Issue 12, Spring 2018

Issue 12, Spring 2018


Approximate Approaches for Nuclear Weak Interaction Rates in Astrophysics

Bejamin Anderson (Advisor: George Wesley Hitt)

Nuclear weak interactions, like beta decay, are important inputs for modeling astrophysical explosions. In the allowed approximation, these processes proceed as Fermi or Gamow Teller (GT) processes where the spins of the electron and neutrino are anti-parallel or parallel, respectively. In the GT case, transition probability is spread over many final states in the daughter nucleus, with each probability determination requiring numerical integration of the available phase space. Developing a fast and accurate method for calculating each contribution to the total decay rate would provide reliable weak rate libraries for astrophysical modelers. The phase space integrand includes the classical statistical factor, a Coulomb correction, and the Fermi Dirac distribution of continuum electrons in the stellar material. In this paper, we specifically examine the phase space integration and discuss various approximations to the Coulomb correction, comparing computational speed and numerical accuracy. An approximate approach that is fast and accurate is introduced.

The Clean Air Act and Its Impact on Ground Level Ozone Pollution Levels in Los A

Rebecca Ford (Advisor: Angelos Hannides) 

Ozone (O3) occurs as a photochemically produced pollutant in the troposphere and its emission and concentration is regulated by the Clean Air Act (CAA) of 1970. The Los Angeles area is an example of how O3 can be a public health hazard and taint a city’s aesthetics and quality of life through photochemical smog. This study was conducted to observe the overall effectiveness of the CAA. I explored daily O3 concentrations from 1980 to the present at three air quality monitoring stations in LA from the AirData database of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. National O3 standards were only exceeded twice at one station throughout the study period. While the averageOconcentrations have been well below the national standards since 1980, they have remained relatively constant, while variance about these averages has steadily declined, indicating a positive impact on O3 concentrations in the LA metropolitan area.


Social Media and Negative Aspects of Well-Being: Does FOMO Play a Role?

Casey McAndrew (Advisor: Andrew Terranova)

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a relatively new concept, however researchers have found that FOMO and social media use cause negative aspects of well-being, such as depression, anxiety, stress (Alabi, 2013; Alavi, 2011) and lack of academic motivation (Jacobsen and Forste, 2011). When using a correlational design, the current study examined the associations between social media engagement and negative aspects of well-being, while also examining the mediating role of FOMO between these variables. Participants (198 college students, M = 19 years old, 86 percent female, 74 percent Caucasian) completed online surveys, where participants reported on their levels of social media engagement (Alt, 2015), FOMO (Przybylski, 2013), depression, anxiety, stress (Antony, 1998), and academic motivation (Lockwood, 2002). Findings indicated that FOMO was a significant mediator for the associations between social media engagement and anxiety and stress. However, FOMO did not seem to mediate the relationship between social media engagement and depression and academic motivation. These findings supported previous research claiming that social media use can have negative effects on well-being (Alabi, 2013; Alavi et al., 2011); however, experimental research is needed to better understand the causation of these negative effects.


Frankenstein: A Feminist Birth Myth of Morbid Conception

Madison Rahner (Advisor: Cynthia Port)

In the context of Mary Shelley’s biography and prose style, the theme and structure of Frankenstein indicate that, in addition to being an esteemed work of gothic horror, the novel is a feminist birth myth: a perverse story of maternity and a scathing critique of patriarchal dominance over the feminine. Frankenstein, as a maternal figure, repeatedly seeks to smother female sexuality and usurp heterosexual reproduction through grotesque and unnatural means. The ensuing death and violence are consequences of Frankenstein’s inadequacy as a mother and the insufficiency of masculinity. The monster’s morbid conception and subsequent murders intertwine birth and death in profound ways that mirror Shelley’s own traumatic experiences with maternity. Her life and experiences manifest in Frankenstein’s character to create a birth myth which despite its proto-feminist undertones, earned immediate success in literary climate of the 19th century which only tolerated women writing emotive works about domesticity.

Comments to Progress

Jocie Scherkenbach (Advisor: Christian Smith)

Building authority, or agency, in the undergraduate writing classroom is considered beneficial to producing confident and well-rounded student writers who later become integral members of society. However, it is widely recognized by scholars that this agency is lacking in many student writers. Students feeling a lack of authority over their work urges a closer look at how the revision process can assist in the development of greater student confidence and ownership. This paper seeks to examine factors that may influence student authority over their writing, and especially how teacher feedback and peer review can encourage students to gain and establish such authority. I argue that student writer authority is not established through a single task but, instead, through a process of multiple important steps. To support my claims, I use the findings from the field’s prominent scholars as well as data gathered from a survey I conducted of thirty college students in writing courses at CCU.