Project Overview

1: Supermassive dark matter 2: Large-scale behavior of neural networks

Faculty Sponsor

Patrick Crotty (


Physics and Astronomy


I offer two projects this summer in different areas, one in cosmology, one in computational neuroscience.

The cosmology project will involve the simulation of the creation of supermassive dark matter particles in the early universe, and their interactions with other forms of matter and the role they coud play in the development of stars and other astrophysical phenomena.

In the computational neuroscience project, the behavior of large groups of neurons will be simulated with the goal of understanding their collective behavior.  In particular, we will look for parallels between the dynamics of these networks and physical phenomena like phase transitions.

Student Qualifications

Both of these projects will involve extensive coding in Python, so students should be comfortable both with computer programming in general and Python in particular.

For the cosmology project, the student should have a strong background in physics and mathematics, and ideally have taken PHYS 456, Relativity and Cosmology.

For the neuroscience project, a physics background and a math background including linear algebra would be advantageous as well, although not strictly necessary.  Coursework in neuroscience would also be helpful.

Students will be expected to do significant self-study to bring them up to speed on the required background knowledge in cosmology or neuroscience, respectively.

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

8 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2021 and close on 03/22/2021

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (