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Research in Astrobiophysics

CREDIT OFFERED: 1-3 hours in PHSX 501 or 503.

SALARY OFFERED: Possibly after a trial period. Student should apply for Undergrad RA from honors program, with my assistance.

CONTACT PERSON: Adrian Melott, 864-3037, melott@ku.edu, Malott Hall 4075. Prof. Melott has sponsored more than 10% of the undergaduates who have gone on to become KU Goldwater Scholars.

PREREQUISITE COURSES: PHSX 211 or 213 with an "A"; Geology and Biology majors are eligible, without such a requirement.

DESIRED SKILLS: Work with the interdisciplinary KU Astrobiology Working Group (http://kusmos.phsx.ku.edu/~melott/Astrobiology.htm) on a variety of aspects of our research on astrophysical causes of mass extinctions. We work in astrophysics, plasma physics, atmopheric science, paleontology, geochemistry, and evolutionary biology! Work may involve computer modeling of the Earth's atmosphere, statistical analysis of extinction data, and a wide range of other possibilities. Our students usually present their results in papers and at scientific meetings.

DESCRIPTION OF JOB: One interesting project coming up is to examine the flux of muons or thermal neutrons on the ground during a cosmic ray maximum. We have software up and running to make this computation possible. This is a possible mechanism for mass extinctions.