Biogenic Electric Currents
One of the interesting research activities involving physics students is a collaboration with the New Paltz Developmental Bio lab. Investigators in this lab work with the flatworm planaria, an amazing creature that develops into two complete planaria a short time after being cut in half. The physics part of this is an effort to measure minute electrical signals that are believed to exist in the vicinity of the wound site. The heart of the system is a homebuilt device called a vibrating probe. When connected to the appropriate electronic equipment, it can sense voltage differences across points that are only 50 – 100 microns apart. Given the small size of the signals, this will be no easy task, but the investigators, faculty and students alike, are enjoying the challenge.