Students - First Year
Award-Dr. Roxanne Springer
N. Russell Roberson retires
Faculty-Dr. Shailesh Chandrasekharan
Focus in Teaching Labs
and Physics Library Renovations
Lecturer - Dr. Carlos Frenk
Larry Evans retires as Chairman
Daniel Gauthier receives tenure
Just a small sample of some of the research that goes
on in our department . . .
||Sonya Bahar is one of approximately twenty Research Associates in the
Physics Department. This year, she applied for a grant from the National
Science Foundation and fellowships from the American Heart Association
and the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology. We have
our fingers crossed that Sonya will receive one of these prestigious awards.
Please read below to learn more about the research she is working on.
In the next issue, we will feature more articles from Research Associates
who would like to share with you what they are working on.
"Cardiac fibrillation is a major cause of death in the United States.
During fibrillation, disorganized waves of electrochemical excitation meander
across the heart, preventing from contracting in a coordinated fashion
to pump blood through the body. Typical emergency room methods of
defribrillating the heart involve delivering a large jolt of electricity
across the chest in order to briefly stop the heart and reset it to a normal
rhythm. But this is painful to the patient, and so the physics community
has been trying to extrapolate techniques from nonlinear dynamices (chaos)
and control theory to develop ways of stopping fibrillation with small,
carefully timed electrical pulses."
"In collaboration with Associate Professor Dan Gauthier and graduate
student Martin Hall, I have been studying complex chaotic electrochemical
excitations in frog cardiac muscle. These studies have allowed us to test
"chaos control protocols" designed to stabilize unhealthy chaotic behavior.
We are now collaborating with faculty in the Biomedical Engineering Department
(Pat Wolf and Wanda Krassowska) to study similar control techniques in
sheep hearts. We want to determine whether control protocols which work
in small pieces of heart muscle can actually be applied to stabilizing
the spatial disorder of atrial fibrillation in living animals. The
most exciting thing about this research is that it allows us to work at
the interface between physics and biology, applying nonlinear dynamics
theory to problems in cardiology."