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G. William Baxter 

Bill Baxter

Research Interests

I am an experimental physicist studying pattern formation and dynamics in a variety of systems. Pattern formation problems are ideally suited to student participation since the problems are inherently visual in nature. Despite the use of frame grabbers, image processing packages, electronics, and optics systems, there is always something to see

I am particularly interested in the study of granular materials such as sand, seed, and powdered metals.  My current research projects include the study of granular gases and a study of how low aspect ratio grains jam in featureless vertical channels.   On a different topic, my students and I recently completed a laboratory study of the foraging strategy of ants.  


    B.S. Physics, Emory University, 1983. 
    M.S. Physics, The Ohio State University, 1986. 
    Ph.D. Physics, Duke University, 1990. 
    Postdoctoral work, University of California at San Diego, 1990-1992. 

Some Recent Papers
  1. G. W. Baxter "Cellular Automata Models of Granular Flow," Chapter 8 in Experimental and Computational Techniques in Soft Condensed Matter Physics, edited by J. Olafsen (Cambridge University Press, to be published Sept 2010). 
  2. G. W. Baxter and J. S. Olafsen, ``Experimental Evidence for Molecular Chaos in Granular Gases,"  Physical Review Letters 99 (13 Jul 2007).
  3. G. W. Baxter and J. S. Olafsen, ``The Temperature of a Vibrated Granular Gas,'' Granular Matter (12 Aug 2006).
  4. G. W. Baxter and J. S. Olafsen, ``Robust Maxwell-Boltzmann Statistics in Driven Granular Gases,'' Nature 425, p 680 (16 Oct 2003).
  5. G. W. Baxter and C. Yeung, ``The Rotating Bucket of Sand: Experiment and Theory,'' Chaos 9 (3), pp 631-638 (1999).
  6. G. W. Baxter and K. M. Hagenbuch, `` A Student Project on Wind Chimes: Tuning in to Standing waves,'' The Physics Teacher 36, pp204-208 (1998) (Cover Story) Note that the author's photographs are reversed.
  7. G. W. Baxter, ``Stress Distributions in a Two-dimensional Granular Material,'' In: Powders and Grains 97, edited by Behringer and Jenkins, Balkema, 1997.
  8. G. W. Baxter and R. P. Behringer, ``Density Effects in Cellular Automtata Models of Granular Materials,'' In: Powders and Grains 97, edited by Behringer and Jenkins, Balkema, 1997.
  9. J. H. Hegseth, G. W. Baxter, and C. D. Andereck, ``Bifurcations from Taylor Vortices Between Corotating Concentric Cylinders,'' Physical Review E 53, pp507-521 (1996).
  10. M. Vavrek, and G. W. Baxter, ``Surface Shape of a Spinning Bucket of Sand,'' Physical Review E 50 (5):R3353-3356 (1994).
  11. R. P. Behringer and G. W. Baxter, ``Pattern Formation and Complexity in Flowing Sand,'' In: Granular Matter --- An Interdisciplinary Approach, edited by A. Mehta, Springer-Verlag, 1994.
  12. G. W. Baxter, R. Leone, and R. P. Behringer, ``Experimental Test of Timescales in Flowing Sand,'' Europhysics Letters, V21, N5, pp. 569-574, February 1993.
  13. G. W. Baxter, K. D. Eaton, and C. M. Surko, `Eckhaus Instability for Traveling Waves,'' Physical Review A 46 (4):R1735-R1738 (1992).

My Useful Webpages
I enjoy bicycling and juggling (not at the same time).

I have been growing orchids since 1986 and am past-president of
the Orchid Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania. I am particularly
interested in cool-growing orchids such as Masdevallias and
Oxyglossum Dendrobiums.

I am also very interested in Scottish Country dancing. I hold a teaching certificate from the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (issued Spring 1999).

Dr. G. William Baxter
Physics Department
Penn. St. Univ., Behrend College
Office: (814) 898-6251
Erie, Pennsylvania
FAX: 898-6213

Mail suggestions and complaints regarding subject material to "gwb6 at".


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