Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Physics



Faculty Advisor(s)

Joelle Murray (Thesis Advisor)
Jennifer Heath & Michael Crosser (Committee Members)

Subject Categories

Biological and Chemical Physics | Physics


Proteins are known to fold into tertiary structures that determine their functionality in living organisms. By understanding the general features of this folding process, that are independent of specific proteins, folding can be better understood. Self-organized critical systems exhibit behavior that scales with system size. In this project, I wrote a simulation of a simplistic three-dimensional cubic lattice protein model. The model consisted of only two different types of amino acids, one being hydrophobic and the other hydrophilic, known as the HP model. To identify self-organized criticality in proteins, there must be clear signs of power law behavior in the folding process. Initial results show indications of self-organized criticality in protein folding; however, there is also a sign of limitation with the computational model used.