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Science Spectacle

Michael Braunstein

Michael Braunstein



Science II 307A




Educational Background

Virginia Military Institutue, Civil Engineering, B.S., 1978
University of Colorado, Physics, M.S., 1986
University of Colorado, Physics, Ph.D., 1990


Physics classes I have taught:

  • Introductory Astronomy
  • Introductory Physics
  • General Physics
  • Introductory/General Physics Laboratory
  • Modern Physics
  • Laboratory Practices and Techniques
  • Modern Physics Laboratory
  • Thermodynamics
  • Optics
  • Analytical Mechanics
  • Electromagnetic Theory
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Stellar Astrophysics
  • Quantum Mechanics

Research Interests

My research interests are widely varied and I have engaged undergraduate students in nearly all of these:

  • Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics - I collaborate with a research group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory whose experimental emphasis is on studying nuclear reactions of particular interest in stellar nucleosynthesis processes using radioactive beams at the HRIBF facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The group has also done important work in modelling stellar nucleosynthesis processes.
  • Laboratory instrumentation - I have consulted on several very diverse research projects at CWU (acoustical physics, optical physics, chaos, chemistry, family and consumer sciences), developing instrumentation. My preferred platform for this work is instrument automation using LabVIEW based data acquisition and control and National Instruments hardware. I am also interested in a particular class of electronic circuits ("Sprott" circuits) that display chaotic behavior. These systems are particularly simple to model with a third order ("jerk") differential equation and are easy to build. Control and measurement of their behavior can be automated to obtain a detailed and complete experimental picture of their attractors.
  • Observational Astronomy - CWU maintains a small astronomical observatory (0.3 m telescope and several smaller scopes) equipped with CCD cameras and recently renovated to accurately locate and track astronomical objects, and a computer workstation with IRAF astronomical image analysis software. In addition we have access to the UW Manastash Ridge Observatory (0.8 m telescope), about an hour from Ellensburg. We have used these facilties to perform differential photometry on a variety of objects (e.g., HD209458 which has a transiting planet; variable star ER Ori, a type W UMa eclipsing binary) and to perform morphological studies of cometary comae.
  • Analysis of Laser Induced Crystal Damage - I consult with a research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in the analysis of data from experiments studying damage sites induced in KDP crystals by high power lasers. This program is conducted at LLNL's National Ignition Facility in support of research in inertial confinement fusion. This connection is a potential opportunity for especially promising CWU students to engage in a research/co-op experience at LLNL.

Selected Publications

M Braunstein, Demonstrating Chaos with Sprott Circuits, presented at PNACP, 2005 (unpublished).

S.G. Mashnik, R.J. Peterson, A.J. Sierk, M.R. Braunstein, Pion-induced transport of π-mesons in nuclei, Phys Rev C61, 034601 (2000).

G. Gonzales, C Laws, M Braunstein, Transit of HD209458, IAU Circulars 7317 and 7319, November 1999.

M. R. Braunstein, Introducing Differential Cross Section Using Simple Optical Elements, presented at AAPT, Washington Section, 1998 (unpublished).

M. Braunstein, M. Womack, F. Deglman, D. Pinnick, R. Comstock, P. Hoffman, G. Aaker, D. Faith, S. Moore, J. Ricotta, M. Goldschen, A. Wiest, A. Jacobson, J. Zilka, A CCD Image Archive of Comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp); Dust Expansion Velocities, Earth Moon and Planets, accepted for publication June 6, 1998.

M. R. Braunstein and B.C. Palmquist, Reinventing Introductory Science Laboratories, presented at Lilly Conference on College/University Teaching, 1996 (unpublished).

R. J. Peterson, S. Hoibraten, J. Ouyang, M. R. Braunstein, X. Y. Chen, M. D. Kohler, B. J. Kriss, D. J. Mercer, D. S. Oakley, D. L. Prout, Quasifree pion single charge exchange at 500 MeV, Phys Lett B297, 238 (1992).

X. Y. Chen, J. R. Shepard, M. R. Braunstein, T. A. Carey, K. W. Jones, J. B. McClelland, J. B. Rees, T. N. Taddeucci, N. Tanaka, and A. D. Bacher, Complete spin-transfer measurements for inelastic polarized proton scattering from 12C, Phys Rev C44, 2041 (1991).

B. L. Clausen, J. T. Brack, M. R. Braunstein, J. J. Kraushaar, R. A. Loveman, R. J. Peterson, R. A. Ristinen, R. A. Lindgren, M. A. Plum, Analysis of pion scattering to stretched states in 60Ni and other nuclei using Woods-Saxon wave functions, Phys Rev C41, 2246 (1990).

D. S. Oakley, M. R. Braunstein, J. J. Kraushaar, R. A. Loveman, R. J. Peterson, D. J. Rilett, and R. L. Boudrie, Isospin asymmetries in pion scattering to isoscalar giant quadrupole states in Ni isotopes, Phys Rev C40, 859 (1989).

M. R. Braunstein, J. J. Kraushaar, R. P. Michel, R. J. Peterson, H. P. Blok, and H. de Vries, Inelastic electron scattering from 64Ni, Phys Rev C37, 1870 (1988).

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