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24th National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Sample Abstract Submissions

Abstract Length should be a minimum of 250 and a maximum of 300 words, including Title and Author lines.

Snowflakes: An Elegant Display of Hydrogen Bonding

Herbert Evan Zeiger III (Dr. Garon Smith), Department of Chemistry, The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana

Have you ever really thought about what you're looking at when you view a snow-capped range of mountains? In reality, you're looking at billions of intricate works of art heaped haphazardly at the angle of repose on rock ledges and mountain meadows. It seems such an indulgence of nature to invest so much artistry in objects as ephemeral snowflakes. This project explores ways to appreciate and understand how the physical and chemical properties of water lead to an almost infinite variety of snowflakes and crystalline ice forms. Many aspects of snowflake structure and growth are still unknown. Project elements include computer models that grow virtual snowflakes: 1) via fractal geometry procedures, and 2) using physical parameters implemented through a sequence of local micrometeorological conditions. The project also draws from and builds on classical techniques that capture photographic images of snowflakes to inventory Western Montana snowflake morphologies.  We are capturing snowflakes and using X-ray fluorescence and ion chromatography to probe the nucleation particles around which they have grown. We suspect ammonium nitrate, the most prominent inorganic particulate in our airshed, will be at the center of many. Finally, we are designing an experimental chamber in which we can film the dynamic growth of ice crystals in the laboratory. Once the introduction of heavy water (deuterium oxide) influence the ultimate patterns displayed in snowflakes. Ancillary activities relate snowflake morphology to other ice and snow phenomena such as ice volcanoes, columnar ice, surface and depth hoar and snow flowers.


Kelly R. Anderson (Robin Pettersen), Department of Theatre/Dance, University of Wisconson, Whitewater, WI 53190

The choreographic work "Complete?" was generated from a variety of artistic sources. Influenced to explore the realms of sensuality and personal discovery, the choreographer produced a visual artwork that used mixed media to express these ideas .  The work ("Seaside Memories") was completed on canvas and manipulated by the use of acrylic paint and selected photographic images. Through collaboration,  a poem ("Strands," by Marianne Contrino) was written focusing on the ideas conveyed in the artwork. THe choreographer then continued the exploration of this theme into a work of modern dance (four-dimensional art).  The movement is based on release, partnering, and personal gesture.  The work illustrates one dancer's personal struggle, and the other four dancers understanding of that struggle.  The piece emphasizes the commonality of these emotions, yet allows the audience to observe the soloist's individual experience. "Complete?" is supported by a slide presentation of cropped images from the visual art work. Sound incorporates pre-recorded text using manipulated words selected from the poem.