Students Conduct Research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Students researching at ORNLThis summer, two Southern physics majors helped conduct research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Vola Andrianarijaona, PhD, a physics and engineering professor at Southern, invited Timothy Suzuki, senior physics major, and Arian Dovald, junior physics major, to help with two of his research projects. Located in Eastern Tennessee, the laboratory is the largest (by size) science and energy national laboratory in the Department of Energy system. Research access is mostly reserved for those working at the doctoral level.

“This is a big deal for undergraduate students,” Andrianarijaona said. “These students will be likely to write a science poster with the research results from their own work, not just the results of someone else’s work. That’s real-life experience for the researcher.”

Students researching at ORNLDuring their time at ORNL, the students worked on two main projects. The first involved building a specific square wave using multi-pulse generator to ensure that the ion beam would send a specific number of pulses. The second involved achieving an ultra-high vacuum environment within the merged ion beamline, checking for leaks in the system to reach desired vacuum pressure.

“The work is very engaging, requiring critical thinking and good problem solving,” Dovald said. “This is an important step toward entering the world of physics research, and it inches me closer to the graduate school of my choice.”

Suzuki had dreamed of the opportunity to work at ORNL and was thrilled to be invited by Andrianarijaona.

“This opportunity granted me valuable experience in experimental physics with many practical applications that can apply to nuclear physics,” Suzuki said. “The most important lesson that I learned from working at the lab was that in real life, problems do not have simple solutions, and that to overcome these challenges, a flexible mind is absolutely necessary.”

Madison Reinschmidt Story by Madison Reinschmidt Published: Last Edited:

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