Three Tennessee Tech Physics students were involved in research experiences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) this summer: Drew Dycus (physics major), Natã Franco Soares de Bem (engineering exchange student), and Rowan Lumb (physics major). They were mentored by Dr. Ray Kozub and other scientists at ORNL.
Drew and Natã summarize their experiences below.
My research at ORNL this summer consisted of writing code for executing nuclear reaction simulations using Monte Carlo methods. In the beginning I had to receive my radiological worker training in order to access certain buildings in the site that contained radioactive sources. The research itself involved writing codes to create randomly distributed values that would be used as input for a nuclear reaction program called TALYS. An incomplete template input file was used to create many input files with parameters that were varied in their allowed range using normal and lognormal distributions . A script was written to automate the execution of the programs. TALYS created output files which gave the cross section values for the reactions which are used for understanding the r-process that is believed to happen in nova explosions.
Natã Franco Soares de Bem
Natã is a Control and Automation Engineering student at CEFET/MG (Brazil) and an exchange student at Tennessee Tech University.
During this summer, I worked trying to design a structure to hold the SuperORRUBA detectors inside JENSA (Jet Experiments in Nuclear Structure and Astrophysics) chamber. After some attempts, the final design was chosen as shown in the picture. It was a little hard to work with something that I did not have familiarity with (astrophysics) but together with my mentors I was able to progress and come out with this final piece. Now, this design is going to be mounted inside JENSA, at Michigan State University, to see how it behaves in the real chamber. I am extremely happy for having the opportunity to work in something so interesting, modern and unique!
Drew, Natã, and Rowan presented posters at the ORNL poster session.
Many research opportunities are available for undergraduates through the TTU Physics department. If you are interested, please speak to any professor in the Physics department for more details.