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Graduate Advising


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K-State Physics









Michael J. O’Shea


Research & Scholarly Work



Small quasi-periodic signals in very noisy time series - application to financial time series.

Quasi-periodic components hidden in a very noisy time series are extracted by a method based on folding. Application to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and several other time series reveal a periodic component consistent with the ‘Sell in May and buy at Halloween adage’. This is fundamental research and not investment research!



Experimental condensed matter physics.

The bulk of my research career has been spent in this area. Rare-earth based thin films and nanoscale particles were prepared by several methods. Their magnetic and in some cases superconductor properties were studied. Both fundamental physics and applied permanent magnet properties of these systems were of interest and include:

·       finding ways to improve the permanent magnetic properties of materials based on Nd2Fe14B and SmCo5

·       looking at magnetism and superconductor properties of neutron irradiated YBa2Cu3O7-x.

·       searching for quantum macroscopic tunneling at low temperatures in magnetic systems,

·       magnetic phase transitions, critical phenomena and scaling



Outdoor sport modeling – mostly for educators.

Articles are written on applications of physics to outdoor sports. This work was motivated by teaching a special topics class on outdoor sports about 8 years ago along with my work at Colorado Outward bound. In teaching this class I realized that the literature was lacking in introductory articles for anyone interested in applying physics to climbing, snowboarding, white-water boating and backpacking beyond a few good articles. Over several years I have published six articles on various aspects of these sports and have one more under review as of October 2016. This work very nicely combined my great interest in physics with

my seasonal work with Colorado Outward Bound.



Some more advanced but interesting mechanics problems.

This section contains some more advanced examples that are of interest to juniors/senior physics majors.


The problem of paddling a canoe across a river with a downstream current that varies across the width of the river is considered. The path taken by the canoe is determined by solving a non-linear differential equation. In its simplest form (uniform current) this problem is equivalent to a predator-prey problem.


Placing a mass (or exerting a force) on a fixed line leads to interesting static and dynamic behavior. A fixed line is a line that is fixed at both ends.


Interesting static behavior involves mechanical advantage if the stiffness (i.e. the value of the equivalent spring constant k) is large enough.


Interesting dynamic behavior involves crossovers between harmonic and anharmonic behavior when a mass is attached to the line and dropped.



Complete publication list.