Research interests: experimental study of interfacial instabilities and pattern formation in condensed matter systems. He is especially concerned with interfaces that are not in equilibrium, such as crystal growing from solution. Many materials grow in complex dendritic shapes, similar to snowflakes in appearance, and Andy studies the interplay between the microscopic physics and the macroscopic shapes. He is also interested in the extent to which concepts that are useful in describing equilibrium systems may be applied to non-equilibrium systems.
The experiments are performed on an ordinary microscope, and images are recorded on a high-resolution video cassette recorder. The data are then analyzed with computer-based digital image processing techniques. All work is carried out in the Hugel Science Center, and student participation is welcome in all aspects of the research.
Another of Andy’s interests is pattern formation in fluid mechanics, such as in the motion of a fluid through a porous medium. Here again, simple microscopic physics leads to complex macroscopic shapes, but the process is not completely understood.
Andy’s work has been supported by grants from the Research Corporation and from NSF. Previous student assistants are co-authors on several publications. Dustin Morris ’17 was Andy’s research assistant in the summer of 2015.
Prior to coming to Lafayette College in 1990, Andy has been supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation and has had Haverford student co-authors on several papers.