Student Research Spotlight - Davis Arthur
Davis Arthur won the Undergraduate Research Award for the College of Sciences and Mathematics for his oral presentation during the virtual 2021 Auburn Research: Student Symposium.
Hometown: Collierville, Tennessee
Degree and major: Bachelor’s Degree in Physics, Minor in Computer Science
College: College of Sciences and Mathematics
Class year: May 2021 (He will start graduate school in computer science at the University of Florida this fall.)
Faculty mentor: Guillaume Laurent
Development of a Multiparticle Spectrometer
What are you researching?
We use ultrashort laser pulses to study the motion of atomic and molecular particles at the timescale of their most fundamental processes. Our laser allows us to analyze a particle’s motion with resolution in the femtosecond range. To give some perspective of how accurate this resolution is, the number of seconds since the Big Bang is less than the number of femtoseconds in one second.
How could the results benefit individuals, agencies or companies?
The high precision of ultrafast lasers allows researchers to better understand the processes of chemical bonding and electron excitation. This knowledge helps industry specialists design more efficient chemical processes and materials.
Tell us why you enjoy research.
I enjoy research because it gives me a creative outlet to apply my background in computer science, math and physics. My favorite part of my research has been creating computer simulations and numerical approximations to study physical phenomena that cannot yet be conducted in the lab or modeled analytically.
What advice would you give to other students considering doing a research project?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professor because of inexperience. I was pretty nervous when I first reached out to my research mentor because I was still a freshman, and I knew very little about ultrafast science. However, I found my research group to be extremely welcoming, and joining early on in my undergraduate career gave me the time to make the most of the opportunity.
Tell us about any hobbies or activities you enjoy.
I like to spend most of my free time outdoors playing golf or soccer with friends. I’m a pretty big sports fan, so I try to go to as many football games, baseball games and golf tournaments as I can each year. Beyond sports, I like to play videogames with friends.