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Benjamin Sofka
2009-2010 Honors Student

Benjamin SofkaName: Benjamin Sofka
Honors in: Physics
Hometown: Barnesville, PA
Major(s): Physics

Title of project: Segregation of Granular Materials in a Viscous Medium

Abstract or brief description: When granular materials are shaken in a viscous medium, a process known as granular segregation occurs. This study will examine the granular segregation of a variable mass collection of beads that are oscillated horizontally to determine the inertial effects of bead mass on the patterns produced. Multiple variables such as drive frequency, total volume ratio, and bead mass ratio will be examined to determine how they affect the granular segregation. Images of the patterns will then be analyzed to determine the width of the striations, L, and the distance between them, d.

How did you get interested in your topic? Dr. Krieble gave me the project idea and the interest grew from there. At the beginning, I didn't know much about the subject. As I read articles, conducted research, and began experimenting on the topic, I realized how interesting this topic really was.

Do you intend to research your topic further, if so, how? This may be something that I can continue researching in graduate school at Lehigh. But as of right now, I am not sure.

How did you benefit academically by conducting research/participating in honors? I learned a lot about my intellectual abilities and how hard I could work to accomplish something. This project truly tested my academic abilities. I feel more confident about my knowledge in Physics now than I did before Honors.

How has the department in which you studied prepared you for the future? I don't think I could be any more prepared for graduate school than I am now. The Physics courses here covered everything I need to know academically and research experiences such as Honors and the REU I participated in at the College of William and Mary prepared me for the research I will be doing in graduate school.

What advice do you have for other students interested in honors? Work hard and don't procrastinate.