Research Opportunities

There are many possibilities for students to engage in physics projects at UAA---usually for credit, sometimes for cash, always for fun! The Physics 498 course allows students to earn from 1 to 6 credits working with UAA faculty members who do research in astronomy, astrophysics, neutrino physics, nonlinear dynamics, particle physics, and plasma physics/fusion energy. Also, there is always a demand for people who would like to help create new physics lecture demonstrations. If you are interested, talk to your favorite faculty member about the possibilities.


News: IceCube awarded the 2013 Breakthrough of the Year

Dec. 12, 2013 

The IceCube project has been awarded the 2013 Breakthrough of the Year by the British magazine Physics World The Antarctic observatory has been selected for making the first observation of cosmic neutrinos, but also for overcoming the many challenges of creating and operating a colossal detector deep under the ice at the South Pole.
Read the full story here, and learn about the role of a local UAA researcher in the more detailed story (below).

More information: 

Katherine Rawlins
Associate Professor, Physics
(907) 786-1709,


The IceCube Collaboration Project, Published in Science Magazine



Nov. 21, 2013 

UAA researcher involved in global IceCube Collaboration
Group of scientists find evidence of high-energy neutrinos at South Pole 

ANCHORAGE, AK––UAA Associate Professor of Physics Katherine Rawlins, Ph.D., is part of an international research group, the  IceCube Collaboration, that has recently discovered evidence of high-energy neutrinos (subatomic particles) of astrophysical origin at a South Pole test site and published in Science Magazine.  
The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is a particle detector buried in the Antarctic ice made up of 86 strings, each with 60 sensitive light detectors. IceCube gives scientists new ways to study the mysteries of our universe––95 percent of our universe is made up of material we can’t see and barely understand; neutrinos may allow for a better understanding of dark matter and dark energy. Nearly 25 years after the pioneering idea of detecting neutrinos in ice, the IceCube Collaboration announces the observation of 28 very high-energy particle events that constitute the first solid evidence for astrophysical neutrinos from cosmic accelerators.
On UAA’s campus, Dr. Rawlins and her undergraduate students are contributing to the group’s efforts by using IceCube to study cosmic rays: protons and atomic nuclei which strike the top of Earth's atmosphere. The astrophysical engines, which accelerate cosmic rays to their high energies, may also produce neutrinos, and cosmic ray events in IceCube are a source of background in the search for neutrinos. Dr. Rawlins also spent one year at the South Pole research station as a "winter-over" in 2002.

Read more about Dr. Rawlins’ collaboration and their exciting findings in this full press release.

Dr. Rawlins is a part of the large experimental group of 250 physicists and engineers from around the world and UAA is one of 41 member institutions spanning 12 countries. The IceCube Collaboration is headquartered at the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their goals: to measure the rate of high-energy neutrinos and identify some of their sources.
Neutrinos are very small, nearly massless particles that come from the sun, radioactive decay, cosmic rays and violent events in the galaxy such as exploding stars.

More information: 

Katherine Rawlins
Associate Professor, Physics
(907) 786-1709,
Dr. Rawlins can be available for interviews and visual demonstrations, if interested. Please contact her directly or Jessica Hamlin (contact info below) to make arrangements.  IceCube Frequently Asked Questions:
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