing EoR limits through improved instrumental calibration of the MWA
Epoch of Reionization observations have the potential to be transformative in the field of cosmology, but this is impossible without unprecedented levels of precision in calibration. We enhance EoR upper limits from the ... 
Coupling the Radial Vibrational Modes of Mixed BariumYtterbium Chains for Quantum Computing
The advantages of mixed species ion chains may be essential to scaling a quantum computer; however, using them requires a better understanding of mixed species ion trapping and manipulation than we currently posses. In ... 
Improving Axion Signal Models Through NBody Simulations
The QCD axion is a wellmotivated candidate for solving both the strong CP and dark matter problems. A great deal would be revealed about physics both on the level of fundamental particles and astronomy if the axion were ... 
An Investigation of Introductory Student Understanding of Special Relativity in the Context of the Relativity of Simultaneity
This dissertation describes the results of an investigation into introductory student understanding of special relativity in the context of the relativity of simultaneity. The research probes the extent to which students ... 
Protoplanetary disks and planet formation: A computational perspective
In this thesis I present my research on the early stages of planet formation. Using advanced computational modeling techniques, I study global gas and gravitational dynamics in proto planetary disks (PPDs) on length scales ... 
Development of new technologies for precision torsionbalance experiments
Torsion balances were first used for precision measurements of physics centuries ago and continue to be used to probe physical forces and test for new physics. Improving beyond current limits requires better sensitivity ...