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Pavlo Levkiv, freshman at Middlebury College, VT

Objective: obtaining summer research position at physics department.

Research experience:

1. (2008, ongoing). Vibration of the CO molecule in myoglobin. Advisors: Professor Sontum and senior student Nick Barone. Their research is about the dynamics of myoglobin, how side chains of the protein effect the CO vibration, and, how the CO effects the protein structure. They use entirely theoretical approach by modeling the dynamics of this macromolecule. The first part of my work was to make dynamic visualization of molecule dynamics on computer (completed). My current work deals with making more precise calculations of the myoglobin structure and vibrations, by using ONIOM calculation methods, where the atoms of the protein are assigned to different layers – high, medium and low. High level calculations make use of quantum mechanical methods such as the Hatree-Fock algorithm, Moller-Plesset Perturbation theory – based algorithms, or DFT algorithms, to operate on and optimize the Slater determinant of the electron wave-function system of a molecular structure, while medium and low level calculations use more approximate, semi-empirical methods using various basis sets, such as B3LYP, or 6-311G*.

2. (2005-2006) Shaped pupil coronagraph mask. Summer internship research project at the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) laboratory of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE), Princeton University. Advisor Dr. Belikov. The objective of NASA’s TPF project is to find earthlike planets in the vicinity of other stars. Such planets cannot be detected using simple telescopes, because for the planet proximity to a star, its diffracted light is much brighter than the light reaching the telescope from the planet. The physicists at Princeton designed a special shaped pupil coronagraph mask which creates a dark region with contrast of 1010 very close to the star image, in which the weak light from the planet can be detected. My job was to study the effects of errors in mask on the produced dark region. The work consisted of creating the diffraction pattern of the mask by using the two-dimensional Fourier Transform of the mask, simulating random errors in the form of the mask, and doing statistical analysis of how errors impact the performance criteria. All numerical simulation was done in Matlab.

3. (2006) Carpool project. Project for Newark Academy. Advisor Dr. DiBianca. The Newark Academy is an independent school which has students from all over northern NJ Since many students drive long distances, we have a large per capita greenhouse gas emission. My idea was to calculate a carpool plan for the school that would result in the least total mileage driven by the school community in the morning commute. This was an optimization problem, which I solved using genetic algorithm programmed in Matlab.

Computer software experience:
1. Matlab. Used for TPF project (two dimensional Discrete Fourier Transform, random numerical experiment analysis, graphing) and for Carpool project (optimization problem using genetic algorithm).
2. Wolfram Mathematica (used for computations in physical courses Ph201, Ph202, Ph212).
3. GAUSSIAN and GAUSVIEW, used for the molecular dynamics. GAUSSIAN is a software that calculates energies of chemical structures, and can find optimal structures by minimizing their energies using Hatree-Fock and post Hatree Fock algorithms.
4. VMD (Virtual Molecular Dynamics) to model protein structure and dynamics, with utilization of Unix commands, along with use of computer networking tools such as Putty and Winscp. Also use of Videomach for making movies of the VMD calculated Trajectories.

Lab experience:
1. Advanced General Chemistry lab (Middlebury).
2. Physics 111 (optics and thermodynamics) lab (Middlebury).
3. AP Chemistry lab (Newark Academy)
4. AP Biology lab (Newark Academy).
5. Biotechnology lab (Newark Academy).
6. AP Physics B lab (Newark Academy).

Education:
2003-2007 – Newark Academy, Livingston, NJ.
AP/IB tests taken during high school: Calc AB, Calc BC, Physics B, Physics C mech, Physics C E/M,   Statistics, Chemistry, Biology, Micro-Economics, IB Math HL, IB Further Math HL.
2006 (fall) – County College of Morris, Randolph NJ: Calculus III (multivariable)
2007-2008 Middlebury College, VT. Related course work: Linear Algebra (M200), Relativity and Quantum Physics (Ph201), Advanced General Chemistry and Lab (Ch107). Thermodynamics, Fluids, Waves and Optics (Ph 111), Differential Equations (M225), Quantum Physics Applications (Ph202), Applied Math for Physical Science (Ph212).

Honors and awards:
1. National AP Scholar Award (from College Board AP 2007).
2. AP Scholar with Distinction Award (from College Board AP, 2007).
3. AP Scholar with Distinction Award (from College Board AP, 2006).
4. Samuel A. Ferrend Award (from Newark Academy 2006).
5. AP Scholar with Honor Award (from College Board AP 2005).
6. Certificate of Achievement (from the Program for Gifted High School Students by Princeton Math and Science Initiative 2005).

Languages:
Ukrainian, Russian – native. French – practical knowledge of spoken and written.

Interests:
Mountain hiking, alpine skiing, wrestling.

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